Hey there guys DJ Dizzy here & this is my interview with the band Octavate.
How'd you get started in music?
Josh: I have music in my family. My Uncle Rick Clayton was in a band called Willow, who once opened for Aerosmith/ My cousin Stephen Epstein was in a punk band while attending Harvard University and later moved to South Korea and did a documentary (now on Amazon) about Punk Rock in South Korea.
I used to sit on the floor and play with my Legos while my mom cooked dinner every day, blasting Led Zeppelin II, III, The Doors Morrison Hotel, Hendrix Electric Ladyland, Dark Side of the Moon, The White Album... Good music was always happening in my family.
I started playing guitar in late high school, and later moved to the bass. Now I'll play anything with at least one string. I like alternate tunings, and I LOVE playing my Danelectro Baritone. It has a unique feel to it, and it creates tones and voicings that you can't get anywhere else.
I was in a band in college that won talent shows and battle of the bands. After we graduated, our band Common Senseless used to absolutely pack a club called Bishops in "The Alley" of Boylston St., Boston every Friday night. We had a great following, and we were getting good. We played a lot of originals, and I remember having tears stream down my face when the crowd was singing our original "Achilles" with us. There is nothing like that feeling. Nothing.
Shawn: My parents told me that I’d pull the pots and pans out of the cabinets as a toddler, and set them up like a drum set. Then band on them with wooden spoons. They got me a kids drum set when I was 6. I started lessons in 5th grade, and have never stopped.
In high school, I started a rock band, with friends. We tried singers, and couldn’t find the right fit. So the rhythm guitar player and I took responsibilities of co-lead singing, me on the drums and singing. I’ve been singing ever since. Many years into my singing, I started taking vocal lessons to help me become the best I can be, and help me open new avenues of singing that I never considered.
I started to explore electronic drums and guitar in college, to create the music for a rap group I helped create. Since then, I got into a little piano, and some music recording.
Who are your inspirations or influences?
Josh: The Beatles, Led Zep, Floyd, Aerosmith, Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, Def Leppard, Soundgarden, Beastie Boys, Dave Grohl, Tool, Radiohead, RHCP, Alice in Chains, NIN, Mastodon, Chevelle.
Shawn: As far as singers, I’m inspired by male (and female) vocalists that belt; often in pop or rock genres but that get into operatic stylings. Such as Freddy Mercury (Queen), Steve Perry (Journey), Axl Rose (Guns N Roses), Brendon Urie (Panic! At the Disco), Ann Wilson (Heart).
Other influences include, Beastie Boys, Smashing Pumpkins, 311, Dave Matthews Band, Twenty One Pilots, Two Feet.
What advice would offer aspiring performers?
Josh: Bands, bandmates, goals, influences, genres may constantly be changing for you. This is a good thing. The more windows that you can look into, the better you can see the whole room. Keep moving forward. The journey is a beautiful thing. Learn how to work with others. If you can do this, your time while collaborating will be much more valuable, and will last longer. It will also help your personal brand, which is important. People will more likely want to work with you if they know that you are not a jerk.
Shawn: There is no easy button. Put in the time, and get comfortable always learning your craft. There is no good or bad time to start...and there is no level of skill you need to start performing. Just get going, and start performing as soon as you have something that is “good enough”. You’ll always be improving, and you may never reach perfection. Just get started, and keep going.
How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers?
Josh: For me, bass drives the rhythm of most of the songs I write. The bass is more like a rhythm guitar or a riff factory. It's not just the bottom end and the percussion's best friend. It's something more. It's more melodic. Not many bands feature the bass as their rhythm guitarist, and that sets us apart.
I also believe in our lyrics. They aren't just the rhymes and the melody within the scale of the song. They are meaningful, sometimes playful, and the melody is sometimes unexpected. My lead singer has often looked at me and said, I would never have done it like that. Where do you come up with this shit? It may not be the compliment that I'm taking it as, but that's what I want. To be unique and unpredictable, but not so obscure that we can't be followed!
Shawn: I push my singing to the limits, always pushing to get to a new level with each creation. I like working with my vocal tone, and am open to explore new techniques. As for my musicianship, I focus on what fits and feels right for the song. I trust my ear, and try not to dwell on perfection. Sometimes, I purposely leave a mistake in a final recording. I like the organic feeling in songs; even though I often bring in electronic sounds in.
Any new gigs or albums in the future
YES! Octavate has our third single about to be released on December 28. Then we have two more songs almost completed. Once we have our five, probably in the early spring, we will release them as an EP.
And once COVID is no longer the threat it is now, we will be back on the scene in Boston!
Special thanks to them for doing this interview & I wish them luck in their music. So until then I'll catch you on The Flipside! Stay awesome & rock n roll