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2012 Update to Interview with Graham Czach
Master Seven Interview by Tom Beninate
Copy Editor: Susan Castellano
June 30, 2012
You posted a video for your new song, “To Be Free,” on YouTube. How is your new album progressing?

Great. I have about 15-20 new songs in demo form … I'm looking to hopefully start hitting the studio by the end of the year.

How has the “Radiohead Approach” of allowing customers to name their price for downloading your debut album, Lucid, worked for you?

I think it is the only way to go now as an independent artist. It has been working well and I find that people actually pay for the download. If you are relatively small or medium size as a band, it's hard enough to get people to just give your music a listen and like your music with the mass oversaturation in the market, let alone buy it.

Last year you and David Glines, guitarist for Chicago Afrobeat Project, built a rope contraption that allows you to control several instruments. What is the current state of that device? Would you consider that to be a successful promotion for your brand?

Rope Man had it's place and time and actually allowed me to have an appearance on the WGN Morning Show where I performed it live…. I recently made it to the Celebrity Judge Round on America's Got Talent which was a great experience. I think it has definitely helped to get my name out there and gain some fans and respect. Without the proper funding and time to really build it how I envision with modifications allowing me to express myself musically without limiting me, it's on the back burner. I'm a perfectionist and kind of OCD about my music so the inherent flaws and looseness of the contraption really felt limiting. Who knows what the future will bring, but it was a fun experience and journey building an invention that has never been done before and realizing an idea.

As a perfectionist, how do you know when your song is complete? How do you balance perfection with the need to get your music out on a timely basis?

I don't. I never really feel like the song is complete, even in live settings. I think they continue to change, shape, and evolve. It's a living thing. I also love the imperfection in some of my favorite artists which makes it real and human. If it gives me chills, makes me feel something, and sounds sonically polished and tight, then it's ready to be done. There is a delicate balance and I enjoy riding that line to find the equilibrium.

Your cover version of Adele’s song, “Someone Like You,” attracted over 11,000 viewers on YouTube. What is your approach for balancing original versus cover material?

I think it's all about balance and making sure you don't go creatively stale by only doing covers but by doing a good combination. My Muse video just surpassed 10,000 as well and I think it does nothing but good to get your name out there and it's one of the best marketing platforms for artists in today's music industry you can find. I'm way more of an original musician/composer that likes to be as innovative as possible but it's also really fun for me to challenge myself with some covers that I can do in different ways that have never been done. I just released a Gotye creative cover where I play shot glasses for the main melody. Everything helps and pushes everything else. I love it!

Speaking of Gotye, he seemed to have hit a musical nerve with his album Making Mirrors and especially with his song, “Somebody That I Used To Know.” Do you think pop music is trending in this direction?

I think he struck something with that song, not the album. The album is decent but the song is perfectly crafted when you break it down to parts and textures, sounds and instruments, melody and harmony, and rhythm. I really appreciated it so much more after doing my cover because it made me really listen [to] and appreciate great songwriting and production. It's not a coincidence that it's a huge hit. Hopefully pop music can start trending to more music where there are real instruments being played and it's not just a bunch of button pushing. I will reserve judgement on where pop music is going because you never can tell. 60s – Beatles. Now - Justin Bieber. Enough said.

Your current record, Lucid is filled with the wonderful artwork of Jeff Jordan. Tell us about the artwork you are planning for your next CD.

[I] haven’t gotten that far yet. [I am] still writing for the album and conceptualizing it. [I will] keep you posted.

Being a member of the tribute band, Creedence Revived, how do you feel about the surviving members of CCR who have not been able to reconcile their differences?

To tell you the truth, I was never really a big CCR fan. I'm in this band because the real band is not touring or performing anymore. We are keeping the music alive with an amazing vocalist who makes the band, Rich Perez. I personally think, at this point, they are all too old and should throw in the towel, especially John Fogerty. There comes a point when it's not happening anymore with the exception of Neil Young and Paul McCartney. John just doesn't have the voice that he used to. I hope in the end that they can all make up and give each other big hugs because life is too short to waste on negative things. Seeing the bigger picture is key. Think about life as if you are going to die tomorrow and what it is you will leave behind, how will the world remember you, and most importantly the impact you will leave on loved ones and beyond.

What projects are you working on for the second half of 2012?

I just started playing and recording with Hey Champ which is due to release some new material in August as well as a new Chicago Afrobeat Project album dropping on August 14th. I'm working on my follow-up album as we discussed which will hopefully be done by the end of the year. I plan on continuing to release Creative Covers songs and videos and I'm looking to record a jazz album in the later part of the year with some phenomenal players and original works.
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