Moving Forward - Upper Gwynedd's Echolyn makes major-label debut

Appeared in "The Reporter", written by Scott Kraus
March 1995

After four years of hard work, local rockers Echolyn are at a turning point.

Their major-label debut is scheduled for nationwide release March 7 on the 550 division of Sony Music's Epic Records, and an ambitious supporting tour is underway.

It is truly make-it-or-break-it time.

They have marketed, networked, recorded, travelled, played live, published newsletters and fliers, gotten on the Internet and done everything it took to get signed.

Now, it's up to the music, and that can be a little intimidating.

"Anxiety," is how vocalist Ray Weston decribed his feelings, waiting for the release.

"We worked hard, we met a guy that got us in the door, and the rest was just luck," said guitarist Brett Kull.

The 16-track, 70-minute album of all new material, As The World is an eclectic mix of signature Echolyn musicianship. It features lush orchestral arrangement on some tracks, and a rough-hewn approach to others.

Kull said the band included some new vocal harmonies and a healthy dose of "real" string arrangements.

The album art features scenes from the surrounding area, from the railroad tracks at West Point, to the old Turner Airfield in Horhsham.

Band members see themselves as a real alternative to the so-called "alternative" music scene that has become more mainstream and corporate since major labels tapped into the market.

Vocalist and keyboardist Chris Buzby said he thinks bands of that genre such as Alice In Chains and Soundgarden have primed the musical market for Echolyn by playing music with mixed meter.

"There is a lot of diversity on this album," Buzby said. "It is both lean and aggressive and orchestral with a sort of jazzy groove thrown in."

Working with producer Glenn Rosenstein forced the band to aspire to higher musicial standards than they were used to.

"We went for a whole level of professionalism," said Buzby. "We'd play something perfectly, and he'd say let's try it again. We were going for that feel, or vibe."

The album was recorded in Nashville in three months last spring, while the band members lived 15 minutes away in the suburbs.

For local fans, Echolyn has an all-ages show schedule for March 10 at the Theater Of The Living Arts on South Street in Philadelphia.

Band members say they feel a loyalty to the local area. Most of the art from their album comes from local vistas.

But many of their fans are further away. Epic is using Echolyn in an experiment with th World Wide Web on the Internet in wihch computer users can hook into a database of Echolyn video, interviews and music clips.

Band manager Greg Kull said record companies theorize they will eventually be able to transmit compact disc information directly to the consumer, bypassing record stores.

But in the present, Echolyn still aspires to greater success, though band members realize they've already achieved what some bands never manager to do, get a major-label contract.

"We're still moving forward," said Brett Kull. "We're very lucky."

"Yeah, we're very lucky," repeated Buzby, as the band embarked on its supporting tour.

"Our job is to go out and play live and bring it to the people," Buzby said.

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