Velour's 2015 Winter BOTB: Festive People, Grey Glass | Buzz Blog

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Velour's 2015 Winter BOTB: Festive People, Grey Glass

Part Two of our interviews with the 2015 finalists.

Posted By on December 16, 2015, 9:45 AM

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Did you miss out on Part 1 of this two-part interview series? That's okay, you can click this link to see interviews with Steven Halladay Band, Spirit City and Drape. If you already have, enjoy part 2 below.

Festive People (Brennan Tolman, John Lane, Dillon Boss, and Skylar Hansen)
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Gavin: Hey everyone, first off, tell us a little bit about yourselves.

There's four of us and we've been a band for about a year and a half. Some of us are from Utah, one from Iowa, and another from Seattle. We all met in Provo and love playing music together.

Gavin: What first got each of you interested in music, and what were your favorite acts growing up?

I've been interested in music ever since I could dance. When I was a kid, Billy Joel and Ray Stevens intrigued me. In high school, when I started playing music, I was very inspired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Since then, I've been very inspired by The National, Eyes Lips Eyes and John Mayer.

Dillon: Even as a kid, I always had an ear for good music, but it wasn’t until I was about 9 that I started playing instruments. I really grew up listening to a little bit of everything…I was probably the only kid around I knew of spinning Weather Report and James Brown on my Discman! One night, my dad brought home some concert DVD’s of Peter Gabriel and Fleetwood Mac, and that’s when I decided to take music seriously.

John: Listening to my dad play the guitar as a kid is where it all began for me — memorizing watching him drift far away for minutes at a time while he played. I eventually picked it up myself, and almost immediately began writing music around age 13. Fortunately, I was indoctrinated with both my parents' (great) taste in music from a young age. My initial influences include Pink Floyd; The Moody Blues; Sting; Supertramp; Crosby, Stills and Nash; and so on. I still regard those bands as some of the all-time greats.

Brennan: There was a lot of music in my house growing up. My mom plays piano well. I started playing drums because of my two older brothers, Eric and Andrew, who also played drums. I would hear them practicing; when they finished, I would go sit down and try and mimic what they were practicing. I listened to a lot of different stuff growing up. I loved drumming along to stuff like Dave Mathews Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tower of Power.

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Gavin: How was it for each of you to break into the local music scene?

I feel blessed to have been able to play in the local music scene as much as I have. I remember watching Eyes Lips Eyes (formerly Elizabethan Report) dating back to 2007 and being mesmerized by their performances. It became a dream of mine to play at some of the same venues they did, and I'm grateful I've had those opportunities.

Dillon: I was playing gigs and watching local bands so much as a teenager that it actually felt really natural to take things to the next level with Festive People. It also helps to play with such talented guys like John, Skylar and Brennan. We make a great team, and we have a lot of fun.

John: I worked hard, as an individual artist, breaking into the Provo music scene the year previous to the formation of Festive People. I found Velour, the premiere local music venue, to be very intimidating at first, knowing of its rich pedigree. But once I got the chance to play an open mic night, the ball started rolling. Corey was kind enough to invite me to play on a Wednesday night with other acoustic acts (Stuart Wheeler was among them, actually) and it all began. The Provo music scene is highly competitive, this town is full of talent, but somehow it manages to maintain a healthy nature to it and I couldn't be more grateful for that.

Brennan: It doesn't really feel like I've broken into the music scene. It feels like I've been warmly welcomed. Really though, everyone I've met has been so nice and supportive. The talent in this community is amazing.

Gavin: How did the four of you come together to form Festive People?

John and I met in a music business class at BYU. Towards the end of the semester we decided it'd be fun to write some music together. I knew Brennan and asked if he wanted to jam with us, we added some other members, wrote some songs, and became Festive People. Later, when we were in need of a new bassist, Brennan reached out to his high school buddy Dillon, and that's where we are today.

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Gavin: What was the driving influence to make the kind of alt-indie music you do?

We all like high energy music with catchy melodies. We try to write music that supports the melody and doesn't complicate things.

Gavin: How has it been for you making your way around Utah the past couple years and building a following?

It's been great! We love playing music and we love the music scene in Provo. The people who follow us are so supportive and we feel very blessed to have so many opportunities to play.

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Gavin: This past summer you released your self-titled EP. What was it like working on that album?

It was a good learning experience for us. We had a lot of fun and learned a lot about what works and what doesn't when it comes to recording.

Gavin: What did you think of the reaction when it came out, and how has it been promoting that album the past few months?

We were very pleased with the initial reactions. Being a new band we had very limited resources and we feel that we put out the very best product we could at the time. Promoting the EP hasn't felt like much work, because people in Provo are so supportive of local music and are willing to purchase our EP when we play shows.

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Gavin: Any plans in the works for a new EP or full-length yet?

Yes, we are going to start recording our next EP this January at June Audio with Scott Wiley.

Gavin: How has it been for you being a part of this season's BOTB at Velour?

It's been very fun and very humbling. The amount of musical talent in Provo never ceases to amaze us, and we felt very honored to participate. Velour is an amazing venue, and Corey and his staff have done so much for the music community, we are grateful they let us play.

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Gavin: What bands have you enjoyed seeing the most during this competition?

That's hard to say. We had at least one member of our band in attendance every night of the week and loved them all. Battle of the bands is hard because there is such a wide variety of music. It's like comparing apples to oranges.

Grey Glass (Tal Haslam, Adam Hastings, Scott Knutson and Eli Pratt)
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Grey Glass on Facebook

Gavin: Hey everyone, first off, tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Howdy I'm Scott, the drummer. I'm from Bellingham, Washington, and I really, really love Quizno's. And I study economics, business management and Latin American studies at BYU.

Adam: Hey I’m Adam. I study electrical engineering by day and play in a rock band by night,

Eli: Hey I’m Elias Stephen Pratt. I am 23 years old, 5'11, and of Caucasian descent. I have brown hair and blue eyes, and weigh 140 lbs. I'm from Bellingham, Washington, and I study philosophy at Brigham Young University.

Tal: Hi I’m Tal, I am a musician majoring in Advertising at BYU and I like to party at parties where there is Diet Coke and stuff.

Gavin: What first got each of you interested in music and what were your major influences?

I was a late bloomer. I didn't get too much into music until in middle school. A friend of mine burned me this CD that had like 7 alt-rock songs on it. Like, some Weezer and Goldfinger, that's it. I would listen to those songs over and over again while I mowed the lawn every weekend, and I've been hooked rock and roll ever since.

Eli: I took piano lessons as a kid and became fascinated with chord progressions. I picked up the bass because I had friends who already played the guitar. I joined my middle school jazz band and played in various bands with my friends throughout high school. Some of the bands that influenced me as a kid are no longer cool, so I won't mention them. But others have maintained their coolness—like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, The Shins and Death Cab For Cutie. I was also influenced by a lot of other bands whose cool-status is pending, so I also won't mention those.

Tal: I think any of the good music I have ever listened to can be traced back to my dad. He helped me develop good taste, and had me listening to Neil Young as far back as I can remember. Not every kid gets to have conversations with their Pops about Black Sabbath, but I did. Anyone who listens to Abbey Road all the way through at 6 years old can’t help but grow up to be a musician, I think.

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Gavin: How was it for each of you to break into the local music scene?

It was pretty easy for me to break into the local music scene. I just waited around while Grey Glass became cool and subsequently lost their original bassist to the peanut butter industry. That's when I stepped in to enjoy instant stardom.

Scott: My experience within the Provo music scene has always been attached to Grey Glass. All-in-all I've had a positive experience here. Like, I've been blown away by so many other bands that we have played with. This town is exploding with talent. But, because of that, sometimes it feels impossible to get your voice (or drums) heard. You kind of have to build street-cred, in a way.

Adam: I think this recent Battle of the Bands has been a critical step for us breaking into the scene. We had fans at our last show who I don’t think any of us know personally, and that’s a big step. Hahaha.

Tal: My very first experience was in 2010 playing an open mic at Velour. The place seriously inspired me, and ever since I have been trying to be part of a band.

Gavin: When did the four of you get together to form Grey Glass?

I joined the band about three months ago, but I feel like I've been with these guys since birth.

Scott: Oh boy. Short answer or long answer? So there's actually been a lot of "employee turnover" within Grey Glass, so to speak. Tal and I are the only original members left, from a little over a year ago. We picked up Adam like 10 months ago? And Eli joined the happy throng about three months ago. Our current lineup is the most solid and cohesive it's ever been, in my opinion. I love these guys to death, and it's super easy to make music with them.

Adam: We’ve been playing together as a four-piece for a few months now. The band has existed in one form or another for over a year now, but we have a really solid lineup right now, and I definitely think we’re ready to move forward with it.

Tal: Forming this band has been one of the most difficult experiences I have ever had, but also one of the most rewarding. Making music with people is a really vulnerable experience, both professionally and personally. These three guys are really special to me because I feel like they have stood by me when others chose not to. I love the past members of the band, but I think we have finally found a chemistry that is killer right now, and we are more than excited for the future.

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Gavin: What was the big influence behind the alternative music you've created?

My biggest influence is chicks. I think Tal's biggest influence is Diet Coke. I think Scott wants to change the world. And I think Adam just enjoys playing with electronic equipment.

Adam: It fits with the whole electrical engineering thing

Tal: Amen to the Diet Coke thing. There’s just this moment where you are so moved by a song that you want to get closer and closer to it so you end up learning all there is to know about it and next thing you know you are creating a song that moves someone else. Wow I’m getting deep and I need a coke.

Scott: Wow. I am really curious to read what the rest of the band has to say, haha.

Adam: Haha. We each draw from an enormous amount of influences, including music, art, culture etc. so it’s hard to narrow it down into a neat category. I would say that an influence we all share is an appreciation for the effect music can have on a person. Amen.

Gavin: How has it been for you as a group to come together and write this music having various backgrounds of music?

Given our various musical backgrounds, there was a several month process of intense quarreling before we were able to write anything cohesive.

Scott: It’s been a blasty blast, man! We have similar tastes in many regards, but I think it’s our differences that hone our music into one cohesive Grey Glass “sound.” Here’s my personal interpretation of each of my bandmates' musical tastes: Tal is the classic-rock and anything-modern-and-shredly expert. Eli is the math rock and progressive rock expert. Adam is... basically the expert of everything. Like, there isn’t a song or sound he hasn’t heard. And learned the chord progression to. As for myself, I would love to hear what they have to say about me. My point is that I feel that Grey Glass is the sum of our differences.

Adam: Yes. The intersection of our various backgrounds is a very exciting place and I’m looking forward to see where it leads.

Scott: Not one of us can claim to be all of Grey Glass. If one of us was a declared “leader,” our music would not be at all  what it is today. We each take an active role in Grey Glass’s creative direction. That being said, I think Tal has brought the most to the table when it comes to songwriting and composition. By far. That kid breathes music, man. And we rely on him greatly. His openness to new ideas and “edits” to what he has written/composed is something we all appreciate.

Tal: It’s hasn’t been easy in the past, but it feels really natural right now. I have a ton of respect for Eli, Scott, and Adam as musicians and humans, and we are a pretty stoked team of Grey Glassers.

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Gavin: You've been together about a year and a half. What has  your experience been like building an audience?

If you're in a band with someone who looks and sounds like Talmadge Haslam, you won't have any trouble building an audience.

Scott: Honestly I still feel like we’re still in “building street cred” phase of audience building, so we’re getting there. We play shows and invite the people we know, obviously, then hope that new ears will also be in attendance.
It’s been extremely rewarding when a stranger comes up to you after a show or messages you online and says how much they loved your music. Or seeing our Facebook page being “liked” a bunch of times after a show by total strangers. It’s a slow process, but the more we perform, the more we see the fan-base grow. To me, it really IS about the music. I feel like our music speaks for itself and people want to be a part of it in one way or another.

Tal: Music is all about connecting people, and we have had a ton of fun connecting with others through our music. I think people can see we’re pretty genuine dudes who love making music, and we hope to make more connections!

Gavin: Are you looking to branch out of Utah and tour anytime soon?

Yes, we've discussed going to Vegas. We've also discussed touring the West Coast, from Tal's and Adam's homes in California up to Scott's and my hometown in northwest Washington. Basically we just want to play for and impress our families.

Adam: YES of course. Make us famous so we can play shows outside of the SLC/Provo areas

Tal: Yeah, we’re pumped to go play other places, but we also don’t plan on forgetting anytime soon that Provo/Velour is the best music city in the world. I don’t care what Willie Nelson told ya, dawg.

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Gavin: Are there any plans to record an EP or a full-length album down the road?

Definitely. I'm hoping the band will comply with my aspirations to release a grandiose three-part prog rock concept album. Though I haven't chosen the concept yet, so if anyone has any cool ideas, please let me know.

Adam: So we actually already have an EP recorded that is available on iTunes and Spotify. Go give it a listen. And we just won (very limited) recording time from a recent competition, so hopefully we’ll be back in the studio soon. We’ve been doing a lot of writing recently and are really happy with how it’s turned out—hopefully we can get some of our new songs released soon.

Scott: We have more than enough original songs to record a full-length album. However, that is an extremely costly process, so we’ll see what we can do.

Gavin: How has it been for you being a part of this season's BOTB at Velour?

It was a great experience. It felt like the first chapter to a very lengthy, epic book that will become a bestseller—like the Bible. That doesn't sound pretentious, does it?

Adam: I think the stress took some years off of my life. But honestly, it was a great experience for us and hopefully for our fans as well. We didn’t win, but I’m thinking of it as a blessing in disguise. Coming in second has really motivated me to do even better and be more creative. Also, the event itself was really fun. There were a lot of really great acts this year.

Scott: To the concerned reader, yes, Battle of the Bands did indeed take place right before finals at BYU. So coordinating study time and rehearsal was a nightmare. But somehow we ended up writing two of the songs we performed at the battle only a few days prior. I do not understand our writing process.

Tal: We’ve loved it. We’re way grateful to have this opportunity and the folks at Velour have been amazing. It’s been stressful but I have loved the adventure.

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Gavin: What bands have you enjoyed seeing the most during this competition?

They were all a lot of fun to watch, but Bomb in a Bell, Cinders, Drink Up Gerald, Riveter's Son, Drape, The Steven Halliday Band, and Festive People were especially memorable.

Adam: My top picks are Drape, Festive People and Steven Halliday Band.

Scott: I loved Drape, Bomb in a Bell, the Steven Halliday band, Drink Up Gerald, Misspelt, and Cinders. Seriously talented bunch of groups, let me tell you. So diverse, too! I never knew what to expect next.

Tal: There was a ton of talent, but Drape stuck out for me. Really fresh, but still accessible. Female vocals get me every. time.

Gavin: What can we expect all of you in 2016?

Whatever you expect to happen will happen. That is the power of Grey Glass.

Adam: Hopefully a world tour. But I’d settle for a recording deal. Have you seen Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure?

Scott: More music and more shows! Stay tuned.

Tal: Kanye 2020, baby!

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