*BACKSTAGE PASS* - INTERCONTINEN7AL - War's The Noise


ARTIST: Intercontinen7al LATEST RELEASE: War's the Noise RELEASE DATE: 21/09/22

LOCATION: Castle Rock, CO, United States


BIO


"War's the Noise" is the first single from INTERCONTINEN7AL's upcoming album "Volume 3", which is set for release this season! The band is rather unique in the sense that they are the only group to record music across all 7 continents (using BandLab). Their track "War's the Noise" showcases a mid-tempo rock song featuring collaborators from Europe, North America, and South America. Proceeds from their latest album will go to Ukrainian refugee relief efforts.


I decided to reach out to the founder of the band, Matt Smith to delve deeper into their artistry so, check out what they have to say behind the scenes below!


Credit - Gustavo Fedrizzi

Q:

Hey, it’s glad to have you with us! Firstly, who are INTERCONTINEN7AL? I have seen that there are many members but who are you as people?

A:

INTERCONTINEN7AL is a virtual collective of musicians that originated in 2020 during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and over the last few years has included contributions from artists on all 7 continents (yes, including Antarctica)!


Yes, over the course of three albums we have had literally over thirty different musicians participate in our project, which is incredible when I stop and think about it! While we are a group that consists of a wide variety of backgrounds, interests, and beliefs, I personally feel that we are united through the universal love and appreciation of creating music, and using that end product to provide benefit to philanthropic pursuits.


Q:

Secondly, How did you go about being the only group to record music across all 7 continents (using BandLab)? What made you want to do it in the first place and how has that influenced your sound? It’s a really inspiriting and unique thing to do, I admire it so much!

A:

Great question! So as I mentioned above, back in 2020 I was living in Columbia, Maryland and performing as a guitarist in a local band called Toast. Once COVID arrived, we couldn't really get together to practice or play, so we needed to put our heads together to determine our next steps moving forward. I stumbled on the app BandLab, which allowed us to distribute song ideas, riffs, etc through the platform and create our own "projects" to stack these ideas and try to construct an actual song. It was remarkable how easy it was to utilize the program, simply by recording from my Samsung phone! We eventually wanted to experiment a bit and post these song concepts as “forkable” to the larger BandLab public community, to see if there were other musicians out there that wanted to partake in our tunes. In just a few short weeks, we started to collaborate with other amazing artists who eventually became INTERCONTINEN7AL members: Argentina's Gustavo Prida, San Francisco's Hope Gray, Rieneke from the Netherlands, Australia's Robert James Shoveller, and Marcin Nawrocki from Poland were one of the first ones that had joined.


I still recall taking a stroll outside my house one day when an idea suddenly occurred to me – to "steal" the Foo Fighters' Sonic Highways methodology of creating an album with musicians from various cities across the U.S., but expanding it to record with artists across the globe, on all 7 continents! The name INTERCONTINEN7AL was eventually conceived (the “7” in the band name was lifted from Tool's song "7empest"). In order to recruit more band members, I contacted some other friends and family members in the States who were musicians, and also used the Explore and Creator Connect features in BandLab to locate artists in other continents that weren't represented yet (ex - Josh Pearlson in South Africa). As you can probably guess, establishing the Antarctic link was going to be most challenging. I researched email contacts for the research stations in Antarctica and sent messages to each one to attempt to find a willing participant to our project. I couldn't believe my luck when we were actually able to get not one, but TWO different research scientists who were also gifted musicians: Belgium's Aymar de Lichtervelde, stationed at Princess Elisabeth Station, and Stijn Thoolen from Netherlands, stationed at Concordia!


As I stated above, the impetus of the band really came out of a dire situation with the pandemic...when life gives you lemons, right? For me, having this goal to create a virtual album, across 7 continents, that had never been accomplished before really aided me in navigating through a challenging year. Our sound has certainly evolved from the first record, which was mainly alternative, blues, and folk rock oriented. With the introduction of new members into the group (such as Jukerok from Egypt, Andrasta from the UK, Miami73 from France, etc), we have significantly diversified our music portfolio with genres such as Latin, metal, jazz, pop, classical, and even showtunes! I'm hoping that we continue to push the envelope with future releases and dive into unchartered musical territory.


Q:

Bearing this in mind, how challenging is it to keep so many members together on one specific project?

A:

With the virtual nature of this band, it does tend to be a revolving door of artists. Some musicians may be more active on certain records, and then take a break due to other obligations, whether they be family oriented, professional, educational, etc. There is never really any pressure for musicians to participate on any given song. It tends to be a digital sandbox where bandmates can introduce a song idea or concept, and then anyone can jump in and provide their input or suggestions. Along with Marcin Nawrocki (a fellow bandmate), I serve as a producer on each album and try to keep in touch with musicians to see if they are interested in recording alternate takes for their tracks, adding new parts, and so on. When it comes to recruiting participants for a tune, I try to offer suggestions and recommendations to bandmates when I can, as I'm familiar with all of the artists in the band and what instruments they may be able to provide. Sometimes it can require a great deal of back and forth communication to attempt to get these songs to the finish line (and fully realized) but it's well worth it!


Q:

How did you go about creating deadlines and finishing your latest release "War's The Noise"?

A:

This is another interesting topic - regarding deadlines, we do make attempts to set milestones and target dates for releases, but at the same time if a song or album isn't quite ready yet, we can push our dates back as needed. Perfect example is the release date of this upcoming record Volume 3, which was slated to come out in July. Due to other commitments of various band mates, it wasn't feasible to finalize recording and production of various album songs, to include War's the Noise, by that self imposed deadline. As a result, we went ahead and moved the goalposts so to speak. The general goal, in my opinion, is to release at least one record a year (which we are on pace to do with this latest album).


Q:

I can imagine that there are a lot of ideas going around, how do you decide on the direction of a project?

A:

Another great question - so at the beginning of our second record, when we began to collect a multitude of other original ideas, we established a "band rule" that the primary songwriters of a given BandLab "project" would determine which direction they wanted to take the song in. For example, someone can upload a chord progression with their electric guitar, and then have three different lead singers provide their own versions of lyrics and vocal melodies. It basically falls on the person that uploaded the track to determine which vocal track suits the tone and mood of the song the best. You can often gauge what works and what doesn't by the "reaction" of bandmates, who communicate via a group chat in the app. If you get a bunch of thumbs up and smiley faces for a recent project revision, that tells me we're on the right track with how a song is progressing.


Q:

Proceeds from one of your albums will go to Ukrainian refugee relief efforts, why is this important to yourselves as a group?

A:

Our band strives to raise money for a new charity with every record that we release. For Volume 3, album proceeds will be donated to the International Rescue Committee and Ukrainian refugee relief. The conflict in Ukraine had erupted early into the online sessions for this record, and it just seemed to be the right thing for our group to do, to offer any support we possibly could to all those that have been displaced and negatively impacted. I ended up recruiting wonderful musicians from both Ukraine (Yaroslav) and Russia (Ruslan) to participate on a pro-peace song together, so that is another very special track that will be included on the album, called куди ми йдемо звідси or "Where Do We Go From Here?". You can listen to it here.


Q:

The world is moving into a virtual one, would you do a virtual tour?

A:

I would 100% be interested in conducting this, it would be a dream come true to actually get to play with my bandmates live! The sheer technological and scheduling logistics would be quite tricky to pull off - but if we were able to create an album virtually, why not partaking in live performances? Something to definitely explore and research further.


Q:

Where do you see yourselves headed in 2023?

A:

For 2023, my goal is to finish recording and production on our next record Volume 4. We have quite a bit of material that's close to completion, and we are really excited to share it with the world.


It's been a pleasure having you in to talk to us, I look forward to seeing where things progress for you in the future!