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Progressive Rock Interviews

Consider the Source

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Consider the Source from 2015
MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – both individually and as a band?

Gabriel Marin- When I was young my parents took me to tons of classical and jazz shows and exposed me to lots of interesting music. I started taking piano at about six and continued to about 15 when I started playing guitar. Both my uncle and pop play guitar and showed me the basics. From the beginning I wanted to do a lot of the Eastern stuff on guitar, but without the skill or guidance for that yet, i got really into shredding and heavy music until I was about 19 and then started tackling the different eastern stuff. At that same time I was in college for western classical music composition and theory and was totally deeply getting into free and "modern" jazz. So after a few years of all that music being in the brain, I had the enormous good fortune of meeting John and our original drummer Justin and we formed a band that was open to all the directions we want to go, 

John Ferrara - Well my involvement with music started in the womb (I am well aware of how cliché that sounds!). I grew up in a musical household and was constantly around it, hearing all kinds of different genre, as my dad was always either listening to or playing something new on his guitar or piano. He introduced me to the bass when I was about 13. In high school I got really into jazz and classical music but also kept finding myself in metal, rock and blues bands. I always found myself in four or five bands at the same time, nothing really satiating what I needed musically. When CTS formed I was excited to be playing with other musicians who had the same musical needs.

Jeff Mann - I began studying drums with a private instructor at about the age of nine. Once school programs were available I joined concert band, jazz band, pit orchestra, marching band and also had groups with friends that played local gigs. In college I earned a degree in Music Business and continued exploring every playing opportunity including the university's Frank Zappa Ensemble. After college I freelanced with all sorts of groups and also found myself in four or five at a time. One of those groups opened a show for Consider the Source in Savannah, Georgia and a couple years later I saw they were looking for a drummer. I auditioned and dropped everything else when they asked me to join. That was about two and a half years ago and we've played over 300 shows together since!

MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
John Ferrara - I was studying psychology before the band started. Had the band never formed I would probably be a misanthrope, running experiments in a lab somewhere. 

Jeff Mann - It's really hard to imagine otherwise but it would likely include hiking for extended periods of time.

Gabriel Marin- It’s hard to tell, music was always there. When I was a kid, I was really into the idea of being a fighter pilot or a scientist, so probably one of those.

MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
Jeff Mann - My earlier influences were ELP, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, Mr. Bungle, Liquid Tension Experiment, Dream Theater and Symphony X. From there it branched out to include all sorts of groove/improvisational music.

Gabriel Marin- Excluding the early formative rock stuff, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, John Mclaughlin, Allan Holdsworth, Dave Fiucznski, Ivo Papasov, Yuri Yunakov, Matt Darriau, U Shrinivas, Alim Qasimov, Debussy, Phillip Glass, Shostakovitch... so many more.

John Ferrara - I’ll list ten, by no means in any specific order and countless more could be noted : The Bad Plus, Chick Corea, Jonas Hellborg, Tool, Esbjorn Svensson, Tom Waits, Elliot Smith, Phillip Glass, Pantera, Bach.

MSJ: Your new release is an EP with one (very) extensive track. Is an album in the works?
Jeff Mann - Absolutely! The EP was part of a recording session where we recorded over two hours worth of material. The rest will be released as a double album that will also include acoustic tracks we had recorded previously.
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
John Ferrara: Aside from the album release we have a full tour season ahead of us starting February 26th in New Haven, Connecticut and going until around mid May. Then we’ll be touring the new album and doing a ton of festivals during that time, as well.
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
John Ferrara:  The Bad Plus is such a huge inspiration for us. I would love to do a tour with them and have some kind of collaboration.

Jeff Mann: Skerik (saxophone) is someone I hope we get to collaborate with at some point.

Gabriel Marin- I'd love to do some tunes with the alto player Rudresh Mahanthappa. I feel we could do some amazing stuff together.

MSJ:
Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
John Ferrara - I think sometimes times change and you can’t fight against it, you have to adapt. I think it’s what you make it. If you sit around and get angry about the state of the music biz and don’t focus your energy on doing something about it then it’s a hindrance. If you try to align yourself with it and use it to your advantage then it’ll be a help.
MSJ:
In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
Gabriel Marin- Always for it, in theory. Being a band that improvises a lot, certain nights you think you suck and never want anyone to hear ever again, and often those are the sets we see tapers! But sometimes the opposite is true and something special gets captured that would have been lost otherwise. As long as the sound is good and not just a soundboard I’m cool with it.

John Ferrara - For us our live show is for many people our biggest selling point so, I personally don’t mind people taping it and putting it out there, from a “spreading the word” stand point. The only downside is that you have to reconcile the fact that your every mistake is going to be documented. It can add a lot of pressure.

Jeff Mann - I'm all for it. There are so many concerts I've been to that I wish I could hear again. Conversely, there are a ton of bands I've gone to see live because of a bootleg I had downloaded or been given.

MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
John Ferrara - The guy who made “The Monster Mash.” Because he made “The Monster Mash.” I’ll make him a grave yard smash.

Jeff Mann - The smooth jazz enthusiast who says they love jazz, because they think they love jazz.

Gabriel Marin- The first DJ to do that stupid hands up gesture and dance they all do.

MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
Jeff Mann - Bill Frisell (guitar) for Peace, John Coltrane (sax) for Spirit, Brad Meldhau (piano) for Beauty, Bela Fleck (banjo) for Virtuosity, Ron Carter (bass) for Wisdom, Nate Wood (drums) for Exploration and Mikael Akerfeldt (vocals) for Death. Also Giovanni Hidalgo on congas and U. Srinivas on mandolin
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
John Ferrara - Basically I would take what the three of us wrote above as far as our biggest inspirations who are still alive today and put them all on it and every night have a open jam with all of those people. I feel that would be a great way for people to hear great music and see first hand what Consider the Source is really about.
MSJ:
What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Jeff Mann - I'm a used CD junkie. My last batch was The Moody Blues Days of Future Passed, The Roots Come Alive, Little Feat Waiting For Columbus, Spinal Tap, Trey Anastasio's first solo album and the Last Waltz DVD. 

Gabriel Marin- I just got the new CD by the Steve Lehman Octet, and I am super super super into it. It’s really some of the most truly new sounding harmony and playing.

John Ferrara - Keith Jarret and Charlie Haden Last Dance is the last CD I got. Also got really into the band Tune Yards this past year, they’ve been on a bunch!

MSJ:

Have you read any good books lately?

John Ferrara - Been reading my old bass player magazines to find some interesting articles for inspiration. No books as of late, though(which is weird considering I used to read like five in a month!). 

Jeff Mann - Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. Currently reading Bernard Purdie's Let the Drums Speak!

Gabriel Marin- Just finished reading Adornment of Hearts by Muzzafer Effendi

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Gabriel Marin- Went to Winter Jazz Fest, before that was a group called “Battle Trance,” which was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

John Ferrara - That’s such a rare thing these days since we are playing shows every weekend. I think the last real “concert” I went to was Radiohead in Boston.

Jeff Mann - Winter Jazz Fest in NYC...My third time and hopefully not the last.

MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
John Ferrara - Not really, I stand by the weirdo music I listen to. 

Jeff Mann - Playing other instruments at a novice level.

Gabriel Marin- Sometimes I do still enjoy some good doom metal.

MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Gabriel Marin- Well, I don’t know if this counts as a Spinal Tap moment, but when we were just starting off, we were on tour in California, and one morning we went to the Warp Tour, and just walked in carrying our gear, setup our own tent and played. I remember opening my eyes after a tune and seeing us surrounded by security. Ha, "Consider the Source will Never play the Warp Tour!" was the decision of the very angry staff and we are okay with that. I think having that story is better than a summer of 13 year old mall emo.
MSJ:

If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?

Jeff Mann - Jim Morrison, Ken Kesey, my grandfather who I am named after but never met 

Gabriel Marin- I'd leave it to musical people for this.  Coltrane, Debussy and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

John Ferrara - Eric Satie, Louie CK, The Dalai Lama.

MSJ: What would be on the menu?
Gabriel Marin- Tea and sweets - keeps the conversation going. 

John Ferrara - Something French for Eric Satie, a cinnabun for Louie, and something vegetarian for the Dalai Lama. 

Jeff Mann - Lots of drinks and my grandmother's home cooking

MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
John Ferrara - For all musicians, play from the heart and find bandmates that allow you to flourish. 

Jeff Mann - Don't forget to listen while playing.

Gabriel Marin- Do it for the right reasons, whatever you do.

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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