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INTERVIEW – Maryland rock band, With Satellites

With Satellites is a rock band formed in 2018 from Frederick, Maryland (USA). Consisting of Dan Dennison (Drums and Vocals), Scott Gianforte (Vocals and Guitar), Edmund Brown (Bass and Vocals) and Paul Napora (Guitar and Vocals), the band released their debut studio album “Transmissions” in October 2021. Produced in Baltimore at Rome Audio by Scott Gianforte and Jerome Maffeo of Jimmy’s Chicken Shack, the 11-track album is available on all media outlets and published by Rayne Music Group. They have already been direct support for several national acts, including Blind Melon, Winger, Slaughter, George Lynch, Trapt, Any Given Sin, Corey Clover, Cowboy Mouth, Faster Pussycat and many more.

  1. How long have you been performing and recording as With Satellites, and what is your primary mission as a group?

With Satellites: With Satellites has been Performing and recording for just about 5 years. We released our full-length album on October 15th, 2021. Our goal or primary mission is to find success while doing what we love. Our definition of success within the band might vary a bit with each one of us, but I think we would all like to do this full time. To reach people through music and art and be financially stable enough to continue to do so. I think we do this more for ourselves, than anything else. I can’t really explain where the music drive comes from, you have to be a musician to really get it. Most of us do this for pennies. Success is validation, I think that is probably our goal. To be acknowledged for doing something well that we love to do.

  1. Who have been your major influences in your writing and playing style?

With Satellites: This could be a very long answer. We grew up listening to everything from Van Halen to Neil Diamond, Led Zeppelin to Abba, Foreigner, Journey, Ac/Dc, Metallica, Willie Nelson, STP, Alice in Chains, Ozzy…The list goes on and on. It’s hard to say exactly where it all comes from, or what makes it into the final mix. All of our influences could maybe be compared to cooking food, sometimes you add a little garlic, sometimes you need a little hot sauce! For me as the main songwriter (Scott), I decided I was going to be a guitar player at 7 years old, the moment I saw Ace Frehley from KISS. I would say that was my introduction to it all. My favorite guitarists are Eddie Van Halen, Slash, and Jimmy Page. I am inspired by people like Denzel Washington, Michael Jordan, Clint Eastwood, and again this list could go on and on!

  1. If I was to turn on your media player right now, which artists/songs would I most likely to hear on your recently played list?

With Satellites: Well, we all have different favorites but if you were to pull up my recently played list you would hear Crobot, Nothing More, Incubus, The Rolling Stones, Small Town Titans, and Van Halen

  1. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners?

With Satellites: I Hope that our listeners hear songs about hope. Everything I write, whether positive or negative, angry or Political, Love song, hate song. They all come from a place of strength and hope, I try to write honestly and genuinely. Every song is about something real. Every song has a story or is derived from an actual event in my life. The lyrics all have a true and real meaning to me. I also aim to keep the lyrics a bit vague, so that this listener can find their own interpretation or meaning. This is a crazy world and I just hope that someone might hear a song I have written and maybe connect a little, maybe hear a bit of what they might be feeling and know that they are not alone in all of this.

  1. With the music industry always changing and evolving, what are the things you like and do not like about it currently? And if you could change anything about it, what would it be?

With Satellites:  This one is easy! I would first eliminate 90% of the middlemen. The do-nothing entities out there trying to rape every musician financially, creating false hope and feeding off, already starving musicians. These people disgust me. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about the rest of it. It has become a machine that no longer cares about the Art or Artist. It is truly sad. There are so many talented musicians, and the world will most likely never hear them. I do like the fact that just about anyone can get their music out there for all to hear, unfortunately there is so much out there that a lot of amazing music gets lost in the mix. I do believe however, If you persevere and keep on keeping on, and you’re good enough, and with a little luck, you just might rise to the top. One can only hope!

  1. What’s your view on the current state of rock music general?

With Satellites: I do like a good bit of what is out there now, and I really like some of the Indie bands that are slowly rising to the top, lot’s of interesting stuff! The radio is another story, some of the music on the radio sounds like it’s coming from one place, recorded the same way, with the same structure, same effects, and even the same writer. But I do enjoy most of it. I, and we are rockers, I love music that hits you in your chest, or something emotional that makes a connection and you just get lost in it.

  1. Do you write songs with current musical trends, formulas or listener satisfaction in mind, or do stay focused on your own musical vision, and trust that your audience will follow?

With Satellites: I try not to write with any intention or goal, but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t follow a formula, or that I didn’t have any concern about what the listener might enjoy. I try to keep the lyrics true and mold the music around them to tell the story. There is always an agenda to create a song that is both honest and appealing to the listener. I write because I don’t really have a choice. I honestly have no idea what drives this need to make music, but I would write music regardless of whether anyone ever heard it or not. It keeps me sane, it’s a release of some kind, that’s not easy to explain and I just hope that others might enjoy it.

  1. Could you describe your creative processes? How do start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Is it a democratic process between the members, and who does what in the band?

With Satellites:  We are all songwriters, and there is a lot that happens after the song is written. I (Scott) do the writing for With Satellites, but each song grows a little with the band. Things develop, things change. I would say that 25% of each song happens with the bands input. The drums adapt, the bass molds to the drums and creates movement almost behind the scenes, the subtleties, riffs, and all the nuances of the song mature and become polished. I have no exact formula for writing songs. It sometimes starts with lyrics inspired by a particular event, or sometimes I write a guitar riff that leads me to an idea, and the vocals/lyrics happen after. Some songs just come out of thin air, and take 20 mins to write, while other songs take years to develop. I wish that there was an exact formula, it would make it so much easier. Songs that aren’t finished can twist around in my head for days, it’ll make you crazy. lol

  1. Where did you do most of your recording and production work for the album “Transmissions”, and who was primarily involved in these processes?

With Satellites: This was recorded in Baltimore Maryland at ROMEAUDIO. Produced by myself, Scott Gianforte and Jerome Maffeo, who was also the engineer. Jerome is also the drummer for Jimmies Chicken Shack, a popular national band that came out of the Baltimore area years ago. four of the songs on this album were previously recorded in Arlington Virginia at Inner Ear Studios and were engineered and produced by Scott Gianforte and Marco Delmar two years earlier. We kept the original tracks but made a few subtle changes to blend them into the new album and remastered them. When all said and done we released TRANSMISSIONS on October 15th, 2021.

  1. Is there a particular song on the album “Transmissions”, in which you feel the band delivered its most perfect performance, on all levels? And is there maybe one song that you keep thinking you should have done a little differently in some way?

With Satellites:  As a writer I will always want to keep editing, I am never absolutely happy with the final mix. There is always this or that that I would do differently. But I think over all it is a good representation of who we are. My favorite song on the album is “Their Bones”. This one means the most to me on a personal level and as a writer. It is probably the most honest song I have ever written. It is intentionally vague as to not give too much away about the story it tells. This one leaves me a bit vulnerable and has a bit of my story hidden within it. I also like “ MONEY”, which is about the world we live in today from all three perspectives of greed and power that destroys us all. Over all I love every song on the album!

  1. Which would you indicate as the highlights for fans to watch out for on the album “Transmissions”, and is there an overarching theme or backstory to the project as a whole?

With Satellites: Many friends and fans seem to like different songs, but I would say listen to “No Hope”, “Paralyzed”, and especially “Sad Song”. I would say the theme of this album is left to the listener to interpret. The Title “Transmissions” and cover art are a subtle hint about the modern world and how we no longer communicate with each other in a real way. Technology has turned us all into robots and zombies. Our Band name also hints to this same topic.

  1. The band has supported several national acts, including Blind Melon, Winger, Slaughter, George Lynch, Trapt, Any Given Sin, Corey Clover, Cowboy Mouth, and Faster Pussycat. Which of these has been your favorite or most rewarding expeience?

With Satellites: I can say honestly that every one of these musicians was kind and a true pleasure to meet and perform with. I think personally, my favorite was Blind Melon. But meeting George lynch was pretty awesome! Also, no band will ever put on a show that is more fun than Cowboy Mouth, these guys kill it!

  1. How important are the lyrics in your music? Is it something you pay particular attention to, or are you more focused on the musical and technical elements displayed in your compositions?

With Satellites: The lyrics are everything to me personally, although I am originally a lead guitarist so that’s a close second.  

  1. Do you think is it important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you think everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own way?

With Satellites: I like the listener to interpret the songs their own way, however I do get a lot of pleasure when someone gets it. When someone tells me my lyrics back to me and they understand the message it is truly a gift. A huge validation comes from that as well.

  1. Putting aside the accolades or criticisms that fans or the media may afford TRANSMISSIONS, is there anything about the band, or the music, you think people may overlook, misunderstand or underestimate in any way?

With Satellites: Everyone is a critic, I would prefer to be underestimated, then you won’t see me coming! lol

  1. Creative work in studio environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two do you ultimately prefer and why?

With Satellites: LIVE! Recording is a grueling process; it takes way too long. I do enjoy it mostly, but nothing compares to performing live!

  1. What is the best piece of advice regarding the music business that you actually followed so far, and what is the piece of advice you did not follow, but now know for sure that you should have?

With Satellites: Tough question, I think I should have moved to LA when I was in my twenty’s. I was told that is what you had to do to make it. I guess we will never know, but I often think I should have. My mother always said to stop chasing all those little girls, that was probably good advice that I should have listened to also. The best advice? Do what you love and you will always be happy!

  1. What would you consider the most successful, proud or significant moment for With Satellites so far?

With Satellites: Our Cd release party was amazing and a wonderful night with friends and family, and was sold out. We have also been featured on some radio, it’s always super cool to hear your music on the radio. It has only been recently that people are finally hearing “Transmissions”, it has been a slow trickle in regards to reaching the listeners, but as of late, we seem to be gaining momentum. So I can’t really answer this yet, ask me again in a year!

  1. On the contrary, what do you feel has been the most difficult, and trying moment for With Satellites so far?

With Satellites: I wouldn’t say that any of this has been difficult, this is a long and winding road, and we all measure success differently. One must have patience. It can be difficult when you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, and that progress seems absent, but I think we have made huge strides and there is nowhere to go but up!

  1. As a band, do you have a specific musical vision or goal that you want to achieve in the near future?

With Satellites: Yes, we want a Record label, Publishing, Management and a great big signing bonus…just kidding!?  Our goal is to release our 2 new singles, and go on tour.


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