Local Mic: Collective

BY BLENDED STAFF

LOCAL MIC IS A BLENDED SERIES DEDICATED TO HIGHLIGHTING BUDDING ARTISTS IN THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE.

 PHOTO: Collective /  Facebook  (left to right: Dylan, Pablo, Jenson, Eamon)

PHOTO: Collective / Facebook (left to right: Dylan, Pablo, Jenson, Eamon)

Collective, a NYC-based rock band, debuted this past summer, playing a series of shows in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side. After an exciting and eventful summer, the self-proclaimed "neo-classical rock" band has taken a slight break from performances and is spending some time apart. Vocalist Eamon Rush, 22, is abroad in London, guitarist Dylan Kelly, 21, in Paris, guitarist/bassist Pablo Narea, 22, in Madrid, and drummer Jenson Meeker, 21, remains in New York. Despite their separation, Collective has been regularly releasing music from their EP on their Soundcloud and is anticipating their European debut show on December 9th at the Fiddler's Elbow in Camden, London. Blended Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Collective (with the exception of Pablo) and their manager, Alec Segalman, to talk about their summer tour, the challenges they face in being apart, and how the group came to be.

First and foremost, how did all of you meet?

Eamon: Dylan and I knew each other from back in middle school and we kind of kept in correspondence throughout high school and started playing together. Jensen played with us a few months in freshman year actually, then he moved out to L.A. with his mom. We went through a few different other drummers, nothing really serious, just jamming out one or two gigs. Then in high school, we met Pablo and got pretty serious about the song writing and practicing. Jensen came back earlier this year. It kind of clicked with Jensen, it was like the missing piece. All drummers are different, you know, and he really had the John Bonham and I think sometimes, Pablo has a little jazzy side, a little softer, and Jensen backs it up with kind of a harder aura.

How and when did you guys decide to get together and become Collective?

Jensen: They had a couple other bands they went through with the other drummers and so when I came back we started jamming, we had been familiar with each others' styles since the 8th grade or 9th grade when we started playing. And, I don't know. Since then, Dylan and Eamon are both two of my favorite people to play with, and then when we got back together and started jamming, we saw that this could lead to something, that we had potential. So we said let's make this serious. Since then -- we played, I would say, like until around November 2017 and then in January we decided to become a band and get shows going and practice during the week consistently.

Alec: With Dylan and Eamon, we always joked that I would be the manager, finally when I came back to the city, these guys just put it together.

Dylan: At the core of it, we all just, like Jensen said, we were all familiar with each others' styles. We liked playing with each other and we were just trying to keep this music going and express our love for it.

Eamon: For us, a big factor is how much we chill both while making music and before and after. We were playing with other people before Jensen, but we just saw them at the studio. It's not like that here, which kind of makes it feel better when we walk away.

Jensen: Yeah, I think it's important to have that friendship with your fellow musicians. We're all pretty tight friends, so I think that really helps us vibe with each other more and make us want to continue making music with each other. These are my boys, man.

How would you describe Collective's sound?

Dylan: I don't know if this is a definitive term, but I'd call it neo-classic rock. I think that's a good description. But that's not our only influence, even though it's a huge one. Like Eamon said, Pablo's a bit more jazzy, and at certain times, we take a lot of inspiration from more modern kind of rock/indie influences, alternative, a lot of bands from around 2001, that kind of garage revival. If you combine those two with some psychedelic influences, then you start to get a picture. I don't know if you can really give it a definitive term, at least not yet.

Jensen: Eamon and Dylan were super influenced by The Strokes and modern, early 2000's rock revival bands, and I was more influenced by classic rock like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin and a lot of 90's grunge and hard rock.

Eamon: I think that one reason some people get at us saying the name Collective is not imaginative, but the reason we ended up not doing something more out there is because we wanted a clean slate. Every other name that was more unique kind of lended itself to a specific genre and we didn't really want that. If you listen to the songs, there really is a wide variation.

Dylan: There's also kind of a lo-fi, somewhat groovy like chill-hop beat influences too. I don't know if that appears yet, but it's in the melodic influences.

Alec: These guys definitely have a lot of taste variation between them, so everyone kind of brings something to the table. There's definitely a dynamic to what their sound is.

Has working with each other affected your perception or style of music individually?

Dylan: Honestly yeah. Me and Eamon used to make songs together from the beginning and people can be biased, so we have to bring out more developed ideas and give perspectives on it rather than make something from the ground up with just two people. Only one song we've really done that with "Blue to Grey," which was our first release and that was really a mesh of all of us coming together. But often times it's just like someone will bring something to the table and all of us kind of get at it and it turns into something that was collective through it. Pun intended.

Is it hard maintaining the band's relationship when you are away from each other

Eamon: At first I was a little bit worried, but I think it's a good thing because we worked so hard over the summer. It was nice to kind of retreat back, you know, listen to the music we've made and start thinking about what's next, miss each other. A few months apart and you realize how much you miss these guys.

As a band, Collective has been officially together for a relatively short amount of time. How have these past few months as a band affected your growth as a group being apart?

Jensen: I think one of the keys to improving as a musician is to play with other people and to take those influences and kind of let that affect your own style. When I was in California, I would sit there and play alone to drum tracks, and you know, that can only make you so good. You can't really improve or really excel as a musician if you don't have some sort of outside influence from other people and I think just working together and practicing three times a week, even though we're just practicing the same songs, you know we would change minor things and start to understand each other's playing styles and jamming out, it just helped us all improve.

Dylan: I think we've made pretty big strides, not only as individual musicians. At first, when you start playing with other people, the dynamic of bringing ideas together can be rough. It's about taking a step back and I think we're getting better at looking at each song objectively and doing what’s best for the song rather than trying to put our own personal vision on it. That's definitely not the way to approach working in a group because people just get angry. So, I think we've learned that.

Eamon: I think that especially towards the end, after we had a few shows under our belt, I think that we really started trusting each other a lot and giving each other room to grow. We've all watched each other develop. By the end of it, when we all got it down, it's a really nice thing to see.

What lies ahead for Collective?

Eamon: We really just want to hit the ground running and kick the steam up. So many people that we meet, you know musicians, the old ones, they forget about the priorities of just playing and making music and they get sidetracked. And a lot of kids don't really see it as a viable option because it's so hard. It's a long shot, but we just want to make any move to keep this going, you know, anything we can do.

You can listen to Collective on Souncloud now.

Lead Image Credit: Collective / Facebook