he future of humanity is something that looms largely in the collective minds of our society today. Just by looking at the news, it's easy to have our doubts as to how much further we can go as a species before something cataclysmic happens. It's a pity we have no other "intelligent" species out there that we can look to, but according to a theory called "The Great Filter", the reason we haven't made contact with another alien civilization is because they have crossed a threshold that enabled their extinction. What is this threshold? Have we, as a species, crossed it ourselves? This sort of existentialism is way too much to think about, especially for a rock music publication like ourselves, but for the Galveston, Texas-based band TO WHOM IT MAY, the theory has provided them a great deal of inspiration for their new LP THE GREAT FILTER. This stunning collection may the first offering from TO WHOM IT MAY, but these guys know all about what it takes to stay in the game. Band members JONATHAN JOURDAN, ROBB MARS and DEXAS VILLARREAL have cut their teeth in the same band for nine years before they made the decision to form TO WHOM IT MAY. With THE GREAT FILTER, TO WHOM IT MAY is indeed crossing a threshold - one that will lead to serious recognition in the world of active rock. ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with JONATHAN JOURDAN of the band regarding their new LP. Here is how the interview went.
Your album THE GREAT FILTER is only a few days away from being released and it looks like you guys have some amazing people in your corner. What is all going through your head with regard to this release?
I couldn't be happier. It's great to have the work-side of the creation process behind us so we can get into the putting our energy into the other side of things and be able to hear some feedback to what we've created. I'm really excited about that.
CHECK OUT THE MUSiC ViDEO FOR CALCULATE!!!
Me being a huge science fiction fan and one who likes to wonder about intelligent life in the universe, I'm very intrigued that you've taken inspiration from the FERMI PARADOX with the album's title. Is this in fact where you took the title from and if so, what was the reason for doing so?
I'm glad you picked up on that. Personally, I love science and sci-fi. I'm a big fan of all forms of science. The way it kind of came to us is that we as a band were dealing with things in our own lives. We were all in a previous band together and it was kind of falling apart. We had been in this band for about nine years and we had tried all of these different angles and we started asking ourselves, is this the end? Are we going to have another project? This was all before we decided to form TO WHOM IT MAY. What ended up happening was we started creating demos and the demos turned into songs. At that point, I wasn't even the singer yet, but I figured I'd try singing on these songs and see how that goes. All of these pieces came together with this record. Before we knew it, what we had created became our own "great filter". For anyone who doesn't know what the Great Filter is, it's this concept of this 99.9% impassable step for intelligent life. Most intelligent life doesn't get past it but some can get through and the question is "Are we through the great filter yet?" That was the question we were asking ourselves as a band before we put this record out. This album really became the band's "great filter". I feel like we've come through it and I like to think that we're that 0.1% success story.
So all of you were in the same band before the formation of TO WHOM IT MAY?
Yeah. In the previous band we had a singer and we were a five piece band. It was a band where we all learned how to write songs. We went on the road and did a lot of stuff and when we came out of that we were like "What are we going to do now?" So we came to the conclusion that if we could redo everything and write a record that we really wanted to listen to, then we should do it. That was kind of the genesis of this whole thing. As far as a theme for a record, the good thing about that concept of the Great Filter is that everybody has some impassable obstacle in their life and it's really up to that person to decide to either push through it or accept it as there. A "great filter" can keep you from where you see yourself getting. This was our way of saying that we're going to push through it and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Nine years is a long time to be in band.
We started it when we were in high school. That was how we were able to put so much time into it. We had a good run. That was how we all met. We all grew up together and we friends with the band NOTHING MORE. We had been playing alongside that band for about ten years. This was before JOHNNY became the singer of NOTHING MORE. He was actually the drummer then. As a band, we did a lot of cool stuff with those guys. We never really did it full time. It was definitely a passion project. We did some tours and we learned how to write music together bascially. We pretty much cut our teeth with that experience.
Who are the other members of TO WHOM IT MAY? Tell me who they are and what it is that you think each of them brings to the table that makes this thing work.
DEXAS VILLAREAL is the drummer. I've known DEX since we were kids. We played our first show together when he was eleven and I was nine years old. His dad was the bass player. We just did this little three piece thing and we've been playing ever since in various projects and we've pretty much always been in a band together. I'm a big METALLICA fan and he and I are like JAMES HETFIELD and LARS ULRICH. We're pretty much a duo. We finish each other's musical sentences. I learned how to write and play drums. But when I wrote guitar riffs, I learned by watching him play. It's really organic for us to jam together. Our bass player ROBB MARS came into the fold about six years ago. He became a member of our previous band. He's a talented bass player but we had noticed him in another project as a guitar player. He's one of the most talented, rhyhmic musicians. He writes such poly-rhythmic music that goes on tangents. When we saw him in those other projects, playing guitar, we knew that we needed him in our previous band. So that was how the three of us got together and when our former band started to fizzle out we started talking about writing music as a three piece.
THE ARTiCLE WiLL CONTiNUE
FOLLOWiNG THE ADVERTiSEMENT BELOW
Who all helped you guys behind the recoridng console for this album?
We had a few people on hand for the record. A good chunk of the album was put together by DEAN DiCHOSA. We started with three songs that we recorded in our home studio and those songs were GHOST, BYPASS and SICK DAY. We went into the studio with our friend BRAD LAMBERT and he co-engineered the tracks with us and took them out to DEAN DiCHOSA in Los Angeles. He worked on those three songs and we were really happy with the end result. After that, we went out on the road to tour and when we came back, DEAN ended up moving just down the street from our house so we ended up recording the rest of the record at DEAN's house. It was a small crew but it was a very good crew. We had DEAN do all of the mixing and we sent it to STERLING SOUND in New York for mastering. We had a great crew behind us. Everyone really did a great job. We're really happy with the end result.
The album is being released through G4L RECORDS. How did the relationship between that label and the band begin?
That happened so quickly. Our management was in touch with KEVIN MARTIN from CANDLEBOX and DEAN, our mixing engineer and producer, had a few tie-ins with CANDLEBOX as well because he has a current project with ADAM - the current bass player for CANDLEBOX. There were all of these loose ties and one thing led to another and KEVIN had a chance to listen to our music and he really dug it. As a result, we ended up going on a short little run with CANDLEBOX last October. We got to hang out with them and kind of shoot the shit and get to know each other. It was really cool! KEVIN is such an amazing front man. We've all heard the CANDLEBOX tunes but if you ever get a chance, go see them live. To see them do what they do live is so awesome! The guy kills it! That was how we met up witht he label. It started a few discussions and one thing led to another and now the record is coming out on Friday.
What songs off of the album stand out for you the most personally and why?
That's a hard one. It's so fresh for us, but for right now - and it will probably be different next week - I'm very close to this track called DESCEND and the other one would have to be CALCULATE because we've just made a video for it. I feel like every tune comes from a different place and that is something that we are really happy about. It doesn't feel like a monotonous, repetitious experience as you listen to the album from start to finish.
One the album is released, what is next for the band musically?
Musically, we've actually been hard at work on the next album for the last eight months. We've got somthing really cool in the works right now. I don't know that I can say anything about it just yet, but basically, we'll be working on some new music this Summer. All of that is in the short term though. Right now, I think we're going ot get out ont he road and promote THE GREAT FILTER and see how far we can push it and see how far the horzon goes.
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