We are officially under 30 days away from spring. It feels great to be able to say that. Many people out there in the industry feel the Internet has been the downfall of music as a business. For the big corporations that might be true but for the independent artist this is only the beginning. Music is not an expensive commodity to create and it can be distributed & purchased with ease online. My guest today is Phil DaRosa and he amplifies this with the release of his new EP, ‘Away.’ Phil & Bandcamp.com have created a way for Phil & his fans to listen & buy his music with their mouse. Join me as this talented musician from New England talks about his life & music. Be sure to click the link and hear the new EP ‘Away’ and get excited for the future of music!
Stoli: Where are we talking from and how are you keeping warm this winter?
Phil Darosa: I’m currently in the Pioneer Valley in Western MA visiting some friends and hangin with ma lady. Which I guess answers both ends of the question. :)
Stoli: Does the cold & snowy winter effect how much you write & make music as opposed to the warm and sunny spring & summer?
Phil Darosa: I think winter is a great time to ‘hermit-ize’ and work on new projects since you don’t really wanna be outside in the cold too much, especially if you’re not an avid winter sports fanatic, or if you don’t have too many gigs happening.
So I guess the short answer is no. Winter doesn’t necessarily take away from how much I write. I tend to be so busy in the Summer and Fall with gigs that I don’t have too much time or energy to make new music, so I’m doing what I can now to get some new stuff created and hope the Spring will be the same way.
‘Away’ EP – http://phildarosaband.bandcamp.com/album/away-ep
Stoli: How much influence did your parents have in your love for music and do they still support your passion?
Phil Darosa: My folks definitely had music on all the time when I was growing up. My pops loved Dylan and Cream and all the 70’s rock bands that paved the way for what we think of as ‘classic’, so yeh, they certainly influenced me that way, just by having music on even though neither of them are musicians. My father runs a family printing company with his brother and sister, and I’m convinced his printing press, which ran constantly when I was there after school as a kid, had an effect on me and my sense of rythm with the constant and perfect clunking sounds it made.
And yes, my folks have always been as supportive as you could possibly be as parents.. I’m extremely lucky in that area. My folks show up to gigs whenever they possibly can and are always interested to hear my new “offspring”.
Stoli: You recently released the new EP, ‘Away.’ How long have you been writing & recording these songs?
Phil Darosa: ‘Away’ is a collection of songs all written in the last year and half. The title track ‘Away’ was written in the fall of ’09, and I’ve probably got 10 different versions of it that I came up with during the year up to its actual release. ‘Spring’ was also written around the same time, a bit earlier though during that summer of ’09. The other two were written in 2010, and ‘Beneath Your Feet’ is the last song I wrote, which happened only about a month or so before I released it.
Stoli: How did you choose the four songs that you wanted to have on this EP?
Phil Darosa: I did this record a little differently than the last one, which I had a lot of ‘extra’ tracks to choose from. ‘Away’ started out as just the three songs, minus ‘Beneath Your Feet’. I was just going to put those three out until I came up with ‘Beneath Your Feet’ and thought I should add it.. Over the last couple years I’ve been experimenting with other elements I haven’t really used before, like electronic beats/synths. I’ve got dozens of ideas for songs recorded already but these songs on ‘Away’ had been kind of lingering, so it was an easy choice to decide those songs should be my next ones to ‘go out’.
Stoli: The EP format has become very popular with bands & musicians. How has digital technology & sites like Bandcamp made it easier for you to put music out when & how you want?
Phil Darosa: Sites like Bandcamp are great. You no longer have to go through tedious processes to release tracks and I think it’s a huge benefit for indie artists to be able to do that. Sites like CDbaby.com are also pretty kick-ass, though it takes a little more time to get things rolling with them..although they, unlike bandcamp, can allow you to go to one place to blast out your stuff to every digital outlet you can imagine. Definitely makes it easier and easier for us indie folk to get our stuff out there, especially when the music industry can be so daunting and seem like a bottomless pit of confusion as to where to go and who to talk to about simply getting songs out into the world.
Stoli: What two male singer/songwriters do you listen to and respect what they do?
Phil Darosa: Just today I was listening to Tom Yorke and Chris Martin. They both have such different approaches to songwriting and singing and I’m drawn to both. Tom’s eerie and dissonant, yet extremely melodic approach is something I’m playing around with more and more.. Chris’s deceivingly simplistic and blunt lyrical and melodic style is so easily appreciated by the masses that I have to wonder how he makes it so appealing. More and more though, I’m leaning towards experimenting with the ‘Radiohead approach’ of electronic soundscapes and dissonant melodies which can leave you wondering what the hell just happened after you hear it.
Stoli: How much of you real life do you expose through your music & press interviews?
Phil Darosa: Quite a bit, yet not the whole ‘enchilada’. :) There’s a natural tendency for artists to express their respective realities through their medium and I suppose I do exactly that in some of my songs, though not all. I like the idea of doing the complete opposite as well with songwriting and art — completely separating yourself from it and producing something that’s reflective of some totally abstract or distant topic can be really inspiring and thought provoking.
With interviews I think it’s really valuable when artists express and share their own methods of creating and even personal insights to their ‘real life’ so others can hear their approaches and influences to their art — not only for fans who might be curious about the creative process of their favorite band, but also for other artists to be able to compare what they do with their fellow artists, and take what they can from it to add new elements to their own work. So I’m happy to do just that – Share my ‘real life’ so others can take what they will from it and who knows, even steal my ideas and make them their own!
Stoli: You have been doing music for many years and have come quite a long & impressive way. What is it that keeps you driven and motivated to play music & keep reaching new fans?
Phil Darosa: Well I’m still a long way away from feeling like I’ve accomplished anything really ‘impressive’, but thanks for saying so. I think that I’m driven by the whole process of creating music, and hearing/discovering new routes to take with it and new avenues to get it all out there into the world. I used to write a lot of politically driven songs and have kind of strayed away from that approach. There are so many things happening in the world right now that need more attention and awareness, so I’ve considered bringing that side of my writing back, as there are definitely things that I am inspired and driven by on that level. I guess it also just depends on what’s happening in the world and day to day that paves the way for what inspires me to keep writing and creating. And obviously the fans I’ve got up to this point have helped me stay motivated. I don’t just do this for myself and love the idea that my music can inspire someone else, and I think that’s huge for artists in general and for their longevity. Everyone needs to feel appreciated, so thanks fans!
Stoli: I love your song, “You’ll Be Fine.” What does that song mean and who are you talking to?
Phil Darosa: Glad you like it! The song was originally written for my girlfriend – it started as a tribute to her, and a flashback to one of the first nights we really spent together.. It then turned out to be an overall message from one lover to the other, saying that “through all the hard times we go through in life, you still have ‘me’ to help you through them”.
Stoli: What is coming up for Phil Darosa and where can we follow you online?
Phil Darosa: I’ll be spending the next couple months writing and recording, as well as booking new dates for spring and summer. I’ve just recently launched my new website at www.phildarosa.com where you can follow all the news (new tracks, new gigs booked, blog posts etc). From there you can link to all the other cyber ‘spots’ I’ve got going.. and you can “Like” me on the Facebook, and “+Friend” me on the MySpace and all that groovy shtuff you internet folk do…:)