Echolyn wants to make impression with music

Appeared in "The Intelligencer", written by David Hawkins
July 1991

They have been told that their names means "this is it" in Italian, but the members of Echolyn picked the moniker because they thought it was meaningless. The 18-month old group wants to make an impression with its music, not its appellation.

"We're just trying to think of something," Brett Kull, guitarist for the North Penn-based band, says of how the sobriquet was chosen. "We went through every cliche, then we thought - what is the point?

"We could change our name every week, but that would be dumb," he says, "because people wouldn't be able to latch on to us.

"Besides, the name just represents us."

"Us" is Brett, keyboardist Chris Buzby, drummer Paul Ramsey, lead vocalist Ray Wston, bass player Tom Hyatt and manager Greg Kull, Brett's brother. All, except for Buzby, are in their mid-to-late 20s.

Similiar musical interests brought together these guys, most of whom have been friends since they were in grade school together. Brett cites jazz guitarist Pat Methany, famed classical composer Aaron Copeland and rock bands Marillion, Genesis and Yes among his many favorites.

Buzby, a music major at Moravian College and the youngest member of the band at 21, admits he wasn't raised on those classic rock groups but says: "Brett turned me on to them.

"I have been playing piano since I was 5," Buzby says. "I was classically trained for about 10 years and then I got into jazz."

Ironically, the artist currently having the most effect on him is fusion guitarist Alan Holdsworth, another player he was introduced to by Brett.

"We're all into the same things," says Ramsey.

The music that results "is not really commercial," Greg says, "but it is doing well because there is a lot of substance in there."

"We write honestly and try a lot of different things," adds Brett. "We put a lot of time into what we do write so that it gets across the point we are trying to make, both lyrically and musically."

A key plank in the band's philosophy summed up in its song Carpe Diem, which is Latin for "seize the day."

"We want to inspire them to do whatever they want to do," he says. "Quit complaining - if you don't like it, don't do it."

However, until the group becomes better known it's members won't be able to quit their day jobs and devote themselves full time to what they want to do.

"Right now we all work eight hours a day trying to make enough money to support ourselves."

That limits how often the band can perform, Greg says. As a result, Echolyn must pick its concerts carefully to get maximum exposure.

Currently the band performs regularly at The Hearth in Pipersville and the Chestnut Cabaret in downtown Philadelphia. The next show at The Hearth is tonight and the group will service as the opening act for Paul Kantnor, formerly of Jefferson Airplane and KBC Band, on July 26 at the Chestnut Cabaret.

The group also frequents clubs in Trenton, New York and Baltimore and has played at CBGB's in New York.

"To get a lot of our jobs," Greg continues, "we have to send out demo tapes."

Band members are not happy with the demos they have made at this point, so they pooled their money to make a CD, he says. Echolyn is recording the disc on a 24-track digital tape machine at a studio Greg has built in a barn next to his Lower Gwynedd Township home.

They hope recording will be finished by the end of the month and the disc will be in stores by Sept. 15.

The CD will have 68 minutes of music written, produced and arranged by the group, Greg says. The band is also doing the album artwork.

Eight college radio stations, including EXPN from the University of Pennsylvania, and commercial station WMMR have already agreed to give the disc airplay.

"We are trying to get signed" to a major label, he says. "We would like to have the financial responsibilities lifted from us."

However, band members emphasize they are not in this for the money.

"We just want to share what we are creating," Ramsey says. "And we should like to inspire those who have inspired us."

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