Ed Hale & The Transcendence

We've found a name that best represents some of the best talent the east coast of the USA has to offer - The Transcendence. Ed Hale and his band include artists from all the way down in South Beach to the intense scene of NYC, and they're damn good at what they do, having been together in one shape or another for a dozen years. This includes 5 core members, 5 more members on every record, in addition to another 5 artists who sit in with the band for the live production... a huge stage presence you can expect from Hale's shows in 2012. 

While the collective has a huge catalog to play from, you'll likely be hearing a lot of tunes of the band's latest record, "All Your Heroes Become Villains". It's a great reflection of the Ed Hale & The Transcendence trademark sound; they're a "brit-pop sounding band" also known for their affinity of world music. It's definitely an enticing mix. Hale puts it best as to what to expect from the collection: "Pure pop genius and one hell of a ride man. Focused and tight lyrically, but all over the place musically. A big reach. A BIG reach. Huge. Wild. Over the top. Bombastic. A joy ride. A bad trip with a happy ending. For me personally, I have to prepare when I listen to that album. I mean, it’s not background music. It’s a trip." 

Get into "All Your Heroes Become Villains"... right now.  It's off of Hale's record label, Dying Van Gogh Records (which happens to have one of the best mantras in the business): "You can be one of those people that sits around waiting to get signed by a major record label or get picked up by American Idol … or you can do it yourself because you absolutely refuse to do anything else with your life." Check out a live Ed Hale & The Transcendence show for a huge sound - they're bringing it this year. There's much more to learn below, so keep reading now for all the answers to the XXQ's. 

XXQs: Ed Hale & The Transcendence
PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?

That’s a hard question. I would say that the fact that we are classified as a brit-pop sounding band makes sense because so much of the music we like as fans originally came out of the UK. But at the same time, when Ed Hale and The Transcendence first came on the scene, we were more known for making what we were calling “Planet Music.” Some of us …. and I think this is the key to what makes Transcendence stand out … is because some of us are really into classic rock like the Beatles or the Stones or Zeppelin and then some of us are really into music from other parts of the world like what they call World Music, and then some of us in the group are really into modern bands. But I don’t think there is any kind of music that we aren’t into. So you take all that and you mix it up between 5 guys and bam, you end up with this Transcendence sound. Obviously a lot of it comes down to the sound of the vocals in any group. But I think it also comes down to the lead guitar player and to the bass player and the drummer and the sound they create together.
PEV: What kind of music where the members of the band into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?

(laughs) Well, I think I just answered that. First concert … probably U2, the Rattle and Hum tour.

PEV: Tell us your take on the music scene and what it was like in your hometown and what it was like trying to break into it?
Well, I don’t really have a hometown per say, but because of college I ended up getting my start in the Miami music scene or what some people call the South Florida music scene. My bros and I wanted to be rock stars since we were little kids. So by the time we were 17, 18 years old we started going out to bars and clubs and playing shows. All the older more established local artists used to look at us like we were crazy, like we were nothing, as if they were the shit and they had good reason for that. I mean, there was Raul Malo from the Mavericks, Nil Lara, Marilyn Manson, you know there was a lot of good talent in that town; there still is. It’s a melting pot of cross pollination; every style imaginable is being mashed up in the Miami music scene because of how many different cultures live down there. We couldn’t even tune our own guitars when we first started playing shows. The clubs used to make us play 4 sets a night. We wouldn’t get off stage until 3 o’clock in the morning; it was brutal! But this is how we got good. After 2 or 3 years people started paying attention to us, people started respecting us. That … that’s what it takes, no matter what scene you’re in. You play and you play until you’re fucking great at what you do and pretty soon everyone starts to notice.
PEV: With that, what can fans expect from a live Ed Hale & The Transcendence show?
Well I’ll tell you this, if we get our way, this year we’re going to have the biggest line up we’ve ever had for the live shows. Our plan is more cities than we’ve ever toured and more songs because now we have 8 albums to choose songs from. Plus, Transcendence has been around awhile now, about 10 years. We have the same 5 members that we’ve always had at our core but there’s like 4 or 5 other really groovy people who consistently record with us including an additional drummer, an additional lead guitar player, 2 cellists and a few other background singers. This is the family; this is what we’re going to bring out on the road this year, in 2012. It’s going to be like something no one has ever seen before. Tell your readers to go to “eventful.com” and “Demand” that the band play in their city. If we can, we will.
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?
Nothing I can say publicly! Let’s just say that it takes me a song or two to warm up. By then I’m just so damn happy to be up there making music with my boys.
PEV: Knowing how other musicians work together as a band, how is playing with Ed Hale & The Transcendence as a group, different than the others?
WOW! How do you even answer that question? There are so many different directions we can go in. But the first thing that comes to mind for me is that every guy in the band and girl for that matter is really good at what they do; like great. It’s intimidating! Roger (Roger Houdaille, who also plays in the Indie rock band Ex-Norwegian) is never going to play a “normal” bass line. Listen to the first minute or two of the song “Waiting for Godot”, that’s Ricky and Roger (Ricardo Mazzi, drummer). I mean, listen to that! Imagine if they wouldn’t have come up with that whole Reggae vibe; that song would never sound the way it does! And then we’ve got Fernando Perdomo in the band! This guy could single handedly be one of the greatest guitarists in modern music right now. His guitar lines are brilliant; his skills are beyond measure! So after we strip away all the bullshit, in the first hour or two once we get together, it’s just pure passion and sweaty love for music making.
PEV: What was the underlying inspiration for your music? Where do you get your best ideas for songs?
I think some people write songs and I think other people act more like a conduit for songs. It’s like they conduct songs the way something conducts electricity. With me it’s always been more of the latter; ideas for songs just appear in my head. But I also think there is something to be said about putting some real work into it once the song gets in your head.  Pretty much every thought I get, just starts turning itself into a song in my head. It’s then up to me whether or not I want to take the time to sit down and flesh it out. I'm pretty much writing songs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; that’s what I do.
PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out; do you ever look back at your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?
Ya! Sure, all the time. I mean it’s all just one big swirling melting pot of memories. I'm still playing with a lot of the same people I was playing with when I first started out. And amen, that’s the fucking truth! You know, Zach Ziskin, Matthew Sabatella, Derek Cintron and Karen Feldner … I’ve been playing with them since we were in our teens!
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Ed Hale?
He would have liked to be a quarter back in the NFL! In my next life, that’s what I'm going to be. Or, a physicist! I may still go after becoming a physicist once all this rock and roll stuff is over. But I think my chances of being a professional football player are pretty slim, at this point.
PEV: Tell us about your own record label, Dying Van Gogh Records. Why that name (which is very cool by the way!) and how has this process been for you?
Well this process sucks truth be told. But it’s also very rewarding. Owning a record label is a ridiculous amount of work; hard work! Right now we’ve got about 12 people spread all over the country in little offices working their butts off, 24 hours a day to make it happen. And it’s still not enough! We need at least another 8 to 10 people on staff to keep up with the demand of where we’re at as a record label right now. Of course this is a good thing because it means we are doing it right. We’re experiencing major success right now. It’s like a constant onslaught of people asking for stuff. But again, this is all good; it’s just a lot of work. Here’s the thing, you can be one of those people that sits around waiting to get signed by a major record label or get picked up by American Idol … or you can do it yourself because you absolutely refuse to do anything else with your life.  Dying Van Gogh Records is an oasis for brilliant artists in a veritable desert of” mediocrity with mass appeal.” Vincent Van Gogh the painter sold one freaking painting in his whole life for $40 to his brother! And now he holds the record for the most expensive painting ever sold in human history. And in our lifetimes we are used to this fact but no one stops to think about what this man’s life was like when he was alive. I mean he’s like the original starving artist who refused to give up creating his art no matter what; that’s real poetry man. That’s what Dying Van Gogh Records is about.
PEV: Tell us about your latest release, All Your Heroes Become Villains.  What can fans expect from this?
Pure pop genius and one hell of a ride man. Focused and tight lyrically, but all over the place musically. A big reach. A BIG reach. Huge. Wild. Over the top. Bombastic. A joy ride. A bad trip with a happy ending. For me personally, I have to prepare when I listen to that album. I mean, it’s not background music. It’s a trip.
PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?
Best part about being on the road is being on stage every night in a different town. Being up there with the lights and your best friends… that spontaneous electricity… never knowing what you’re going to sound like, or how the fans are going to react to what songs you play. New people. New scenery. New vibes. There’s this magnetic energy that gets created when you’re on stage in a crowd of people making music and when everyone comes together… this energy exchange, it’s magical. It’s supernatural. But of course life on the road is also really freaking boring. The traveling part of it I mean. No one ever prepares you for that. All those hours just driving or flying. All the waiting around before the shows… it’s not an easy way to live. I haven’t toured in over a year now. So I’m well rested again now. I’m getting antsy to get back out there and hit it big. I think everyone in the band is at this point. It’s like a drug.
PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
Yes. Totally. All those Eastern European countries… And China… Africa… And the Middle East. That’s the Holy Grail of touring when it comes to being a Western artist… those doors are still locked to us due to the strict religious laws. But those people are just as hungry to rock their asses off as anyone else. They just don’t have governments that will allow them to yet. And we all know why, you know… Music is eye opening. It’s mind expanding. Riot inducing. If they start letting Western rock bands into these countries like Iran or Iraq or Syria or Saudi Arabia… that would be it. People’s hearts are going to begin to open up again. And from there… Pure poetic panda-fucking-monium.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play in your hometown?
Well that’s an interesting question, because part of the thrill of the whole thing is seeing everyone you know get so excited about it. When they hear you on the radio, or see your name on their car dashboard or TV screen… they go freaking bonkers. Sometimes I think other people get more of a kick out of it than we do. And that’s cool. I like that. In fact I love it.  
PEV: What can we find each of you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
What spare time?! I mean if you really break it down … to what the job is all about, it’s just so much more than writing and playing music. Granted, if we are in the studio recording a new album, we’re pretty much in the studio recording a new album, and that’s it. But outside of that, there are constant interviews, meetings with stylists, photo shoots, music video shoots … you know, it’s like 10 fulltime jobs all wrapped in one. But I also really like reading and movies and studying and learning …
PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration? Why?
Barry and Robin Gibb, because I know that they are mad brilliant; they just need to work with someone who is younger and modern. Will.I.Am and the whole Black Eyed Peas team. Right now I’ve got this obsession with Contemporary Hit Radio. It’s just such a whole different way of thinking about making music than how we do it in rock band format. I really want to explore that more. But as someone who is used to creating music with a guitar and piano and drums and bass, I wouldn’t even know how to begin making music using a computer or sampler. These answers I’ve given you are more practical, I mean these are the first things that came to my mind. But if you’re talking about DREAM collaboration … Donovan, David Bowie, Sir Paul, George Martin, Rick Rubin, Beck, AIR, the band Phoenix, Brian Eno, Phil Ramon, Bob Ezrin, Daniel Lanoise, Robbie Robertson, THIS is the DREAM!
PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
Ya, about a thousand of them (laughs). But more than any other, ARLAN FEILLES. More than any other, he’s the man. I hate him because he’s so damn good. But that’s why I love him.
PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think each of you would be in your career?
Our guitarist Fernando Perdomo, would be a porn star. Our bass player Roger, would be a film maker; like British comedy type films. Our drummers, Ricky and Bill (Bill Summer) would both be professional soccer players.  Our other guitarist Zach (Zach Ziskin who also mixes the band’s albums), would own a multimillion dollar money management firm. And then there’s our keyboard players, Allan (Allan Gabay) would be a vintage keyboard dealer, but Peter (Peter Capelle) and Jon (Jon Rose) who are both just super talented pianists, guys like that are never going to do anything but music; they’re just born musicians. Me personally, if I weren’t doing music, I could easily see myself being a writer. I spend just as much time writing, fiction and non-fiction, as I do making music.
PEV: So, what is next for Ed Hale & The Transcendence?
Right now it’s just business as usual. We’re gearing up. It’s that moment right before dawn breaks. We’re down in that fox hole, refueling, rehydrating, getting our bellies full, sharpening our knives, cleaning and polishing and loading our rifles, getting ready to jump out, guns a blazing!  But instead of waging war, we’re going to be waging peace. In a way the world has never seen before. It’s going to be a beautiful thing. If 2012 is really the year that the world as we know it ends, it’s going to be one hell of a transcendent finish! 

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