Beyond Sound: An Interview with Consider the Source
A few weeks ago, I had just gotten out of work on a Friday and a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to catch a show in Providence that night. Living in Boston, I wasn’t too keen on making the trip, until he showed me this video:
Wonderfully intrigued by a guitarist with a double neck guitar, a bassist who (pardon my French) slapped the shit out of his bass, and the band’s overall sound, I headed to the Spot Underground to experience it for myself. My initial thoughts were if you took Primus and Tool, mixed them together with a dash of Middle Eastern flavoring, you would have Consider The Source. After seeing the show, I realized this is a band that is very hard to categorize using traditional genres, but more on that later.
Fundamentally sound would be an understatement – I did not hear one flubbed note all night. That is not an exaggeration. To some of you, I am preaching to the choir, but to those of you who have not heard of Consider the Source, I can only expect you will be more and more.
I had a chance to talk to guitarist Gabriel Marin and bassist John Ferrara about the band’s origins, their instruments, the merit of lyrics, an upcoming tour overseas, and more.
How did Consider the Source come to be? Where did the original trio meet?
John: Consider the Source started when myself, Gabe and [original drummer] Justin Ahiyon first played together at a studio in Manhattan. Justin and I had grown up playing music together and Justin met Gabe through a mutual friend. They realized that they both had similar musical interests and Justin immediately called me and said that we all needed to play together and when we did we all knew that we had a very special chemistry. After some time of playing, and performing we decided to make it official.
Since then Justin has moved on to other musical endeavors and Louis Miller filled in for the past 6 months. We love Lou both personally and musically, but didn’t end up working out with him in the end. Now we have Jeff Mann who’s on his third week of shows with us and is doing a killer job with the songs and the live performances. Many of our fans have commented on the musical “bromance” going on between us. Right now we’re still getting him up to speed on our tunes but we look forward to continuing the musical chemistry to and to begin writing music with him in the near future.
To someone who has never heard you before – how would you describe your sound?
John: For short we always tell people Sci-fi Middle-Eastern Fusion. We feel that’s the best way to sum us up in 3 words.
What would you say, either individually or as a group, are your musical influences? My initial reaction was Primus/Tool, but it seems to go much deeper than that.
Gabriel: Well we grew up listening to bands like Tool, so that music is definitely an influence, but it’s been years since we actively listened to that sort of stuff. As a band our influences are all over the place, and we all go thru phases of listening individually, so that comes out in the jams. Music from Turkey, North and South India, the Balkans, Middle East, Central Asia are mixed with a lot of modern jazz and prog-rock/fusion to get our sound. One of the cool things about this group is that we each have room to be ourselves musically and have our own individual styles mesh together to form the sound of the band. John may play a really funky riff, but then I’ll choose to respond to that with some Eric Dolphy stuff and the blend sounds like us.
Tell us a little about your instruments. John, your bass seemed very Wooten-esque. And Gabe – the uniqueness of your guitar speaks for itself. Can you give a little background as to how you decided it was the right tool for you to achieve your desired sound?
John: Wooten-esque indeed. It’s a 4 string Fodera Monarch. I have been playing Fodera for years and as you’ve seen/heard with Wooten it’s the best bass for slapping/tapping amongst other things. We play a lot of fast unison stuff in this band and sometimes the music gets pretty aggressive but can also get really soft and pretty. So I picked an instrument that lends itself to all those musical sides and molds with my personality as a player.
Gabriel: I play a double neck guitar where the top neck is fretless and the bottom neck is normal. At first I got this so I could play Eastern music on the top neck and Western on the bottom, but as time went the lines are blurred, which I like. I can make a normal guitar sound very un-guitar like. But having the fretless is a love/hate thing. Sometimes it feels like I never want to play a normal guitar again, and then the next day I’ll hate the fretless and only want to play with frets, so I think having the balance between both of them is the right idea.
The intricacies of your music are amazing. Would you say there is a place for lyrics in your music? Or do you feel they would overall detract from your sound?
Gabriel: We don’t think so. Lyrics really tie a song to a specific thing, and to a specific person, the singer. We are free to express different emotions in the same song night after night since we aren’t tied down to words. With lyrics or vocals in general, at least in the west, all the other music and musicians are secondary to the voice, but we are a totally equal trio in every way which I feel is something very special.