LEYDEN JARS actually approached me about doing an interview with them simply because they liked battlehelm.com. Who were I to say no to that. Founding members of the band, Mark Lloyd and Aaron Grajczyk, participated in the interview. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
When you are at the beginning of your career as recording artists where do you start? How do you know where to start? Is there a directory to use?
MARK: I think as recording artists, it all starts with the vision and drive to succeed no matter what. We established right away that this was something we wanted to devote everything we had toward, and work our asses off to achieve the things we want. Musically, we wrote, jammed, made mistakes, and will continue to do so. We both have experience with other bands, but nothing like this. I don’t know about a directory, but it’s all about networking and promoting our band and music. Using social media sites such as Reverb Nation, Pure Volume, Facebook, Twitter, Sound Cloud, etc. Making calls, sending emails, booking shows at any venue that will have us.
AARON: The first step is finding the right people to write with (and I couldn’t be any happier)! Once you find the right people you just know where to start, and that’s with the song. Once you have your first few songs and you start to gel with your band mates you just go from there, and build the best band that you and your band mates can create.
I must admit that it took me a while to realize that the bands’ name is Leyden Jars and that it is not a member of the band. Why such a name?
AARON: Due to what a “Leyden Jar” is it became a symbolic name for us, and has to do with us feeding energy to our fans through our music. Essentially, a Leyden Jar was the a scientific experiment, turning into the first battery.
How do you know when you are ready to enter a studio to record?
MARK: We knew what we wanted on the demo, and what we wanted it to sound like. So we worked hard to get the music tight, and set a goal of a certain date to be ready by. Fortunately, we work well together, and have a very similar vision and passion for this music. It makes working on the music not only a blast, but seamless.
AARON: I’d say it’s all about being comfortable with the songs.
When you write songs do you follow a formula or is it anything goes? How do you know that you’ve hit the jackpot song wise?
MARK: In writing lyrics, I have absolutely no formula whatsoever. I just write what I feel, and from personal experience. Writing has always been a true catharsis throughout some very painful life experiences. Majority of the songs we have written might be considered dark or depressing. But they are real, and a genuine reflection of dealing with pain. Hitting the jackpot in knowing a song is going to be good is more based off feeling. After I wrote the lyrics to “Goodbye, Hello” Aaron took the basic idea of the guitar parts I wrote and turned it into something great. And we know it’s going to be good when we both look at each other and say, “Oh Shit!!” ha ha. But it’s like knowing something without really knowing it.
AARON : I know we’ve hit the “jackpot” when we are writing a song and I look over at Mark, and he is smiling at me. It’s almost like an approval stating “Yea, this song is awesome”
how to describe our “formula”….just really laid back, and a very easy process. It’s “All about the song”.
What is your local music scene like? What kind of scenes are there to play? Is it pretty much cover bands playing airport bars?
MARK: The local music scene, at least for good rock bands, is decent. There are a few original bands in the area that are putting out some great music. There aren’t many great venues in the area, but we hope to do shows not only here in Toledo, but Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, etc. Cities that have more recognizable venues.
When you are a band on the demo level is digital to prefer over CD? Is there a difference in promoting a digital over a physical release?
MARK: There are benefits to both. Majority of people these days are totally digital, especially when it comes to music. Plus promoting on the internet reaches an audience we might not have otherwise reached. Physical CD’s are great to have as well. Being able to hand CD’s to people is always beneficial. Not everyone is going to take the time and jump on our Reverb or Facebook page, but they will throw the CD on in the car. But digital is probably more advantageous with regard to initial promotion.
What are the benefits of being able to post as soon as you’ve recorded? What traps are there with the from the studio to the net approach?
MARK: Being able to post as soon as we recorded the demo was awesome! We had been promoting the band for a few weeks prior to the demo release, so to finally get it up on-line was a proud moment. It has been great to get feedback from those people kind enough to listen to our stuff, and comment. I honestly can’t see any traps going from the studio to the net. It’s been really gratifying to see the results of all the hard work we put into the songs. But this is just the first small step in the process.
AARON : It’s nice to be able to release as soon as possible, but it can also be problematic. But, for a band with a status like ours we just want to be able to be heard and get people to recognize who we are.
When will people tire of the social media and start to interacting person to person again?
AARON : Tough Question. Now that the social media has spawned there will always be another site coming through the back door when another is being booted out of the front. Either way…people are growing bored of Facebook and Twitter. The Question is…what is next after they are no longer a fad? Social media is now reminding people why they kept to themselves in the first place before they joined the click. But, I don’t see “person to person” coming back to existence anytime soon because of texting, and new advancing technology. It seems to be cutting out a lot of human contact with each other.
Is there any danger of promoting the band through the net? How well does what happens on-line reflect on what is really happening in the real world?
MARK: We don’t see any danger in promoting our band through the internet. Utilizing social media sites, we have been able to reach a far more diverse audience. We have people from all over the country hearing (and hopefully enjoying) our music. People’s lives general revolve around technology. Everything from cell phones, computers, etc., are all portals of a communication driven society. Because of that, we benefit from sharing our music through many sites, to many people.
Where are you going to take the band now?
MARK: Having recorded the demo, we are working hard on promoting it. In addition, we are still working with different musicians in the area to fill out the band. But our goal is to begin booking gigs and continue writing music. But releasing the demo is just the first step. We have a lot of work ahead of us, and can’t wait to experience all that this journey will provide.
AARON: Where Ever! Hopefully to the places we dream to go! As long as we stick to it, the sky is the limit!