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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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 Raves.com for supporting the music! Thank
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