Echolyn signs Epic record deal

Appeared in "Montgomery Newspapers", written by Ed Hewitt
March 1994

Life has changed for the members of Echolyn since the band signed a seven-record deal with Epic Records, a subsidiary of Sony Corp., in August. "We got money to quit our jobs," said Chris Buzby, 24, keyboardist and backing vocalist for the band. "We're not driving new sports cars yet, but it's been great." The advance on the contract permitted them to go into their studio in West Point full time to prepare and write and rehearse the material for their first major-label release. The band is not at liberty to divulge the details of the contract, which "is about 70 pages long with all kinds of numbers in there," guitarist and vocalist Brett Kull, 27, said.

"Remember, it covers seven albums."

"We're paying our bills with it," Buzby offered.

They say you make your luck, and it can't be said that Echolyn hasn't displayed the vision and uncompromising commitment to their music necessary to make things happen. Formed over four years ago, they've maintained their day jobs through three self-released albums. They've continued working as schoolteachers (Buzby), in contruction (Kull), for the water authority. In fact, faith to one's vision cleary preoccupies Kull, who, with lead singer Raymond Weston, 31, writes most of the band's lyrics.

"We've found that Epic placed a lot of faith in a band and gives a long development period," Kull said. "With the Spin Doctors and even Pearl Jam, who are on Epic, those albums were out for a year before they really hit."

Echolyn, which includes percussionist Paul Ramsey, 28, and bassist Tom Hyatt, 26, will be working with producer Glenn Rosenstein. Rosenstein, with several Grammy Awards to his credit, has an impressive resume of producing projects including Talking Heads, Michelle Shocked, Tears For Fears, October Project, and Ziggy Marley and the Meldoy Makers.

"Glenn has worked with all kinds of different artists, so he hasn't locked himself into just one musical style," Buzby said. Fears that working with an established producer will obliterate Echolyn's basic sound appear to be unfounded. "He's allowing us to be ourselves. He's just taking who we are and pushing it to the next level."

"We tend to write very concisely, very tightly arranged," Kull said. "Glenn's encouraging us to open up a little, but songwise, they (Epic) saw the potential in what we're doing already."

"It's a god match for us," he said.

The band's music defies simple categorization as well. It exhibitis influences from the '70's art-rock of Yes, Queen and Gentle Giant through the jazz-fusion of the Mahavishnu Orchestra to the 20th century composer Edgar Varese, tossing in some funk rhythms as well as plain old four-beat rockand roll. As whole-tone excursions lead into stop-time passages and shifts from four-neat nars to five and back to four in succession, the musical sources fratenize into a cohesive whole that is Echolyn.

The band has a signifigant following that sprawls up and down the East Coast, reaches into the Midwest and even jumps the pond to Europe. Though the efforts of manager Greg Kull, the band has distribution in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, England, Scotland and Japan.

Brett Kull sees Echolyn's success as a paradigm for a life path, whether your vision is beautifully complex music or "selling janitorial supplies. Whatever you want to do, it can be done. Hopefully we can inspire people to do that for themselves."

For now, the band is completly focussed on the next two months of recording and producing the new album. They had considered a thank-you tour of the local clubs and fans that have nutured their music but it will have to wait until the band comes back.

Sunday Echolyn heads to Nashville to start laying down tracks. The new album, which is slated for a July release, will employ a 10-piece orchestra. They've already started with material for the follow-up album, and Buzby envisions working with a choir and even more elaborate instrumentation.

But that will have to wait until after the band hits the road.

"W're thinking in the short term right now, looking forward to going out on the rtoad to places we haven't been...we're looking forward to playing the U.S. and Europe," said Brett Kull.

"If you look too far ahead, you're missing what's happening now," Chris said. "And it if doesn't work out, we can all go back to what we were doing. At least when we're 80, we can say 'Hey, we had a shot.'"

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