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1. For people who may not have heard some music from you yet... what can someone who's never heard of you expect from your music?
I would say that our music is a blend of heavy and melodic elements.
It's guitar driven rock, but it's balanced out with a very melodic vocal sense.
2. Are you pleased with the response you have received so far?
Yeah, it's been great. We've got a lot of positive feedback at this point.
3. "Cul-De-Sac" is the name of the album. Could you explain the title and has this anything to do with the album cover?
The title kind of represents where we come from. It seems very limiting, but at the same time it made us who we are as people and as a band. So it's got positive and negative elements. The original idea of the cover didn't get used for various reasons and the photographer for the record, Nitin Vadukul, had some really cool stuff that he wanted us to consider. He's a brilliant person and we are very happy with the outcome of the cover.
4. Why did you choose "Monsters" as your first single?
That was the labels decision, but we were definitely cool with it. We got some spins on a couple of radio stations with our demo of that song, so I think that may have been a factor as well.
5. Who would you like to work with that you haven't yet, whether it be Hip-Hop, Rock, or any other form of music?
That's a tough one. I have tons of musical influences, but I guess right now I'd say Peter Gabriel, Lenny Kravitz, I love Prince but he's so fuckin good at everything that I probably wouldn't want to play around him, Indigo Girls. Too many to keep going.
6. How did you come to the conclusion to begin a career as a music artist?
Around the age of 5, I knew I was going to play guitar. It didn't happen until years later, but I've wanted to play music basically all my life. Being surrounded by music at an early age was probably a lot of it.
7. What did you go through to get your music recognized?
We just did what most bands do, play shows, demo songs, etc... Just tried to get out there at least on a local/regional level and get the name out there.
8. How do you separate yourselves from other artists?
I think that we just do our own thing, we are who we are. We try not to attach ourselves to one exact or specific thing.
9. What are you planning to do in the [near] future?
Our record just came out, so I'm sure we'll be on the road for the next year or so. Try and get out there and let people know we exist.
10. What would you like to achieve with your music and career?
I would love to be able to make music for a living for the rest of my life. That's a very difficult thing to do, but that would be the ultimate thing for me.
11. What artists are you listening to at the minute?
Today I listened to The Mars Volta, some Jellyfish, some Soilwork, Devo and Marvelous 3.
12. What's the one music album you love that everyone else seems to hate?
I love Deadsy-Commencement. Not to say that everyone hates it, but I think they're one of those bands you either love or hate.
13. If you ran the industry you work in, you would...
14. What celebrity/person would you want downloaded onto your hard drive and stored for all time?
15. Do you have anything to say to the MusicRemedy.com's visitors?
Thanks for taking the time to read my bs. Oh yeah, buy CUL-DE SAC!!
Remember the old adage "opportunity only knocks once"? Brad Hursh--songwriter, guitarist and lead vocalist for the group V Shape Mind--sure does, though he couldn't be blamed for being a bit wary when that knock finally arrived. That's because the first time someone appeared at the band's door, it wasn't fame, fortune or fate standing in the entrance way. It was a pair of angry cops.
"A few years ago, we were in the middle of practice and there was a knock at the door," he recalls. "It was the police, and they had come to see Scott, our drummer. I don't recall exactly whether it was for failing to appear in court for a traffic ticket or some other violation, but they ended up taking Scott away that night."
Fortunately, the incident caused only a brief disruption in the group's development, and soon thereafter opportunity truly did knock at their door. That's when world-famous producer David Bottrill (TOOL, King Crimson, Silverchair) signed V Shape Mind--which, besides Hursh and Scott Parjani, also includes guitarist Jeff McElyea and bass player Vic Zientara--as the premiere act on his new Mainstation label.
"I was really attracted to the character of Brad's voice, plus the tightness of the band and the way they played," explains Bottrill. "The texture of Brad's voice is especially amazing. It's just like treacle: it runs all over you. It was inspiring for me to be able to work with such a great instrument." Bottrill also helped the young quartet, which formed in Decatur, Illinois in 1999, to realize their full potential. "We really needed David to take our music to the next level," says Hursh. "He took the songs that we had and really brought them to life. We're extremely happy with the record we made with him."
That album, titled CUL-DE-SAC, spotlights the band's self-proclaimed "heavy mellow" sound. "It's definitely a rock record, where there are heavy guitars and big parts, but at the same time there's a very melodic sense to it," reveals Hursh, who wrote all 12 tunes on the CD. "I love so many styles of music, from the Beatles and Prince to Pantera and Mudvayne. It's absolutely those two worlds--heavy and melodic--put together."
The first single, "Monsters," is a perfect example of that delicate melding of heaviness and harmony. The tune blends dynamic drums and grinding guitars with poignant lyrics and Hursh's unforgettable voice. "It's a pretty driving rock song that, once again, combines heavy and melodic aspects, especially within the choruses," notes the multitalented musician. "It's also a rather provocative piece dealing with demons, either the strictly psychological ones or the types of external demons that you encounter on an everyday basis."
Still, for casual listeners, the subject matter may not appear so obvious. In fact, whether experiencing "Monsters," the bittersweet "The Taste of Vinegar" or "Glitches," which highlights booming bass and relentless percussion, nothing about CUL-DE-SAC is clear-cut. "I write in a very metaphoric manner, so everything is rather ambiguous," says Hursh. "Anyone can interpret what I write in any way they want. That's because I really like people to kind of grasp what they want out of something, as opposed to making things so black and white that they aren't necessarily relatable to everyone. If something is ambiguous, two different people may have different interpretations of the same song, and they'll both be correct."
That same uncertainty is intentionally reflected in the band's name. "I wanted something that could be interpreted in many ways," declares Hursh, adding that he is constantly amused by the varied definitions he has heard for V Shape Mind. "Ultimately, I wanted the name to symbolize balance and structure, and I liked the idea of transcending and using our minds more than what we tend to do." Regardless of how folks decipher the group's lyrical content or moniker, the charismatic lead singer promises a contemplative, constructive and, perhaps most important, consequential listening experience. "My goal was to have a non-filler record," asserts Hursh. "Every song had to count. That's very difficult to do, but it was important to me that we have a recording full of tunes where none of them seem or sound like filler."
The four band-mates may have been flustered by the initial knock at their studio door, but with the forthcoming release of CUL-DE-SAC, the members of V Shape Mind can rest assured that opportunity--in the form of producer David Bottrill and his Mainstation imprint--truly has arrived. For that, Hursh, and legions of prospective fans soon to be introduced to his "heavy mellow" music, can be quite thankful.