LANES LAIRE: Bringing Awareness

Lanes Laire

Sedona, AZ based composer and guitarist, Lanes Laire, who is influenced by the likes such Pink Floyd, Jean-Luc Ponty, Rush, and more, released an album titled “Resurrection of Black” on November 7. He collaborated with drummer Gregg Bissonette, and his brother, bassist Matt Bissonette on the release, and about the experience of writing and recording the album, Lanes talks below.

Define your mission as a musician.

I feel the mission for me on a personal level is to pursue my passion and continually be creative. I want people to be entertained by my music. However, being true to who I am musically is key. The overall mission or goal is to put out the best music I can and hopefully inspire others to follow their passions as well.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your recently released album “Resurrection of Black” and the theme this album captures.

It really began many years ago when I first started out. Most of the songs were written back when I was still in high school. Even back then, I was extremely passionate about my songwriting. I spent a lot of time crafting the songs and paying attention to every detail. So when I introduced new songs to the band I was in, I had all the parts worked out, down to the last cymbal crash.

When I decided to bring back these songs for Resurrection Of Black, I pretty much kept them the way I had originally written. However, the creative process was very much alive. I did change things around a bit. Maybe changed up a guitar solo or added some parts or even took parts away. There was also plenty of room for experimentation, which I never had the chance to do back in the day. Creating soundscapes added a nice touch to the flow of the album.

In regards to an overall theme, my goal wasn’t to create a concept album, but I did select songs that fit well together. I had another song that was going to be on the album. I thought it was a good fit but after putting a demo together with all the songs, it stuck out like a sore thumb. It’s like watching a film and then they do something which doesn’t quite fit with the story and it takes you right out of the moment. So, I swapped out the song for another one, which was a better fit.

Lanes Laire - Resurrection of Black

What is the message you are trying to give with “Resurrection of Black”?


Thematically, the songs are presenting issues prevalent in the world that have a negative impact on the quality of life. The album deals with subjects like corporate greed, the watering down in media of violence and hate, political war, cliques and bullying. Though these topics may be a bit dark, the message is to bring awareness. Maybe in a small or big way, we can try to do something about it. The post-apocalyptic theme is just a metaphor of the end result if we continue down this path.

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Back when I wrote these songs, I had an old reel to reel deck I picked up at a yard sale for $5.00 dollars that I recorded my ideas and worked out parts. We didn’t have computers and I didn’t have a multi-track recorder. I did have a cassette deck though, and used that as well.

While recording Resurrection Of Black, the process was so much better, especially with Pro Tools at your disposal. I was able to experiment with guitar and keyboard parts and try out other musical ideas in an instant. Definitely a huge improvement over that old reel to reel deck. However, for the bass and drum parts as well as the harmony vocals, I had charts written out for the musicians.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes, I would have to say the songs are very carefully architected. I hear very specific parts in my head and need to work those out. It’s funny because my formal guitar training was jazz and the one thing that was the hardest was improvisation. I felt I was much better working out solos note for note than trying to come up with one off the cuff. I probably frustrated the hell out of my instructors.

Dynamic flow is very important. There are moments where subtle changes occur in the music but are key in creating the mood and pacing of the album. It must flow and breathe and keep the listener engaged.

Describe the approach to recording the album.


The thought was to record final bass and drum tracks first, then build the rest of the songs on top of the core foundation. I tried out a couple of drummers but they didn’t quite fit for what I was looking for. I talked to my friend Wally Minko, a great keyboardist and arranger about the project and he got me in touch with drummer Gregg Bissonette and his brother, bassist Matt Bissonette. I brought them in for the first round of recording sessions and they gave me exactly what I wanted. We did one more session to record the song that was going to replace the other song I was dropping from the album and that wrapped up the bass and drums.

The next phase was building each song. I first did all the rhythm guitar and keyboard parts. Vocals and guitar solos were done in random order, though I did do vocals in back to back sessions. I would make rough mixes each time I did significant work on the album and take notes about things to change or adjust. The fine tuning process continued throughout the entire recording process. Once everything was recorded, the mixing process was similar… mix, listen, take notes, make adjustments… repeat (over and over and over).

Lanes Laire 2014

How long “Resurrection of Black” was in the making? 


Well, if you go back to when most of the songs were written, we’re talking about 30 plus years in the making! But I can’t really count that because Resurrection Of Black wasn’t a concept yet. The material was there, but the timing of the album wasn’t right until now. The actual album sessions started with bass and drums in March 2015. That’s when I consider the official start of the album. I worked consistently up until final mastering, which was completed about two weeks before the November 7th release date.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?


I think the bands that most influenced me were Pink Floyd, Gary Numan, Jean-Luc Ponty and Rush. I grew up listening to The Beatles so I’m sure there is influence from them as well. That’s who I was listening to back when I was writing these songs. I was also listening to Queen, ELP, Genesis and Cheap Trick.

What is your view on technology in music?


If you utilize technology to help enhance your musical talent, then it’s great. However, putting a bunch of pre-fabricated loops or samples together and pushing “play” on a computer does not constitute a musician. You’re a computer programmer, not a musician. Learn to play a real instrument. When I play music, I actually play it. I work with real musicians. There’s an intangible that great players bring to the music that can not be replicated any other way. Technology is great as it has helped musicians do things we never were able to do before, but sometimes it takes away an element of creativity. I still do some things “old school” because it makes creating and experimenting more fun. Anyone can press a button.

Do you see the band’s music as serving a purpose beyond music?


I would like to believe it does. I write songs that either make people think, bring awareness to certain issues, or just tell a story. Music is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. How it affects each individual is unique. Whether for escape or healing or just for the sake of pure enjoyment, music can be tailored to fit your needs or desires. I hope my music will aspire and inspire for generations to some.

What are your plans for the future?

I already have a number of songs compiled for the next album so work on it will begin in 2016. Also, I’ll be doing select shows next year. We are still formulating the tour schedule but I really look forward to taking Resurrection Of Black on the road.

Links:

http://laneslaire.com

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