The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

JEFFREY WINSLOW

OF SYRYM

speaks to MARK ROCKPIT

 

all images courtesy Syrym.com


There are some albums that just have to be heard and for me the fact that everyone does not have a copy of SYRYM's 2008 debut means that you are all missing out big time! For fans of hard rock that takes you back in time to the late eighties and yet sounds remarkably fresh and exciting, you reallt d need to hear this one.

 

SYRYM is the latest project from guitarist Ron Freschi who was a founding member of the graet eighties rock band Babylon A.D. and also features ex-Babylon A.D. drummer Jamie Pacheco, with Jeffrey Winslow behind the microphone, and Rich Talley on bass.

 

The Rockpit.net got the chance to catch up with Jeffrey from Syrym recently and here is what happened.

 

 

Mark: Hi Jeffrey, thanks for dropping by.

 

Jeffrey: Thanks for having me. You’ve got a great site going, and it looks like it’s only going to get better.

 

Mark: Thanks Jeffrey, we’re glad you have had time to take a look at us!

 

Mark: 2009 was a pretty bad year globally in lots of respects but what was 2009 like for you?

 

Jeffrey: 2009 was a pretty cool year for me, personally. Our album was out and selling to a worldwide audience, we got to shoot a music video, we were written up in various rock music magazines—all things I dreamed about doing growing up.


SYRYM

 

 

Mark: Tell us a little about how Syrym got together.

 

Jeffrey: In late 2007, I was actually at a point in my life where I thought I would give up the idea of ever making any significant headway in music. I’d played in numerous bands over the years, but the stars simply weren’t aligned in terms of having major musical success. Once every year or so, I would search on Craigslist for any interesting music projects, on the off chance something might catch my attention. Honestly, I was several hundred listings into my search and ready to give up when I came across an ad for a guitarist looking to collaborate with a rock singer/songwriter. The ad stated the guitarist had been in a band signed to a major label at one point. I thought, ‘What the hell,’ and responded with a request for any audio samples, past or present. I received a similar request back, along with two MP3 files. When I saw the name of the first file, “Bang Go The Bells,” I knew exactly who I was dealing with, as I’d been a big fan of the first Babylon A.D. album.

 

I got a similar response back, and Ron [Freschi] and I decided we would record one song and see how it went. Well, one song became three, and at that point we decided that we were on our way to recording an album that would live up to the high standards we both set for ourselves.

 

Mark: How would you describe the Syrym CD, which was one of my favourite releases of 2008?

 

Jeffrey: I’m really glad you like it. I’m also amazed at how many people have said the same thing about the album. It’s gratifying and humbling at the same time, that people are comparing our album favorably with albums from artists I really like and admire. I would describe the CD as a return to the hard rock sound of the late Eighties, with a modern twist. It’s heavy, but melodic, with catchy choruses and amazing guitar riffs and solos. In this day and age, when the art of the guitar solo has been virtually stripped from popular music, it’s nice to hear some really well-done guitar work that, at its best, really sings.

 

Mark: For me the CD has a very classic hard rock sound, I’m reminded of some of the greats from the 70s and 80s when I listen to it again. It’s pretty timeless.

 

Jeffrey: Wow. Again, it’s a surreal experience for me to hear those kinds of comments about music I helped create. I do think the music from that era has a timeless quality about it, and a majority of our influences are definitely from that time period.

 

Mark: I think my favourite tracks are probably “While America Sleeps” and especially “Torn in Two” how did those songs form? Were they relatively new or had the ideas been hanging around for some time?

 

Jeffrey: “While America Sleeps” was originally a song Babylon A.D. was working on for their second album. The record label didn’t like the original version, so it never ended up on a record. Ron really wanted to use the music for that song, so we kept the music and the title and I wrote all-new lyrics and melodies.

 

Jeffrey: “Torn In Two” was based on a riff I believe Ron had been sitting on for a while. The lyrics and melodies were all brand new, written a week or two before we started recording the track. “Torn In Two” is a song about losing the love of your life in an accident, and how you deal with the emotions and guilt feelings, even though there’s nothing you could have done about it. It’s about contemplating how you could possibly go on without this person.

 

Mark: I love the video you did for the song “Ugly On The Inside” that you have up on your site. How hard is it for a band like Syrym to take the plunge and spend the money in today’s climate?

 

Jeffrey: To be perfectly honest, if we didn’t have people who believed enough in us and our music, we would never have been able to afford to get the video made. I have a really good friend, Tony Williams, who also happens to run a video production company called Music Star Productions, and he offered to help us get the video made. Other friends volunteered locations we could use for the shoot, places we would never have had access to otherwise. And the actress in the video, who has been in other music videos and movies, essentially did it for the performance credit. Everyone was amazing, and amazingly generous. I’m grateful for them, and I’m definitely proud of the result.

 

Mark: What sort of response have you had to the video?

 

Jeffrey: People really seem to like it, and many people have told me “Ugly On The Inside” is their favorite song on the album. I’ve seen the video posted on a lot of different websites, which is cool.


JEFFREY

 

Mark: How about you Jeffrey? Tell us a little about your history?

 

Jeffrey: I was interested in music at an early age, taking piano lessons and starting to write songs at the piano. In high school, I was in different bands, often with some of the same members, and mostly just playing in peoples’ garages and bedrooms. I started out playing keyboards in these bands, and was sort of thrown into the singing role in one of the bands because we were having a difficult time finding a singer. During college in Santa Barbara, I played in several bands, the most successful being Psycho Graffiti. We had some very good musicians come through that band, including the keyboard player from Dishwalla and a bass player who played on the Eagles’ Hell Freezes Over reunion show and on numerous movie scores, including Schindler’s List and Toy Story. Once out of college, I worked at a recording studio in San Francisco, and I got gigs here and there doing studio vocal and voiceover work. I continued to play in a few different bands, including Vertigo and 3rd & King, before I got together with Ron on the Syrym project.

 

Mark: I heard your single just before Christmas. It was pretty cool. Is there anything else coming?

 

Jeffrey: Thanks. Yeah, that song is called, “The End,” and it’s a whole different direction from the Syrym material. It’s a simple, acoustic-guitar-and-vocal track that I originally wrote for use on an independent movie soundtrack. I actually wrote the guitar part for that song, too, but when it came to laying it down in the studio, I realized I just didn’t have the chops to do it justice. So I taught the part to my friend, Tony Fernandes, who’s a terrific guitarist, by the way, and he played the final performance that’s on the recording.

 

In terms of new music, I co-wrote a song recently with Tony, the same guitarist that played on “The End.” It’s called “Dancing With Angels,” and I’m really excited about how it’s turning out. It’s both mellow and heavy, and catchy at the same time. Tony was writing some new music and asked me to write lyrics and sing on this song, and possibly some additional tunes, so we’ll see where it goes. Also working on this song are Jimmy Z. and Danny Pasternak, both very cool guys who were members of the band Vital Signs that had a great single on the Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure soundtrack.


THE FUTURE

 

 

Mark: What is your take on the state of music at the moment and Rock in particular?

 

Jeffrey: Music is definitely at a crossroads. Major labels as the arbiters of taste seem to be going the way of the dinosaur, and independents and even individuals are gaining market share in the hearts and ears of music lovers the world over. For the most part, I think it’s a great and needed transition—obviously fueled by the overwhelming ease with which new music can be shared with the masses over the Internet. And it’s exciting to know that, as an independent maker of music, I don’t have to rely on the one-in-a-million shot of getting signed to a major label in order to be heard by people worldwide. Something else that excites me is the resurgence of guitar-laden hard rock being produced these days. There are so many great new bands getting exposure, plus many of the bands that were big in the Eighties are making a comeback.

 

Mark: What does the future have in store for Syrym?

 

Jeffrey: I don’t know right now what the next steps will be for Syrym, but never say never when it comes to the possibility of putting out a follow-up album. Response to the debut album was so overwhelmingly positive. It would be cool to build on that, but no plans at the moment.

 

Mark: How can we best support you guys and check out the latest news?

 

Jeffrey: You can still get all the Syrym news at http://www.syrym.com, and download the album on iTunes. Also, for anybody who downloads the album on iTunes and wants the lyrics, send me a message through the Syrym website and I’ll e-mail them out. For people interested in news of my latest projects, go to http://www.JeffreyWinslow.com. If you go to iTunes and search for “Jeffrey Winslow,” you can download the single for “The End.” As soon as “Dancing With Angels” is available for download, I’ll be posting that on the website, as well. You can also check out my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/jeffreywinslow3, and follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffreywinslow.

 

Mark: And finally the big one that we are going to ask everyone: what is the meaning of life?

 

Jeffrey: I don’t know if life has a meaning, in and of itself, but life is definitely a journey. I think we all strive to ensure our own lives have meaning and purpose. Take the journey, make the most of it, and don’t be afraid to take the plunge and live your dreams. In that way, you’ll have a life worth remembering. Too heavy? Maybe. But something to think about.

 

Mark: Many thanks for talking to the Rockpit Jeffrey, keep in touch. I do hope that we get to hear more from SYRYM in the not too distant future

 

Mark Rockpit

August 2010