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BLUESTONE interview


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An angel's wings carry you to Blue Stone -- or follow the gear with all the blinking lights! As Kris so eloquently stated in his review of their second album, "Organic instruments with electronica and alluring female vocals, create warm, enveloping auras of sound. Ethereal yet full-bodied and boasting beautifully woven textures, "Worlds Apart" is a real accomplishment in the world of "new age" music. These lush songs come alive and surround you like some sort of magical pixie-siren hybrid; they cast their spells and the listener is unable - and unwilling - to resist." At least we were!

Funny thing about email interviews - we often don't know who'll be answering them! This time we had the honor of 'speaking' with Rob & Bill (the producers behind Blue Stone) and their vocalist Sheyenne, and here's what we found out.

Let's start off with "Worlds Apart"... you'd finished your last album Breathe, and then what got you started working on this one?

Rob: We knew that we had a pretty good collaborative thing going back then, so we wanted to just keep rolling with it. We never actually stopped writing – we just said "let's save that for the next one" and kept going. We did a lot of experimenting on Breathe, kind of finding our way with different musical ingredients. By the time we were done with it, we were ready to focus on some specific elements. One of the elements was the vocals. We knew that we hadn't gone as deep into the vocals as we could have. I grew up listening to Yes and a lot of other vocal-oriented music, and I wanted to incorporate more of that stuff into the next Blue Stone.

Bill: After finishing Breathe, our main singer decided to live abroad – I think she's in Turkey or something. Rob and I checked out a few new singers but none of them really fit what we were looking for. Luckily for us, there was a local band that I had been following for a long time that was breaking up. That meant Sheyenne could be available. After a few phone calls, Sheyenne agreed to meet with us.

Rob: Once we brought Sheyenne on, it kicked the music up a few notches and everything just started flowing. She really added a lot to our sound and our creative process.

Can you decrypt the title for us?

Sheyenne: The album title came about after shooting the music video. Gary Cole had come up with the cool music video idea of someone searching for somebody through time and space to go along with the song that is now titled "World's Apart." You'll notice an ongoing theme of searching and longing throughout the album and that theme along with the inspiration from the video is what inspired the album and song title "World's Apart."

Rob: As we were writing we could see some themes developing in the music and the lyrics. Once we actually saw where Gary was going with the video, it became pretty obvious what the title should be.

How does your song writing process usually begin and progress?

Rob: Most of the songs start on Bill's guitar. I think he just feels more comfortable doing that. Once he has a basic song down, then I would take his work and add my parts.

Bill: Sometimes he'd add a few things. Sometimes, the whole song would change. Then the vocals would get added at the end. But now, with Sheyenne, it's a more collaborative effort from start to end.

Sheyenne: For the songs that we wrote together it began with a track that is a creative collaboration between Bill and Rob's writing styles and then I would come in and feel a theme to the song and write lyrics and melodies. Really when it comes to writing there is not just one person who does just one thing. We all collaborate and create to get the sounds that we get. We work together to get what is best for where we feel the song should go. We have an amazing way of working together especially in the writing department. We would knock out a song and have it created and recorded within a couple of hours. We just have that great of a chemistry!

Rob: Most of the songs still start with Bill on guitar, but now Sheyenne starts working on it right away. Writing with her is a lot more spontaneous, and it keeps things fresh and changing. Aside from the creativity, it's just plain fun. I think we all really enjoy each other's company – there are A LOT of really funny outtakes that I'm holding over Sheyenne's head!

Were there any songs on this album that strayed from that process?

Sheyenne: The first two songs I had recorded with Blue Stone were "World's Apart" and "Waters Flow." For those particular songs I came in, and the lyrics and melody were already written. So I basically just added my touches and feel to them.

Bill: Those were her "audition" songs.

Rob: I think she passed. We also had a good friend of ours, Joe Hurteau, who is a brilliant lyricist. He wrote the words for a few of the tracks. But, "Worlds Apart" and "Event Horizon" are the lyrical jewels on the record. In fact, there's a little poem in the packaging of Breathe that he wrote called "Event Horizon", which eventually became the full song on this album.

Who does what in the studio when you are recording?

Rob: In the past, Bill and I would work on the music independently and then come together to work on the vocals. Bill does most of the pre-production writing at his studio, and then most of the final recording and production happens at my place.

Sheyenne: Usually the studio set up is Rob in the captain's chair producing and recording, me on the mic singing and writing and Bill doing whatever it is that he does. =) Just kidding! While we are recording he is the creative supervisor giving suggestions and bouncing off ideas.

Rob: He's pretty honest about stuff. He's not afraid to say when it sucks.

Bill: Most of my work is done early on in the songs. Then I hand it off to Rob. When we worked with Samantha and Maura on the other songs, Rob and I were both there shaping their parts and all working together. With Shy, there's a lot of back and forth and trying out of new ideas.

Rob: A lot of experimentation goes on. And there are a lot of bad ideas that don't make it to the final track. =) The great thing is that nobody is afraid to try an idea. If it doesn't go over, then we move on. I think everyone feels pretty free to experiment.

What software and hardware did you use while making "Worlds Apart"?

Rob: We're using Cubase on home built computers. I know that a lot of people use Mac stuff, and good for them. I'm PC PROUD!! Muuuuaaahhhhahaha! (evil laugh). The rest of our gear varies. Bill and I have some similar sound modules in our studios. That makes it easier for him to send me the stuff he's worked on. Basically, it's the same stuff we used on Breathe. Not much has changed.

Bill: We still like equipment with lots of lights. The more it has, the better we like it.

How was it decided upon to work with the three female vocalists?

Rob: Working with Shy was opening all these opportunities to go in different directions from Breathe. But, we didn't want to change completely. Although Shy was adding sensuality and beautifully emotive qualities, we wanted to keep that theatrical and mystical vibe too.

Bill: We also got a lot of feedback from our myspace fans and iTunes reviews about Breathe that liked the opera and non-vocal-oriented tracks. So we tried to combine the different styles. I think it makes for a more interesting experience. There's enough variety to keep you from getting bored.

Rob: Samantha Sandlin and Maura Hurley are good friends of ours and they are extremely talented and unique. And, they just love to sing. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to include them. It just felt like we had access to all these incredible singers that were so easy to work with. It would have been wrong to ignore it.

If one of the vocalists is answering questions too... what was it like to work with Bill & Robert?

Sheyenne: It was very fun and easy to work with them. Like I already said we have an amazing writing chemistry and just get along so well in every aspect. They are down to earth, very talented and we tend to be a comedy team when we get together. Who knows, maybe we will take that show on the road soon too! LOL

Bill: When we're doing phone or live interviews, we laugh a lot.

How did you end up working with them?

Sheyenne: I had been singing on Hollywood Beach, at some places Bill would hang out and he had talked with me a few times about working together in the studio. But with having been involved in another project at the time it was too difficult to get together. After my split from that project however, I was contacted through Myspace by Bill's girlfriend, Heidi. She told me a bit about the project and referred me to their MySpace page. I heard it and fell in love with the music and feel. I went in the following week to audition for them and well, here we are. It is funny to know that the actual tracks recorded for the title track of the album "World's Apart" was actually my audition piece for the group.

What was the best and worst part about recording this album?

Sheyenne: The best part of working on this album was definitely the writing process. I loved singing the songs that had already been written, but once we started writing together it was amazing to see how easy and fun the process was. FUN being the key word. I think Rob has some funny behind the music recordings of us just being completely goofy to prove just how much fun! =) I think the worst part about it for me was that I unfortunately did not have the chance of watching the other girls on the album record their songs in the studio. =(

Bill: The chemistry between all of us really lends itself to a creative environment.

Rob: The other best part was showing up at Neurodisc with the finished product and having them like it so much. The worst part was making them wait until it was finished. We didn't want to show any of the work in progress to them until the entire project was complete. I don't think they were thrilled with that, but they played along. I've known Tom O'Keefe for a long time, and he's hard to please. So there was a lot of nail-biting on our part until we delivered the finished product.

The video for the single "Worlds Apart" is stellar!! How were you all involved in the making of it?

Sheyenne: Once the first drafts of the songs from the album were completed I began bringing the music to my some of my people to hear. Once it was heard it got passed around to a couple people in the industry, one of which was Gary Cole of Morris and Cole Productions. He was intrigued by the feel and could not get the song out of his head. He had to do a music video for this song he said. He started working on concepts to go along with the story of the song and that is when Bill, Rob and I began scouting some locations and getting things together such as props and wardrobe for the shoot. I was in charge of obviously acting in the video but also did my makeup and hair for the entire video except the space ship shots where I had to look sweaty and dirty. That makeup was done by make up artist Chrissy Sinclair.

Rob: Bill and I were there for moral support.

Bill: But, we were also in the video. I wouldn't call it acting, but we looked good. =)

Rob: Shy definitely did all the heavy lifting for the video. She had hours and hours into it, but she was a pro the entire time.

Had you made a music video before -- what was it like?

Sheyenne: Yes, I have made quite a few music videos. Some with absolutely no budget, some with a small budget, some with big budgets and even some with small budget but appeared like it was a large budget! I have worked on music videos for other projects but mainly for my own past musical projects. Music Videos are a lot like short films in a way and are very fun to be apart of for me from beginning to end. You can be as creative as you want and tell the story to the listener in a visual way. Just like a film, a music video is a very long and tedious process some days were as long as 17 hours and absolutely physically exhausting, but when you see the end result… SO WORTH IT!

The CD's cover art is quite unique. What does it mean to you?

Bill: We wanted something that conveyed frailty. Something dark and moody.

Rob: We also wanted to carry something over from the Breathe cover. Bill's girlfriend, Heidi, made a beautiful replica of the mask from Breathe. So, we sent a couple of pictures of that over to Brian Son and he incorporated it. I wanted it to look like this angel put on the mask and something bad happened to her, causing her to fall to earth with withered wings. So the mask is there, cast aside in the dust.

Sheyenne: The cover art is very interesting and definitely makes you curious as to what it is and also what it is symbolizing. To me, it holds a very personal meaning, as I have been through a lot of ups and downs with my personal life and career. The girl on the front is actually tattered and torn and has been stripped of her innocence which is being symbolized by her wings which are tattered and torn. She is not dead so to speak, just cold and emotionally dead. That is where the cold tone sets in color wise on the cover for me.

Bill: We affectionately refer to it as the "Dead Fairy Cover".

Rob: And, that is Shy on the cover. We photographed her in that pose and sent it to Brian Son. He took the image the rest of the way and did a fantastic job capturing what we were after.

What's up next for Blue Stone?

Rob: Right now, I'm putting together remixes for several of the songs. We're going to be working out something with Sleepthief to remix each other's tracks. Also, writing for the next album is already underway. There might even be some other projects in the works.

Sheyenne: We are also beginning production with Director Robert J. Massetti of Fear Film Independent Productions on a second music video. I will also be co producing and the main concept writer. The music video will be for the song "Event Horizon." We will begin shooting in mid February. Also watch out for some live show dates from Blue Stone. We are finishing up stage show productions in the upcoming months!

And just few fun/personal questions... What do you like to do for fun when you're not making music?

Sheyenne: I love watching movies, talking with interesting people about interesting things, arts and crafts, listening to music and just creating in general. Creating is therapy for me!

Bill: Hanging out at the beach. Checking out live bands. But, it's really hard for me to stay away from writing music.

Rob: I try to spend a lot of time outdoors, camping, kayaking, traveling, etc. I don't like staying in one place too long. I don't even have cable tv.

What's your favorite thing to eat? Favorite animal? Favorite color?

Sheyenne: Pizza & French Fries. Scraps, my Chihuahua. Blue.

Bill: Pizza. Cat. Black.

Rob: Sushi. Horse. Red.

If there you had to pick one adjective to describe yourself, what would it be?

Sheyenne: Determined

Bill: Fun.

Rob: Patient.

Anything else you'd like to say?

Sheyenne: I would just like to say thank you to my fans, friends and family, who have supported me through all my projects. (You know who you are!) Thanks to Blue Stone fans for welcoming me with open arms and also to Bill and Rob for doing the same and making me apart of something so incredible! Also thanks Neurodisc and of course you guys here at for supporting the music! Thank you!

Bill: Thanks to all of our friends on MySpace! The support we get from them has been incredible. Everything, from help with our site to all the great comments, has been really inspirational.

Rob: Our reach is growing fast and it's due to the word getting out through listener reviews and industry reviews. Also, I love getting the emails through our website and our myspace site. That interaction really helps drive things. We try to answer all of them.

Thank you all for your great answers, and for making such beautiful music!!

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