Behind ever album there is a story. These stories make the album worth so much more to the artist. For this reason when a bad review is written it’s hard for the artist to understand why. Because of this we have created an interview format that will take the artist through the each story that brought them to the completion of the album. The goal is to help bring the artist’s fan closer to the artist and hopefully help to make the fan feel the same as the artist when the album succeeds and or fails. Each question is designed to help bring the fans to understand why.
So, take us back to the beginning of the album. Please tell us the reason why the band started writing this album? What album are we talking about?
We began writing this album, Rubytown, to recreate our sound once our drummer left the band. Prior to Rubytown, we were a 4-member pop/rock family band called Wishlist, that focused on electric guitar riffs and rock drum lines. Our drummer, brother and cousin, Jesse Passiglia, made a decision to take over the family business. The three of us understood that music was not Jesse’s passion as much as it was ours, so we moved forward to cultivate a sound that encompassed our individual and collective music stylings, and did not require a rock drummer. Rubytown is the culmination of our three-part harmonies that highlights our songwriting craft and vocal hooks.
What was the first song that was written for this album and did it make the final cut. If it did and or did not make the album please explain why?
The first song we wrote for this record was “It’s Different in California”. This song did make the final cut of the record and was almost the album title, because we flew out to LA to record it. The reason this track was a definite final cut for us was because it captured our desire to travel and move to a place where music – pop/country music in particular – was welcomed.
Tell us about how the first melody for the album was created? What brought the idea? Was it a drum hit, was it a synth? What brought it to your mind?
Actually, a majority of the melody was created using the ABC songwriting technique. Paul McCartney (our inspiration) said, “The best songwriters are thieves.” After co-writing our first pop/rock album with former producer, George Alden, we learned that most of our favorite songs are backwards, reused, and recycled melodies and chords of other popular songs. With the ABC technique, we took a song in our target-genre, learned the chord progression and reversed it. After tweaking the key and tempo, we gave life to “It’s Different in California”.
How the overall concept of the album came about?
As a band in transition, we used this project as a self-discovery. We knew we wanted this to be a vocal-driven record, so from the ground up we hand-selected the instruments and three-part harmonies that would make up our organic, new sound. Falling into a pop/country genre, we wanted our lyrics to be story-oriented, relatable, and catchy. The concept of the record as a whole was Rubytown breaking out and doing things totally different than ever before.
Any funny story’s that you can tell us from when this album was being written?
Walking into our first co-writing session in New York, we were greeted by an enthusiastic, cowboy-hat-wearing Ashley Levy, who excitedly expressed, “I’m so excited to write a COUNTRY record!!!” The three of us Long Island Italian kids sat with eyes wide and jaws dropped, until one of us muttered, “What?” Apparently, there was a bit of a miscommunication between Ashley and the producers in LA, but the funny part is, it stuck. We took Ashley’s excitement as a sign to try something new and completely surrounded ourselves with all things country in the months to follow. We’ve never had more fun writing and we fully admit that we fell into this pop/country genre by a wonderful, life-changing mistake.
What were some of the hardest parts in creating this album, from writing the lyrics to selecting the studio to record?
For us, family is everything. Prior to beginning the Rubytown project, we lost our beloved grandmother. She was our #1 fan and the glue that held our family together. She always encouraged us to sing and perform professionally. So writing the record, the hardest part was grieving the loss of our biggest fan, and overcoming the departure of our drummer. Jesse was the truly heartbeat of Wishlist, so we really had to start from the ground up to reinvent ourselves as a trio.
What song means to the most and why does it mean the most?
“Carry Your Heart” is our most personal and meaningful song… ever, actually. The song was written about our grandmother (our moms’ mom) who passed away in August of 2010. She was the epitome of love, passion, and family for us; not to mention, she was our personal Julie Andrews and had a phenomenal singing voice. She loved a show, so we always put them on for her. The song represents that she’ll always be with us, because she made us who we are and is so much of the reason we are pursuing music today.
What was the story behind the artwork?
The artwork was another very special venture for us. Firstly, we did it ourselves, with some help from our friends, Kate and Joe. Kate is our wonderful, spectacular photographer who did all of the photos for the record and promotions, and Joe contributed his Photoshop expertise to put it all together. We wanted the artwork to be an indication of what the record would sound like, but we also wanted to add some personal hidden messages within it. The butterfly on the front is another tribute to our Grandmother, who we’ve spoken so highly about. When she passed, we prayed that she would come to us in the form of a butterfly, and sure enough, she is always around us. Going with that thought, we also chose the song order so that “Carry Your Heart” would be centered and larger than the other tracks. Basically, the artwork is another way we expressed ourselves and painted a picture for the reader to understand who we are, and we were thankful to the creative and patient team who helped it come together.
How was the first single selected and why was it selected. Did you flip a coin, did management tell you to pick it?
Our first single was “It’s Different in California”. It was the first track that was written and recorded for the record and basically encompassed our entire venture with our new sound, new name, and new group arrangement. We felt it had just the right amount of pop hooks, with the country-esque story to make a perfect single!
Was there a specific reasoning behind the music order on the CD?
Absolutely. If you read the track titles in order, it kind of gives you a timeline of where we’ve been and where we want to go in life, music, and love. From start to finish, the record was an exploration of ourselves personally and as musicians, and that process is something we never take for granted.
What was the first though when the album was completed and you listen to it all the way through?
We were so happy… We ARE so happy. It makes us want to keep writing and doing what we love to do together. When we heard the finished product, we sang, we danced, and we hugged it out.
What were your thoughts when you got the first review?
The reviews of the record have been so positive and it just confirmed to us that we are doing something right. It goes to show that when you put your heart into your craft, you can’t go wrong. There is always a little bit of nervousness when you’re putting out a new record and we definitely had those butterflies about what people would think, especially with such a drastic change in direction, you know? But Rubytown is really us, and has been widely praised and accepted. We are so thankful.
Did you accomplish what you set out to do with this album?And what was the goal of this album?
Coming into this, we didn’t know who we were going to be and where God would take us with this record, but we were so incredibly pleased and surprised with ourselves. We’ve developed a sound that we all love and is truly a culmination of the three of our styles and talents. We all have unique talents and preferences, but that’s what makes our record so special. You can really hear each of us shine through whether it be in the arrangement, the vocal styling, or the lyrics. It means the world to us to have a product that we are so proud of and we just hope listeners enjoy it as much as we do.