Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Ripple Conversation With Brock Schupp Of Stereo Frontier

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

The most cliche artist to speak about is Jimi Hendrix but the freedom and spirit can be heard in his live and studio recordings. I was in high school and my ears were still searching for something. I was very interested in the blues and Jimi played with such feeling and absolute intention. It stunned me that a person no longer walking the earth could captive my ears and mind. After that I want nothing more than to enjoy the process of making music to leave something of myself behind when I die.

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?

The song writing for the album was primarily directed by Brian and Patrick. Each of them would write full songs as a polished demo and present them to the band, if it sounded good we developed the transitions better to enhance the flow of the arrangements. We wanted to be satisfied with the finished product so the process of writing and recording took 2 years. We concentrated on flow towards the end of the project which allowed us to sculpt something we were proud of. We recorded, produced, and mixed the music completely on our own using a Macbook Pro, 2 Saffire pro 40’s, and Logic X. The mastering was done by Justin Perkins Mystery Mastering Room in Milwaukee, WI.

Who has influenced you the most?

For each member it's different as we all like our own niche music. For Brock it's STS9 and Brian it’s Jack White. Patrick is very much influenced by Trey from Phish.

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

I listen the music that gave me the drive to want to play and record music. Listening to Led Zeppelin always gets me thinking how they recorded to tape and didn’t use any computers. That simple mindset helps me focus without trying to turn every parameter on the computer and perfect my playing as a musician. The jazz records of the 50’s and 60’s also speak gives me ideas all the time by learning new chord progressions that don’t exist on a Rock album.

We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?

Milwaukee, Wisconsin is home the world’s largest music festival that lasts 2 weeks. The highlight came for us two years ago when we were able to play on a side stage. The music scene is very much alive as there are many other great venues to play in Milwaukee. From ballrooms, concert halls, bars, and basements there is much to see and listen to. We strive to play at some of the bigger venues that we see many of our favorite bands come in town to play. We rent out a practice space in an old industrial building where we practice Tuesday and Thursdays after working our day jobs. Shows are usually on Friday and Saturday events so it allows us a healthy balanced between work, music, and home life.

Where'd the band name come from?

Brian created the name Stereo Frontier.  Most of us are blessed to hear the world in stereo and the frontier is the adventure that takes you past boundaries. Music has no rules so we don’t follow any.

You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

A Jason Bourne soundtrack would be really fun to play too. The chase scenes would be the best arrangements on the soundtrack. I feel we already have some great tracks that could be used for those type of scenes.

You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?).  You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

The song would be I’ve Got A Feeling by The Beatles. In my opinion that song captures everything the band was from the early years until the end. The raw live feeling is label as the song name. The song speaks for itself but the way Paul sings the loose blues gets me everytime thinking wow that is true expression of music. He choose to sing it with an  edgy raspy mad man voice. That musical decision helps it peak above all the noise of the music of today.

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

Brian fell backwards on the drum set while playing a show, right on the ride cymbal with the floor tom and kick drum keeping him and the kit from falling to the ground. He says he lost himself in the music, that it was the art took his mind out of his body. He was wearing a suit which made it even more rock n roll.

Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?

We are a live band, we feed off the crowd and we change our setlist to fit the vibe of the venue. Big, small, we play them all. We have a great group of friends that have followed us around Wisconsin the last 5 years.

What makes a great song?

If a song changes your current mood it is a good song. There is no formula, it's all a feeling. 

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

The first song ever wrote was called Why Me, it was given to a girl name Kirsten in 5th grade. It was just words on a piece of paper that were written to go with a 50’s doo wop chord progression. It was never played live and I don’t even have the words since I gave her the very copy I wrote.

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

The song on the album called Kings was recorded in a way that allowed Brock to concentrate on playing a very aggressive style for short periods. We glued them together to become to whole piece of the song but recording this way allowed a the perfect results instead of tracking the complete song all in one take like the rest of the songs on the album.

Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?

Jack White writes great songs. He thinks simple and it always works. No gadgets or arpeggiators needed.

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

Format of choice would be Vinyl, but that is for the time we you are sitting down at home. When you are on the go it is definately digital all the way 24 bit WAV files if possible. Other wise streaming on Spotify is the easiest way to listen to your music anywhere.

Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice

Beer, we are from Wisconsin.

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home own, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

The Exclusive Company keeps us happy mostly to buy vinyls and used CD’s.

What's next for the band?

We look forward to releasing this music to widen our audience. We are extremely excited for the local shows coming in the next few month to close out 2016. In 2017 we will look to start working on our 3rd album which will be the most mature sound yet after learning everything we did recording the last 2 albums.

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

If you play an instrument keep playing, if you want to learn on, do it and stop putting it off. Time is too short to just day dreaming about making your own music. Stop talking about it and press record when you have material ready.

Since forming in 2011 in Milwaukee,WI the rock band Stereo Frontier has been on a path of musical exploration. Their style can best be described as a union of psychedelic rock, jazz, funk, prog, and the blues. They began playing together in a basement studio near the Milwaukee's Lower East Side and have been evolving ever since. Featuring an expansive percussion section, dueling guitars, groovy keys, and a rock solid bass foundation they have not shied away from creating their own groove. Stereo Frontier members include Pat Schreiner (guitar), Brian Adam Koceja (guitar & keys), Kendall Bauer (bass & vocals), Brock Schupp (drums), and Todd Trettin (percussion). The band produced, recorded, and mixed their debut self titled album that was released in summer 2014. The follow up album “From Here on Out” was written and recorded over a 2 year span and will be released October 2016. Today the band is actively playing across their home state of Wisconsin.

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