Tuesday, October 7, 2014

An Interview with Gregorian Rock

Greetings from the Concert Closet fellow progheads!  As autumn starts to roll in and shake the leaves off the trees, I feel the time is right to venture into into "semi-familiar waters."  So I set the compass in the Concert Closet for home and head back to recognizable tundra.  However; there is no sense rushing back to crisp mornings, a waiting rake, and random lower back pain--time is better spent continuing my search for all things prog...so here I am in Texas one more time for a conversation with Dale Benedict, the founder of Gregorian Rock.

First, a little background...I caught wind of Gregorian Rock back in January of this year and was blown away.  Dale broke new ground in the prog garden blending Gregorian chant with modern music...the resulting sound was a staggering eargasm.  Dale is currently working on Gregorian Rock's second album, due for release in December,  and was kind enough to take some time to talk about that and a few other things...please to enjoy...

Closet Concert Arena: Who and/or what is Gregorian Rock?

Dale Benedict: Gregorian Rock is a musical idea I had a few years ago. I was searching for that elusive thing that would be my own unique sound. With that in mind, I wondered what would happen if I combined Gregorian chant with modern instruments and styles. Previously I had pursued other, more mainstream styles of music, but none of that really went anywhere.  This idea seemed to propel itself along like nothing else had.

CCA: What influenced your decision to combine progressive rock with Gregorian chant?

DB: I didn't set out to work mainly in the prog vein, but it seems to have ended up like that. One of the goals of this musical endeavor was to make music that I want to listen to; music that nobody else was making. I am intentional about keeping the instruments as important as the vocals, and that alone will drive the bus onto the prog highway.

CCA: What bands/musicians do you feel have had the most impact on your music style?

DB: There are many, but the earliest and most profound are ELP, Yes, and the Switched-On Bach records. The more recent influences are Iona, Neal Morse, and Frost.

CCA: Your first album grabbed the listener because it was new, innovative, and exciting.  What can we expect from album #2? 

DB: You can expect the same unusual blending of Gregorian chant and modern instruments, but you can also expect this one to be a step up. I’m taking the lessons learned from the first album and applying them. The writing is more focused and I’ll be more directly involved in some of the final steps. Another difference is instead of all the music being written by me this time, I co-wrote one of the songs with a dear friend, and re-arranged an old hymn to be “Gregorianized”. There are a couple of other twists.

CCA: What musician(s) would you most like to cut an album with?

DB: How about Jeff Beck, Rick Wakeman, Tony Levin, Phil Keaggy, and Mike Portnoy?

CCA: You just added a wish to my bucket list…

CCA: You peel the curtain back a bit and introduce the band on your website.  How did the members of Gregorian Rock come together?

DB: The members of the band are all friends of mine. Some of them were band mates from back in the day, and some are more recently met. When I began this project, I made a list of the musicians I knew, and started contacting them to see who was interested and available. There was the additional requirement that they had to be able to record themselves, or come to my home studio. That last requirement took several out of play. The band is scattered across multiple locations in three different states.

CCA: Any touring on the horizon?

DB: Not at the moment. I am a full time graphic artist, and a part time musician with a family to support. If a tour happens it will mean Gregorian Rock has become the next big thing.

I may not be psychic, but I believe it is safe to say that progheads like me are chomping at the bit for the second release from Gregorian Rock, and that December release date means the hysteria will be here before you know it.  You can learn more about Gregorian Rock at http://gregorianrock.com/ . You can also follow Gregorian Rock on Twitter at @cantusnovus and https://www.facebook.com/gregorian.rock?fref=ts

The clip below is a reprise from my original blog post on Gregorian Rock, a tune called "Sanctus." This is but a small taste of what I anticipate to be a smorgasbord of prog on the second album by Gregorian Rock.  Dale has built a sound so unique, inspiring, and mesmerizing...Gregorian Rock hits your insides full on and reverberates throughout the core of your being.   

As I conclude another post I would like say thanks to everyone who has been following me each week.  This search for all things prog has taken on a life of its own and I am grateful to be a passenger in let alone the captain of the Concert Closet.  Time to once again pull up stakes and continue the search...until next week... 

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