Saturday, January 19, 2013

Greetings People Sounds fans! And welcome to our new blog, People Words (yes, that is the best we could come up with)! This blog is our attempt not only to document our artistic progress, but also to share interesting things with you, both musically and otherwise. Having a blog is actually a very BIG step for us as a band because of how radical/experimental our project is. In fact, few bands have ever attempted to do what we are doing now. Allow me to explain...

Our Story:

As you might have read, every member of our group hails originally from southeastern Connecticut; some of us even grew up together. When we were teenagers we started a band called The Supertones. There was already a famous ska band out there called The Supertones, but we didn't care. We just wanted to ROCK!!

2008--Winners of the Uconn Battle of the Bands
Listen for yourselves:

But southeastern Connecticut, it turned out, was no musical paradise. As nice as Connecticut can be for those who own boats and work at Pratt & Whitney, it is quite disheartening for bands that play original music. So after four years and constant gigging we were at a crossroads. Not to mention, our band seemed to be made up of some pretty brilliant dudes (if I may say so!), and each of us were experiencing major successes in our personal and professional lives: Alex Wernquest, our slide guitar virtuoso, moved to Brooklyn to pursue audio engineering; Dayne Laskey, the keyboard player and genius whiz-kid of the band, was applying for prestigious toxicology fellowships around the country; Mike Zaccaro, our charming and technically gifted bass player/audio engineer, graduated from UConn and took a killer job in communications; Eric Zaccaro, our smooth, multi-talented drummer, was traveling the world and studying to be a pharmacist; and Jordan Hill (that would be me)--I moved to New York to study philosophy and literature. And thus marked the end of The Supertones.

In late 2010, however, some of us began to get restless. Though we were fully immersed in our new lives, there was still a longing to regain that old chemistry and continue making music together. People Sounds, as our project came to be known, began with just Mike and myself (the name, inspired by the Beach Boys album Pet Sounds, was originally Mike's idea). At school, under the influence of fast times and lofty ideas, I began to write songs. But these songs were different than anything I'd done before. I was listening to a lot of indie music around this time and The Beatles had an increasingly steady hold on me. I sent some songs to Mike, who, in his spare time, had been secretly building his own home studio and experimenting with recording techniques. Mike and I were both highly discriminating, self-professed connoisseurs of pop rock*, and we in turn shared a mutual affinity for music played with real instruments**. Mike liked the songs, and thankfully we were able to get Eric back in the fold. Dayne's participation, on the other hand, was going to be tricky. Dayne, whose playing style evokes keyboarding legends like Rick Wakeman, Jon Lord and Jordan Ruddess, had been accepted into a highly selective and esteemed toxicology fellowship in Atlanta, Georgia.

Yet Dayne, wearing the badge of a true musician, had the inability to close musical doors. For reasons still beyond my comprehension, Dayne agreed, despite the distance, to keep making music with us. Our group was nearly complete.

Before Dayne left for Atlanta we tried recording a few tracks. They sounded decent, but there was something missing. To get the sound we wanted I was going to need some assistance. My bluesy guitar playing style wasn't clean enough to cut it on many of our new songs. Likewise, none of us possessed any real talent for writing harmonies. In 2011 Mike suggested a friend from high school Luke Gabordi, who was now a graduate student at Springfield College. We invited Luke to an informal jam session at my parents' house in Niantic, Connecticut.

There's only one problem with Luke: Narcolepsy!
Within a few minutes I knew Luke was going to be a major component of the band. He had a perfect, crystal clear singing voice and possessed incredibly polished skills on guitar. It turned out that Luke was also a reluctant, yet impressive song writer. With our group now assembled, there was still one question remaining: How were we going to do this? With five members living in four different states, how could we even call ourselves a band?

In the words of the often retarded Eminem: "I am whatever I say I am!" Right... (please forgive me for that). But the man has a point! We had all played with other musicians in the past, but the chemistry had never been the same. Why let the distance ruin that? We could do whatever the hell we wanted! It didn't matter how scattered we were as a group; we decided we could still easily make music together regardless of our locations. Not only do we still play and record together frequently, but the distance has actually brought a worldly, 21st century feel to our music. What good is the internet if it does not allow for these types of collaborations to take place? Just because we weren't living in the back of a van together didn't mean we couldn't still produce impressive, sonically interesting works of art! Besides, the last time we tried to do the whole van thing, it blew up. Literally!

Video by Dayne Laskey

Crazy right?! That was actually Dayne's van... Sorry Dayne! Anyhow, as a group of musicians, we are more excited than ever to share our layered and thought provoking music with you. Our sole imperative as artists is to make good songs that feel true to us. That being said, we also try to resist categorization. We are inspired by so many different styles and genres of music, and this is partly the reason that we call ourselves People Sounds. As a band, we are just getting started and we look forward to the future--which will hopefully include gigs, open-mic nights, videos, more songs, and--OH YES!!!--our forthcoming, self-titled album People Sounds. So enjoy our music! And please tell your friends!

-Jordan Hill 

*Good pop rock is like a fine wine or an excellent cigar.
**I know! There is bound to be some confusion over this! By real instruments, I mean the kind which require the attention and technical prowess of a human being to operate them.