Honesty is their policy for rock 'n' roll success

Appeared in "News of Delaware County", written by Jay Friel
November 1992

"We just like to say it's honest music," says Echolyn guitarist and lead vocalist Brett Kull of his band's complex, elaborate sound.

"We don't have any kind of borders, as far as our writing goes. We write how we are living at the time. We are open to so many things."

Any rock band inspired by the pursuit of honesty and integrity, and that claims camaraderie as one of its strong points - "Our strength is that we're very close friends," Kull says - would seem destined to a life of low-playing opening gigs in near-empty echo-filled clubs. Too often, nice guys go nowhere in the music business.

Echolyn has worked hard to disprove that thinking.

And with the release of the West Point, Pa. quintet' second recording, Suffocating The Bloom, comes evidence that modern musicians can succeed on their own terms.

"It has a meaning to us," Kull says of Suffocating The Bloom. "The Bloom represents integrity, a purity of vision that is lacking in today's business. There's none of it around it seems. And we're writing about it a lot.

"There's a lot of depressing stuff, but it's a very positive album - I want to stress that."

Echolyn's two-year existence has been packed with positives, including selling out a performance at Philadelphia's Theater of Living Arts. Their record release party at Ardmore's 23 East Saturday night is already sold out.

What makes Echolyn such a big local draw is their originality, Kull claims.

"We're definitely different," he says. "There's not a lot of people that want to take a chance and do what we're doing."

What Echolyn is doing is writing and playing music that few others in this area would, or could. The band's musicianship is superb, and is flexed in complex, classic-rock arrangements.

And, in keeping with Kull's claim to band unity, the song-writing process is very much a band effort.

"Myself and (keyboardist/backing vocalist) Chris (Buzby) will come up with the ideas the majority of the time," Kull says. "But, when we sit down and write, we all sit in the same room and we has out an arrangement and a musical structure of a song. The songs wouldn't come out the msame unless we had everybody in the room contributing."

And the importance of each song as an individual piece of work, and as an element of communication, is never taken for granted.

"What turned us on to music is the fact of a songwriter," Kull says, "and whether or not songs are good and they express that person's emotions sufficiently and honestly, and that goes with classical, jazz, pop or anything.

"We definitely try and get into as many things as possible," Kull continues. "Obviously life has a lot of different emotions in it. There are times when we feel very aggressive and honestly pissed off. And that's the way the music will come out. And then there are other times where, maybe, I'm feeling romantic or Chris is sad by something and the song will reflect that emotion."

Now Echolyn plans to bring their music, and their attitude in making that music, to a larger audience. Their first CD has sold well in Europe, Kull says, and they've alreay expanded their live performance schedule to include Baltimore, Virginia and New York.

Record companies are next on Echolyn's hit list.

"It is one of the avenues that we will be taking, now that this CD (is finished)," Kull says. "(Record) labels will be solicited, but they'll be solicited on different terms than you would expect."

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