BearlySinister: I’m sitting here with Earl, who plays electric violin in Resolution15. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Earl.
Earl: Thanks for having me!
BearlySinister: Now, one of the things that immediately caught my eye, and I’m sure catches the eyes of most people, is that your band uses violins in the place of guitars. It’s a unique approach and it’s done quite sufficiently. What was the reason for this?
Earl: I think it was really the convergence of being a metalhead since I was twelve and at the same time, getting immersed in this incredibly intense, high level classical violin training. Even then, it took me a really long time to figure out I wanted to have my cake and eat it too, as it were, and then it took me even longer to figure out metal technique within the context of my chosen instrument. In that sense, my bandmates and I evolved over the years this band has been in existence, and the songwriting reflects that.
BearlySinister: Where did you learn to play violin, originally? Was it something you were taught as a child or something that just interested you later in life and decided to pursue?
Earl: I first started studying via the Suzuki method with a woman named Nicole DiCecco. She had her better students in an ensemble that toured Europe and Asia every year, so I was fortunate enough to see many different places at a fairly young age. I also was a member of the New York Youth Symphony, which is probably the highest level youth orchestra in the country. Unfortunately, I wasn’t nearly as dedicated as some of my peers who practiced in excess of six hours a day and never left their homes except to go to music school, since as a teenager I also enjoyed hanging out with friends, getting into some trouble (nothing really serious) and going to hardcore and metal shows, so the solo career was not an option for me. I went to Queens College for my undergraduate and Mannes College/New School University for my graduate degree, and I studied with Daniel Phillips of the Orion String Quartet at both places. My lineage is the same as most classical American violinists, the majority being exponents of Ivan Galamian and Dorothy Delay, the two most important pedagogues of the 20th Century. I suppose in another life given my educational path, I would have tried to land a job with a major symphony orchestra and teach at a university eventually, but my heart was never quite into the idea.
BearlySinister: Your album, “Svaha” is pretty unpredictable, which is something I admire bands being able to do. What was the writing process like for this album?
Earl: Kenny and I are the primary songwriters, and Nick contributes lyrically to about a little more than half of the songs. The process usually starts with Kenny or I writing things out in either Finale or Logic using standard Western notation, since everyone in the band can read (although over the course of this band, I had to become really adept at reading bass clef on the extended violin, which I wasn’t so fast at before, because a standard violin uses treble clef primarily, and even though I’m trained fairly extensively on the piano as well and can identify notes rather quickly, there was a learning curve in terms of where things lay on the 7 string.) The songs are almost finished by the time it leaves the hard drive of the primary writer, with the other members simply learning the parts. Very occasionally there’s collaboration between us (Yama, for example is a product of myself, Kenny, and our ex-violinist Joel) but usually one person writes. I think it’s more of a lifestyle situation that prevents us from collaborating more often. I have a wife and kid at home, as well as a day job being a classical musician, and the other guys have similar double lives. We barely have time to learn the tunes as is, so typically “jamming” doesn’t really happen because we’re on deadlines for other things.
BearlySinister: I noticed in the press release given to me, that you worked with Ryan Kelly and Stacy O’Dell on this album, what was your experience like with them and Spin Studios and Nova Studios in general?
Earl: They’re both great! We had positive experiences in both Spin and Nova. Stacy in particular was really instrumental in helping us craft a really heavy sound on this album. We experimented with all sorts of reamping and sub signals in post that Stacy really spearheaded.
BearlySinister: One of my favorite parts of your album was your cover of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday”. There was an incredible twist put on an already great song. Tell me, what made you guys decide to cover this and put it on the album?
Earl: Well, 2013 is the 40th year anniversary of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, which Sunday Bloody Sunday was a landmark event of. Unfortunately, we feel that the meaning of the song is still relevant today, and that our remake is what we feel the updated version would sound like, more urgent, more desperate. “How long must we sing this song?” Apparently the IRA and UVF never really disarmed, and according to a friend of mine that lives in Belfast, the sectarian violence is still a very real possibility, regardless of the Good Friday accords. So U2’s original message is still one that we feel needs to be out there.
BearlySinister: Do you have any rituals you like to perform before playing or recording?
Earl: If I told you, I’d have to kill you.
BearlySinister: These days, it’s important for bands to grasp social media platforms in order to reach fans more effectively. What is the most efficient way that you use to communicate with your fans?
Earl: We do all the requisite social media stuff, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress, Reverbnation, and BandCamp, all using www.resolution15.com as our hub.
BearlySinister: On that same note, a lot of bands have taken to gaming as another resource to connect with fans. Are you a gamer? If so, what is your favorite game you like to play and do you play actively with your fans?
Earl: You’d better ask Kenny that question. I don’t play video games at all these days, the last game I got into seriously was Final Fantasy X. Kenny is the serious gamer in this band, and I do think he plays actively with his fans. I think he’s into Dead Space and Skyrim, if I remember correctly.
BearlySinister: Alright, that just about wraps it up! Thank you once again for sitting down and taking the time to do this. Anything you would like to say to our readers before you go?
Earl: Hope to see you out there on the road when we go out in the summer!