El Paso Music Scene

Great Shapes Interview

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by Charles Hurley

July 11, 2015

EPMS: Hey, you had a CD release party not too long ago. How is that going?

Evan: Yes, our EP is called Murmurations. Right now, I'm pretty happy with the final product. It is being received well. We had an EP release party in Phoenix as well as in EPaso.

EPMS: Wow, that's different. Why did you have an EP release party in Phoenix? Do you have a fan base out there?

Evan: Yeah, we have played Phoenix a few times before the EP was even out. We have probably played there five or six times already.

EPMS: That was on this tour you just got back from?

Evan: It was one of the best shows on the tour. It was on a Monday.

Neil: Phoenix was one of the last days of our tour... on June 8. We had a couple people come out who had seen us before.

EPMS: Tell me about the tour. You went to Tucson and Phoenix, plus a few places in California.

Neil: We played three nights in Los Angeles... Well, two in LA, plus one in Burbank. I have family and friends in LA, and they all came out to support us.

Evan: San Diego was a good night. We got to meet some El Paso musicians who had moved out there. They put us up for the night. The guitarist was from Bulletproof Tiger. Neil's family, plus my best friend came to see show.

Neil: We got to film a video out in California. A few of Evan's friends who are film majors, Frank and Andrew, had made a music video for "The Point". We have not released it yet, but we plan to in the future.

EPMS: What are you learning, being on tour?

Neil: I notice that it's different in Las Cruces, even though it's only forty miles away. It's different than in my own city... The people in Las Cruces really like our music. Seems like they don't take us for granted. It seems like more people are coming out to our shows, liking our page.

A Las Cruces-based band, Decade of the Dead Arcade are becoming friends of ours.

EPMS: It kind of threw me to see you already have a publicity agent. It's kind of unusual for a band in your position to do that, isn't it?

Neil: I felt we were ready to push it to that next level. I feel strongly about the band and believe in it with all my heart. We are putting in hard work, making big sacrifices and we're all on the same page. We want to be touring musicians, and make a living doing what we love.

We're trying to push our music out to as many people as we can, so we'll see where that takes us. In order to do that, we plan weekend trips to neighboring cities and book shows in advance and just hope the people hear the word.

EPMS: That's one of my pet peeves about El Paso bands: most of them just want to stay here; you see few that are willing to do much touring.

Neil: Some people kind of fall into that mentality, maybe not on purpose. Or they just want to have the local experience and have it be all about the party.

EPMS: How is your publicity agent helping you?

Neil: The Planetary Group is helping out with the promotion of our CD, Murmuration. They've sent our music to lots of college radio stations, and we've even heard our song on KRUX 91.5 in Las Cruces, NM.

EPMS: What kind of feedback are you getting on being out on college radio stations?

Neil: Feedback? We get a report every week, we're in the top 15 for KRUX in Las Cruces. There was one (a radio station) in Las Vegas too. Our song was on their charts for a while and there were a few others that rotated our music on their playlists too.

Evan: Itunes takes like two months, so next month we'll know how we're doing there. The CDs at shows, that's doing well. We shipped out three hundred CDs to radio stations. Of the top 200 college, Most Added Artist, we were at number sixteen.

EPMS: How is the internet helping you, aside from Facebook?

Evan: Reverb Nation helps with booking shows. Sound cloud is really great. Sound Cloud helps the most, since a friend of mine did the remix. It's very functional, a user-friendly site.

EPMS: I see you played the Neon Desert Music Festival here in El Paso.

Neil: We were asked to play for the local stage. We were the first band to play the last day of the festival.

Evan: It was really fun. We had a good set, it was received well. We sold some merch. It was a real fun experience. I played the last four years at Neon Desert with my other band, The D. A. (Digital Analog).

EPMS: How many people did you play for?

Neil: We played for about fifteen to twenty people, maybe less. There was a lot of people passing through, though. So it was cool to see people stopping and checking out a few songs, then carrying on. We got to share the stage with other local artists, and that was fun. We also had a feature on a filmer(Adam Ziegenhals, theprospectordaily.com)'s compilation via Facebook, a video which included our single, "Low" at the end. That was a compilation video put together by someone, but he used our song and 2 other local bands music for the video. Then they featured us towards the end.

EPMS: Is it common for people to dance when you play?

Neil: Yes. We consider ourselves a dance band, so we basically encourage it.

Evan: Yeah, that show you were talking about, it was based out of disco music, in a rock setting. It's kind of similar to what we do, I guess.

EPMS: What was that sound, I heard on your video, maybe like horns or keyboards?

Neil: My guitar is pretty straightforward... the other guys in the band use more effects, so that could've been the sound you heard. However on the EP, we had a live trumpet recorded.

Evan: Our original guitar player liked to use effects.

EPMS: Lineup change, eh?

Evan: Our current guitarist is Nathan. Our original guitarist was Adam.

Neil: Adam left for Odessa, TX.

Evan: He took teaching job in Odessa.

Neil: That's when Nate came in to fill his spot. We asked him continue playing what was on the recording, and as we wrote new stuff, expecting that he would incorporate his own guitar parts later.

Evan: Eventually all five will be in the band, including Nathan and Adam. We'll have three guitar players. Nathan and Adam also both play keys.

EPMS:: What have you guys learned on your journey to being rock stars?

Neil: For me, it's hard work. It might seem like fun, and at times it is but there will be days where you might not have a place to shower or crash for the night. So in a way, it can get very intimidating. Sometimes, you'll play for seven people, and you just never know what to expect.

Evan: I learned that, at every opportunity, you need to talk to as many fans as you can... It's important to make friends. At this level, that's all we can do. Most opportunities come from putting yourself out on the road. This is the difference between doing it as a hobby and doing it seriously. If only you only play El Paso, you're not going to get signed.

Neil: Be humble, put yourself out there. And give it your very absolute best. We try to do a lot of self-promoting, but it's good to know people who know a lot more people. I'm grateful for that.