Kull, Brett (Echolyn) (September 2002)

Regarding mei

Echolyn (l to r: Jason Perlson, Brett Kull, Chris Buzby, Paul Ramsey, and Ray Weston) Echolyn's first album, the currently out of print (but not for long) Echolyn, was released more than a decade ago now. Suffocating The Bloom followed, with the EP And Every Blossom right on its heels. Then in 1995 came the deal with Sony and the album As The World. And then went the deal with Sony. And with it, so went Echolyn. Many of us thought this Philadelphia based band would be heard from no more, just distant echoes of promising prog (the swan song of When The Sweet Turns Sour). Of course, the members formed splinter groups (Finneus Gauge, Almost Always) who met with moderate success. But they, too, succumbed to the vagaries of the music industry. With 2000, Echolyn reformed and released Cowboy Poems Free, a return to form and step forward in their evolution. And now, in 2002, that evolution continues with mei (all lower case, if you please). While not unprecedented, mei the album is also "mei" the track - one 40-plus minute track that's as diverse as any multi-tracked album could be. Many lucky folks had the opportunity to see Echolyn live at NEARfest 2002, where they debuted mei live for the first time. With all this activity, we knew it was time to check in with the band, and so we talk with guitarist Brett Kull

Igor Italiani: Hi members of Echolyn, let's start with the past. Some years ago you made some headlines when you became the first prog rock band (after such a long time) signed by Sony to an extensive contract ... then everything disappeared in a blur. Can you tell me what really happened?

Brett Kull: Well, we didn't sell any albums so we were dropped. That's it in a nutshell. After we saw the writing on the wall we just fell apart. We needed a break from each other and the business.

II: Yes, I understand ... but you finally returned once again in 2000 with Cowboy Poems Free. What do you recall about the hiatus you went through?

BK: I can say it was very healing. Moreover I learned a lot about being a better musician and songwriter. In the end I think we all grew up as Echolyn.

Echolyn - mei (2002)II: Now let's talk about the present. mei, your latest album, is comprised of only one song. Was this something you planned from the beginning?

BK: Yes we planned it from the start.

II: Can you also tell me how you built this song from scratch and let it grow to reach 49 minutes?

BK: It was very difficult to do but very rewarding in the end. We all wrote the music together over a 4 or 5 month time period. We would just get together at rehearsal and hope for the best.

II: There was some funny episode that happened during the recordings of the album which should be revealed...?

BK: Well, we always have a good time when we are together these days or we wouldn't be doing it anymore. However mei was pretty serious to realize. It was really dark for me. You have to believe me when I say that some of the lyrics I don't even remember writing.

II: In fact, Brett, you (alongside Ray) are responsible for the album's lyrics. Can you please explain what's behind this beautiful concept of yours?

BK: Without giving anything specific away ... it's kind of a trip into Hell. It's a big love song, sort of, but not the kind of love song you would naturally think of.

II: But why haven't you included the full lyrics in the booklet, choosing only to put some (meaningful) sentences, even if they were mixed with some great photos?

BK: I like to let the listener come up with their own interpretation. You can always go to www.echolyn.com for the lyrics. The pictures work better for me than actually writing the words.

II: You know, I think that one of the strengths of the album is the great vocal refrains you created, alongside the instrumental performance, especially keyboard-wise. Is there something you would correct, looking at it in retrospect?

BK: Mmh, first of all thank you for the kind words you used. However, looking in retrospect ... no, I think I wouldn't touch anything. It is perfect for me.

Echolyn - EcholynII: Switching to Echolyn's next projects ... I've read that you will unveil a boxed set of past albums soon. What's the exact idea you have in mind?

BK: There is a lot of older stuff we want to consolidate. So we are trying to release this boxed set that will include our debut album, our 3rd indie release, and lots of unreleased stuff from all over the years. This kind of tidies things up around here.

Echolyn at NEARFest 2002 (Brett Kull & Chris Buzby)II: Another project, I think, is to go on a lengthy tour to promote the album. You already played at NEARFest in June. What were your feelings about this significant festival? Are you planning other live dates at the moment?

BK: NEARFest was a lot of work and reminded my how seriously I take Echolyn's shows. Nonetheless we had a great time. We'd like to get out and play ... it's just a matter of time. I'd love to do a short tour playing mei in its entirety.

II: Is there a place you would love to play in, but still have yet to visit?

BK: Well, Europe definitely.

II: Before the end I would like to ask another question ... has the thought of playing a more simple and somewhat easy-listening music to gain bigger audiences ever crossed your mind?

BK: You know, I think that writing "easy" stuff is not that easy and is a misconception by the prog community. If turning on more people was as easy as that, we would all be doing it to put some bread on the table.

II: That's all boys. Thanks a lot for your time and I hope to see Echolyn live as soon as possible. Keep up the great work!

BK: Thanks Igor and God Bless!

Echolyn (1991)
Suffocating The Bloom (1992)
...And Every Blossom (1993)
As The World (1995)
When The Sweet Turns Sour (1996)
Cowboy Poems Free (2000)
ProgFest '94: The Official Bootleg (2002)
mei (2002)
A Little Nonesense: Now And Then (2002)
Official Live Bootleg: Jersey Tomato (2003)
As The World (2005 expanded reissue)
The End Is Beautiful (2005) Cowboy Poems Free (remaster) (2008)
Echolyn (2012)
I Heard You Listening (2015)

Home Brew Bootleg Stew 1994-95 (VHS, OOP) (1995)
Stars And Gardens Vol 4. (DVD) (2004)

Added: September 22nd 2002
Interviewer: Igor Italiani

Artist website: www.echolyn.com
Hits: 984
Language: english

[ Back to Interviews Index | Post Comment ]