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Monday, 16 July 2018

Dying Van Gogh Records artist, Ed Hale talks about his latest single “The Prince of New York” in candid interview

Love Music : Let’s talk a bit about your music and what is the secret behind your success ?

Haha! I think the term success might be viewed as pretty subjective by most artists, depending on where they’re at in their career, or even which genre they’re in. So I’m not sure if I’m a good candidate to share any secrets. But I can tell you what it’s been like for us. With Ed Hale and the Transcendence we did really well on Alt Rock radio and especially on College Radio. After a certain amount of time we transitioned into the Adult Contemporary radio format, because that was the direction our label was recommending. And that ended up being a HUGE move for us. Out of the blue kind of success on the Billboard charts in a brand new genre. Not sure if I can say for sure that would have happened had we stayed in the Alt Rock world… But regardless, the key to all of it in my opinion is that we just keep doing what we FEEL... we do what we want to… But at the same time, to be really honest, we also listen to our fans. Because it’s not just a selfish thing anymore. It’s ART. For sure. So you have to follow your muse and be true to yourself. But at the same time you also can gain a lot of insight from just hearing what other people are telling you. Because you can get so caught up in your thing that you just can’t hear it. You WILL hear it, eventually. But it’ll be too late. So it’s good to do have a few people that you can count on and trust to tell you like it is and be real with you about what you’re doing. 

Love Music : Can you please tell our readers more about your forthcoming album So For Real?

Well…. We went into the studio to record a quick follow up to Ballad On Third Avenue, because that album started doing well. And of course from there it all went downhill. LOL! We ended up spending a few YEARS in the studio and recording way too many songs for one album. But I take responsibility for all of it. I know I got really sidetracked in terms of wanting to cover too many bases… maybe afraid to commit to any one “new album”… Stylistically we were all over the place. So we ended up focusing on a few different albums all at the same time. But after a while we started recognizing that we really were recording 2 to 3 new albums and we became okay with it. Luckily the guys in the band were willing to go along with it and we were able to finish them all. SO FOR REAL is the first album that the label decided to release because it’s the collection of songs that sounds the most accessible. It’s more electric than Ballad On Third, but it’s still kind of acoustic… It’s more pop. More polished. Every song is just really good on that album. It’s the first time we’ve ever recorded an album where we feel like we have 4 or 5 or 6 really good candidates for singles. Like that. There’s no fat on it. Just really cool tracks one after the other. Haha. Maybe I’m biased about this album. But man we worked so hard on this one… And so far the reception has been really positive. It’s solid. 

Love Music : Any new project do you have coming up?

Haha! Right now we’re going to put the idea for “new projects” on hold for a while and just focus on releasing and marketing these three new albums. I think if we went back into the studio to work on any new projects, people would think we were crazy!  

Love Music : Please tell us more about your latest single "The Prince of New York". 

With that song there’s not a lot I can say about the process of it… because it was one of those songs that just wrote themselves. I strummed a chord, opened my mouth to sing and the whole damn song just came out. All I did was scribble the lyrics down as fast as I could write. I mean that song CAME from somewhere else… All I did was bring it in to this world. And recording it went the same way. I played it for the guys and they dug it and we practiced it once or twice and they recorded it. Bam! That was it. Like magic. It was always one of the tracks that we just knew was special from the start. Loved working on it. Can’t believe how easy it was to bring it to life. 
But I think it’s important to say this about “Prince of New York”… That track is what it is because of the contributions of all the different people who worked on it. And for that I feel really really grateful. Roger Houdaille produced it and played bass. Fernando [Perdomo] does an incredible job on the lead guitar parts. Bill Sommer captured the rhythm track just right. It just pulses the whole time and that’s all Bill and Roger. And then we also had several musicians who aren’t in “the band” but they play regularly with us…. Matthew Sabatella added a bunch of harmony vocals and that made a huge difference on that track, like he made it sound incredible! Same with Greg Byers, the cellist. He’s a monster. His string arrangements on the song add this whole other magical element to it. Same with Paul Messina. He came in and added sax and other horns to it, and again that also amped the track up to a whole new level for us.  

Love Music : Who are your musical inspirations?

At this point I pretty much listen to everything. There’re no styles that I won’t entertain… Obviously the foundation of our music is rooted in a lot of classic 60s and 70s music, when experimentation and freedom were a lot more popular. Everything from the Beatles and Stones to Zeppelin and Bowie, Lou Reed, T. Rex, Iggy Pop, Joni Mitchell…. There was this moment in the 70s when artists were really encouraged to do their thing… Whatever that was… and they were rewarded for it. Then we lost that for a while in the 80s and 90s…. 
There’s a lot of pop right now that’s dominating the Top 40 that I personally think is starting to sound really stale. And that’s not good for the industry. People are starting to complain about “the radio” the way they did back in the early 90s until Grunge came out. After that, music just EXPLODED into all these different kinds of new genres that all became popular and for the next ten to fifteen years music was awesome. We had another British invasion with the whole Manchester scene and Brit pop, bands like Coldplay and Radiohead and Muse. Phoenix and Air from France of course were incredible. Jeff Buckley… The dream brother. He left us way too soon. Rufus Wainwright I absolutely adore. The Strokes are still one of the best. Tame Impala too. The Killers still surprise. We need that now. A new explosion of new bands and artists to rip things open and get a new party started in music. It’s all starting to sound the same again. But I have a feeling it’s not going to last long. I think this new trend of indie artists is going to blow things up again. It’s just a matter of time.  

Love Music : Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to be a professional musician ?

Haha! I’m not sure I’m someone who should be giving anyone advice. My career has been an insane rollercoaster, almost a textbook lesson in what NOT to do LOL! Mainly because I’ve been so selfish as an artist, always wanting to do what I wanted to, regardless of what was popular at the time. Sometimes that’s worked out for me. And sometimes it’s really backfired. So maybe it all depends on what each artist is going for. I’ve always turned my back on what’s happening in the mainstream and tried to stay away from it. Because I don’t like jumping on bandwagons just to make a buck. I have always liked artists who carve out their own niche doing their own thing. And that’s still possible. Maybe now more than ever before. It’s that fresh voice we’re all looking for. That fresh sound. Something new and cool and exciting. And the genre or style doesn’t even matter. You just gotta keep working on YOUR thing until you really feel like you have something new and fresh.

Love Music : Have you set some goals to achieve? 

Yeah…. Of course…. Over the years those goals change as you start achieving them… Hearing yourself on the radio is a trip. Everyone should have a chance to experience that if they work hard at their thing. Playing giant shows to a ton of screaming fans is another one that you can never describe with words… that feeling when you’re up there… Like you can do no wrong… When you become one with the audience. Of course, there are a lot of others we still haven’t achieved… And that’s probably a good thing. It keeps us working hard at the game. Keeps you fighting and creating. I still feel like our best albums are to come. And I’m not sure I’d feel that now if we had achieved all of our goals. So I see it as a positive.

Love Music : If you could perform anywhere, in the world, where would it have to be?

Madison Square Garden would be nice! That giant stadium in Rome would be another. Where you can hear the band all over the city even if you aren’t at the show… I love it there. I’d also like to see us play a series of big festivals again. We haven’t done that in a while. Things have changed a lot since then. It’s been long enough for us since we’ve toured that I think all of us would be happy to just get back out there and play for people again. 

Love Music : Please share with us your proudest moments ?

I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Honestly. I look back and there are so many. We’ve had the chance to meet a lot of incredible artists that we’ve admired since we were kids…. We’ve done so much together that wouldn’t even seem like a big deal to people outside of the band… things that might seem like no big deal… I know what you’re asking…. A shout out of all our “formal acheivements” like awards or hit songs… And yeah all those things are awesome… But I notice that my mind starts thinking about different things… like when we finished the All Your Heroes Become Villains album. That was HUGE. When we finally finished it and got the first CDs in our hands and popped it in… It was just a BIG project… Took forever… The band even broke up for a few months during the process. It was such a contentious album for us. We argued amongst ourselves for months. But in the end it came out so good. Things like that. Same thing with all the albums really… Each one is an adventure, and if you all survive it and it ends up sounding good, like you wanted to, that’s an incredible feeling. Of course yeah I could say that when all those songs started climbing up the Billboard charts and suddenly everyone starts calling you… I mean, that’s something too. I’m not going to downplay it. It feels AMAZING. You work hard. You do your thing and sometimes it hits big. That feels really good. Can’t deny that. 

Love Music : Are you active on social media?

Yeah. I try to be. It’s hard to keep up obviously. But I try. Most of the time I find that staying connected with people on social media is a better way to stay in touch with what’s going on than mainstream media these days. People are on top of things now. So social media is a good way of staying informed and tuned in. And we’re good about staying connected with our fans. We appreciate each and every one of them. Sincerely. Now more than ever due to how crazy it’s become in the music business… it’s the fans that keep you going. We use both FB and Twitter to keep people informed of what’s going on. Facebook.com/edhalemusic and @ed_hale