Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Sunday Conversation With Blane Fonda

Bringing on a cool, post-eighties, exquisite pop vibe, Blane Fonda were a treat from out of nowhere for us here at the Ripple.  Needless to say, we didn't hesitate to have the boys come join us on the Ripple red leather interview couch and chat a spell.

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

For me, listening to Pink Floyd - specifically The Wall and Animals, were epiphany moment that happened when I was about 14 years old. I had always liked music and grew up in a family with good tastes, but from the first listens, these albums changed everything. Since then, I've had similar experiences listening to Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Broken Social Scene, and a few others.

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

Usually someone will come to the group with an idea -- sometimes it's a chord progression, sometimes a vocal hook -- and the band will write and arrange as a group. We do a lot of scratch recordings so we can work on parts at home.

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

Inspiration for music can be found anywhere if you are in a creative mindset. We have a new song about a pharmacy, so there you go.

Genre's are so misleading and such a way to pigeonhole bands. Without resorting to labels, how would you describe your music?

Blane Fonda tends toward high-energy, often danceable rock. There are influences from punk and new wave that probably come through.

What is you musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your audience to feel?

We're playing music that we want to hear, and that we hope others want to hear as well. Listening to music is always a very personal experience, so we can't know what's going to get through to someone or change the way they think about what the song is about. If we can make people feel something, we're happy with that.

In songwriting, how do you bring the song together? What do you look for in terms of complexity? Simplicity? Time changes?

Again it's a group process, sometimes it happens in a night, other songs can take months to come together. As for complexity, Blane likes to have some tunes that are simple pop songs, and others that take surprising turns in structure or feel. Our singer used to front a prog rock band, so there is an element of that in the band, somewhere.

The business of music is a brutal place. Changes in technology have made it easier than ever for bands to get their music out, but harder than ever to make a living? What are your plans to move the band forward? How do you stay motivated in this brutal business?

Right now our plan is just to get our music out there. Blane is picking up more and better Midwest regional shows, and we're doing as much publicity and grassroots promo as we can wherever we go. Like a lot of things, motivation is easier to maintain when you stay focused on the next step. We'll worry about making a living when it's an issue we need to worry about.

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

Someone sent us an email through our website from the name Artie Fufkin, saying they wanted to sign Blane to Polymer Records...

What makes a great song?

The use of the word "haberdashery"

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

It was based on one guitar riff that was pretty much directly lifted "Tom Sawyer" by Rush. Luckily, most of the fellow 12 year olds we performed it for didn't seem to notice or take offense.

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

There's a song called "Salacious Love" on Blane Fonda's EP Master of Stars and Broken Arms; I think it showcases the sound of the band, and it's just a really fun song that's very easy to like.

Who today, writes great songs? Why?

The list of great songwriters is too long to list here. How about one chosen at random? Andrew Bird writes great songs in my opinion. Beyond the witty lyrics, the melodies are very smart. I can listen to them a thousand times and they don't ever seem to get old.

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

Listening to vinyl is ideal, though my record collection could use improvement. I still buy CD's.

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. When we come to your town, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

Reckless Records

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

Thanks for supporting music!

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