Echoed Illusions

photo by Matthew L. T. Hepworth

Echoed Illusions is a band from Sandy, Utah with a fusion of several styles including punk and hardcore with a slight progressive edge.  They have recently recorded a full-length album called Beyond the Line with producer Gregg Hale at Lincoln Street Sound Studios, and many listeners might compare them favorably to Coheed and Cambria, Rush, or Saosin.  Three of the four members of Echoed Illusions are LDS:  Joel Clark, Michael Howell, and Takami Kowalski, and they currently have one member on a full-time mission for the Church, Matt Petrucci.  Joel, Michael, and Takami recently got together to answer a few questions I sent to them, and they talk about their influences, their lineup changes, and the themes you can expect to hear in their songs.

How did you guys get together and how long have you been playing together as a band?
A: Echoed Illusions in its current form has been together for about 5 years. Before that, guitarist/singer Michael Howell and former guitarist Matt Petrucci played in an unnamed acoustic band. Joel Clark hopped on board soon after that project started, bringing drummer Mikey Lofgreen along with him and transforming the band into the Alternative rock band it is today. After a couple of lineup changes involving stylistic changes and members going away to serve missions and leave for college, the current lineup finally emerged as Joel Clark on bass and lead vocals, Michael Howell on rhythm guitar and vocals, Takami Kowalski on lead guitar, and Dylyn Boswell on drums.

Your music seems like alternative rock with some slight progressive tendencies. How would you describe it?
A: We honestly don’t know how to describe our music, besides saying that is 100% us. Every member of the band has different influences ranging from Death Metal to Pop-Punk and everything in between, so we write what sounds good to us. We’ve never tried to aim for a specific genre. We think alternative rock with a progressive tendency is a good way to describe us – we have a contemporary rock sound with no real form to play off of. It’s really exciting to write with so many influences because it gives us uniqueness in every song, and we think fans will be able to find a lot of our music that fits what they personally like.

What influences do you all have as musicians?
A: Like we said earlier, every member has different influences that affect the writing process and their personal playing styles, but we think that the band collectively has a couple influences. Coheed and Cambria would probably be our biggest influence as a band. I also think bands like Anberlin, Saosin, Circa Survive, Story of the Year and Thrice have a big influence over our songs. Mike’s personal influences are Stephen Christian from Anberlin, Maika Maile from There For Tomorrow, Claudio Sanchez from Coheed and Cambria, and Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy. Joel’s influences are Matt Hepworth from ZenTherStick, Jaco Pastorius, Anthony Green of Circa Survive and Jonny Craig of Emarosa. Takami’s influences are Relient K, Bullet For My Valentine and Coheed and Cambria. Dylyn’s influences are Joey Jordison from Slipknot, Larry Boswell, Neil Peart from Rush and Travis Barker. We also have non musical influences like Charles Bukowski, William Shakespeare, and Orson Scott Card that affect the lyrics.

Three of the members of your band are LDS, and one previous member, Matt Petrucci, has left the band to serve a mission. How does a shared faith influence the dynamic of your band?
A: Well, since there is one member of the band that is not LDS, we all silently agree not to let that hamper the dynamic of the band. We love Dylyn and absolutely respect his religious views, and we know he respects ours. It always amazes us how tight knit our band is, and we think that has alot to do with the love and tolerance of one another that comes with the LDS church. Every band member has different views and opinions, but we just remember at the end of the day that we are all human, we all enjoy making music together, and nothing could ever tear us from each other.

Could LDS listeners hear a spiritual influence in your music or lyrics?
A: The Spirit influences our music and lyrics in the same way it affects us day to day. Our lyrics are all based on a novel Matt Petrucci was in the process of writing before he left to serve his mission. It is a sci-fi love story about dreams, consequences, and reconciliation. Matt and Mike poured their souls into every one of our lyrics, and since we all love the Savior and try to keep a prayer in our hearts, the spirit is part of us. Therefore: the Spirit sneaks its way into our music.

Your band has worked closely with the legendary Gregg Hale, former Spiritualized guitarist and blogger here at Linescratchers. How is working with him? How did you first meet him?
A: Gregg Hale definitely is a legend. He has worked with so many influential and amazing artists, it’s mind blowing to think he actually produced our album. We met Gregg at a Battle of the Bands he was judging 2 years ago. He wrote on our judging sheets something along the lines of “Love the music, I’m interested in recording you.” After the show we introduced ourselves and found out he was a really great and inexpensive producer, so we pounced on recording our EP, called Lifeless Star. Gregg was awesome to work with, he took our young ignorant band and taught us how to record, how to mix, and in essence how to make our band sound good. Later, with a couple more songs under our belt, we returned to Gregg to record our full length album, Beyond the Line, where Gregg took us one step further and made our album sound exactly like a major label album. Gregg was always great to work with, he always had a smile on his face and was ready to work. With his affordable prices, I HIGHLY recommend him to anyone who may be interested, you will not be disappointed at all.

Your MySpace mentions that you’re working on a project called The Line That Divides Me And Dream. Tell us about it.
A: The Line that Divides Me and Dream is the first novel in a series of three novels that former guitarist Matt Petrucci has started to write. Unfortunately, the writing of that book is on hiatus because of Matt’s mission, but we fully support him there and hope he has a successful and fulfilling mission and he will resume writing the novels. The Line That Divides Me And Dream was also supposed to be the title of our full length album, but we decided to change the name to fit the sound and message of the album.

What venues does your band frequent? Any important shows coming up?
A: We used to frequent The Outer Rim and Rovico’s Coffee House, but shows have tapered off for the band. We’ve recently played shows at Kilby Court and the Murray Theater, but shows have stopped coming so we can focus on writing and recording our full length. Now that the album is finished, we’re going to set up much more shows, hopefully at Kilby Court and the Murray Theater again. Keep checking our Myspace and Facebook accounts for show announcements!

Where can interested readers find out more about your music?
A: We are on Myspace at www.myspace.com/echoedillusions and at Facebook under the name Echoed Illusions. We also have a blog at www.lifelessstar.blogspot.com.

Echoed Illusions

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