Q & A with Jeff of Echoes of Petra

8218867454_548043642c_oEchoes of Petra is a female fronted hard rock band based out of Massachusetts. Built up of veterans of the local scene and very powerful vocals by Jodi, they mix well to give the band a different sound then other female fronted rock bands.  When they play live they just draw you to the stage with their energy and love for their music they have created.

Jeff (Guitar) has been nice to take some time out to answer some questions about the band. I have been a big fan of Jeff’s since probably around 2000-2001 while he was in Stoic. He just has that knack of playing and you can see his passion for music.

Pete Rock: How did you guys come up with the name Echoes of Petra?

Jeff: We had a few names we were kicking around, but it was Nik (guitar) that came up with “Echoes of Petra”. We wanted something “spacey” but have some content or meaning. Petra is an ancient city in Jordan that was carved into the side of the cliffs. It was said the inhabitants had just vanished, abandoned the city for an unknown reason. An entire civilization lost. Hence, “Echoes of Petra” pays homage to that mystery. Also we are huge Indiana Jones fans, and Petra is the city where the Holy Grail was hidden. Ha-ha!

JeffPR: I know some of you have a history together in bands, but how did the line up come to be as it is?

Jeff: It was easy for this line up to form. This project was originally just a fun side project. I had written this demo for Jodi to sing over. I knew she was a talented singer, and should be fronting a band. But never being in a band before, she was hesitant to go out and form one.  So I had some riffs/ ideas and asked Nik to iron it out. He’s an amazing rhythm guitarist, song writer, and I’ve been working with him for years.  We structured a few tunes and decided to go to New Alliance studios and record it as a live band, rather than piece it together. Just needed a band. At that point I either had to find a lead guitarist or a bassist, as well as a drummer. I really wanted to try something different, so I went out bought a few guitars and a rig, rather than play bass in another band. So I asked Justin to play bass, his style of bass playing was unique, blending effects and a different approach on the songs that seemed to give life between Nik’s straight rhythm tone and my delayed guitar.  He also could lend vocal harmonies with Jodi. They sang harmonies in “STOIC “and I really liked how their voices melded together. To lock in the band I asked Brendan to play drums. We grew up playing music as kids and he was always more than just a “metal drummer”. He’s solid and creates interesting phrases, energy, and space, perfect for what we were trying to accomplish. After a few practices it was evident that we all clicked and decided to peruse this as a formal band.

PR: You are in another female fronted band, Goddess of my Religion, how would you say the two bands are different?

Jeff: Goddess of my Religion has a different vibe for me. That band has always been a release from structure, back to those days as a kid where we didn’t think about structure of songs and click tracks.  It’s just loud, live, and organic. We don’t think too much about “how long is this supposed to be” or typical song formats. We just get in the room and do what we do. We are all in other bands. So when we do get in a room to play, it’s just friends that enjoy the give and take of what each individual has to offer that band.

8217784039_69357b6995_bPR: Having been in the scene for as long as you have, what keeps you going?

Jeff: What keeps me going is really simple. I just enjoy it. It’s our outlet, our form of expression. We have no illusions of grandeur. We take pride in our art, and hopefully people enjoy it was much as we do creating it. Also, we have a community of incredibly talented musicians among this Boston/ Rhode Island. People who don’t judge and appreciate what ever genre of music it is, that come out to support the arts. From you guys at Rock Karma, great photographers such as Lisa/Ken @ music in pictures, Rob Lee photography, and Midday records.  Bands like Hope Before the Fall, Pistol Shot Gypsy, I Was Awake, and Satellite’s Fall and more than I can mention in this paragraph. These are genuine people, good friends, and people to push you as a musician. I would definitely be a different person if it wasn’t for the people I’ve met along the way from playing shows.

PR: Having been in metal and hard rock bands, where do you draw your influences from?

Jeff: As a band, we draw our influences from so much. We all bring something different to the table. We grew up in a generation of 1990s rock (which I’m a huge fan of heavier bands such as the Deftones, sound-scape bands such as Jakob, the diversity of bands Thrice and Dredg. We are still a baby band and still coming into our own. But we enjoy working together and collaborating on music and ideas.

PR: For people like me who don’t know the workings, what is the deal with all the pedals?

Jeff: Oh… the pedals… so many pedals. I’ve always loved the sounds and manipulation of pedals. Even growing up my father played acoustic through midi pedals changing his sound to organs and piano. He taught me a lot over the years. Like father like son! I know it looks like a lot of pedals, but I use all of them in one way or another.  And I guess it makes sense in my head, but I can understand that it can look … excessive. When in stoic, it was a necessity. Having only 1 guitar roaring and all this space. It made sense to fill in that space with layers, delays, and even pitch shifting bass up an octave to second a guitar lead. That stuck with me into transferring into a guitarist, having layers and textures. Nik holds down such a wall of sound that having the dynamics of a “wet” guitar over that makes more sense sonically. I’ve always loved that delayed guitar. I’ve taken some pointers from some amazing people over the years and they have greatly affected how I approach guitar and pedal uses. Like Jarrod Obstfeld “Moth meets machine”, Will Benoit “constants” and Steph Curran (Christ, she’s in like 50 bands).  Working with them has definitely left an imprint. I was lucky to have worked with them.

8218866296_c6a532c3a1_bPR: You guys have been working on a new CD, where are you guys in the process?

Jeff: The new EP is coming out great. Recorded at New Alliance Studios with engineer Kyle Paradis (I was awake). He did a great job capturing the instruments. Vocals are recorded by James Dunham (In Aeona)

We are mixing in 2 weeks and then back to New Alliance East to be mastered. We will have it out hopefully by end of the summer.

PR: What form will you release it (Itunes, CD, Amazon)?

Jeff: We are releasing the songs in 3 sets of 2 songs. All on Itunes. Each EP will have its own art work designed by our guitarist Nik Rooney. We are trying something a little different than just release another Ep. And it makes us try and do something more artistic.

I know this time of the year is a very busy time for everyone, so I like to thank Jeff for taking the time to do this. Be sure to check out Echoes of Petra whenever you can. They are the real deal and well worth the cover charge. I do not say that often, so like in the Steven Seagal movie, “You can take that to the bank”.

 

UPCOMING SHOWS

Echoes of Petra are Josh (Guitar. Not pictured), Justin (Bass), Brenden (Drums), Jeff (Guitar), and Jodi (Vocals)

Photo via Echoes of Petra Facebook Page: 

https://www.facebook.com/echoesofpetra/photos_stream

Jeff’s picture at top & cover photo by https://www.facebook.com/musicinpictures?fref=ts

 

 

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