First things first… who are we talking to? Name and instrument(s).
Ryan Cooney (drums)- talking in these questions
Brendan Cooney (guitar and vocals)
Dave Mozdzanowski (Bass and BGV’s)
Shea Brennan (Lead Guitar)
Give us the story of The Gallery. How did you guys get together, and how did you decide on your current musical direction?
The story of The Gallery…well, Brendan and I are brothers, so we’ve known each other for about 20 years now. When we moved to Wilbraham, MA when we were 8 or so, we met Shea and have been buddies for a while now. The three of us met Dave at a church youth group in town about five years ago, and we found out that he played bass. Things clicked real well, and we’ve been playing with each other since then. About two years ago, we started playing music in my basement all the time and decided it’d be fun to write some songs of our own. So, we recorded some songs, liked them, and thought that it’d be cool to do a 5 song EP. We released that on our own and, of course, like most bands, weren’t satisfied and wanted to make something new and better immediately after. Thankfully, Blue Duck Records thought that our EP was good enough to sign us, and we got the opportunity to record a fully funded album. It also happened to work out where we could all move down to Florida, where Dave and I were attending college. Despite the busy schedule of four college guys, we were able to practice and write every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to finish this album. With a whole year to focus on writing, we had a lot of time to decide what direction we wanted to take with the new songs. We had all been listening to a lot of not so modern music (Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Oasis, etc) and really learned a lot about songwriting. We focused a lot on melody, and creating some songs that would stand out among a pop/rock scene today, where a lot of bands seem to be doing the same thing.
How did you get hooked up with Blue Duck Records? What made you and the label choose each other?
We sent Blue Duck our EP in a press kit as soon as we got it pressed. We hoped that it would catch the attention of a smaller label that would be willing to work with us, knowing that we were in school and couldn’t be touring year round. I spoke with Jay, the CEO, on the phone and I got a really good vibe. Jay seemed to be very honest and definitely seemed to be on the right track with the label. Thankfully, he liked the EP enough to take a chance with us, having never seen us live or anything. Blue Duck is awesome in that they can give you the attention that a larger label cannot, and that the guys at the label have a vision that helps us stay on track with what we are doing. I think that the label liked us because they saw that we were hard working on our own and would continue that hard work, on another level, when we had the backing of a label. I’m guessing that Jay and John at the label were pretty nervous to see how the new songs would come out, but I think they like them, haha.
Your new record, If You Know What I Mean, is set to release August 12. What should music fans everywhere expect from this album?
Yea, the album is going to be released August 12th. We are really excited about the new songs. Another thing that worked out awesome with getting this album finished was working with our producer Andrew Wade. He has worked with There For Tomorrow (Hopeless), and A Day to Remember (Victory), as well as many other great bands. We couldn’t be happier with the sound quality of the record, and with the abundance of input he had in the final product. From the people who have heard the album already, we have been hearing that it is a refreshing sound, something that is different from bands that we could be grouped with, genre wise. The choruses are big, and I’m hoping that these will be the type of songs that will get stuck in a listener’s head.
What were some of your influences for it, not only musically, but also thematically/lyrically/personally?
We all have a lot of influences musically. Brendan, who sings, and plays guitar listens to a lot of folk and blues and has guitar training in both of those genres. We all started to listen to some older rock, which I mentioned earlier. That helped teach us a lot about song writing, which we didn’t focus on as much with the previous EP. One band that we are all influenced a lot by is Saves The Day. We call their singer, Chris Conley, the king of melodies. In terms of lyrics, the words on this album are very transparent and personal. The lyrics are influenced a lot by the world and what we make of the world. I think that listeners will feel like they know us better by the time the album is over.
I heard a rumor that this CD is expected to be so huge that bigger labels are considering picking it up. Is that true? What else can you tell us about it?
I don’t know how “huge” the album will be. I can’t say that I think the album will be huge, because I had a role in writing it. I think that some people will like it, and hope that tons of people will like it. We can only hope that enough people will like the album where we can continue to make records, which is all we want to do. I know that our label has been sending the album to some connections that they have at larger labels, so we’ll have to keep you updated with that.
What are your plans as a band once you get the record out? Hitting any of the summer festivals?
Once the record is out we plan on playing out as much as we can. This summer we are hitting a few festivals including a pretty big one called Inside Out Soul Fest in New Hampshire, where we’ve played the last two summers. We plan on keeping in touch with all of the people that like the tunes on Myspace, etc. We will be putting up new videos, pictures, and that kind of stuff all the time so people can sort of be along for the ride with us.
Speaking of summer, which movie blockbuster will be the best?
If I said anything besides Batman- The Dark Knight I think Dave would be mad at me.
What’s the craziest thing (on tour or otherwise) that’s ever happened to The Gallery?
I think that pretty much everything that has happened to us so far is pretty crazy, including the fact that we have a full-length cd, but let me think. This was pretty nuts: When we were driving down to Florida one time, Shea and I were in one car, and Brendan and Dave were in another. Dave and Brendan were about a mile ahead of us, when the timing belt of my legendary mini-van broke, sending a plume of black smoke out behind the car, landing us stranded on the side of the highway in Virginia at about midnight. I was forced to glide through three lanes of traffic wondering where I would stop. We got towed, and it took another full day and about $700 to get the van fixed. Needless to say, that was a bummer, and I hope it’s crazy enough to make the interview.
Alright, that’s about it for the questions. Anything else you’d like to add?
I think that’s about it. Thanks a lot for doing this for us, and hopefully we can do something like it again soon. For everyone reading this, just know that we love to hear from you and we love responding so don’t be afraid to get in touch with us.
Thanks to Ryan for taking the time to answer these. For the record, I am one of the people he mentioned above as having had the chance to hear the new album, and I love it. Go buy a copy as soon as it comes out. You won’t be disappointed. See my review here.