An Interview With The Cleveland-Based Electro-Pop Band, RECESS!
Posted On 10 May 2019
Look out for electro-pop act Recess. The 4 piece outfit is based out of Cleveland, Ohio and released their debut track “Leaving Home” earlier this year. They also shot a video for the track with director Brad Golowin (Red Sun Rising, The Revivalists) that includes a full orchestra. This song can be found on their newest EP, “From Dust To Gold.”
The young alternative act thinks like seasoned musicians and are very particular with vocals and production. Anthony who plays keyboards tells explains, “With the release of our new single “Leaving Home” off of our EP “From Dust to Gold”, we are really trying to revolutionize the pop industry and just show how four crazy ridiculous kids can rise from a small town in Cleveland, Ohio, and, by working hard and refusing to give up, show people that it can be done.
“Leaving Home” Official Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilEg6-CKBR4
Connect With Recess Here- https://www.instagram.com/recessofficial/
Learn more about Recess in the following All Access interview:
Now that we are into the 5th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 is treating the band so far? What are some goals that you have for this year? How are those New Years Resolutions going?
Wow that’s crazy to believe! We are on a good pace, man. It’s all about setting short term, reasonable goals and working as a unit towards them. So far, we’ve dropped our newest EP “From Dust to Gold” on time, as we intended, and our episode of “Who Will Rock You” is set to air any day now, so I would say we are making solid progress.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could agree on? Has anything surprised you about this musical journey so far?
Knowing each other for over 10 years, it can honestly be challenging to focus on a certain time in which we knew exactly what we were doing. When we first started, we were a bunch of pre-teen kids wowing local, older crowds by playing classic rock covers. The one thing we all shared since the beginning, however, was a common vision of doing what we were doing on a scale much larger than any one of us could think was possible. We were very confident in our capabilities and potential at a very early age, which helped us all take the process seriously and hold it to utmost importance as we grew as individuals.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?
The Cleveland music scene is dominated my mega tribute/cover bands, so for us to even play the stages we do every summer is astounding. In a place where the music scene is exclusive, we have really had to grind our way through the process and learn things the hard way the last ten years to even be able to do this interview today. We have had our fair share of empty crowds that taught us how to grow and learn how to keep an audience occupied during the entire duration of a 60 minute set. That process has sharpened our skills and made our sound tighter than anything and we feel it has been an integral part of our music inside the studio and live. Little things like that have shaped us into who we are today.
How did your band name first come together? Was it hard to all agree on one name? What other names were you considering?
All of us were sitting in a room with our parents about 10-11 years ago thinking up a cool band name. Anthony says: “How about Recess?”, and that was pretty much it.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? In other words, when you aren’t working on music, do you guys enjoy hanging out for fun?
You can always find one of us at the Fondale’s house. It is pretty much a living Seinfeld episode in which any one of us characters can barge in at any time for any sporadic reason. We really are an extremely tight knit group and there is not a day that goes by where our GC on our phones isn’t buzzing with new ideas, or “power moves” as Slan would call them, being formulated and discussed.
Let’s talk about your newest track “Leaving Home.” What was the inspiration for it? How creatively involved with the process were you in the video making process?
Leaving Home is actually a rather somber song contrary to what it sounds. The inspiration behind the song is the ironic loneliness that follows musicians no matter how big their crowds become. The entire storyboard process was done internally amongst the band. The vision with an orchestra and an obsessed fan was made at the Fondale’s house, but, with the help of Brad Golowin, we were able to get our visions into production and eventually into a real, finished project.
How would you say this song prepares listeners for more music from Recess and for your EP “From Dust to Gold”?
Leaving Home is a track that perfectly epitomizes the band in the shortest, sweetest way. Although the #1 song on our Spotify is “When The Sky Comes”, Leaving Home perfectly captures the theatrical side to our musicianship that stems from our love of movies and video games we grew up loving, and shows how unexpected and limitless we really are with our creativity. If you’re waiting for new Recess music, expect extremely different sounding tracks constantly and throughout our discography.
What was it like making your EP? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
With how much we focus on pre-production and conceptualizing a song before hitting the studio, we didn’t encounter any surprises or twists with the production process because there was no sacrifice with sounds or anything of that matter in the studio. If there was a sound we wanted to capture, but weren’t able to for whatever reason, we had no problem closing the session for the night and attacking it with a fresh mind a few days later. We basically know exactly what the song is supposed to be when it’s first written, and we plan carefully and arrange the parts with their frequency ranges and rhythmic patterns already set to get the song to its final form before we even open a Pro Tools session or set up a microphone.
Generally, how do you all go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
Anthony and Vincent are our primary songwriters. Typically, our best songs have started with a solid verse or chorus melody that either Anthony or Vincent wrote, and they both work together to find a vision and direction from there.
How has the sound changed over the years? What has remained the same?
Discovering our sound has been the part we never felt inclined to rush into or force. Finding your niche in music is not something that happens overnight, so we never really focused on writing songs for marketability or anyone else in general. At the time, when we started the songwriting process more seriously than anything, Imagine Dragons was just starting their ascent to the top. They basically dropped our jaws and showed us that the era of the big band is alive and well, and showed us that you can have a modern/polished pop/rock sound that still delivers and moves people live. As a result we just focused on ourselves and wrote songs about things that we wanted to write about, and, so far, it has resonated well within our fan-base.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Being on a stage with your best friends playing in front of a huge crowd that is singing along to the lyrics you wrote in your notebook in high school is a euphoria that simply cannot be described. There are a lot of moments where we are completely connected spiritually, such as the bridge to “Whats The Gain” during our live show. Our energy and emotion is pouring out so strongly that there is simply no better feeling in the entire world knowing the crowd is feeling the same goosebumps and hair standing on their arms during that moment that we are.
Where can fans see you perform next? What do you think makes for an ideal show for this group?
Our upcoming show is May 26th at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH. It is our first show in the Cleveland area after a long off season so you can expect plenty of new tricks up our sleeves as well as some unreleased, never before heard songs that we have for our next EP.
How has social media impacted the band? How often are you all on your different sites interacting with fans?
Social media is the hub for our fandom. The best part of our day is tweeting our fans from The Philippines to California, and seeing the Recess family grow on a daily basis. Or as Anthony likes to do it, say something completely nonsensical and ambiguous, and then disappear for hours so the fans are left to fight over what he could have possibly meant. It’s honestly an open invitation, 24/7 party on our social media accounts and it can get pretty entertaining to say the least.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
We feel that is the most important role of the arts in general. Our most important job as creators is providing that go-to place for people to escape the negativity that comes with life, and to find solace and happiness in the platform that we have created. We take that job very seriously and hold that role proudly.
What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring this group and your music since day one?
We share inspirations from different branches of the music industry. Our influences go from 80’s hair metal to hip hop, so being able to give any one man or woman that distinction is impossible. Ryan Tedder (One Republic), Ed Sheeran, and Charlie Puth are all modern artists we all listen to and are inspired by. Also we cannot forget the late Avicii, and The Rev(Avenged Sevenfold), who showed us the best songs come naturally and from within.
What is the message of your music? What do you want people to take away from your songs?
We really don’t try to incorporate a specific meaning or associate something to take from our music as whole, but like to change meanings and tell stories from song to song. Some songs are very heartfelt and personal, such as “Swear to Me” and “Goodbye” off of “From Dust to Gold”, while other songs like “What’s the Gain” off of our first EP “Boundary Lane” is written within the mind of a foot soldier in an ancient battle front, so its really very open and interpretational writing style we have.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this group?
Don’t forget to catch our upcoming episodes on Season 2 of Topgolf’s “Who Will Rock You”, a competition TV show looking for the best unsigned bands in America. It’s an awesome opportunity to be a part of and we absolutely cannot wait to show the world what we have. Also, keep on the lookout for tour dates near you and new content. It’s all coming quite fast and we’re extremely excited to share everything with everyone.