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October Project Xpress Interview

Date: Sat, 04 Jun 1994 09:59:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: October Project Xpress Interview
To: Love-hounds@uunet.UU.NET
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7BIT

 This is a great interview that October Project gave to Kim Alexander from
WXPN that appears in latest issue of the Xpress, the Members' Newsletter
that goes out bimonthly to members of the station. Before anyone worries
about copyright, I have gotten permission from 'XPN to transcribe it for
distribution on the Internet. It really answers some of the questions people
have had about this band and how they came about. Kim Alexander got a lot of
info from them for such a short interview.

The unique sound of October Project
 By Kim Alexander
  Midday host Kim Alexander caught up with David Sabatino and Mary Fahl of
  October Project recently and asked them questions about the band's
  formation, their style and the making of their debut album.

KIM: I have a hunch you've all had some classical training.
DAVE: There's some classical training in the backgrounds of some of the
players in the band. But it's really not a factor in the music as much as
some people think it is. I think most of our influences come from our likes
for pop music, mine being the Beatles. Marina loves Joan Baez...
MARY: I think the only think anybody brings from their classical training is
a certain discipline in the way that we rehearse. We try to avoid any kind
of musical cliches when we're arranging and putting the music together. I've
never had classical training at all.
KIM: October Project is such a unique sounding band. Is this the kind of
band you envisioned yourself in?
DAVE: We're often asked why it sounds the way it does... it's because we've
taken all these different people with really different musical backgrounds
and different likes in pop music, and put them together and it ended up
sounding like October Project. I couldn't have imagine being in a band with
people of totally different backgrounds and having it work. It's kind of a
magical thing that we got together in the first place.
MARY: The way that we got together wasn't through some kind of ad. Most
bands get together because they share common musical interests, but I think
one of the reasons that we sound unique is that none of us share any musical
interests at all. I probably wouldn't have typically been in a band with
Dave, who's extremely rock 'n roll, and grew up listening to Carlos Santana.
I listen to a lot of world music and more traditional singers like Sarah
Vaughan and Nina Simone.
KIM: You were signed to Epic Records partly due to your big following in the
New York City area. I understand that Club Sin-e was your home base.
MARY: Yeah, we had played around New York for about two years at places like
CBGB, the Lone Star, every place you can possibly imagine.
DAVE: Every place, places we had no business being in!
KIM: It's hard to imagine you at CBGB, to tell you the truth...
MARY: Yeah, well, that was very interesting. They used to sandwich us in
between heavy metal bands, so there would be all these metalheads out there
with tattoos and beer bottles in their hands. And we'd go on and they'd be
kind of raucous at first and...I guess it was music it sooth the savage
beast. Actually, we had a bit of a metal following. I think we're more
accessible to that kind of listener than we are to a really heavy-duty
alternative listener, 'cause you know metalheads like big pop ballads! After
about two years, we luckily found a home at Club Sim-e. It's a tiny, little
coffeehouse run by this guy named Shane, who's from Dublin, and he made it a
really accessible place for us. We played there almost every single week and
the industry did start to take notice. And since than I think several other
acts have gotten signed out of there, which is very exciting.
KIM: Who else?
MARY: I think Jeff Buckley (folk singer Tim Buckley's son) got signed out of
KIM: So, you get signed and you go to Nashville, of all places, to make your
record. Why did you choose Nashville?
MARY: Our Producer, Glenn Rosenstein, is centered in Nashville and he
thought - and Epic thought as well - that it would be good for us, being our
first album, to get away from our natural surroundings. Glenn is very
well-connected down there, so we were able to make an album that, to put it
bluntly, probably sounds a lot more expensive. We couldn't have afforded to
make that kind of an album in New York, and Nashville is so accessible
musically. It's a wonderful place to make an album because the whole city is
dedicated to doing just that, to make it easy for you in a lot of different
ways. And it was a great experience.
KIM: Let's talk about Julie Flanders' unique position in your band. She
writes the lyrics but she's not actually a performing part of the band. 
MARY: That's correct. We've gotten compared to Enya, and to Renaissance,
although I don't know if that's a really accurate comparison, but both of
those acts also had outside lyricists who did not perform.
DAVE: Other examples are The Grateful Dead, Elton John...
MARY: King Crimson...
DAVE: Everyone comes in with their strength. Julie writes and that's what
she does best.
KIM: Does she tour with you?
DAVE: Very rarely. She'll go out on some promotional tours with us, but
generally the day-to-day grind of going across the country is...
MARY: She is fortunately spared that!
KIM: So when you're off traveling and performing, is she home writing some
MARY: Hopefully!
DAVE: We have another album coming up. Julie is also pursuing an acting
career. So she has her own performing outlet.
KIM: So many people have compared you to Renaissance...what is your reaction
to that?
MARY: I don't think it's an accurate comparison. It's funny, because Annie
Haslam has heard our album and we heard through the grapevine that she likes
it, but she doesn't think we sound anything like them either! I don't really
think she sounds anything like me, and we have a lot more harmonies. Our
songs are radically different...they have that really strong classical bent
where they go off into long sections of sort of pseudo-classical music. We
never do that. I think there's a sort of breadth to their sound, where I
don't think they are afraid of sounding big and a little bit grand. But
other than that, I think we are more of an ensemble than I sense Renaissance
DAVE: And when we perform live, our sound is edgier, and Mary gets to do her
Grace Slick kind of thing.
MARY: The writers and the critics who make those comparisons, after they
hear us live, they say, "You know what? I was wrong." I think there's more
grit to what we do, a lot more energy. It's much more grounded than the
album is. That's where the comparisons tend to fall away.
KIM: And you feed off the energy of the audience...
DAVE: That's the key thing. We talk about the driving around and the grind
of touring, but those two hours before, during and shortly after the
performance - if the audience is there - it makes it worth it.
  Well, that's the whole interview. Like I said it's rather short, but
really gives you an idea of what the band is like. Hope it didn't take up to
much screen time, I never know whether I should post something like this
although it seemed that when I asked around I got a positive response.

 | Wayne A. Palmer *Ye Olde Florence Train Station* |
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