Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with NEEDMORE

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with NEEDMORETheir lyrics are simply moving. When I listen to these guys perform, nothing else matters… they have a certain mystique about them that makes all pain in the world simply disappear. I have no idea where I found these guys, but I am so glad that I did. Their lyrics are incredible, and they just sound so solid playing together. Not sure I would call it Christian music… but there are some definite overtones thrown in every now and then. Songs like Lost My Way, you can’t help but close your eyes and feel the grace of God. They call themselves Top 40, but they are deeper than that. I love the lead singer’s voice too. They just have it all. Don’t ask me where the name came from… I’ll get to that in the interview! When I listen to bands like this, I think Kings of Leon or NeedToBreath. These are bands that don’t produce a bad song. I am so glad to have the opportunity to sit down and chat with the guys in NEEDMORE.

So tell me, what do you need more of?

Oh, I see what you did there… a band joke. (Laughs)  What do you need more of?

That’s just such an obscure name. Where did you guys come up with that?

Oh man… well, during the young years of this band, we were called The Need.  In signing our first record deal and recording our first album, we were told the name had to change, as there was another band that had trademarked it.  After months and months of deliberation with hundreds of names, we still didn’t have one.  On the way home from the studio one day, one of us said, “What about NEEDMORE – as in, we need more names?”  That was that.  What began as a joke, became the name we live under today.

That’s awesome! So where did you guys all meet?

Well, to make a long story great, Los Angeles.  As it were, it just so happened that TJ was attending grad-school in Long Beach while I was in LA already plugging myself into the music scene.  Ironically, I had lived right down the street from him and went to the same high school as he did, back in Ohio… yet never knew him.  I was a good friend of his wife, whom told him about us needing a drummer.  After meeting on my birthday in 2007, we all started playing together.

Tell me a little bit more about your single Lost My Way.

Lost My Way was one of those songs that seemed to write itself.  The chord progression, melody and lyric all came out in about fifteen minutes.  It has really been hitting home on a personal level with a lot of people… basically telling the story of an extremely independent person finally breaking down and asking for help. Vulnerable.  No more shame.

All right, I just have to say it. I LOVE your voice.

(Laughs) Thank you; thank you so much.

Who writes all of the lyrics?

Well, up until this point, I have been that person. It’s starting to change though.  A good idea is a good idea.  A good lyric is a good lyric.  We’re now actually playing a song during our live show that the other guys and myself wrote lyrics for.  It’s fun and challenging figuring out ways to connect to lyrics that aren’t necessarily your own.

Windows Media Guide? That’s so sick! How did you get your tunes in the hands of the folks over at Microsoft?

They approached us, actually.  It was just one of those things where they really loved us as a band, and pushed for it.  We surely accepted the offer.

Where do you guys practice?

We practice everywhere and nowhere at the same time.  Think about that one!  (Laughs)  Actually, we have a gigantic warehouse in a rural Midwest town.  We can lay low, go crazy, write and rehearse through all hours of the night.  We also tend to run through a lot during sound-checks while on tour.

So you guys are from in LA. What are some of the advantages of living on the west coast?

We’re no longer in LA. We formed there, and lived there for years.  When we started hitting the road a lot, we relocated back to the Midwest in order to be closer to family.  I could still tell you some great advantages though!

I would love to hear those stories one day! Traveling all over the place… what are some of your favorite places to play?

I’m going to go ahead answer for all of us and say we all love playing in southern California – mainly Orange County.  We have a lot of fantastic fans and friends, who support us, help us sell-out venues, and have really become family to us.  It’s always good to feel the love.

Where do you get inspiration for a new track?

It never comes from one place. For example, in writing the music for a new song, I could think a piano part I’m playing sounds like something from The Fray, where as TJ could be pulling inspiration from a Dave Matthews song.  Lyrically speaking, it can come from anywhere as well.  I could be writing about a situation I’ve witnessed, or a situation I’m currently in.  I could be writing about something from my past, or something that I have yet to do.

If you could only play one song for the rest of your career, what song would you choose?

I couldn’t do it.

New Music Seminar said you were an “artist on the verge”. On the verge of what? Because from what I can tell, you guys are doing just fine! What’s next for you guys?

I believe we’re an “artist on the verge” of… um… exploding… or an artist most ready to break in 2011.  NEEDMORE is a powder keg man; a powder keg.  That said, we have a TON planned for this year and the beginning of 2012.  We’ll be finishing this tour up with a performance during SXSW at a RedGorilla event.  After that, we’re looking into either another ninety-five date tour, supporting another larger artist on tour, or playing regionally while writing for our next record.  Our official website will tell anyone everything they want or need to know!

How cool is it that you are being played all over the world?

We are?  (Laughs) It’s definitely a super humbling feeling when fans write us, wanting us to come to the UK, Australia, or any other country for that matter.  I don’t think it will really hit home for us until we tour in another country and see people singing along to our music.

Speaking of that, the state of the music industry is changing. With the Internet music will never be the same. How have you guys made that shift in the last few years?

It’s a digital age. We live in a very instant world.  It is important to feed the social media appetite as much information as possible. Any way for a person to connect with us is a way for us to connect with them – and that’s what we’re trying to do.

You worked with Jeff Juliano on Lost My Way. He has worked with some major names in the music industry. How did you get hooked up with him?

I listened to some of the records I though sonically sounded absolutely amazing. After a bit of research, I found out that Jeff was the master behind the puppet. I got in contact with him, and after listening to the demo version of Lost My Way, Jeff told me he would absolutely love to mix it. Now after working with him, Dave McNair, and Tony Alany, we are confident we have found our team to record, mix, and master many records in our future.

I almost want to call you guys Christian. You remind me of a Reliant K. What genre do you guys put yourself in?

We’re very much in the secular market. However, we love to spread positive messages. One theme that seems to grab people is making the most of you life… and not letting it pass you by. As far a genre, we are classified as Pop Rock I suppose.

Do you guys have jobs outside of music?

No sir – being a musician is a full time lifestyle.  It’s not a job, it’s not a career, and it’s definitely something you cannot take for granted. We eat, sleep, and breathe it. Just give time to what you love; for that’s all you have in life.

You are on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter. How do you keep all of those social media sites straight?

Maintenance, that’s how.  If you don’t keep up with them, you’ll lose the edge.  If you do keep up with them, they are fantastic tools.

I know you’re busy, but what are you doing on a typical Friday night?

We’re either in rehearsal, in a writing session, playing a regional show, on tour, or recording.  If none of those apply, we spend time with family and friends.

You guys have a ton of endorsements. What’s the benefit of working with so many companies?

First, we are so lucky to be working with all of them. The benefits are fantastic. From customization of products, to cross promotion, it’s all positive. Recently, we’ve been working closely with Kawai pianos to design an upright shell to use with my MP8II digital piano. We’ve also been working with LiveWires to create custom in-ear monitors for each member of the band, and with Audio-Technica to determine which microphone set-ups work best for NEEDMORE.  All of the companies we endorse have fantastic people working in them, and we couldn’t ask for better products.

How does a live show differ from what I am hearing online? What can someone expect from a live show?

Some words that come to mind are passion, energy, excitement, and experience. We’re a band that you have to see live, in order to fully understand who we are. We bring it with 110%, no matter what.

The doctors have given you a week to live. How do you spend your last week here on earth?

That’s easy for all of us. I think we can all agree we would spend it with close friends and family.

You guys sell shirts and backpacks. How do I go about getting one of those shirts?

Right now, we’re selling everything at our live shows. From American Apparel V-Necks to crew necks, backpacks, bracelets, CDs, posters, and even guitar picks – we’ve got it.  We will however be re-opening our online store soon.  Until then, just come see us live!

You guys are coming to Indiana. But your show is private! I need to see you guys live.  Any chance you will be coming back this year?

Definitely. We will be through Indianapolis, Bloomington, and other cities around Indiana. Just keep an eye out on our website for more information. Everything you need to know is there!

So on your album cover for your new single, you guys are all walking away. What are you walking away from? Or better yet, what are you walking towards?

We are walking away from one situation, and into another.  This artwork, to me, signifies us moving on from our past… our previous record label… and on to something greater.  We are finally re-accepting offers, but we are definitely happy doing what we’re doing.

Who are some of your favorite bands?

To be honest, I can’t really answer this.  I know what we all like, but we tend to listen to bands for different reasons. Our favorite bands for gathering inspiration might be one set, but our favorite bands for pure listening pleasure might be a completely different set.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Straight to the top. (Laughs) We’re definitely not going to stop… but I guess time will tell all.

What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

Making music that the masses can connect with.  I think it’s safe to say we don’t want to be the indie band that only a small following enjoy. We want to be bigger than life. We want to add to the daily lifestyle of everyone we can.

I always let the artist get the last word. Go.

Thanks for that, Ricky. I think I would just encourage everyone to check out our website, find us on Facebook, and follow us at Twitter.  We love to hear from new friends, and want to welcome you to the NEEDMORE family.  Hopefully we’ll see you all at a show very soon. Cheers from everyone in the NEEDMORE camp.