Sunday, February 2, 2014

EXCLUSIVE! The Ceremonies INTV!

At first glance at the band of brothers that make-up The Ceremonies, they look like a group of English lads that just stepped off the Burberry runway. However, for the Cook brothers, appearances can be deceiving, as this fraternity from Los Angeles are making music that will hit you right in the heart. After the release of one EP, the band have gained attention from Scottish icons Glasvegas to open their first U.S. tour in three years. We spoke to The Ceremonies about their music, working on their full length debut, and what the rest of the year has in story for them. Take a look at our interview below:

At first look, the band looks as if they could be British, yet, you are from L.A. Does British music play a big role in your influences?

We are definitely influenced by a lot of music that came out of England in the 80s--bands like The Smiths, The Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen, Joy Division-- but we also love American artists such as Talking Heads, Beach Boys, The Doors, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, Tim and Jeff Buckley, and even Michael Jackson.  Each of them have surely shaped our taste, and therefore affect our sound; however, our influences are continually expanding as we discover more music and art.  We believe that being “influenced,” by another artist doesn’t mean creating a “derivative” work--it should be about creating something original and new.

You released your EP last year, is a full length in the works?

We released our EP only a few months ago, so it’s weird to think that now it’s technically “last year”...but yes, we’ve been working to complete our LP in the studio with our producer Danny Garibay and look forward to releasing more songs in the near future.

After forming the band while some of you were in high school, years later, you are now working and signed to a major label. How has this experience been?

It’s a bit surreal because we’d been working in the studio since high school, driving by the landmark Capitol building in Hollywood almost daily. It served as this symbol or reminder of our goal to be signed—one that seemed so close and yet so far. To have accomplished that goal is incredibly gratifying and humbling, and we now more than ever feel an innate, rumbling desire to create as much art as possible and share it with everyone who is willing to listen.

How would you describe your sound and style to someone that has not heard of you before?

Given the wide history of music and today’s melting pot of genres, we’d categorize our sound and as a sort of harmony driven, melodic pop meeting unconventionality and a sort of psychedelic or art rock breed of new wave and rock n ’roll.

How did you land on the name, The Ceremonies?

We wanted a name that represented our collective mindset and central artistic notion. “Ceremonies” are communal gatherings where people come together to embody the experiences comprising the entire spectrum of emotion--from the sadness of a funeral to the happiness of a wedding. They are all encompassing acts, where we encourage listeners to engage with an artistic, genuine and holistic mindset. Our name is a symbol for inspiring a life of endless perspective, and an appreciation for the cyclical nature of creation.

The band is a family affair with all of you being brothers, is there sibling rivalry in the band?

Not much rivalry other than the occasional guerrilla warfare when we play Nintendo 64. But seriously, we really push ourselves and encourage each other to be better as fellow artists operating under a collective. Our parents instilled in us the importance of family, and we try to make certain nothing comes between us.

You hit the road this past fall with the reunited Fratellis, what was that experience like?

The tour was an emotionally gratifying and humbling experience, because it was our first time performing at larger classic rock venues with an audience that was tremendously receptive to our music and art. Also the Fratellis were exceptionally kind and supportive. One night in DC our bassist broke a string, and without hesitation, Baz, the bassist of the Fratellis, came to the rescue with his bass for our use. We’re so grateful to have gotten to know those amazing guys and still keep in touch.

Being in a band with your brothers, do you ever look at the implosion of famous fraternal bands like The Black Crowes, Oasis, Beach Boys, and think that that could be you?

Of course it could, but we’d rather concentrate on making the best work that we can in the time that we have. We find that ultimately, the creations are much more important than the faces of the creators behind them.  

Hailing from L.A. how does the city play an influence in your music?

We have a pretty hardened and unaffected mindset when it comes to the notion of “Hollywood glamour” or the LA lifestyle. Growing up here has allowed us to see through charade and has placed us closer to the heart of the entertainment industry. Given that we’re smack in the belly of the beast, the city does encourage us to work hard and hustle.

What has been the best thing about being in The Ceremonies?

The fact that we don’t limit our medium. Our music is only a piece of a larger puzzle. In The Ceremonies we work both as musicians and artists of multiple mediums. We try not to be limited by the notion of being a “band.” For example, each of us wore many hats in the music video for Land of Gathering. Matthew directed and edited it, Mark and Michael animated scenes and painted the backdrops, and all three of us were largely involved in the production design. We also just self-published a small book of our poems and illustrations, along with the lyrics to the new EP.

What do you want people to take away from The Ceremonies when they listen to you?

We encourage nourishing the imagination by means of creating and digesting art, living with open perspective, and being a genuine human being.

Where do The Ceremonies go from here?

We continue shifting perspectives; from here we go to there, where there becomes here.