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Interview wwith Elsewhere
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
JAY: Genetics. Everyone on my mom’s side of the family is musically inclined; they all play and sing various instruments. I was surrounded by it. I’ve got so many other hobbies, so maybe racing motorcycles?
MICHAEL: I had family influences as well, and I do think my affiliation for music is somewhat DNA driven too. I can remember as a very young boy in the early 80s being exposed to bands like the Police and Rush and the New Wave movement of that time period also had a profound effect on me. If I wasn’t in a rock band, I could definitely see myself being a starving actor and trying to resuscitate something like the Sci-Fi series SPACE 1999 as the new Commander Keonig. Can you please help me realize this fantasy?
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
JAY: Learn or improve something else. Past couple weeks I’ve been trying to level up some math skills.
MICHAEL: I’m an investment professional with several years of experience analyzing various bond markets. When I have time, I like to try to test my abilities as a modern day financial soothe-sayer. And there’s also part of me that just likes to binge watch either the next best streaming show or a neglected/underappreciated movie from the past.
How long has your band been around? Also, please tell me about the dynamic of the band of what brought you all together.
MICHAEL: The band has technically been around since the 90s and was formed out of high school with 2 close friends of mine. We had gigged across New England and New York and were getting label interest following our appearance in the CMJ Music Marathon at the end of that decade. Over time, the personnel has changed in that I’m the only “original” member left but through the years I feel confident in our sonic output and our overall visibility has improved incrementally with streaming, press, and more meaningful shows. Following the departure of our long-time and founding drummer in 2015, Adam joined the group for good about a year and a half and 6 drummers (I’m not kidding) later. Both Adam and Jay have been instrumental members to this new construct and I feel have really taken the technical and creative prowess of the rhythm section to new levels
JAY: I’ve only been with Elsewhere for a year or so. I joined them when Elsewhere and another band I was in were playing a show together. Their bass player got COVID a few days before the show so I attempted to learn their songs to see if I could do an emergency fill in. Didn’t work out, though. We weren’t able to schedule a rehearsal before the show. Later on, Elsewhere was looking for a new bass player so they tried me out.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
JAY: “Boston” based. Though I didn’t grow up there. But everyone in Massachusetts always just claims Boston. Growing up, there were a lot of places to see shows so that had an influence. It was also easy to find lots of good musicians around to play with. Being able to put myself into situations where I would playing with musicians who were way better than I was is a great way to learn.
MICHAEL: We’re a Boston band and Jay is correct…there’s a lot of talent in our city, especially under the backdrop of Berklee. Because of that, I think it drives us to play and write better and just up our game as much as we can. That being said, elements of the city also make the music/rock scene a bit too Darwinesque
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
JAY: I had nothing to do with that.
MICHAEL: That’s a bit of a long story…Let me rehash the story via an interview we did a few years ago with Harvard University…
Years ago I was driving back from college in May of my freshman year and I stopped at a rest area in western Massachusetts not feeling great about myself. I went to rest up, got a snack from the store, came out and then saw a sign that said, please walk dogs elsewhere. I just fixated on the word elsewhere. And I also felt bad for the dogs.” I also feel that the word elsewhere encapsulates how the music can take the listener to another place or how we try to. And in more recent things I’ve read I’ve seen references with the word to God and Heaven.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
JAY: I think it would be the first show I played with Elsewhere. Which, I believe, was upstairs at the Middle East. I had learned the songs, we had a few rehearsals but it all didn’t really click until that point at the show. It was a “oh yeah. I like this.” moment.
MICHAEL: That was actually your second show with us Jay. For me, it would have to be opening for Our Lady Peace at The Paradise in Boston. That venue was always someplace we had wanted to play and we were finally able to do that and share the stage with so many legendary bands from the past. We also had a blast playing an impromptu support slot for Electric Six and a Dana Farber Cancer Institute benefit with He Is Legend.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
JAY: Red Rocks in Colorado. Never been there - looks like a great place to play. I kind of like playing shows in “problematic” dive bars. Which is great, because that’s where I usually end up playing anyway. My current favorite is a place called the Midway in Jamaica Plain.
MICHAEL: Honestly from a local perspective I really like playing The Paradise Rock club which has had iconic bands like The Police, U2, and Blondie play there among others. If we go to a smaller scale, the indie club The Middle East is probably the place we’ve played the most and there’s a familiarity to it we can’t get elsewhere (haha-get it?).
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
JAY: I always have a different answer to this question whenever I am asked it. I’m listening to the new Queens of the Stone Age album and damn, I’d love to do a show with them.
MICHAEL: If it was 1981, I would love to open for Rush, The Police, or U2…Now, give me some Royal Blood, Darkness, Wolfmother, Nothing But Thieves, or 30 Seconds To Mars.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
JAY: To paraphrase something I read in a Steve Vai interview: Figure out what you want and what you are good at and optimize for that. Don’t be afraid to stop doing things that aren’t working.
MICHAEL: Above all, serve the song. It doesn’t matter how fast of a player you are or how slick your image is…if the music sucks then you will have no soul and this is all meaningless.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
JAY: Ah… I’m going to cheat and say the latest album, Life is a Fraction. It’s a concept album so I tend to think of all the songs as parts of a whole.
MICHAEL: It’s really hard to answer that because we try to write songs that are thought-provoking. “Life…is a Fraction” is a concept record that is about a protagonist’s unwitting discovery of the fractional theory of incremental time perception. Ever wonder why time seems to move faster as we get older? This album answers that question! Another track on the album but unrelated to the concept is a single called “The Pledge”, which tackles Alzheimer’s Disease. And then there is our lost Police cover “Don’t You Believe Me Baby”...that was a track that was discarded during the Ghost In The Machine album sessions and we decided to revive it with a proper recording. A lot of the Police Super fans really dug it and our streaming/youtube numbers for that track went quasi viral.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
JAY: Restless is one I really like to play. 1981 and Before the stars Align are up there as well.
MICHAEL: I have to concur with Jay. I’m really enjoying playing the new stuff from the record like “Restless”. And then stuff from our back catalog like “1981” and “Don’t You Believe Me Baby” are also fun to play for different reasons.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
JAY: I’m new to Elsewhere and haven’t written anything with them yet. But, in general, I can’t write anything in a vacuum. I work really well collaborating.
MICHAEL: I like to be surrounded by a rhythm section that is technically better than me. In earlier versions of the band I would write the bulk of the material in pre-production and then demo it to the other band mates and our producer for refinement. Things wouldn’t necessarily change radically. Now, I have a strong writing partner with our drummer Adam in that he is able to optimize and rearrange some of my ideas to help with sonic punch and flow. I’m expecting Jay will also do the same thing. New music coming soon.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
JAY: I like stories and I’m a big nerd. Don’t really need to have a message. I’ll probably never write a love song. Can’t stand those.
MICHAEL: Again, we try to make our music mean something subject matter wise be it a science fiction concept about time perception, addiction, alzheimer’s disease, codependent relationships or The Armenian Genocide.
Do you have any new singles, videos, or albums out that you would like to tell me and your fans about?
JAY: Check out Life is a Fraction. We are talking about how we can start doing that whole album live. Personally, I’m 100% into the idea of doing a concept performance for that album with videos and, I don’t know, lab coats? Maybe we can get Apple into giving us a bunch of money to produce a live performance experience for their VR Goggles.
I sort of wrote that as a joke…but, now, I kind of like the idea.
MICHAEL: I mean yeah, the new concept record is what we’re trying to highlight right now…Peeps abroad though are just starting to get exposure to it and once they understand what it’s about and that this somewhat complicated concept actually pertains to them, they really get into it! Jay, maybe we do that concept performance thing with “Space 1999” outfits like we’re on Moonbase Alpha and then Netflix decides to launch a reboot of the series in conjunction with Apple TV?!
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
JAY: Just trying to get out there and play more shows.
MICHAEL: We’re still really trying to promote our new concept record “Life..is a Fraction”. As you might have guessed, it’s a pretty heady piece about some deep subject matter..”The Fractional Theory of Incremental Time Perception” to be exact. There’s a chance we might have a mini animated movie in the works regarding that concept. And of course, we’d love to play as many shows or even hop on a tour in the near future if we can.
Additionally, I’ve had a few different ideas for stand alone singles that I will share with the other 2 guys shortly so some new recorded material may be on the horizon.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
MICHAEL: Our website is www.elsewhereband.com and that’s the best place to really get a good sense of the band and updates about new projects and shows. We like to be as active as we can on socials too. On facebook you can find us via www.facebook.com/elsewhereband and on twitter our handle is @elsewhereband. We have a youtube channel as well that you can find by searching “Elsewhere Boston” or by the address www.youtube.com/@maroian. For both instagram and TikTok our handle is @elsewhererocks. Please take a peek at insta and especially TikTok as we are just beginning to build our presence there and are trying to put out unique content on that platform for “the kids”.