The Longfellow Bridge: How did Satellites Fall come to be?After graduating I dug out some old tapes of stuff we self demo’d on an old analog 4-track and said, “we should do something with this”.Davey Moore: The band actually started as an acoustic project. I met our singer, Mark, while at UMass Amherst many moons ago and we both had acoustic guitars in our dorm rooms and just started playing. At first it was nothing serious, but after graduating I dug out some old tapes of stuff we self demo’d on an old analog 4-track and called Mark up and basically said, “we should do something with this”. The songs weren’t anything amazing at the time but I felt Mark had great vocals. I was interested in seeing what we could do together.
TLFB: Based on credits alone, there are a lot of hats worn by each member of SF; you’re credited for guitar, drums, and synthesizer, for example. Is there a specific approach to who plays what when?Like many bands we’ve had our issues with lineup changes.DM: It’s really based out of necessity. Like many bands we’ve had our issues with lineup changes. So if we were in the middle of recording and lost our drummer I would simply lay down the tracks. I played drums in bands growing up. Mark actually played piano. We can all play guitar and bass. And I know enough on synth to find sounds and textures I like when Mark or David isn’t around. Comes in handy in the writing and recording process.
TLFB: How does the writing process typically work?Mark and I definitely feed more off the moment and do a lot of trial and error to see what feels and sounds right.DM: It’s evolving. The early material was written almost all acoustically and then adapted to a full electric lineup. Then we started using more synth, which was usually added after the structure of the song had been written. We are going in a more electronic direction now and have a few songs where the synth lines were actually written first. We’re always willing to try new things. But Mark and I have a way of working with each other. Sort of our own creative process. There are many times that he’ll try different vocal approaches and something will jump out at me as he does them. Or I’ll be writing a lead line on guitar and he’ll hear something in it and have a slightly different vision. I sort of submit and allow him to guide me in those situations. We are proponents of always at least trying ideas any member offers. The worst thing you can do is default to saying, “no, no, that’s not gonna work” without hearing it first. Our bass player David is more of a theory guy, while Mark and I definitely feed more off the moment and do a lot of trial and error to see what feels and sounds right.
To be honest, it wasn’t until we solidified things with this current lineup that we have so many contributing members. It use to just be the two of us and I’d end up showing the drum parts to our drummer and we’d show rhythm guitar parts to our guitarist, etc… It’s refreshing to have a drummer and bass player that are writing their own parts, making suggestions on guitars and vocals, and helping shape the songs. Though, it has taken some getting use to. We are blessed with some amazingly talented musicians and a group of genuinely good guys. That’s not to discredit any former members. With past members we were just so busy gigging that we usually never reached a writing phase with them.
TLFB: Your songwriting has a fair amount of building rewarded by flat out awesome crescendos at the end of your songs. Is the build something you’re conscious of while writing?There’s no denying that we like big choruses and try to make the song feel as if it’s leading somewhere.DM: Well, thank you. There’s no denying that we like big choruses and try to make the song feel as if it’s leading somewhere. But, of course, as a band you never really feel like you’re executing on that stuff the way you’d like. We’re one of those bands that feel like we have yet to capture our live sound with a recording. This is probably more of a function, or more a limitation, of a serious budget for recording in the studios that could get us there. But we are actually starting to get away from that formula. The newer electronic stuff actually has more of a constant upbeat “dancy” feel to it.
TLFB: In my last interview, I spoke with the artist about how the way artists treat their genre is often annoying. Artists act as if being asked to “pigeonhole” their sound is impossible (when it frequently is quite easy) and the non-musicians who would dare ask such a question are given unhelpful answers. Yet with Satellites Fall I’m inclined to give a different description for each song, yet the overall whole is clearly the work of one band. I’m going to do the unthinkable and ask you to define the sound of Satellites Fall. Use as many words as you need.We were striving for more of a current indie sound but … we’re letting it evolve. DM: We keep it basic. We considered ourselves indie/alt rock. We were striving for more of a current indie sound but because we have members that are influenced by bands like Radiohead, The Cure, U2, etc. we definitely had a 90’s alt rock feel. Our new material was going in more of an indie direction but we’ve recently started incorporating elements of dance/trance/techno/electronica and pop. We’re letting it evolve. It will always sound like us. We have a new track that even has a quasi-dubstep break down. The rest of the track is very dance but then we put strings in and guitar lines, and once Mark’s vocals were in it just felt and sounded like Satellites Fall. Some bands want to be able to say, “We don’t sound like anyone else”. Great. So when a promoter comes along they have no idea whether to put you on a bill with Cannibal Corpse or Celine Dion.But I completely agree with your statement. A few of our members are involved with a local indie label and between putting out compilations and booking shows we’ve dealt with hundreds, if not thousands, of artists. It’s not helpful to anyone when you look at a bands bio and they don’t define what genre they fall in or who they are influenced by or “sound like”. Makes it incredibly tough to put together a solid lineup where each band will benefit from the fans of the other band. Some bands want to be able to say, “We don’t sound like anyone else”. Great. So when a promoter comes along to ask you to support a sold out show at a premier venue with some national act they have no idea whether to put you on a bill with Cannibal Corpse or Celine Dion. And while most promoters will move on to the next band after not finding the info they are looking for in one place; some will actually take the time to hunt down the bands’ material to hear what they sound like. That is, if they have all the links to their music in the same place as their bio. More times than not, you end up searching 3 or 4 different sites to get all the info you need. But I digress!
TLFB: Instead of asking influences, I’m more interested to hear which three or four cover songs you think that SF could absolutely nail on the head.I’d like to take song from a completely different genre and make it our own. Like a pretty version of a Misfits song.DM: This is interesting because if you were to ask each band member you would get completely different answers. We actually steer clear of covers. Though, years ago we did cover an Oasis song live. Yes, Oasis. Mark has played with the idea of covering a Michael Jackson song, “Dirty Diana”. And I know he’d love to cover one of his favorite U2 songs. If I had the skill-set I’d pick a Sigur Ros song. But, in my humble opinion, no one should be covering their material. I don’t see anyway it could live up to the original version. So maybe something like “Reckoner” by Radiohead. But I’d also like to take song from a complete different genre and make it our own. Like a pretty version of a Misfits song. I’d love to do Hybrid Moments. Our drummer, Bryan, actually moonlights in a band that does covers so he’d probably pick something that he knows crowds like and can get into. Our bass player, David, likes a lot current radio pop stuff. He’s almost shameless and unapologetic about it. So while it is a known faux pas to cover a song by a contemporary in current rotation, I think he’d opt for that. Or at least a track that was a hit in the last year.
TLFB: If I can talk about Midday Records briefly, has your work with the label increased the profile of Satellites Fall? I sincerely hope it has.
DM: Some. But it works both ways. Midday Records started as a means of releasing our own material. I can remember the exact day we decided to make it a label that would help many other local artists, as well. When Satellites Fall first started gigging we would get put on a lot of mixed genre shows where we really didn’t fit. We don’t go well with heavier bands. We were playing one of these mixed genre shows and there was another artist, Chris Masson, on the bill. Actually, it was his former band, Eight Page, which he was in right before going solo. I was at the bar getting a drink when they went into a cover of Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android”. They were nailing it. I literally ran from the bar to find our singer, Mark, standing right in front of the stage singing along. The place was packed, yet we were the only two that seemed excited or even showed any interest in the band playing. I am ashamed to say it was a cover that initially got my attention, but the rest of their set was just as good.I remember thinking, “I can’t believe we have such amazing music right here in our own back yard.”From there we started finding bands we actually fit with on bills. I remember being on a bill with Chris Masson, Fly Kite Canvas (Formerly Scarlet) and some other great local indie/alt acts and thinking to myself, “I can’t believe we have such amazing music right here in our own back yard. It’s a shame that so many of these bands are out there working so hard yet, at times, they seem to go largely unnoticed.” That’s when Mark and I decided to do everything we could for local artists.
Initially, it was sort of an extension of Satellites Fall. We were searching for a home and built our own. We have members from all over MA and had one in RI. Were we a Boston band because Mark and I use to live on Beacon Hill and we currently have a member in Dorchester? Were we a Providence band since we had a RI member and members on the border in Attleboro? That conflict is reflected in Midday Records. We didn’t want to be a label all about Boston or all about Providence, etc. We are a New England label.
Since then, we’ve made a conscious effort to keep the two separate. When we do radio promoting a Midday compilation we avoid talking about Satellites Fall and we don’t play our tracks. And the reason I started off saying it works both ways is because Satellites Fall has spent years developing relationships with venues, promoters, radio outlets, etc. We are fortunate to have so many great connections. We’ve tried to bring that to Midday and other New England artists.I would literally walk up to a young band and grab their CD, walk over to our contact at a radio station and say, “These guys rock. Play them.” We have a music networking event called The Midday Social. We fill the room with as many promoters, radio personalities, music journalists and bloggers, and so on as possible. It’s a free event and all local musicians and artists are welcomed to come network. Most of these local industry reps are personal friends of Satellites Fall. In a sense, we are opening our little black book up to artists looking for new relationships. At the event, I would literally walk up to a young band I know that is just starting to get out there and grab their CD from them and walk over to our contact at 94 HJY, 95.5 WBRU, or another local station and personally put it in their hands and say, “These guys rock. Play them.” It’s a great feeling to hear so many of the bands talk about how excited they were to hear themselves on the radio or leave the event with a bunch of new shows on the books.
We work tirelessly on both projects so as much as we try to keep them separate, we don’t mind if folks on a local level inevitably link the two together. It is just as important to us to see our fellow musicians succeeding regardless of what our band is doing. Both projects are about supporting the local music community.
TLFB: Currently on your Bandcamp page, you have one single and a short EP subtitled “The Demos”. When can we expect a collection of non-demos?We are writing new material now and by the end of the Summer we should be in the studio working on a new EP.DM: The only reason our first release was subtitled “The Demos” is because we were not happy with the quality of the recording. It was recorded in a studio basement and I personally mixed it. I basically learned as I went but have no serious background as an audio engineer. We have another single we are about to release called “Strange New Day”. We are writing new material now and by the end of the Summer we should be in the studio working on a new EP.
Satellites Fall plays Church of Boston
69 Kilmarnock Street
Boston, MA, 02215
With The Daily Pravda, Camden, TOTEM, and Four Point Restraints
Saturday, May 18
$10 • 21+ • Doors at 7:00