Friday, September 26, 2014

I still say he's the happiest drummer on the planet :-) An interview/discussion with Brian Steele Medina

SPARKS. NV, 4 JULY: Gemini Syndrome performing at The Alley, Sparks, Nevada
Brian Steele Medina, Gemini Syndrome, The Alley, Sparks NV, 2013
Just over a year ago, after Aftershock 2013, and the release of Gemini Syndrome's Lux, I said that this band had "the happiest drummer on the planet". Anyone who has seen Gemini Syndrome play live will understand what I mean: Brian Steele Medina walks on stage and takes a seat behind the drums, spends a few calm, quiet moments before the set... and then bursts into a flow of energy, music and sheer exhuberance with a set of drumsticks. He is, quite obviously, having fun.

This week, I had a wonderful discussion with Brian.

It was supposed to be an interview, but we discussed life, the universe, and Gemini Syndrome, put the world to rights, and started all over again a couple of times, before it was time to go home. What did we talk about? Gemini Syndrome plans, tour, recordings and writing music; sobriety and recovery and Skype; languages and countries; selfishness and unselfishness; art, design, tattoos; writing songs as a band; families, responsibility, being an adult and realising what it mean; making it in the music business, and that one show in Nebraska(?) with an audience of two, yes two people, and why it was so important to play to them as if they were an audience of two thousand.

Brian Steele Medina, drummer, Gemini Syndrome, Aftershock 2013
Brian Steele Medina, Aftershock 2013, Sacramento CA
I'll try to recap our discussion! Good news: Gemini Syndrome are already well on the way to a second album, and even thinking, conceptually, about the third ... the second one, to be completed sometime next year? The band is preparing very soon for the next tour: it starts in early October, with many dates through to the end of the year, east coast, south east, Texas... most with Nonpoint; some in large venues, and some in places a little off the beaten track (Patchogue, NY, you won't know what's hit you!) (I would love to be in Patchogue on a frosty, crisp, end-of-October night, stars frozen in the sky, hearing Gemini Syndrome play Stardust... it just fits.) Then home for the holidays... then the New Year and either work on the album, or, and/or possibly, just possibly, a European tour. (Oh you lucky Europeans. Nothing promised or set in stone yet but those of you on the other side of the pond: look out, you've a treat headed your way sometime soon! AT)

I asked what many of us on this side of the USA are wondering: when will there be another show on this side of the country? California? Any truth in the rumours that they'll be calling in to our town? Darnit. Not yet... perhaps not for a while. There's that second album in the works!

(Road trip, anyone? Pick a date and let's go... just not the week of 26th October, OK, cos I have to be somewhere else? AT)

We talked a lot about sobriety and fellowship and support, Brian's connections with SFG (Saint Francis' Group), which started as four touring musicians supporting each other in their daily strivings to remain sober, and which has grown to include others, both actively-touring musicians and those who are no longer on the road; Brian has his sober-date inked on his arm, together with the Gemini Syndrome symbol, the SFG emblem, a skull as a symbol of change... (and this is where Skype came into the discussion, because you can hold sobriety meetings via Skype, just as easily as you can chat with a friend--technology can be brilliant.)  (Then we talked about how the world can change because one key person finds out they have become addicted to something. Go on, think about it. Choose someone who played an important role in history, or in your life, and imagine them wasted... sounds funny, but imagine what this world is losing in talent, beauty and love because lives are broken by addiction--what those individuals could have accomplished, contributed... Then celebrate those who are working through it, one day at a time. Now that is happy. AT.)

Brian Steele Medina, drummer, Gemini Syndrome, Aftershock 2013
Brian Steele Medina, drummer, Gemini Syndrome, Aftershock 2013
 ... and what about becoming known, becoming successful as a band? What advice would he have for others, starting out, thinking they have some good songs and wanting go go further? Here's Brian's advice (paraphrased by AT, errors are all AT's!):>\

- There's a book called All You Need To Know About The Music Business. It tells you about all the stuff that has nothing to do with the songs and the music. The "everything else" you need to know.
- Tour, tour, and tour again. Go on the road, do whatever it takes to get out there. It will be hard, it will be tough, and it will also be hard for your families and friends--$200 a show doesn't cover hotels, fuel, food, everything for a band of four or five people plus whoever else you have helping.
- Are you really sure you want to do this? Do you believe in it, enough? Then get out there and tour. Even if only ten people show up this time, they'll tell their friends, next time there will be more. That's how it spreads.
- Forget the home town. You can always play, and be known in your home town. It's more important to be out there, reaching new audiences.
- Identify the key people (managers, promoters etc.) who work with the bands you most admire in your genre. Ask them to listen to your music--and listen to, and learn from, criticism. Don't send them a bad song twice!
- Aim to tour with bands you admire. And then help the bands who are touring with you. (It's like, pass it forwards. And keep learning. AT)

Gemini Syndrome, Aftershock 2012
Alessandro Paveri (AP) and Brian Steele Medina, Gemini Syndrome
So... it was supposed to be an interview, but it became a conversation, a discussion, and throughout all you can see Brian Steele Medina's passion for life, for humanity, for people and for music. If you follow Brian on Facebook, you'll often see philiosophical posts; a thought for, or of, the day; inspirational, kind and thoughtful.  He's funny and endearing and so full of energy that it makes total and utter sense that he's powering those drums for this wonderful band.

Bands that are touring for many months of the year, have such little time at home to spend with family, friends and just relaxing... so I really do appreciate the time Brian spent talking with me--and for all the energy that the band invest in their fans. We are Synners! Thank you.

More coverage on Toon's Tunes for Gemini Syndrome:
- Aftershock Festival 2013, and review of LUX
- July 4th, 2014, Sparks, Nevada
- Aftershock Festival 2012.
- Toon's Tunes Gemini Syndrome photo gallery.  

And get out there and see them on tour! More info for all things Gemini Syndrome: 

Gemini Syndrome, Aftershock 2013
Fans watching Gemini Syndrome, Aftershock 2013, Sacramento CA

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