Program Director, Robbie Rodriguez of RockRadio993 had the pleasure of sitting down with Ms. Melanie Gagne, Lead Vocalist & Guitarist of the Canadian rock group MUTED SCREAMS which formed in 2007. This is a melodic, hard driving grooving Alternative Rock Band, who have tight phrasing, catchy riffs, confidence and are very capable players. The first time I came across one of the groups videos, I was hooked. Let’s get down to it!
Muted Screams is:
Melanie: Quebec, Canada
Melanie: To reach a dream you need to go in the right direction. In a band, when you aim for something, you really need to be in phase with each other because it's something like trying to shoot an arrow when there's eight hands on the bow. I believe the first show we did with our current line up would be it!
Robbie: Wow, that’s awesome…on the first try! (Laughs) Let’s talk a little about the bands process, who is the main writer, and how do the other members contribute to the overall musical sound & arrangements?
Melanie: We alternate between rehearsals to fine tune the live set, and rehearsals to work on new a song. We have a decent little recording setup at our place so anytime we want to record something new, we just do it. When the songs are ready, we are always prepared to record! That's the beauty of doing things yourself! Most of the time we start by recording some rough takes with a pod and midi drums, just to get the whole idea of the song. This way we spend more time laying down the ideas by spending less time on tweaking knobs for hours. When the song's ready, we redo everything giving more attention to tone and details.
Robbie: How to do you integrate production and engineers, how important is your production team as it relates to your project(s)? Lastly, do you currently work with any specific producers, If so, what does that studio or producer brings to your sound?
Melanie: We always tried to make things as DIY as we could, but sometimes it's best to let someone else do the job. Charles co-produced "What are you made of?" with Jerome Larochelle, a longtime friend of the band and excellent engineer. Basically, Charles did the tracking near Quebec City and Jerome the mixing in Regina, Saskatchewan. They both did great and had an understanding of what everyone wanted, I believe that's a something we can all hear when we listen to the songs.
Robbie: Tell me a little about your latest release? Why is this release significant in scope versus your previous releases?
Melanie: I think that the first full length is always really significant for a band. We’ve been working two hard years on it and we have put far more time on it than on our first demo in 2008. We hoped that this one could bring us up another step in our career and it did! We signed our first distribution and publishing deal mostly because of "What are you made of?"!
Robbie: How has your sound changed since your first release? What are the main
Melanie: We recorded the first at our beginnings! The tunes were not at their best and our sound was not clearly defined. We went through a lot of things in between the first and the second release. We became better at recording, we improved our playing. We had time to find our sound and to select the best songs we had to make that album. We also went through a couple of member changes, for example, Charles was on drums back in the days!
Robbie: How does the band get along? Is it a cohesive unit on tour? What advice would you impart on a new band attempting to tour?
Melanie:We have a good chemistry. I think the secret is that we need to define the true purpose for each member. One is driving, one is keeping the facebook page up to date, one is making a bad DJ of himself, while all I have to do is to sit back and relax! Just kidding. To new bands; stay easygoing and have fun!
Robbie: What would you say are the hardships of touring versus the greatest
Melanie: Seeing the crowd that shows up for you when you're not in your
hometown is one of the great part of it, but saying bye to friends
you've made along the road is probably the worst!
Robbie: Do you believe the industry and big production days are long
gone?Melanie: No, grant me unlimited budget, and I'll prove it to you! Just kidding.
If by big production you mean an album recorded in a big LA studio, mixed by CLA and mastered by Ted Jensen, those days are probably not over yet. It's hard to compete with those guys!
Robbie: What would you want to change? What would you bring back if you could?
Melanie: I'd like to bring back the days where there was more variety on mainstream music media!
Robbie: How do you choose your supporting acts when it’s time to
Melanie: We almost never choose, most of the time it's the promoter's choice. When we have to choose we go with friends!
Robbie: What advice can you give a young band trying to get signed? Who should they trust?
Melanie: Trust yourself! If you're insecure, it just won't happen. It's business, it's about money, it's not about a good song or a great drummer... It's about sales, about how many people are going to your shows... Get noticed by the labels first, only then they'll listen to your songs!
Robbie: If you could do it over, what would you want to do in thebusiness?
Melanie: I think that if I could do it over, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve made the right choice, and I wouldn’t come back on any decision I had to make.
Robbie: What’s next for your band?
Melanie: We are going to release new songs in 2014 for sure and who knows, maybe another video.
Robbie: Who is your label? Please provide some information on then.
Melanie: Higher Reign Music Group is based in Quebec city. It’s an Independent label that is building a strong reputation.
Robbie: How did your label approach you?
Melanie: The A&R of the label saw the teaser from our album on YouTube and really liked it. She contacted our drummer on Facebook. The funny part is that my drummer started to flirt with her because he said she was cute, and funny but then he realized that she was working for a label, and that she had more interest in our band than him…(Laughs) It didn’t stop her from wanting us on the label.
Robbie: I enjoyed “Deadwood” a lot. Can you provide a clear explanation on your message on this song?
Melanie: We don't need much to be happy and there's some easy ways to spread happiness around us. We all should stop to worry about the past and move forward.
Robbie: “Broken Wheel” is a powerful song, how personal was this song to you? Was it due to a break up?
Melanie: I think everyone had to face this situation. You know when you get enough of something when you realize that you’re in a bad situation and it makes you feel like shit. This is something that I had to face. We need this push or courage to leave someone when it’s time too.
Robbie: Would you plan on touring the US?
Melanie: You're right! We'll have to go say hi to our neighbors’ sooner or later!
Robbie: What national acts have you played with?
Melanie: We had the opportunity to play with Shinedown, Monster Truck, Pennywise, The Flatliners, Randy, Die Mannequin, Smash Hit Combo, Courage My Love.
Robbie: Thank you for your time and attention. We appreciate your interview. We look forward to seeing you guys on tour!
Melanie: Thank you so much Robbie!
Vice-President of Marketing/A&R