• Half Past Four – Emerging Artist Spotlight

    We have 3 autographed CD’s from Half Past Four to giveaway – to enter email us at tmakworld (at) gmail (dot) com and put 4:30 in the subject line. Winners notified June 12 2013.

    May 12th, 2013 – Very few things are as exciting as finding something new you love. Much like archeologists that dig to find hidden treasures, we here at T-Mak World really enjoy trying to find new bands that we love. Once we find such bands, we approach our favourites to request interviews for our Emerging Artist Spotlight series. Today we set our focus on a band from TORONTO named HALF PAST FOUR. All bands we talked to are asked similar questions to each other so we can get to know them better. The description on HALF PAST FOUR’s website reads:

    The story of Half Past Four’s current line-up starts with the guitar player, Constantin, and bassist, Dmitry, who formed a band in 1999, playing rock and folk music to mainly Russian crowds. Igor, the keyboard player then joined and so did Kyree shortly after in 2005, completing the metamorphosis into a progressive rock quartet with english lyrics, original sound…. and a disappearing drummer problem a la Spinal Tap. 

    The first album was born in 2008. They named it Rabbit in the Vestibule after many collectively strange brainstorms and they promoted it relentlessly, playing many gigs and festivals and sharing many slightly awkward hotel rooms. When they finally joined forces with amazing PR dynamo Yana Tsipkin, their schedules filled up with interviews and their press kits saw many impressive and complimentary reviews around the world. They played to an enthusiastic crowd at Prog Day in North Carolina that September to a crowd that could sing along with their lyrics. Life was good and the cotton was high. 

    Then their drummer left. Once again lost without a kit-master, but armed with many new songs and the intense flame of hope eternal,  they set out to renew their vows with the next percussive contender.  They were introduced to Marcello in early 2012 by a good friend and comrade in music, Maurizio Guarini. Marcello was a magically perfect fit. Indeed their instantaneous connection was so smooth and organic, they began writing more songs and planning the next recording immediately. The kitchen was built. The chefs, trained and ready, the ingredients, wholesome and fresh. Their new album is due on April 13th 2013 and they couldn’t be more ready to deliver it to you, fresh from the oven.

    This original music was made for the most loyal of progressive music fans but also for the newly initiated listeners hoping to find a new kind of music to fall in love with. We hope you love it right away or we hope it grows on you. Either way, we hope we created a good thing. Seconds?

     Here is what they had to say to us:

    Hey HALF PAST FOUR, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us. Let’s start off with the obligatory introductions. Who’s in the band and what instrument does everyone rock?

    DMITRY LESOV – PLAYS BASS AND CHAPMAN STICK

    CONSTANTIN NECRASOV – PLAYS GUITAR

    IGOR KURTZMAN –  PLAYS KEYBOARDS

    KYREE VIBRANT –  IS THE LEAD SINGER

    MARCELLO CIURLEO –  PLAYS THE DRUMS

    AND EVERYONE SINGS BACKING VOCALS.

    How about the history of the band, when did you get started and how did it happen?

    In 1999 Constantin and Dmitry met while playing with other bands and decided to start a band together and went through several different line ups of players. Then Igor joined and they began to form a sound and began exploring the progressive music genre. In 2005, Kyree joined after answering an ad for an English singer. Several of the songs were translated from Russian for Kyree to sing, and we began writing together. Finally, last year January of 2012, Marcello came on board and this is the current and (hopefully) permanent line up.

    Who are some of your musical influences?

    Igor: I was exposed to lots of different kinds of music throughout my life, starting from pop (whatever was on the radio) and my dad’s folk guitar playing as a child, then classical while taking piano lessons, then jazz (while being tired of classical piano lessons) and then pretty much everything that has any musical substance.

    Constantin: I started out by picking Ritchie Blackmore guitar licks when I was 14 and soon found myself, to my own surprise, as a lead singer of a Pantera cover band. Then back to Floyd and Uriah Heep, then on to Kraut and synthipop, then… well you get the idea. Currently I eagerly listen to Tull and Crimson, but always look out for new interesting music. I prefer to see and hear it live too.

    Les: As soon as I got out of Soviet Motherland, where I was listening to crumbling and disintegrating reel-to-reel illegal (rock-n-roll was not very legal) bootlegs of Beatles and Pink Floyd collected by my dad in the days of his youth, I dove into melomania galore, listening to everything I can get a hold of. Peter Gabriel just released Us, that is still my favorite album of his solo career. That was still before MP3 times, so thanks to Canadian public libraries, well stoked on great music, I got acquainted first with Jethro Tull, then Yes and then King Crimson’s “21 century Schizoid Man”… By this time I was head over hills in love with prog. Seen KC live in ’94 – where I first noticed that strange instrument Tony Levin was playing… Same Chapman’s stick that is featured on three songs in our new album.

    Kyree: I grew up listening to my older brother’s ’45 collection of classic rock: Argent, Deep Purple, Beatles, CCR, Moody Blues. Then I got hooked on boy guitar rock and got into Todd Rundgren and other writers of good songs. Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Max Webster and early Genesis are my favorites. I am also a fan of Gentle Giant and a lot of old progressive rock….and 50’s/60’s moog music and lounge.

    Marcello: I started playing in bands at a young age. My first “real” gig was when I was in grade three performing Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4 at a school assembly.  Leading up to my teens I was listening to and playing a lot of classic rock. By the end of high school I started getting into Deep Purple. Then after hearing Yes’ “Close to the Edge” My heart was totally into prog. These days I’m listening to a lot of Kansas and Gentle Giant.

    So based on the above how would you describe your music to someone that has never heard it?

    Our band homepage describes it best: Building on rich traditions of classic progressive rock, this quintet beautifully marries the intricate complexity of neo-progressive time signatures with deep meaningful lyrical poetry and stories, adding a healthy dose of head-banging riffs and blistering solos! Whether you are new to progressive rock and you have never heard stuff like this before or you are a seasoned, savvy listener, you will be very pleasantly surprised.

    Why should a music fan come and see your show instead of all the other choices available to them on any given night?

    We don’t just play a gig. We put on a show. We work very hard to ensure that our showmanship and tightness as a band really shines onstage. We love what we do and we aren’t trying to necessarily pose and emulate other bands when we play live. We also have great projections in the show to enhance the audience experience and we interact with the audience a bit to engage them and make them feel like we are playing for them and not just to them. We hope that you end up having a great time and understanding how much we love to do what we do.

    What is your favorite single line of lyrics the band has written and why?

    Les: “Two houses down through the walls and insulation you hear a tiny sound the voice singing alone”… Why? This song makes me see a little documentary in my head, with line above standing out in particular.

    What does 2013 hold for you?

    We are planning out our next steps and we hope to book into many festivals and to have the opportunity to open for some cool bigger bands as well as play with so many of our wonderful acquaintances in the progressive music community. We also intend to court and conquer Quebec!

    Imagine that you were asked to be the opener for any band’s world tour (both current and historical). Which band and tour would be your dream opening gig.  

    Les: King Crimson would have been nice but they currently don’t exist any longer. As far as current bands – I really would love to open for Porcupine Tree, Zappa Plays Zappa and Stickmen.

    Marcello: I would have to say Rush. I think their crowd would like us.

    Kyree: My dream would be to open for Zappa, Todd Rundgren or Genesis/Peter Gabriel. But it in reality it would be amazing to open for Flower Kings, Echolyn or Kim Mitchell. Rush would be good too.

    Constantin: I would love to have opened for Bach.

    What is the future of the music industry? With the concept of the album and physical CD’s facing extinction, how will we be consuming music in 10 years? Are the economics feasible for emerging artists?

    Constantin: Art and money are the worst combination. People tend to lose sight of artistic freedom when faced with a necessity to live off of the fruit of their creativity. Yes, the paradigm has shifted dramatically since the invention of an iPod, but people were making mix tapes way before Mr. Jobs figured out how to sell music again. What is important to us is to create original fresh music. Because otherwise your band may end up not being a part of someone’s playlist, or a mix tape. Whether we profit or not is not the point at all. We’re only in it for the artistry.

    The future of an industry as a whole – perhaps wishfully thinking, but I hope that the giants will fall. Everyone who has a decent PC and $500 to spend can have a professional recording setup. It’s not about the gear anymore, the field has been leveled. It is more about originality and talent. I hope that in the next 20 years we will see emergence of several new labels, smaller ones that would service the audience of curious and discerning listeners.

    Where can people get your music/CD, is it being sold anywhere? 

    The best way to buy our CD is to go to our website and choose where you would like to purchase it from.

    http://www.halfpastfour.com/#/shop.html

    Places that have either of our albums for sale are iTunes, Cd Baby, Bandcamp, Kinesis, Musea Records, Melodic Revolution Records and many more…

    At the end of 2012 we published our picks for top 10 albums of 2012. Lists like those are always a reflection of personal tastes so if you were making the list what are some albums you would you have had on it?

    We are getting to know a significant amount of amazing new artists in the progressive genre and we look forward to playing with all of them again, or in the future.

    Relatively new albums we love by artists we particularly admire are:

    3RD Degree – The Long Division

    IZZ – Crush of Night

    Blood Ceremony – Living with the Ancients

    Edensong – Echoes of Edensong

    Maurizio Guarini – Creatures from a Drawer (this just came out and is incredible)

    Mahogany Frog – Senna

    Flower Kings – Banks of Eden

    Any closing remarks for our readers?

    Yes! Thank you so much to the fans who have supported us and bought our albums and attended our shows. To any of you just meeting us – we hope you hang out with us for a while and listen to our music. If you enjoy it, let us know! We would love to hear from you. Please go to our website and have a look and share it wherever you do social media!

    Thanks again so very much! All the best!

    Thanks so much to HALF PAST FOUR. We hope that you can see them live.

    OUR GIGS WILL BE POSTED ON OUR WEBSITE AS THEY ARE BOOKED. PLEASE CHECK BACK OFTEN!

    The band’s website is here and as you would expect they are on Facebook. In the meantime check out their video below from YouTube.

    Article – Terry Makedon
    T-Mak World: Toronto’s Site for Music, Movies and Culture
    www.tmakworld.com | Twitter | Facebook
     
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