IZZ
Everlasting Instant
(Doone Records)

 

One of America’s most phenomenal, yet somehow underrated progressive rock bands, IZZ returned in 2015 with another ambitious CD called Everlasting Instant. The CD is filled with imaginative, and memorable songs and complex arrangements certain to intrigue music fans. In the following interview with IZZ cofounders Tom Galgano and John Galgano, mwe3.com was informed about the making of Everlasting Instant. Speaking about the lineup of talented musicians involved in the creation of Everlasting Instant, John Galgano tells mwe3.com, “The lineup of the band for Everlasting Instant is—Paul Bremner: guitar, Anmarie Byrnes: vocals, Brian Coralian: electronic and acoustic drums and percussion, Greg DiMiceli: acoustic drums and percussion, Tom Galgano: keyboards and vocals, Laura Meade: vocals and me on bass, vocals and the odd bits of keyboards and guitars. The lineup has changed a few times over the years, but really since 2002, it is has been fairly consistent. I really think every member of the band brings in a key component of the sound that makes up IZZ.” The eleven track Everlasting Instant features key contributions from all the talented IZZ band members, without any one of the musicians taking the spotlight for long. Commenting on the unique approach involved in making IZZ a kind of prog big band, Tom Galgano tells mwe3.com, “I think of our band as an orchestra. Not everyone is on every second of every song. The great thing about our band is that everyone is comfortable with this scenario. This allows every instrument to be heard because every instrument has a specific role.” Progressive rock fans will find Everlasting Instant to be a rewarding listening experience worth repeating. Clearly, IZZ have hit a spectacular sonic high note with Everlasting Instant. www.izzmusic.com






mwe3.com presents an interview with
TOM GALGANO and JOHN GALGANO of IZZ


mwe3: Tell us about the IZZ band and how it’s changed over the years. Who’s in the current lineup and who else is key in getting the sound on the CD? How has the band’s lineup evolved since you started it and what year did you start the band and what was the first IZZ album?

John: The lineup of the band for Everlasting Instant is: Paul Bremner: guitar, Anmarie Byrnes: vocals, Brian Coralian: electronic and acoustic drums and percussion, Greg DiMiceli: acoustic drums and percussion, Tom Galgano: keyboards and vocals, Laura Meade: vocals and me on bass, vocals and the odd bits of keyboards and guitars. The lineup has changed a few times over the years, but really since 2002, it is has been fairly consistent. The early years saw some changes in personnel but that was probably more a reflection of where we all were at that stage in life. Once Paul came in on guitar for the I Move album as a full-time member of the band, the lineup was pretty much set. The first IZZ album, Sliver Of A Sun, was released in 1999 and the band first started playing, rehearsing and writing probably sometime in 1996.

I really think every member of the band brings in a key component of the sound that makes up IZZ. If I write a song and bring it to the band, it sounds completely different than if I were to just simply record the song myself. Each member brings his or her own unique sound to the music and that’s what makes being in this band so special.

mwe3: Can Tom contrast his role as producer and engineer with being a member of IZZ that plays keyboards? What is involved in the production part of IZZ music?

Tom: Well, I've been playing the role of keyboardist/vocalist and engineer/producer pretty much for the whole career of our band. So, it comes as second nature. I don't really see the difference in those four roles because when I'm working on a piece of music, I think of the piece as a whole. I don't say, "Hmm, what can I do now to put my stamp on it as a vocalist or a keyboard player or an engineer or producer.” Whatever the song needs, I try to give it. So, if that means I don't play keyboards, or I don't sing on a piece, so be it. I think of our band as an orchestra. Not everyone is on every second of every song. The great thing about our band is that everyone is comfortable with this scenario. This allows every instrument to be heard because every instrument has a specific role.

mwe3: How do you share the song writing and vocals as both brothers also sing lead and what is it like to have a band with four different lead singers?

John: It’s really a very organic process. We never say “You write 5 songs and I’ll write 5 songs.” When we start to work on new music, I don’t know that we ever really know how it will end up. For instance, I may write a song and think it is a finished product, but when I bring it to Tom or Paul, it becomes something very different. On Everlasting Instant, “Can’t Feel The Earth, Part IV” is a good example of a song that was written by the band during a writing session, but was fully realized by Tom as he arranged it. It’s also a great example of the IZZ vocal talent on display. It’s got a very cool combination of Tom’s, Anmarie’s and Laura’s vocals. In terms of the vocals, we really do look to each song to see what vocal arrangement would suit the song best. This album is a very good example of us doing just that.

mwe3: Everlasting Instant is part 3 of a trilogy of music you’ve released. What is the theme of the trilogy and what part does EI play in it?

John: I think all of the band members have a different take on the theme of the trilogy. And we would like the listeners to have the same ability to think about what it means for themselves. So I don’t want to put too much of my own opinion into the minds of the listener. What I can say, and what it generally symbolizes for me, is the search and quest for meaning. We all search for it in some way or another. Even if we don’t think life has an ultimate meaning or purpose, it is impossible for us not to at least think about it. So the trilogy is the journey of discovering for yourself if that meaning exists and, if it does, what does it mean for you. I see Everlasting Instant as one possible culmination of the journey – it’s our interpretation of the end of the discovery period.

mwe3: How would you compare this latest IZZ CD with the band’s earlier albums? How many CDs and DVDs have come out under the IZZ name?

John: IZZ has released 7 seven studio albums, one live DVD and a live CD. The band is very proud of Everlasting Instant. We think it is a fitting culmination of the trilogy of albums and yet can certainly stand on its own as a piece of work in and of itself. We feel that every album is different in its own way. If you compare My River Flows, for instance, with this album, I think you may think it was two different bands! And that’s a good thing... we really strive to keep things fresh and try new musical ideas, sounds and arrangements.

mwe3: “Own The Mystery” is a great CD opener. How do you define the mystery? I think we know there is no escape. The guitar solo in the middle is great. Who contributed to the writing of that track? Would you say it’s one of the great IZZ showcase tracks with great lyrics and arrangements?

Tom: "Own the Mystery" is my composition, although the arrangement has much to do with my brother, Paul Bremner and Brian Coralian. Originally, there was a completely different middle section to the song. When John heard the middle section he was not convinced it was right for the song. After initially disagreeing, I decided to try and write a new middle section. So, the lyrics beginning with "When I find away alone I can't find the way again" were added into the song many months after the original version was already complete. When all is said and done, I'm very happy that John put his two cents in. At some point, the original version with a completely different middle section will probably be released. Maybe even on Ampersand Volume 2.

mwe3: “Every Minute” is an instrumental. Do you enjoy writing instrumentals as much as the prog rock sounds? What place do the instrumentals play in the IZZ repertoire?

Tom: It is very rare that we purposely write an instrumental track. When I or John or Brems are coming up with song ideas, we tend to let the song "write itself". "Every Minute" was one of those pieces of music that simply felt like it should be a short instrumental track. It also serves the purpose of being a sort of prologue even though it is the second song on the album. It definitely introduces themes later to be heard on the album. Specifically it introduces themes from "The Everlasting Instant" and very poignantly the ending instrumental melody of "Like a Straight Line".

mwe3: Is track 3 “Start Again” about relationships? It's always a two way street in relationships. Makes you wonder. I like the line “Turn it off, start again, where’s the wonder my friend?”

John: I think you can say that it’s generally about relationships, yes. The whole idea of the lyric “And all you took from me was everything, except the blame” or “accept the blame” is that we sometimes have people in our lives who do not understand or accept our journey and it makes it hard to have a meaningful relationship with that person if they do not at least respect your point of view or where you’re coming from about a certain subject. Relationships are hard enough – relationships without respect have a hard time working. This is a really fun song to play live and I think it includes one of the best keyboard solos Tom has ever recorded.

mwe3: Is track 4 “If It’s True” the other side of the coin? Taking the other side: “Then you wouldn’t want to hide if it’s true.”

Tom: The lyrics of this song focus on the question of whether one can believe without ever knowing for sure how things will turn out in the end.

mwe3: Track 5 “Three Seers” sounds like a religious parable. Is there a religious or spiritual allegory in the music of IZZ? Is “Three Seers” something specific you had in mind? Love the piano work on the track and the powerful ending which ends the song in a near crescendo of prog sounds.

Tom: In this track, “The Three Seers”, the lyrics are an interpretation of the idea of miracles. I was inspired and intrigued by stories I’ve read about unexplainable, seemingly supernatural occurrences.

"The Three Seers" is definitely a turning point in the trilogy. Musically speaking, the piano middle section is something I very much enjoyed writing. Not on any other previous track have I written an extended piano solo. It just seemed that this piece of music needed something instrumental to help portray something that could not be explained by words.

mwe3: Tell us about track six, the title track “The Everlasting Instant”. What is the everlasting instant?” Is it salvation? Is it that rare moment that makes everything real? “Though the light blinds our eyes, we can’t turn away this time”...

Tom: For all of history, many people and cultures have thought of the afterlife as some realm of timeless existence. This song explores that thought and asks that if this is true, then the instant you “shake off this mortal coil,” do we actually embrace something else that lasts forever?

I wrote the guitar riff for this song way back when I was in high school. I'm happy to have found a place for it finally. Even the frenetic instrumental ending was written all those years ago. The only thing that was written recently was the verses. Another interesting fact about the ending of the song is that myself, John and Paul Bremner all take turns taking guitar solos. We have never done this before. In fact I have rarely played electric guitar on any is track. The first solo is John, the second solo is Paul and the last solo is mine. That was a lot of fun to record.

mwe3: Track 7, “Keep Away” is one of the heavier tracks on the CD. The subject matter of the lyrics is very heavy. Is it about nonbelievers as the song has some very deep near religious overtones. “For how can one be blamed if we all share the shame?”

Tom: “Keep Away” expresses the many internal struggles of our human condition and the journey to rediscover the lost meaning of our common humanity. Do our words and actions have a ripple effect that continues through time? All of us make mistakes. The lyrics you quoted are simply the need for hope and forgiveness.

This piece of music is my favorite one on the album. It has a very thorough composed feel to it. A song that is thoroughly composed basically never repeats itself. It has no chorus. While there are repeats in this song, it does seem to have a very organic flow to it. I wrote most of "Keep Away" in the same month that I wrote "Swallow Our Pride". I did not know the melodic similarities between the two before John brought it to my attention. The opening line in "Swallow Our Pride" and the opening line in "Keep Away" are very similar. The tempo is also very similar. That is why we decided to begin "Keep Away" with the electronic drum groove from "Swallow Our Pride".

mwe3: Track 8 is “Can’t Feel The Earth Part IV”. Is that track part of an ongoing part I to IV parts? “Find the answer, find forgiveness” is another religious kind of parable of sorts.

Tom: We decided that this should be part 4 because the rhythm of the organ during the verses is exactly the rhythm from “Can't Feel The Earth Part 2”. Although there is obviously a brand-new song on top of that rhythm, it bears more than enough resemblance to warrant the “Part IV” label. Lyrically, this is the culmination of the storyline in the trilogy. These lyrics represent the swallowing of one's pride. But at the same time it is also the realization that any belief in a higher power cannot be forced upon anyone. There must be some sort of an inner and personal revelation.

mwe3: Track 9, “Illuminata” is a good way to look back on life... “all you do is immortalized”... "Illuminata" is a good way to find the light to look back on it all. I like the instrumental bridged ending, with some great piano / moog work, which serves as a great part 2 to the song. Kind of an epitaph sort of track.

John: This track was mainly written by Paul Bremner and I just think his lyrics are perfectly suited to where this track is on the album. It is really what it’s all about. The moment of clarity when we see everything and realize what our life has been about or where it’s been pointing to. The middle section was written by Tom and you can hear echoes of what’s to come on “Like A Straight Line” with the piano melody and rhythm.

mwe3: Track 10, “Sincerest Life” is very sincerely felt and it kind of reminds me a little of Gentle Giant, with the tempo changes and shifting dynamics. Were you writing a song about hope here? The guitar parts are great. “The sincerest life is like a melody”... nice metaphors in this song. Basically a song about hope.

John: Yes I think hope is certainly one of the themes in this song. As I was writing the lyrics for this song, I was thinking about what it means to live a “life well lived.” At the end of your life, what is the thing you’d want people to say about you. It’s a really difficult question to answer, but I kept coming back to the idea that you’d want people to say that you lived a life that was true to your conscience, true to what you believe – family, friends, spirituality, justice – whatever it is. And I thought if a person could say this at the end of his or her life – that they lived sincerely – then it was a life well lived.

The music is very “chordal” – that happened really by accident. I suppose my subconscious mind was thinking about the subject matter and this is how it manifested itself in the music. I like the Gentle Giant reference because I agree that the song is a little schizophrenic in that the structure is a bit strange. There really is no “chorus” per se – the song moves from section to section, recalling bits here and there. It’s one of the songs I’m most proud to have written.

mwe3: Track 11, “Like A Straight Line” starts off slow and really builds. It’s a great way to end the CD. I guess the ocean is deep and so are the lyrics here. “Like a straight line through the ocean, if you want you will be found”. The CD ends on a great upbeat kind of sound.

Tom: Yes, uplifting is what we were going for. The symbol of the ocean and the lyrics represent a reaching out to that destination or unknown shore, dreamed of and desired for by our deepest longings. All of us will find that destination in our own way.

mwe3: What are the plans for IZZ into 2015? Are you always writing and what other music projects is the band and various members involved with. Five years to 20/20!

John: Yes, we truly are always writing, whether it is alone or in a group. We really have a lot of material that is in various stages of recording. Some songs are finished, some are halfway done and some are just started, but we have a lot of material. And the great thing about IZZ is that the next album will be nothing like Everlasting Instant. We have gone through the trilogy and have used certain themes to recall other songs on the three albums and now we can focus on those pieces of music that have not been connected to the trilogy at all. We are excited to finish these recordings and release something new in the not too distant future. Paul Bremner is also very close to being finished with his second solo album, so you can look for news about that very soon. Lots of new IZZ music on the horizon!



Thanks to John Galgano and Tom Galgano @ www.izzmusic.com



 

 
   
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