Musical Influences & Anecdotes
I get this question a lot when I do interviews..."who or what are your musical influences?" It's a question that goes beyond just music. It's deeper than that. However, let's start with a few stories....
Growing up, it was The Beatles. I was and still am a huge fan. Though my music style is not like theirs, it was their creative experimentation that probably influenced me the most. As a kid, my first album was Yellow Submarine and I actually spent more time listening to side two, the George Martin soundtrack side more than the Beatles songs on side one.
When I started to write music, I didn't try to copy any artist. I just did my own thing, or so I thought. I remember really listening to Pink Floyd for the first time and I thought "hey, these guys write like I do." Naive, but funny to think that I thought it was them writing like me as opposed to me writing like them. My first "serious" songs really sucked, but we all have to start somewhere. I did write goofy songs I called my "Campfire Tunes" which were very immature and raunchy especially for a 13 year old at a Catholic school. I called my "band" (consisting of just me) Ravishing Robert and the Rapists. Don't judge. Just being a stupid kid who didn't know any better. Luckily I got out of that phase and started to write better songs.
Needless to say Pink Floyd, Rush and Queen were influences starting out. However, one of my turning points was Gary Numan (remember Cars?). His dark heavy synth style was a breath of fresh air, and he was pivotal in bringing the synth into the New Wave movement.
I also went through a phase of jazz rock fusion. That was a big eye opener. I was blown away by artists like guitarist Al Di Meola and violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. They were the precursor to great bands like Dream Theater. I think I stole a few riffs from Ponty but hey, that's just paying him homage, right? Here's a little bit of Lanes Laire trivia. Rayford Griffin (drums) and Wally Minko (piano), who played on my 11:11 album both played with Jean-Luc Ponty. In fact, I remember seeing Rayford Griffin on tour with Ponty when I was in high school. Pretty cool how things come full circle. Check out the Hell If I Know (Live) video on my Media page to see them in action.
Another interesting phase, more so than an influence was my K-Pop phase. I inadvertently got hooked on 2NE1, purely by accident of course. I was watching M-Net and caught 2NE1 TV and started watching, strictly for educational purposes to see how the music industry in Korea worked, The next thing I know I'm in downtown LA going to a 2NE1 concert...VIP tickets naturally (for research purposes only...really). Never mind the fact that I was singing every song in Korean (memorized) and was just as enamored as everyone else there. What's really funny was making it on 2NE1's Facebook page! Embarrassed? Yes. Regrets? Hell no! Four years later CL from 2NE1 did a solo show and yes, VIP again and this time I got to chat a little with her. Love my K-Pop girls!
I also have a lot of respect for the gothic and metal bands, especially the Dutch bands from The Netherlands. I was a huge fan of The Gathering when Anneke van Giersbergen was the lead singer. She left the band to pursue a solo career and other projects but one of my favorites. I was thrilled to finally see and meet her in LA along with Delain and the cool dudes from Amorphis.
Finally, a major moment that still affects me to this day was the passing of Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. The band is also influential and I'm sure some of that will come out in the creation of the E.R. album. However, my experiences since then will be the focal point of my album. I'll save the details of this and all the great people I have met for another blog post, It was cool to have the opportunity meet and talk with Mike Shinoda on the few occasions I ran into him.
Being eclectic, my influences have changed over the years but I find that I do have my unique "style" even though the genre may change. I'm always up for experimentation but the core is having great songs and a story to tell. There has to be meaning and purpose. With the third album E.R. in the works, the goal is to create an album that I hope you can immerse yourself.