Formed in 2007, The Gallery are folk rock band from Massachusetts. Having been chosen to be part of Rolling Stones’ ‘So You Want To Be A Rock Star’ competition, as well as working with legendary producer, Warren Huart – the band have accomplished a lot in their young career. Meghan Player and Emma Dean chatted to Brendan [vocals/guitar] and Ben [guitar] about their sound, influences, Warren Huart and SXSW 2012.
Who would you describe are your biggest influences?
Brendan – I guess we kind of range and vary between members, but a lot of us grew up listening to some older stuff like Tom Petty, Bob Dylan – that kind of stuff. A lot of 90s – we’re all 90s babies. I miss the 90s [laughs].
How did the band start out – how did you all come together?
Brendan – We started out, kind of young. The drummer and I are brothers so we’d been playing together at a young age. Then we met our bassist Dave through a mutual friend. It really just started off as a friend based band.
We’re from Massachusetts – so we moved down to Florida in 2007, and that’s when we started taking it seriously. Then in 2009 we had our first tour.
Ben is actually new. He just joined the band. We met him through Berkley School of Music in Boston, and kind of hit it off. It’s definitely a friend based band.
So, you obviously bought each of your different influences to this band?
Brendan –Yeah, definitely. Yeah, Dave – our bassist – he grew up listening to like Dave Matthews and such, which was something I wasn’t too ‘rehearsed’ in, I guess. It definitely bought a different element [to the bands sound].
Ben listens to a ton of blues – which has been a great addition to the band.
When you worked on your album you worked with Warren Huart [who has previously worked with bands like The Fray, Hot Hot Heat, Aerosmith] – how much of an influence did he have on the sound of the album?
Brendan – That was an awesome experience! We learned a lot as a band. He just has a good sense of song. Like we didn’t do much ‘co-writing’ at all for that CD, but he really stripped our sound – and simplified it. He got rid of all the extra noise, and that was great for our band.
He’s finishing up with Aerosmith at the moment, and I think we’re going back to him in May.
Is the sound going to go in a new direction with the new album or is it going to build on what you already have?
Brendan – It’s going to build off the EP. We never really set out for anything like ‘this one is going to be like this’. We kind of see where it takes us. It won’t be anything completely different. We’re not going to start screaming or anything [laughs].
How is it for you, Ben, to come into the band that has already started something? Did you bring your own ideas and influences with you when you joined?
Ben – It wasn’t too difficult to mesh with these guys. I think it just kind of helped that we hit it off right away. When you get along with these people, it’s just a lot easier to play as a band and write as well.
Brendan – From my perspective, he’s definitely put in his two cents right from the beginning. There hasn’t been any bashfulness about putting in ideas for writing. His sound fit ours really well – so it just kind of all worked out. We’re not shoving a circle into a square or anything. [laughs]
You moved from Massachusetts to Florida – does that change the way that you interpret and write music? Do the different areas influence the sound?
Brendan – Yeah, kind of. We’re actually in LA at the moment, and that is a whole different vibe. We’re trying to sort of ‘lock ourselves out’ of the LA scene. We’re trying not to let that influence us too much. That from Florida was a big difference – it’s a different scene down there. To be honest, I don’t know whether it was the best fit for us, in terms of writing. We wrote our EP in LA, and I think that worked the best. It’s a lot more cultured, a lot more things going on – and a lot more to pull from.
How has your SXSW experience been?
Brendan – We got here 2 days ago, and it already feels like we’ve been here for 5 days. We have 6 shows, so we’re just trying to stay ‘low key’, so we don’t suck at our gigs [laughs].
It’s obviously over saturated with bands – but you’ve just got to make the best of it. I mean, shows can be hit or miss – you can’t let it get you down. It’s just fun. I think our favourite part, or mine at least, is meeting bands that are doing the same thing you are, and that are kind of at the same level – is probably the best part.
It’s good networking for us. Even if nothing, business wise, comes out of it – you still make a lot of friends out of it.
A huge thank you to Brendan and Ben for taking the time to chat to us at SXSW.
For more information about the band, check out their website: www.TheGalleryMusic.com