Interview with Cheyenne Goff of Half Light Music

July 12, 2012 by: Shauna O'Donnell

June 12, 2012

HALF LIGHT MUSIC

Cheyenne Goff (Vocals)

Detroit, Michigan

https://www.facebook.com/halflightmusic

By: Shauna O’Donnell


Hi Cheyenne, thanks for talking with me today. How are things going?

As good as they can be, I imagine…had a couple big shows these last two weeks, sold some discs and extended the Half Light family a bit.  I’ve no “car rolling out of the driveway” stories to tell you about like the last time we spoke. ;)

To start with a brief history, you started out as an Epic recording artist under the name Bliss 66. Then you went on to do a project called Paper Street Saints.

What is the story there?

Well, Bliss was something that got started up by a few of us aspiring musicians jamming on acoustic guitars at church functions, eventually becoming the ‘house’ band. We played at youth group retreats, meetings and eventually began to write, record and perform our own material. It was definitely beneficial for us to have such a ‘built-in’ audience, so to speak, as we were able to really identify what our strengths were musically and songwriting-wise as well as hone our live skills in front of a receptive audience. When I graduated high school we were already being touted by a few labels and had some buzz, especially locally where we were receiving some regular airplay.  By November of that same year we had signed with Capitol Records and were leaving to record an album with the great Glen Ballard by the end of December. Working with Glen and also our co-producer/engineer, Karl Derfler was such an amazing experience. It could take a whole other interview to really divulge everything we learned and the memories we were able to take away from recording the album and living in LA as some fresh faced kids from the suburbs of Detroit and then touring, getting to play and share the stage with some of the artists we listened to and respected like Live, Fuel, Nelly Furtado and many others. Paper Street Saints came about fairly shortly after the Bliss thing had begun to dissipate. I think a few of the guys just realized that the lifestyle of a mid-level, touring musician wasn’t necessarily what they expected or wanted for their life and subsequently moved on. I continued to do a bit of regional solo touring and soon after my manager, Rick Smith, had suggested I contact this guy named Charlie Grover, whom I had known as the previous drummer for the band Sponge. The first time we got together the creative juices were flowing and I think we ended up demoing some stuff out right there. For that matter, we had basically a full album’s worth of material written and recorded prior to even putting together a proper band.  The material was definitely a bit ‘heavier’ than anything I had done before, but I think I kind of liked that as I am influenced by so many different genres and I liked the idea of merging some of the heavier leanings of Charlie’s writing with the more melody conscious contributions of my own. We grinded! We did two full length albums with a couple of EP’s in a five year span, all the while playing pretty much anywhere that would have us.

How did the project Half Light Music come together? Tell me about the band.

Half Light Music came together when I had begun to become a bit frustrated with some of the politics that go with being in a band with two primary songwriters which is how PSS was set-up.  I wanted to be able to put out a little more diverse material without having to subject it to the opinions of someone(s) who may have a conflict of interest. Plus, some of the material just simply would not have fit with what PSS had become at that point in time, and I had a lot of songs that were basically just sitting around.  Me and my bass player, Don Patty, who had also played with bliss and later on PSS, was along for the ride and we began to have some discussions about some other musicians who we thought could add to the material. We both had been familiar with our guitar player, Marty Yount, because we had seen him play in church and were both equally impressed with the way he approached and played the instrument. In the beginning, we had a longtime acquaintance, Brett Kropog drumming with us, but as we progressed made a mutual decision to go separate ways. At that point, it just made sense for us to reach out to Bob Cook who was our drummer in Bliss 66. The material and band dynamic both began to grow considerably because I feel that everyone gets in where they fit in and all of us share the same simple goals: trim the fat, write songs people will dig and want to groove to and represent the songs with excitement and freshness live.

Coming off of a major label, do you intend on seeking out a new label or will you be doing this on your own this time?

I really wanted to have a fairly polished product before I began to really “shop” anything. After a couple solid records and a little exposure via some YouTube videos and what not, I definitely feel like the material lends itself to being on a major label. It’s a slick sound we shine our songs with and the hooks are penned with a large audience in mind.  All of that being said, I really appreciate the flexibility that being an independent artist allows for creatively.  There are no real limitations other than those that are imposed by the band and producer that prep it for consumption and I like to take advantage of doing things that may be a bit unexpected based on what our general ’sound’ is.  I’ll continue to put music out on a consistent basis one way or the other, but what we’re doing now is laying the foundation for what a label is looking to see if you can do prior to them attaching themselves anyway, such as playing meaningful gigs, writing good songs, looking for exposure outlets for those songs and growing the fan base by all three.

Did you do a kickstarter program? How did that go?

It was a very cool thing we got to be a part of. .A local studio, GrooveBox Studios by name, set up an all-live input recording session that they not only track but also film and edit the best of the songs for an HD video with a live audience on board for it all.  It’s all done in one take as well so you really have to make sure you’re ready to roll because there’s no overdubbing. We liked the idea because it gave us seven live songs that we can spread around on some upcoming releases and represent the songs a bit differently from their original studio recordings.  What was also cool is that everybody that was able to contribute and take part in that way was able to be in tow for the actual recording process.  This was very cool for us because we’ve always had a close, almost friendship with many of our fans. Many have been supporting us ever since the Bliss days when we were just kids, so to have an excuse to play a few songs showing them how we do what we do and kick it before and after was really cool.

The name of the band is very interesting. How did you come up with it?

There’s a scripture that reads “For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face.  Now I know in part, but then I shall know even as also I am known.”  I like exploring that concept of us not really understanding ourselves in our present temporal state. In everything I write about, the songs are my own fearful and insecure observations on how life, love and the rest of what makes up the world works and hopefully people can identify with it.  There is also the physical phenomena of the ‘half light’ that occurs at dusk or dawn; two times of day where the human mind is naturally reflective, I think…and for me, often times that I find myself writing.

Now I have listened to all the music that you have sent me and it is incredible. What are the plans for it? A full length album or EP? Have you chosen a title? How many songs will be on it?

Well, we already have two albums we’ve released on iTunes and many other digital formats, but the latest material is probably going to be packaged with some of the live material we just got from our GBS/Kickstarter session and released sometime in the fall. There will probably be like 4-5 new songs with a couple remixes and a couple live tracks, entitled “Creative Differences.”

Have you chosen a single yet? Will you be taking it to radio if so and when? ,

A “single” hasn’t necessarily emerged, but usually by the time we go to reproduction through bouncing them off of our producer, family and close friends, we figure what track stands out and has the broadest appeal.

Who did you work with production wise?

We do a large amount of pre-production work in what I like to call our “demo dungeons”,which are respectively, me and my drummer’s basements.  When we get done with our noodling, we’ve always tracked with Chuck Alkazian at Pearl Sound Studios.  Chuckles is our guy and has helped us immensely to figure out and actualize our sound.

Will you be doing any touring in support of the record?

Regionally and locally, yes, hopping in a 15 passenger van and heading to Topeka for maybe $150 is not something that excites me or us. Fortunately with the amount of support we have within a 500 mile radius of home, we can save the travelling for times it makes more sense to gig where we know the audience is fairly built-in and we’ll be able to cover our arses w/ merch sales and etc.   ahhh….the life of an indie. ;)

Will you be doing any summer festivals this year?

We’ve done the Stars & Stripes Festival in Mt. Clemens, opening up for Buckcherry that day and then we have Ford Arts, Beats, and Eats Labor Day weekend which is always a solid festival that draws a lot of people from all around the state and then some.

Thank you so much for the interview. Was there anything you’d like to add or say?

Just that it has been my pleasure and I really appreciate all you do to support independent musicians and music in general and that my band is the shiznit, as Snoop would’ve said circa ‘95.  Check us out!!

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