Hello again, Skope world! So as you all know I am an avid music buyer through my Kindle Fire. This week I bought the new ASAP Rocky single for $1.29. It got me thinking, how Amazon decides what songs are $.99 and others $1.29 and up. If you know, leave a comment. This week is a band with 2 singles on my Kindle Fire. Lorenzo is a band whose music speaks to me as it’s raw and speaks from the heart. The boys do not hold back with songs like “I Think About Sex” and “Miss Alcohol” or my favorite “Naked & Wasted.” Coming from Cincinnati, OH these guys are rising high after the response from their awesome new album ‘Ignition’ & live show. Join us as we get the lowdown and Lorenzo about how they came together, their many accomplishments so far, and the sexy woman in the “Not Ready to Say I’m Sorry Yet” video is engaged. Lets go!
Stoli: If you knew the world would end on December 21, what 3 things would you love to do before?
MARK: I think one thing I’d love to do is smash a guitar on stage. Right now I can’t afford it, but if I know I won’t be needing it, what the hell…are we sure it’s ending? Otherwise I’m good. I’ll grab a couple beers, head down to the beach and watch the fireworks.
AARON: Bora Bora comes to mind. Something tells me I could squeeze all three things into a long weekend there. Lets leave it at that…
STU: Fu*k my woman, hug my son, play a sold out end-of-year bash!!!!!!
Stoli: How did you guys all come together and name the band Lorenzo?
MARKO: The band name actually came from Bill Scull who found me in the band Echo Park. He found us at an ASCAP Demo review session where he was a judge. We didn’t win but afterwards he called and eventually signed me to his EO Records label. He, along with Mike Busch at Emanon Records sent me to record our CD with Kevin Churko (Ozzy Osbourne, Hinder, five finger death punch). So while we were in LA recording the CD, the guitarist and I would send back new ideas for the name of the new band because he thought Echo Park would be confused with Linkin Park. We would send ideas back – they would say no, until one day I got the call when we were recording drums at Sunset Sound — I still remember the exact moment. Bill called and said we have the name of the band, “Lorenzo,” which is my last name. So I had to go back inside and tell the drummer and guitarist (The only members I had for the band at the time) that was the new band name — pretty long walk…But they were cool and it has worked out. Shows how smart Bill was actually.
Since then, I have been really fortunate to play with some incredible musicians. Bass player Jason VieBrooks, (Heathen) and I have been together for a few years and he has connected me to a bunch of great players. He actually introduced me to Stuart McConnell and Robert Dirr. I met Aaron at one of our shows and we hit if off right away so when there was an opening for a drummer, he was the only call I made.
Stoli: You guys are compared to big names like Nickelback, Seether, & Daughtry, just to name a few. Are any of those bands influences to you & does that add any pressure on you?
MARKO: Those bands are definitely influences and I think it’s cool to be compared to them. I think an artist’s influences are more important early on when they start playing. Who they imagine they are as they are playing guitar or singing in their room. That is where their musical core is formed. But if an artist doesn’t embrace new influences as they grow up they become dated and stale before they have to. That’s why I try to make sure I listen to everything that is new, so I can stay on top of things, ahead of things and most importantly it opens things up creatively. All I can do is write songs that I love — after that it’s up to everyone else to embrace or ignore them. The pressure is on us when it comes to presenting the songs live. Too many bands have great songs but don’t present them well and lose the audience. Other bands have great live shows with average songs. It’s rare when you find both and I think we are always striving and working to reach that goal.
Ultimately we want to be where those bands are — playing big shows, on the radio, on TV and most importantly — they are household names.
AARON: Their paychecks are certainly influential. Personally, they aren’t bands that influence me. Not saying I don’t like them, its just not something that compels me to write. For me, inspiration comes from life. The good times and the bad. Those experiences influence the direction in lyrics or the “heaviness” of a song, etc. The Lorenzo “sound” I think it just a culmination of all of our backgrounds and put together, that’s what we get. I like how we all have different musical backgrounds. Makes me believe we can write in any way we feel like it.
STU: I enjoy those bands, but they are not really influences,..more like peers. My influences are Jimmy Page, Hendrix, Slash, Marty Freedman, Duane Allman…
Stoli: Your media kit is very impressive. Speak on the band’s work ethic and what kind of sacrifices you have to make to make it in music biz?
MARKO: I am a workaholic and a perfectionist so I rarely sit still and I’m sure I wear others out around me. Thankfully, I’ve got a great team that compliment what I do so we can accomplish a lot for a true “independent” artist. We all have different roles and jobs that we are responsible for that take advantage of our strengths. Aaron does all the web stuff, I do all the graphics and art and Stuart does all the drinking and going out — you know, networking. Since we are all in different states, we have a conference call every week to check up on things and plan dates, promotions, opportunities etc.
Obviously, we have the stress that every musician deals with — balancing the music with work, family & other responsibilities, but the biggest one for us is living in different states. Traveling to practice or to play some shows becomes tough if it’s just for a couple days. We recently played a string of dates with Fuel and Filter, but to rehearse for the dates, we all have to travel to Cincinnati where our practice facility is to rehearse for a weekend.
AARON: This band has a huge work ethic. Days are usually spent behind desks with Mark and I on the phone designing press kits, getting materials ready for media, or whatever else needs to be done. Unfortunately, playing music is only about 10% of our job. To do this requires tons of sacrifices in both family, friends and personal relationships. I’ve missed birthdays and other landmark moments because we’re on the road. For me, as I get older, I am getting better about juggling everything and staying a good friend, brother, son, and most importantly uncle. But I have certainly learned the hard way many times.
STU: Tons of persistence and dedication. When it feels like its time to quit, its really time to change direction.
Stoli: I am loving your ‘Ignition’ album. How long did you work on that and where can we grab a copy?
MARKO: Thanks! We are really happy with the way it came out.
I think we started recording the CD about 3 years ago. We had a few new songs like “The Truth” and “Wonder” that we started playing live and we recorded them along with a few new versions of “Nothin Left to Talk About,” “Sex” and a couple others from the last CD. But a funny thing happened. As we would get a new member — usually a guitarist, we would HAVE to re-record the parts so that THEY were on it. So what happened was that the songs got watered down, the parts weren’t as good and the player eventually washed out.
So finally, last summer, I called Rob Nadler at fattracksstudio.com in Cincinnati and said let’s book 4 days to finish the CD. I cut the list down to about 15 songs to finish for the CD, which left about 8 to start from scratch. I started them all at my home studio then sent them to Aaron who recorded his drums at In The Red Studio in Dayton, with Chris “Cookie” Suttle.
I got into the studio got all the rhythm and acoustic guitars and vocals done except “Miss Alcohol” in a couple days, then Stuart flew up and put down his solos and finished Miss Alcohol. After we left, Jason came in and finished the bass tracks.
I was pretty happy that we got as much done as we did — I couldn’t get 2 done the way I wanted them, so we have two almost done and we may release those by themselves in 2013.
Once the were all mixed, we really loved the way that “Sorry” came out so we had Kane Churko (In This Moment) mix a couple versions of it. We used that mix for the single and the video.
The CD and singles are everywhere — iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Music and our website, www.lorenzolounge.com
AARON: Thank you! This record was in the works for well over a year. Every time we thought it was done, Mark would write a new song and we’d insist it becomes part of the record. So he would demo the track, I’d take it to a studio in Dayton, OH called In The Red Recording Studios where the engineer Chris “Cookie” Suttle would work with me and record drums. He even helped sculpted some of my parts as I’d literally be writing them in the studio so he provided priceless insight. Then the song would work its way to Cincinnati to record guitar solos, vocals, etc. A lot of people had to be involved to make this happen since we all live in different states. We’re lucky to have the team we do! You can purchase the record on iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon.Com and of course from lorenzolounge.com
STU: Years and years and years! lmao online allover!
Stoli: I love your song, “Miss Alcohol.” What is that song about and who wrote it?
MARKO: The song kinda’ has a “Natural Born Killers” vibe but all stemming from a night out drinking. The girl just has a way to convince the poor guy to do whatever she wants. I think that’s pretty relatable to most guys — we always end up in trouble.
Since we all live in different states, we don’t practice much. But we did once. Robert and Stu brought this new guitarist, JJ Woolbright to join the band one weekend and at some point, he just started playing this riff. I would say in like 10 minutes, we had worked out a rough arrangement and I had the melody and the chorus. It really seems like the best songs just happen although I’ve had others that I’ve worked like a job for years that eventually come around too.
I asked Stuart to record the guitar part when he got back home and send it to me and I used that to record the rough tracks. I think we may have even used those tracks for framework on the final recording.
That is the only song that was written like that. Most of the others I write and record rough layouts and email them around to everyone to add parts. Then we finalize the songs in the studio. I think that is why Miss Alcohol sounds so “live” and “raw.”
AARON: I have no clue what this song is about. As with most of our songs, honestly. HA! I do remember we had one of our rehearsals in North Carolina and this song came from a jam. I think Stu had a recorder so he was able to capture it. He sent that down to Mark to write some lyrics and then we worked on the structure. Which, by the way…I messed up when I recorded the drums. I apparently forgot my notes that day and completely forgot to record the guitar solo section. So when Stu came up to Cincy to record his solo, he had nothing to record over. Woops! They called me in to redo it, I sat down and hammered it out in one take. So, what you hear, is me frustrated at myself and slamming this track out in a “oner” as we say. Haha
STU: Have to ask Marko, but my take is, the girl you have a fire and gasoline relationship with, and the only time you get along is during drunken make up sex.
Stoli: The video for “Not Ready to Say I’m Sorry Yet” is awesome. Was the storyline of the video based on real life and who is the blonde?
MARKO: I’m not a big real life songwriter. But I absolutely use real life experiences for inspiration. Although the video does follow along a storyline, it’s not a specifically true story. What is true is that I looked at some photos on my phone and I got pissed off. It happened every time I would see those pictures until I finally deleted them. That eventually became the lyrics… “What you are to me, is a cell phone full of pissed off memories.” And literally the song wrote itself after that. The video basically mimics the story I’m telling in the song and how I saw it in my head. When we were planning the video, all I remember is Aaron saying “I get to cast the model!” So he did. Seriously, since Aaron was the only one that lived in Ohio where we shot it — he got to star in it so they could shoot some extra shots ahead of time for the video. Then Stuart and I shot our parts the weekend we came in to finish the CD.
AARON: I have this feeling that Mark writes a lot of these songs based on my tragedy of a love-life. He’s never admitted it, but he’s happily married and well…I’m the only single guy in the band. Although I think this story line is one anyone can relate too. The blonde is a wonderful actress by the name of Brett Cushing who is now a great friend of the band. She was really fun to work with. We shot much of the video at my house and in record time. Any scene where we aren’t together, we were probably filming at the same time as we had two crews filming at once to maximize sunlight and time. I think we shot this video in 3 days? Great crew! I’ll go ahead and answer two other common questions. First, yes the slap was real and hurt like a son of a bitch. We did five takes of that. And second, no she’s not single. In fact, she just got engaged! So congrats to Brett!
STU: Aaron could never get a girl that hot.
Stoli: How do you guys define success for Lorenzo and where would you like to be in five years?
MARKO: That’s tough for someone who is never really satisfied. Music is changing so fast it’s really hard to say what success will be in even one year. I’d like to be known as a band that was not only an innovator musically but a band that create a new paradigm for how to make music viable for bands in the future. It’s like there is an invisible ceiling and only a few bands can break through. Music a media that EVERYONE loves. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line we have come to expect music for free and music is one of the most expensive things to be a part of. So assuming we figure that out, build a fan base that believes in what we are doing and reach a level that I am comfortable calling “Successful,” the first level is clear to me. It would be to pay the crew guys and band members what they are worth. Everyone sacrifices a lot to make this happen and that would be the first sign that we are on the right path. The ultimate goal would be reached when you ask another band this question…”You guys are compared to big names like Nickelback, Daughtry & Lorenzo. Are any of those bands influences to you & does that add any pressure on you?”
AARON: For me success is making enough money to pay the mortgage doing what I love. So hopefully, in five years, not only are we celebrating the fifth year anniversary of you asking us this question, but also still moving up in the world.
STU: living comfortably.
Stoli: I need to see you guys live, how is playing live for you guys and how do you prepare?
MARKO: I think most musicians are either “studio” guys or “live” guys and I consider myself a “studio” guy, but that is why I surround myself with “LIVE” guys. Everyone in the band is non-stop energy when it comes to the stage and the crowd really feeds off of it. I don’t think we have any good pictures of us live because they are all blurry. We have the distinct advantage of being able to adjust our show to match our audience or who we are playing with. We still put on the Lorenzo rock show, but we can play our heavier stuff like “The Breaking” when we play with a band like STP or Filter or songs like “The Truth” when we play with bands like Blessid Union or more of a family-friendly or city type of events. Either way, we really focus on making the shows “a show.” We take pride in our harmonies and visual cues so that even the people that don’t know our songs feel engaged and part of the show.
Since we all live in different city’s everyone asks how do we make that work. The truth is that unlike local bands that practice 3-4 times a week for 1 show, we practice 1 time for a string of dates. So we usually get into town a day or two ahead of time, run through the set, make any changes and go off to do the shows. We will take a few days every few months to work on new arrangements, cover ideas and show changes. Otherwise, everything is done over the computer and we show up ready to play.
AARON: Playing, for me, is where I feel most “alive” to be clichÃ©. It’s that instant feedback and interaction from fans that gives me a high no drug could ever do. I guess that’s why I don’t do drugs! I like to try and have one-on-one connections with the crowd, whether it’s making a goofy face at someone or tossing a drumstick to someone. It’s the greatest! Basically…I try to be a front man, from the back. There isn’t a lot of preparation. We get together for rehearsals maybe once or twice a year to keep things fresh but it’s everyone’s responsibility to get on the tour bus prepared.
STU: I LIVE FOR LIVE! This band has a ton of energy and power live, and it always sucks the crowd in. Its contagious in a way. I prepare with alcohol and warming up for 30 mins or so.
Stoli: How much time is devoted to the band and is it hard to juggle family/work/school?
MARKO: Basically the real world keeps getting in the way of music…I keep thinking that once we reach a certain point, I’ll be able to relax a bit and be able to just worry about writing songs and playing music. But the truth is that as things get bigger for us, there are many more things that we have to do. That means more time away from wives, girlfriends, work. So usually our days start with reading emails and posting updates on our social media pages. We all talk or text at least 5 times a day on upcoming show opportunities, media page ideas, updates to our press kits, statuses on downloads/likes/fans. Then the evenings are usually when Aaron updates the band website, I work on art and marketing stuff and Stuart updates the other band’s social sites. It’s a 2nd full-time job for everyone — and it really should be. I have always said that there are many more talented bands than us, but no one will out work us.
AARON: This is beyond a 40-hour work week with this band. There’s just too much work to do. Thankfully, I’m a full time musician so I can dedicate a lot of time to it. It’s always hard to juggle any sort of personal life with the long hours dedicated to this business…and this band is very much a business. But you know what…I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Maybe for just Bora Bora tho. Haha
STU: Each member devotes a large amount of personal time towards Lorenzo. It is a juggle,….money is always very elusive, But the pay off will be worth the investment.
Stoli: What’s coming up for Lorenzo and where you at online?
MARKO: 2013 should by a really busy year for us (knock on wood). We will be touring — and as soon as we can announce the dates and bands we are playing with we will let everyone know on our website, www.LorenzoLounge.com and mobile app. We have a new video for “Not Ready To Say I’m Sorry Yet” that is currently getting more plays on video networks and online and we will be shooting the next video from the new CD next month. And finally, we will be releasing the single, “Not Ready To Say I’m Sorry Yet” to commercial radio after doing really well with the CD at college radio. It’s really an exciting time for us and we are looking forward to staying busy.
STU: MUSIC DOMINATION! lol