Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Interview with The Rustic Overtones!

The Rustic Overtones played a great show at The Stone Church in New Market, NH on Friday 9/10.

Dave Gutter was kind enough to meet with TWLSB after the show so we could ask a few questions about the band. Enjoy!

TWLSB: You guys all took a break for a while, right?

DG: Yea, we took a break for about 4 years.

TWLSB: You all kind of went your own ways, each going through individual musical growth, so was it difficult to pick back up where you left off?

DG: It wasn’t actually...it was a very natural progression getting back together. I think someone once said that it’s like riding a bike with five of your other friends. It was a really good thing, we all kind of missed it a lot. We all love the music and love the shows. It’s a real natural energy that I think we missed a lot. As soon as we got back together it was very invigorating and fun.

TWLSB: How did Nigel Hall come into the picture?

DG: Nigel is a good friend of ours. He’s actually played with us for a while, just casually jamming with us a lot. He has like 5 gigs, so it’s really difficult to nail him down for one show with us. It was a huge pleasure to have him work with us on the album. We got him out on the road with us right after the album came out, and a little bit before, but he's definitely got a lot going on.

Your songs seem to have quite a range in style…is this due to a wide range of influences?

Yea, it’s a huge democracy of all these influences that come from every different member. It started off as a real cluster fuck of all the influences, but it finally got to a point where we kind of honed in on which influences to use. And when we’re under those influences….well it’s just a compromise. Like, Tony listens to Slayer and Ryan listens to Charlie Parker, so you can’t really put those two together. So we took a while experimenting what styles we can put together, and we came up with some pretty unique things, and that’s kind of how our songs evolved.

TWLSB: What have you been listening to lately?

I’ve been listening to a band called White Denim lately. I’ve been listening to a lot of hip-hop. There’s some Kanye West stuff that hasn’t been out on the album yet. There are these singles that’ve been leaked on the internet, real good newer stuff. I like the new OK Go record too. And The Flaming Lips.

Are you writing new material? How does that usually work?

I usually write a lot of songs on my acoustic guitar, and I’ll bring it to the guys and they usually shape-shift the whole thing. I come with skeletons or blue prints of songs that are very open to interpretation and change. Aside from the lyrics, the whole thing can change sometimes, and I’m open to that. It’s good to have everyone from the band kind of put their stamp on it.

TWLSB: How was it starting out in Maine? Is Portland a good output?

DG: It’s challenging as far as getting out of Portland and getting to other places, but it’s a really inspirational place to live. Portland is a very beautiful, peaceful place as far as writing from your soul, and creating some really pure music. There are so many great bands there, but like some of the bands that practice in the studio next to us, they don’t even play out. It’s hard to get out in Maine.
Until recently, there was a huge lack of clubs for people to play. Even now, for like really good hip-hop, punk rock, or hard-core there’s still a lack of clubs and underage clubs. That’s the thing that’s hard about Portland; is actually getting your music out there and getting out of Portland and touring. As far as writing though, all the bands from Portland are amazing writers.

TWLSB: So how long did it take you guys to push out of Portland?

DG: We probably toured out of state when we were about 19. As soon as we could, really. You gotta try to get out of your hometown to achieve success.
TWLSB: You got out, but you still seem to stick within.
DG: Yea, we are really, really faithful and loyal to Portland, as much as we can be. We love Portland.

TWLSB: What was your most effective output though, did the record labels help most?

Nope. It was getting out there and playing in front of people. The live thing is way more personal than a record. It’s so hard to reach people sometimes with a record. You know, they’re doing something else and listening to the record usually. But when it’s live, I’m the guy with the loud microphone and big lights, and you can pay attention and soak it in.
TWLSB: You guys definitely have soul to your performances too, and that energy can’t be delivered as well through a record.
DG: *Jokingly* Well, we’re lip synching, but I’m still feeling it.

TWLSB: Any local music in the Portland area you can recommend?

DG: An artist named Thommy, he’s an artist I work with that I really like. There’s a band named Brenda…Brenda is amazing. I really like Gypsy Tailwind, Grand Hotel, Plains, which is actually Dave Noyes’ band. There’s a ton of bands in Portland that I’m really into.

TWLSB: What record labels have you guys worked with?
DG: Our first major label was Arista. Then we signed with Tommy Boy, and then we signed with Velour…the labels passed us around for a while.

TWLSB: What's the biggest show The Rustic Overtones have played?

DG: This one, The Stone Church definitely. *laughs* It’s hard to say… There was a show in Connecticut, I think it’s called The Meadows. It’s kind of an interesting story. A good friend of mine gave me some pot brownies, and they didn’t work. They were so delicious though, so everybody, even people that don’t get high ate all the pot brownies. We were like ‘ yea they don’t work anyway, so don’t worry about it.’ About 4 hours later it kicked in, and we were about to go out in front of something like 40,000 people. And well, that was our biggest show.
TWLSB: How’d it go?
DG: Oh it went great. I don’t really remember much of it, but it was definitely a good show.

How come you guys don’t play up in the Umaine Orono area anymore?

DG: Well they used to do Bumstock and stuff, but there’s no place to play up there really…
TWLSB: Come to The Dime! It’s an excellent place to play.
DG: Is it? That’s good to know. They asked us to play a while back but I think we were really busy at the time. Good to know, though, we’ll keep it in mind.

TWLSB: Any advice for bands starting out or young musicians?

DG: You have to get out there, play at any place any time you can when you first start out. And even though it’s hard, don’t play Sweet Home Alabama and then mix in your original stuff. Just get out there, play straight original stuff, and believe it. Don’t feel like you have to rely on throwing Free Bird into the set. Try to really stand behind your original music when you start out, and people will eventually believe in it too.

Thanks again to Dave Gutter and The Rustic Overtones for their time and an excellent show, and Devon Mitchell for setting everything up!
We highly recommend that you all catch a live show of this local minded down to earth rockin' band from Portland, ME.
Go to http://www.therusticovertones.com/ to check out tour dates!

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