James Byron Schoen on "The Fruit Fallen"
you to create "The Fruit Fallen" and the overall concept?
I wouldn't consider 'The Fruit Fallen' to be a true concept album,
though I tend to think of everything that I write in conceptual
terms. A primary goal of mine was to make an album that was both
experimental and challenging for me as a songwriter.
I wanted to
play around with all sorts of instrumentation and timbres that one
would not usually hear on a rock album by incorporating some
classical orchestration and also experimenting with percussion
alternatives to the drumset.
I wrote the
majority of the material while I was at college and I really tried
to take advantage of the musical variety available to me at the
time. Where else, outside of an academic setting, would I have had
such immediate access to classical players, Indian and African
Percussion, Church Organ and more?
So in many
ways, I suppose it was this eclectic musical environment that
really shaped and inspired the album.
Lyrically, there is no overarching concept, though there are some
basic subjects that come up in multiple songs; for example, a few
of the songs center around the concept of death.
Additionally, as you may have noticed, I tend to use occasional
religious/biblical references, either when speaking directly of
religion (as in 'The Sixth Day') or metaphorically to describe
something entirely different (as in 'The Baptism').
that the band name and album title are both biblical references as
well. This fascination with religion really has no bearing on my
own personal faith, but instead, I'm drawn to religious concepts
as vehicles for my songwriting.
Who are your greatest influences musically and is prog rock
your preferred genre?
My musical influences are really over the map. Among my earliest
influences were artists like the Beatles and Billy Joel; my
parents used to play this music around the house and in the car.
surprisingly, I was also a huge Michael Jackson fan as a child,
and he may have been the initial reason I wanted to be a musician.
I listened to a lot of alternative rock in the early nineties (who
didn't?), and by middle school, I had discovered metal bands like
Metallica and Megadeth and eventually, more progressive bands like
Rush and Dream Theater.
It was also
around this time that I began to dig through my dad's old record
collection and discovered progressive rock staples like Yes and
Jethro Tull. For me, this music always had a special magic that I
couldn't find elsewhere.
Later on in
high school and college, I developed a love for the folkier music
of acts like Cat Stevens and Simon and Garfunkel. I also listen to
quite a bit of classical music, favoring an equally wide range
from the often simple beauty of Chopin to the epic symphonies of
my whole life absorbing music, both actively, by analyzing Dream
Theater songs, for example, and passively, through other
activities, like the video games I played as a child (some of
those games have such memorable music!).
Though I hate to slap a label on my musical taste, I suppose I've
always been most attached to music that is considered 'progressive
rock,' whether it's Genesis or The Mars Volta. I certainly feel
most comfortable when I'm writing within a progressive framework;
It opens up a lot doors for me creatively. As for modern music, I
tend to prefer that which stretches the boundaries of the genre
and sounds truly fresh to a watered down rehashing of the great
prog bands of the 70; where's the 'progress' in that?
Have you played any gigs to support the album, and are there
any plans for more gigs this year?
The last show that Edensong played was in December 2006,
considerably before the release of 'The Fruit Fallen.' Since 'The
Fruit Fallen' was released in July 2008, the Edensong lineup has
with this new lineup of extremely dedicated, proficient and
creative musicians and we've been hard at work rehearsing and
revamping the songs for the stage; I can honestly say that it's
all sounding better than it ever has before.
We have some
local New York area shows scheduled for the spring and summer, but
we're most excited for our performance at the Pittsburgh Three
Rivers Progressive Rock Festival in August (www.3rprogfest.com).
It will be a true honor to share the stage
with groups like King's X, Phideaux and Glass Hammer. The new and
improved Edensong is very open to the prospect of frequent gigging
and touring, so we'll probably have some plans in the works before
too long! We would love to make it over to Europe in the
2009 David Randall/GRTR!