The Spanish Channel are a powerpop rock band from Brooklyn New York, consisting of Jaime Garamella (Lead Vox and Guitar), Lauren Stockner (Guitar and Vox), Bruce Hordon (Drums and Vox),and Tyler Phillips (Bass and Vox). Despite currently in the depths of a tour we were delighted when they agreed to complete a feature interview for Song Revelation. Read on to find out about how they all became interested in music, which modern day artists they are inspired by and what their current career highlights have been.
Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or a number of genres what would it be?
We’re an original powerpop band. We mix everything from classic rock and blues to alternative rock and pop.
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
The Spanish Channel is melodic powerpop — catchy uptempo guitar driven rock with four part vocal harmonies.
Q: What is your musical background?
Lauren: I’ve been playing rock, pop and blues guitar since the age of 12 and have been actively gigging since I was 16. In 2008 I graduated from the Berklee College of Music with a degree in Guitar Performance and Music Business/Management.
Jaime: I was born a platypus and played keytar on the planet Connecticut until the age of 16, when I took up guitar. Lauren and I went to Berklee together. At the time I still had a vestigial bill. Before moving to NYC, I played in blues, southern rock, country, and R&B bands in North Carolina, and that roots music manages to pop up a lot in my writing, despite our otherwise straight-ahead sound.
Bruce: I played jazz saxophone for 10 years, but luckily saw the light and switched to rock drumming. I studied with Broadway drummer Clayton Craddock (Memphis), funk clinician and producer Jim Payne, and rock Drummer Sandy Gennaro (Joan Jett, Bo Diddley). I’ve been playing everything from hard rock to shoe gaze for the past 8 years.
Tyler: Anything and everything between homegrown Texas stringed instrument training to theatrical, concert, and award-winning film score composition.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
2010 was great, we made a lot of progress breaking into the New York City scene and building a bit of a buzz. We were included in the Nov 2010 issue of Spin Magazine and even got to perform at Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City. It was also a special year for us because we finished our album Brooklyn, Off Atlantic and we’re extremely proud of it. A lot of 2010 paved the way for what has turned out to be an incredible 2011.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
Jaime: Foo Fighters, Fountains Of Wayne, Stone Temple Pilots, Hendrix, Weezer, James Brown, The Old Ceremony, Parliament, Dylan, Brad Paisley, The Cars, Nirvana, Randy Newman
Lauren: Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains, Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Allman Brothers, Incubus, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blind Melon, Third Eye Blind, The Raconteurs, Nirvana, Jeff Beck, Soundgarden
Tyler: Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain, Joni Mitchell, Charles Mingus, Randy Newman, Johnny Cash, Elvis Costello, Mary Lou Williams, Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen, Richard Rodgers
Bruce: Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, Alice in Chains, Metallica, Stewart Copeland, Dave Grohl, Chris Adler, Stone Temple Pilots, Ray Luzier, Filter, Travis Barker
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
Jaime: Foo Fighters, Fountains Of Wayne, Stone Temple Pilots, Weezer, Maroon 5, Social Hero
Lauren: Foo Fighters, Stone Temple Pilots, Social Hero, Chris Velan, Jack White, Alice In Chains, Farewell Milwaukee, Chris Cornell
Bruce: Foo Fighters, Lamb of God, Muse, The Bronx, Superdrag, Blink 182
Tyler: Ingrid Michaelson, Outkast, The Killers, Duffy
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
Jaime: Weird Al.
Lauren:: Dave Grohl, Chris Cornell, the Deleo Brothers
Tyler: Willie Nelson, Beck, Wynton Marsalis, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Johannes Brahms
Bruce: Dave Grohl, Richard Patrick, Pete Townshend
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
Lauren: The Raconteurs, Stone Temple Pilots, Foo Fighters, Zeppelin, Chili Peppers, Chris Velan
Jaime: Fountains of Wayne, The Kinks, Roy Buchanan, David Bowie.
Bruce: Buckcherry, Alice in Chains, Hot Hot Heat, The Bronx, Army of Anyone, Alien Ant Farm, Slipknot, Slayer, Blink 182
Tyler: A ton of Django Reinhardt, “Prayer For The Dying” by Seal, “Amy’s Song” by Switchfoot, the entirety of “Sketches of Spain” by Miles Davis, “Walking Spanish” by Tom Waits, “L’Arlesienne Suite No. 2” by Bizet .
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
Jaime will usually bring in a raw version of a song which we’ll run through a few times at rehearsal and during this time we’ll experiment with different parts and ask each others opinions and work together as a band to make it sound great. Sometimes this takes a few weeks, or longer. There are some songs on Brooklyn, Off Atlantic that we’ve altered since recording and these additions can only be heard at our live shows!
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
For us, melody! Ultimately we think it has a lot to do with style. For example, Loudon Wainwright’s songs are great, but for him, the lyrics are more important than the melodies. Vice versa for Nirvana, whose melodies are amazing, but whose lyrics are pretty cryptic.
Q: Where are you based?
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Brooklyn is an interesting and creative place. There is inspiration everywhere and it’s good to live somewhere that hosts a diverse group of people. You can’t throw a stone without hitting a musician or artist, and at the same time, you’re walking everywhere and constantly rubbing elbows with all kinds of people. You can’t get too insulated, the way it sometimes felt growing up in the ‘burbs.
Q: What are you currently working on?
While we’re touring in support of Brooklyn, Off Atlantic, we’ve started rehearsing new material so that when the new year rolls around we’ll be ready to record our follow-up album. We’ve spent most of the summer booking and promoting our fall tour (http://www.thespanishchannel.net/Shows.html) which kicked off on September 9th.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Other than simply continuing to exist? (A highlight for any band that lasts more than a year!) It would have to be opening for Dave Matthews Band’s Grammy-nominated guitarist Tim Reynolds at Sullivan Hall in Manhattan. Playing in New York City is always a highlight because it’s home for us but to be able to play at home with a national touring act of that caliber was unforgettable. (Relevant picture: http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/255715_10150284529102049_78712167048_8897909_4232824_n.jpg)
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
We will be spending the fall/winter touring up and down the east coast and our hope is to make sure we get as many people as we can to these shows and to walk away with new fans every night.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
- October 29 – Crocodile Rock (Allentown, PA)
- November 11 – Level X Lounge (Washington, DC)
- November 12 – Shakedown Street (Raleigh, NC)
- November 17 – Roxy & Dukes (Dunellen, NJ)
Q: What do you do to relax?
Lately we’ve been having some pretty intense Ping Pong tournaments, especially on the road so if you’re on our route this fall and have a Ping Pong table, we hereby officially challenge you to a match.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
Yes! We have a video that is currently in the editing stage for our single People Pleaser, the first track on Brooklyn, Off Atlantic. Check our websites regularly, it should be posted within the first few weeks of October.
Editor’s Note: The Spanish Channel’s dynamic riffs built on catchy pop foundations create a very pleasing and commercial sound. Make sure you watch The Spanish Channel live if you have a chance!
If you’d like to contact or learn more about The Spanish Channel just follow the links below:
twitter link: twitter.com/spanishchannel
facebook link: facebook.com/thespanishchannel
myspace link: myspace.com/thespanishchannel
web page link: thespanishchannel.net
soundcloud link: soundcloud.com/thespanishchannel
reverbnation link: reverbnation.com/thespanishchannel