One Hundred Thousand: The Exclusive Interview with TRTotal Views: 316
Pretty much like psychedelic rock, progressive music proved to the world that music was a severe addiction far addicting than the cannabis or the best heroine in the world. If psychedelic took the listeners high, this music took one beyond the existing realm, perhaps heaven itself and one couldn’t deny because listening to Steven Wilson pretty much feels like making love while you’re high on some otherworldly drug. Today, TalentRaters brings you an amazing Progressive Rock band whose music will provide you a natural high like never experienced before.
Based in Morris County, New Jersey, this progressive rock or progressive metal band has been in the music scene for quite some time now. We give you One Hundred Thousand! Original members include Andrew, Alex, and Kurt, have been playing together for six years. Alex and Kurt, however, were in some other band before this, which goes back a few more years.
The band of the present is comprised of Alex Goldenthal - guitar, Andrew Magnotta - bass, Rich Matoson - vocals, Gregg Sgar - guitar, and Kurt Wubbenhorst - drums and sound design. Kurt and Andrew met in college. Kurt and his future business partner at Architekt Music, George Roskos, were the first people Andrew met when he went to the college radio station to drop off his application for staff. No sooner did they begin talking music and bonding over the mutual enjoyment of bands like Dream Theater, Mastodon, Rush, and others. Given that, Kurt, George, and Alex were in a band together they put out a couple of EPs and one full-length album. According to Andrew, he was a fan; he was blown away at how professional they sounded live as well as recording. By the time he finished school they were breaking up the band to start something different. That was the point when everything changed as Andrew further tells:
From left to right: Andrew Magnotta - Bass, Alex Goldenthal - Guitar, Rich Matos - Vocals, Kurt Wubbenhorst - Drums, and Gregg Sgar - Guitar
“One day Kurt and I were talking about music and how difficult it is to keep a band going. He, Alex, and George were looking to start over with new band mates and a new band name. Kurt (a guitarist in that group) asked me if I would be interested in playing bass. I had only ever played guitar until that point but I sold most of my guitar gear and started jamming with them.”
The three of them eventually found a singer. They spent the better part of a year rehearsing and writing music. George left to focus on his business and then Kurt moved to drums when it came time to record. They had to replace the original singer with Rich, whom they met through their mutual friends in the band “Thank You Scientist”. Andrew had been friends with TYS for a few years at that point and Rich was roommates with their singer.
Their songs tend to be intricate ad they remain devoted to the melody. According to Andrew many times they start with a complex phrase and try to find a simpler hook within it. It’s a process that results in songs having a lot of layers to them. Sometimes it works out to be pretty difficult to play, though. “We Surround” is a song that is a good example of that.
There’s something about the sound of musicians pushing themselves that is interesting. It’s about pushing the listener physically, mentally and emotionally reaching out to create something new. For One Hundred Thousand, it’s a process of pushing boundaries and then trying to refine the music into something that one can enjoy without thinking about the instrumentation.
So far this marvelous band has released an EP “Rise” in 2014. The songs on that EP are contained on their 2016 full-length “The Forms in Which They Appear”. Andrew further told TR about the band’s upcoming album:
“The album has a loose concept to it expressed over three groups of songs, Part 1: A World Divided, Part: 2 Rise and Part 3: Ghost.”
Telling TR about their song “Low” Andrew added that it basically began with a finger-style acoustic guitar part that Alex came up with years ago. For all he remembers one night they were all at the studio doing some writing when Alex was going through voice memos on his phone and reintroduced them to the chord progression. A few days later Kurt came up with a complementary part on the piano. Alex’s part became the verse, Kurt’s became the chorus and then in a group-setting they worked out the bridge, that’s how the guitar solo ended up being. Lyrically speaking, the song is about getting through a tragedy with the help of those closest to you. Andrew told TR he composed the vocals for his friends Louis and Erica, who lost almost everything in Superstorm Sandy when the storm surge swept through Brooklyn. The verses in the songs are kind of meant to convey the scene in the immediate aftermath of the storm from their perspective. The pre-chorus and chorus waffles between the detached outlook on that reality and a kind of plea not to give up, even though rebuilding seems impossible. Andrew excitedly told TR that one of their favorite things about “Low” is how people have interpreted it back to the band.
“The best example is in the music video. Our director, Mike Lowther, knew nothing of the story I just described. He told us he had a concept in his head, and would like to make a video for it. We told him to go for it. If you watch the video, I think you’ll find his interpretation, symbolically, is pretty in step with what I was going for with the lyrics.”
There’s always a piece of melody that an artist is extremely proud of. Andrew said, “I’m proud of “Better Days” which is the final track on the album, and it’s a great representation of the band’s sound in just 4 minutes and 30 seconds.” Many fans would agree that it is also one of the beguiling songs on the album. The way the song unfolds and builds and builds and builds is really beautiful. The lyrics—while they may be the most abstract on the album—are visceral and moving. Andrew shared the bands dream to perform the song live and have an audience sing the gang vocal part back with the band. “We Surround” also from the Ghost section of the album, is easily the most difficult song to perform. Between the polyrhythmic verses, the vocal harmonies, and the excruciating tempo, it’s always a test to make sure it sounds coherent. Andrew indicated the bridge of that song is pure joy for him to play. “Far From Dead,” the fourth track on the album, was the set closer for two or three years. Andrew said he likes the way it builds over two verses, the chorus is really memorable and the bridge reminds him of something “Rush” might do. Alex plays a legato lick to introduce the bridge—which he always seems to nail even though he complains that it hurts his hand—and focusing in on Kurt’s ride cymbal, which he plays in this kind of heavy-handed shuffle. The biggest thing is that everyone in the band is accountable. It’s not always been easy for the band, but there’s never any doubt about what everyone thinks of their work.
Being in a band means having to communicate very well, and that includes hearing things from band mates whether you approve or not. Particularly while writing “The Forms in Which They Appear” album there was plenty of passionate exchanges. Every song was a refining process and if everyone wasn’t digging a certain part whether it was a riff, a lyric, etc., it was either going to get broken down and rebuilt or thrown away. According to Andrew they had never been able to settle on a second guitar player for years. They had ads up for almost the entirety of the band’s existence looking for an additional guitarist. Rich might be the easiest singer to work with in the history of contemporary music Andrew added. He has great range and accurate pitch, but he’s also really smart and easygoing and he loves to collaborate on vocals. He was literally a dream come true for the band. Kurt calls him “the best singer in the world” all the time and Rich has still not turned into a jerk! Gregg jammed with the band once while when they were holding auditions, but he wasn’t really a serious candidate so it was a more casual meeting. He was still in recording school at that time and he had another band but since he had done an audio engineering internship at Architekt Music, Kurt knew him well and they kept in touch. When Gregg finished school and his band broke up, the band brought Gregg in to play with them. They rehearsed with him for a few months; had him play a show before he was offered the spot. He was a great breath of fresh air for our band. He further added:
“Being in a great band means a lot to us. We want One Hundred Thousand to be greater than the sum of its parts and we hold each another to high standards.”
Everyone has input in every aspect of the process. If Rich doesn’t like the bass line, Andrew will probably change it. If Kurt thinks Alex’s solo is boring, Alex is going to change it. If Alex doesn’t like Rich’s vocal melodies and the lyrics, they are changed. Andrew said that is how it works, they don’t do this because it’s ‘the rules,’ they do it because everyone’s opinion is valid. If they have to, they’ll discuss it as a group and vote on it, but most of the time it doesn’t come to that. It has gotten contentious in the past, but the amazing thing is how rarely that happens nowadays. Everyone seriously respects each other and communicates well. It makes for good relationships within the band and a strong product when they perform live. When asked about their favorite venue for gigs, Andrew mentioned Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ. It’s a legendary venue that’s been the band’s main North Jersey spot since they reopened a couple years ago. Their favorite venue in New York City is The Studio at Webster Hall, which is now closed for renovations, and they had many good nights at Arlene’s Grocery on the Lower East Side.
When asked about their future plans Andrew said like any independent artist, they want to make a living off of their music. Beyond that, he believes that the band should be performing in theaters eventually. Arenas or stadiums would be great, too, as theaters seem like a realistic goal. He explained the reason behind the dream to perform in theater claiming how all the great bands like the Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater actually performed in the theaters in the States and that alone is hell of a career.
In response to what makes a successful band and successful music he stated the following:
“I think you need to value your audience. Musicians complain all the time about what’s wrong with people “nowadays” that they don’t come to ¬¬shows because as an artist, you need to think about what you’re asking people to do when you put on a performance. You’re suggesting your audience take a night away from Netflix or Xbox or whatever they do at home to pay money to see you. That’s a lot of responsibility, and it should be treated as such. They might have to pay for parking, pay for dinner, pay for drinks—maybe they’re even leaving work early to get to your performance. So if you’re not ready to give them a positive experience—or if you’re expecting them to watch other artists who don’t give a shit or don’t have a fucking clue—you’re STEALING from your audience. You’re stealing their time and their money.”
Andrew further added that “Local” artists rarely think about it like that. They feel entitled to the support of their ‘scene’ just because they put some time into learning how to play and some money on gear and into burning their demo to CD-R. They complain about it constantly. How about some personal reflection instead of a sob story? He told TR that he feels strongly about consistency and serving the fans we have. One big part of it for the band, is not asking too much of their fans. He said they don’t push them to come to shows in the same town every weekend—they play in the area once every six weeks or so, sometimes less often—and try to only play with artists whom they respect.
We’ve done a lot of work, but we can do more. We can always do more.
Adding a last few lines he said:
“The next year is going to be an important one for One Hundred Thousand, and we’re looking forward to it. We’re planning on releasing a single this September and we’re getting ready to record our next album, which we plan to release next year in a unique way.
We hope people come to see us when we play their town. We hope people tell us where they are, so we can come play their town! And we recommend you follow us on Facebook
Thanks to Brian Murphy, Gerg Anidem, Joe Bennett and anyone who’s been following One Hundred Thousand or begins following us after reading this!”
Please tune into the Gerg Show on www.IndieSceneRadio.com and have fun in the live chat with great artists on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 PM to 9 PM EST.
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