boulevaroftheallies.com Below are some questions Joel was kind enough to answer for us.
How did the band come together? Were you all friends that went to school? Or?
I moved from London England to Pittsburgh in 2007. Prior to this I had gigged with my London band for several years, but often felt that it was the wrong city for us. I travelled America from DC to San Francisco, but felt a strong connection to Pittsburgh. I met like minded musicians and soon formed Boulevard of the Allies. I never thought I'd stay in Pittsburgh for so long. I've been here for 4 years. I love this city.
How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
I guess soulful rock / pop. With a hint of funkaliciousness.
Are you all originally from the Pittsburgh area? Families here as well?
I married a Pittsburgh chick! She's from Beaver County. I have family in NY whom I see whenever we play in The Village. We're due another visit to the Big Apple pretty soon. Our favorite NY venue to play is The Bitter End.
Do you all create music full time or is this more of a part time venture?
I play a lot of gigs, both solo and with the band. I teach private guitar lessons too, but gigging keeps me very occupied. I also play the role of band manager. I've got a lot of chutzpah when it comes to finding the band new and interesting gigs. The British accent helps!
How do you create your music? What is the song writing process?
We released our debut album 'Man in the Photograph'. It's a poppy album with a lot of heart-felt songs. They are about changing environment, taking risks and longing for loved ones far away. This set of songs were written by myself and brother Marlon. Our next recordings will consist of songs written collectively by the band. It'll be a different sound. Perhaps... Something more cohesive and rocking! I'm excited about it. We've already begun pre-production. It's a lot edgier.
What are your goals for the band? What would you like to accomplish? Are you trying to get signed to a label?
We have gigs booked in London and Rome in March 2011, and we're sending out a multitude of press packs to labels, radio stations and publishing companies hoping for some positive response. We're a hard-working band and I believe we can achieve some great things - we're all very ambitious.
What advice would you give to local acts trying to make it?
Go on American Idol. Just kidding. I guess record a great album, make a music video and promote yourself in every way possible. Try to build an online presence, gig in as many different places as possible and try to keep people interested in you and your music.
Have you all toured nationally? Or do you usually stay more regionally?
We perform across the state regularly and often into New York, and have gigs planned in Europe this year.
We love to perform to new audiences. Of course, I love performing to my friends and family in London, my hometown. I go back at least a couple of times a year.
Being in the Pgh area, do you find it more difficult to try and succeed?
Define 'Succeed'! It's a difficult city to build a following and get discovered by industry folk, but it's a great city to find lots of great gigs and meet great musicians. The talent in this city is exceptional. That's what has kept me here.
What are some of the obstacles you face trying to create some 'success' in Pgh?
I need to work on my yinzer accent (just kidding). There are few booking agencies and management companies (that I know of) in this city. Perhaps there's a niche there. I should start an agency that will help artists to find new and interesting opportunities in other parts of the country / world. Hmm thanks for the inspiration...
What are the positive benefits of being in the area?
I paid less for my house here than my brother in London spent on his new car. Plus... I'm a bit of a Steelers fan.
Is there a venue you have enjoyed playing more than others in the area?
It's gotta be Club Cafe. It's my stomping ground. It's one of the first places I played here. The staff are great, the sound is great and I'm one of the AcoustiCafe hosts on Monday nights (shameless plug... Pittsburgh musicians come and check it out!)