BY J. KENNEY
On Saturday, July 15th, One Time Mountain will release their full-length debut album, Seasons, at Gemstones in Lowell, Mass. Joining them on the bill will be Taken, The IV and One Hundred Thousand for a great night of rock music. While One Time Mountain has gone through a few lineup changes over the years, the current lineup has moved to a heavier rock direction which is evident by the songs on their catchy new disc. We recently caught up with the members of One Time Mountain who were looking forward to their CD release party on July 15th.
LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE (LM): One Time Mountain is nearing the release of its debut, full-length, studio album, Seasons. How long has it taken you to record this album? Are you pleased with the finished product?
JEFF BLUTE: It’s been about a year and a half, feels a lot longer, haha, but I’m very excited for this album. It’s our first full length album with 11 songs. All our past EP’s have been 4 to 5 songs.
BRIAN MURPHY: I’d say the whole kit and kaboodle took us about a year and a half, maybe a wee bit more. I am very happy with the outcome and am proud of the band for accomplishing what we have done. It wasn’t a milk and honey adventure, and it wasn’t crowd funded at all, so there were definite periods of time that being broke was just part of the ride. Hopefully, this album changes that, but we’ve accomplished a lot and have a lot to be proud of.
ALEX NEKRYLAU: Yes, I’m very pleased and extremely excited. [I] can’t wait to share such a great record with the world
MATT VALLIERE: I want to say it’s taken maybe two years. It’s definitely more than one year. It feels like a long time.
LM: You’ve released a couple of EPs since 2012. How has the band evolved over the past five years?
JEFF BLUTE: The band has gone through a few lineup changes so that has brought different influences into the mix. Now, with this lineup, the music has moved to heavier rock and metal feel with influences from Dream Theater, Periphery, Alter Bridge, and more.
BRIAN MURPHY: Well, we’ve had some serious lineup changes. Hopefully, everyone is here to stay this time around as we all really get along really well and have all sort of musically evolved together in the writing of this particular album.
ALEX NEKRYLAU: *whistles*
MATT VALLIERE: The music has definitely gotten a lot heavier. It rocks harder. I think we all have many different influences, but speaking for myself, my drumming is influenced much more by heavier, more complex music and our new singer, Alex, just has a voice that works well with it.
LM: Of the tracks on Seasons, do you have a favorite song and why?
JEFF BLUTE: My two favorites are “Rock & Roll” and “NLO.” “Rock & Roll” was a song that started off from some riffs that I wrote many years back. It was cool to finally see that come to life into a full song. I also got to write the guitar solo for it. “NLO” is cool because of the topic in the lyrics. I’m a believer that there is life outside Earth and it’s great to have lyrical content that isn’t the same old “love song.”
BRIAN MURPHY: I hate picking between children, but “Inertia” and Roads” are some of my favorites.
ALEX NEKRYLAU: I like them all equally. I think it’s an awesome album!
MATT VALLIERE: I would say “NLO” and “Roads” are my favorite. “Roads” because it’s a long epic song and it’s a lot of fun to play [with] many moving parts. “NLO” just rocks right out of the gate and it’s interesting from beginning to end. I think the lyrics and the overall subject matter is fun and satisfying.
LM: Every band has its own songwriting process. Can you elaborate on what works for One Time Mountain?
JEFF BLUTE: We would usually sit in a circle and someone would start with a riff or an idea and we would collaborate off that and try to make an order of it. We would jam it out a few times and record a scratch track as reference. Then we would go through and perfect each part and track it ourselves.
BRIAN MURPHY: We are a pretty flexible band, everyone can write, so everyone writes. We write our music together and alone and every which way needed to get the essence of the song expressed.
ALEX NEKRYLAU: Usually someone has an idea, a riff or whole structure for a new song and we go from there. I write vocal melodies and sometimes lyrics. We all are helping with arrangements here and there.
MATT VALLIERE: Usually someone will bring a guitar riff or melody to the band and we all kind of jam along to that. During the process, we’ll share ideas until we have a structure down. Then we need to record our parts and perfect them individually and then share it and mix it all together. So, for me, I’ll just lay down the beat to get a feel for all the parts. I’ll then perfect each part and play it slowly to develop exactly what I want the final result to be.
LM: You allowed us to preview seven tracks on the album. While they are all catchy tunes, our favorite is “Mistaken” which also happens to be the first single from that album. Can you tell us about that song and why you chose it as the lead off single?
JEFF BLUTE: This was a song that started with Alex and we wanted people to hear something new with Alex and what he brought to the table and our sound. We also enjoyed the idea of having a pretty heavy song. It was different from our past records but still had a very catchy chorus you can sing along with.
BRIAN MURPHY: That song is the first song the band wrote with Alex. We wanted to establish a new sound for the band that let people know we still mean business and that we are aiming to blow hair back. We found the best way to do that was through high energy metal.
ALEX NEKRYLAU: I think it was one of the first tunes we wrote as a band. I came up with that intro riff and told Brian my thoughts about how I see the other parts. So, he wrote verse and chorus, I added vocal melodies and lyrics, the guys added the rest, and here we are.
MATT VALLIERE: I think it was Alex who brought that intro riff to the band. We liked the idea of having heavy fast verses with a big open chorus to keep it interesting. The song has a catchy chorus while showcasing the harder side of our music, which makes it the single of choice.
LM: It’s obvious that Soundgarden is an influence on One Time Mountain. What was your reaction to Chris Cornell’s death?
JEFF BLUTE: I was shocked. It was definitely a real sad moment. I grew up loving Soundgarden when I was learning to play guitar and I would always attempt to play their songs. He was one of my favorite singers in the rock world.
BRIAN MURPHY: I couldn’t believe it, of all the people he was the last person I expected to go out like that. Just shows how different people can be inside versus out. Suicide isn’t something that should be taken lightly and we have a song on this album addressing that topic.
ALEX NEKRYLAU: It is sad. And the saddest thing here is not the death itself but what led to it.
MATT VALLIERE: I was as shocked as everyone. He was my mom’s favorite singer, other than Steven Tyler, so when I read the news at 5 a.m. that morning, my first thought was how sad she was going to be that day. I went and listened to a Spotify playlist of all his music. I always liked everything he was involved with though I never listened extensively. Nonetheless, it’s a huge loss and a real bummer.
LM: A lot of people say that hard rock and metal is a dying brand of music and then you release Seasons which proves the naysayers wrong. What do you like most about this genre of music? Is that satisfaction proving these people wrong?
JEFF BLUTE: I don’t think that it is a dying breed at all. I could say why people would think that because if you go to the Spotify Top U.S. Chart you won’t find any rock songs. At least not in the first 20 songs. But many people still listen to rock music and I’m excited to keep bring people more music.
BRIAN MURPHY: I like how broad rock and metal can be. You can have an album with 11 different songs in which none will sound remotely the same but can still fall under the same metal branch. That’s cool. I don’t really have much to prove to other people, just to myself, but I do enjoy when we turn heads, yes.
ALEX NEKRYLAU: We’ll see. I don’t want to prove someone wrong. I just wanna do the thing I love the most.
MATT VALLIERE: I grew up with rock so it’s always been there in my life. It just gives me energy and pushes all the right buttons. I never considered it a dying genre because it was always alive to me. I always find joy in trying to turn people on to it slowly. When asked to put pop, rap, and country songs on someone’s iPod, I’ll pull a “U2” and sneak one rock/metal song in there. Then over time, they might stop skipping over it and eventually grow to like it. The satisfaction comes from turning people on to new music and opening their mind.
LM: This has probably been asked before but how did the name for the band come about?
JEFF BLUTE: It was the line of song that was written by our previous singer Andrew Horn when he joined with me and Brian. He approached [us] with the name and we liked it because it was unique. There is a deep metaphorical meaning behind it but it’s pretty long, haha.
BRIAN MURPHY: Our old singer came up with it and my head hurts trying to explain it.
ALEX NEKRYLAU: *whistles again*
MATT VALLIERE: Once upon a time, there was a band called “One Time Mountain” who was looking for a drummer and, at the time, I happened to be looking for a band. So, I join them and for whatever reason, I never asked that common question. I assumed it was a Mad Lib or a band name generator result but rumor has it that there is indeed a more poetic, metaphorical meaning to the title.
LM: One Time Mountain’s CD release party will take place at Gemstones in Lowell, MA, on July 15th. What can your fans expect from this show?
JEFF BLUTE: It’s going to be a very exciting night with a lot of great rock and roll acts, lots of high energy. I’m so excited for people to finally hear what we’ve created.
BRIAN MURPHY: This is going to be one of the Crown Jewel events of the summer, especially for underground rock. We have the best bands joining us, and the community has really come together for this night. We are very excited and proud to be able to present it to you.
ALEX NEKRYLAU: They can definitely expect tons of great music from us and our friends in Taken, The IV and 100k and also a lot of pure fun!
MATT VALLIERE: A high-energy, awesome night of hard rock and roll. It’s going to be a blast and everyone will finally be able to hear the music we’ve been working on for so long.
LM: After the CD release party, what are your immediate and long-range plans for the band?
JEFF BLUTE: We will be looking to start playing more shows and even reaching out beyond New England. Hopefully, a small tour in the near future.
BRIAN MURPHY: We want to tour, get under some serious management. All that fun stuff.
ALEX NEKRYLAU: We’re planning to start touring and promoting the album as much as we can.
MATT VALLIERE: I would like to look into bigger shows, opening up for national acts, festivals, etc. Then, I’d say it’s time to hit the road and share the new music with new people.
LM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
BRIAN MURPHY: Thank you very much for having us and thank you to all the fans that have followed us and stayed with us from day one.