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Meet Layne Greene

” I’m not much for current pop music though. I can’t stand the stuff on the radio, it’s just too processed. Auto-tune is a big pet peeve of mine, I think that if you are a “singer”, you should be able to sing in tune (or at least reasonably close) but, there are some really good songwriters out there now, and some really cool cross-genre fusions.”

Layne Greene and gang http://www.myspace.com/laynegreene creates a kind of music that prays for lazy Sundays and garden picnics. The sound is soothing and melodic.  At the end of the week, this is something I’d like to listen to with curtains  drawn while I munch at my blueberry cheesecake. Sweet? Yes the music is sweet but melancholic at times.

Layne’s young voice breezes into the tracks like a light wood instrument. There are songs with good vocal layering as in the case of  Iron Town. If you love Kings of Convenience and Sigur Ros, then you will appreciate this combination. There are hints of Belle and Sebastian but he has created a distinctive flavor of his own. I know this guy will carve more musical territories in time. But for now, let us take his wide-eyed wonder and feel the cool breeze on our faces…as we try to sooth our restless minds with this indie musician from Nova Scotia.

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1. So how did you group a band together and decided to record materials that are now in your myspace page?

I formed my band “The Tea Kettles” out of the rhythm section for my high school Jazz Choir. I was the guitar player, and I really liked working with the drummer and bass players, Alex Lank and Lloyd White respectively. Megan Allain, who is the other vocalist and pianist in the band I’ve know for a very long time from the Pictou District Honour Choir, which we both sang in. I had to leave it last year when I graduated, which was really sad, I had been singing in that choir for 10 years, since I was 7 and a half years old. After playing some shows we decided to add a violin player or another guitarist to the band, for songs like “closed” which originally Megan was playing the 2nd guitar part on keys. We couldn’t find a violinist, so we drafted Sean Hartery in for guitar. He plays in a way really different from me, so we sort of compliment each other really well. We don’t really have lead and rhythm roles, sometimes I do the Leads, and sometimes he plays them. It’s really weird, because sometimes I’ll take an idea in to practice, one way, but then it’ll completely change shape from one small thing someone else might throw in. Lloyd also writes some songs for The Tea Kettles, we’re hoping to record them over christmas break. For the second part of the question, for my solo page, I’ve uploaded some of my more polished songs. I have others that were up such as “Open” and “Closed” that have so much more energy live, that the recordings I had felt dated and didn’t really do them justice. I’m hoping to re-record them soon. For The Tea Kettles myspace  page we just upload whatever we have done, sometimes there’s some overlap between my solo project and the full band recordings.

2. You are from Nova Scotia . Tell me about the inspiration that rose from being in that place.

Nova Scotia has such a deep musical tradition. I’ve had private lessons in music for as long as I can remember. Me and Megan both had the same voice and piano teacher until he moved away, which I thank for our ability to blend so well. Plus singing in the Honour choir you get exposed to so much different music, and different music cultures that you draw a lot of influence from strange and diverse places. I also do a lot of performing at fundraisers for my local church, so I’ve gotten a lot of folk music pumped into my ears. And Nova Scotia is such a beautiful province that just taking a walk in the blueberry field behind my house gives me influence, or even the long drive back to my house.

3. What’s the song writing process for you?

I usually come up with a guitar part first. I think the only song I wrote lyrics first was “Heartbreak”. Once I have a guitar part I just sit there with a pen and paper and just jot down whatever lines come into my head.

4. Who is your vocal influence?

As a songwriter I draw a lot of influence from Glen Hansard of the Swell Season and The Frames. Some other influences are Dallas Green of City and Colour, Steve Shiltz of Longwave and Hurricane Bells. I also take in a lot from other singer/songwriters in the area.

5.What can you say about the current state of music?

Well, I really like the way people are experimenting with different sounds, and how some artists are taking influences from other cultures. I’m not much for current pop music though. I can’t stand the stuff on the radio, it’s just too processed. Auto-tune is a big pet peeve of mine, I think that if you are a “singer”, you should be able to sing in tune (or at least reasonably close) but, there are some really good songwriters out there now, and some really cool cross-genre fusions.

6. How do you create that distinctive , dreamy guitar sound? I like it.

For my acoustic guitar parts, I’ve developed a liking for major 7th, and 9th chords. I also use a lot of repeating notes, like in “Breathe” there is a pedal all the way through the song of a repeating A and a C#. I also develop a lot of loops using my Volume and Delay pedals. I really like using effects to create ambiance. I don’t feel like my lyrics or melody are ever strong. I like simple Vocal parts, so I try to get a really heavy background sound. I also don’t use a really heavy distortion effect ever. I just get a really think one with just a hint of dirt on it.

7. When are you cutting an EP?

I’m hoping to get an album done sometime between, well, now and February. Then I’m probably going to home record an EP over the summer with some of the simpler songs. As for release dates…. who knows?

8.You have a song called ‘Heartbreak” . It is a sad song laced with an update melody. Why is this so?

It’s a song about hurting yourself by not being who you are. I came up with the lyrics in the car one day. And it took me a while to figure out what it was about. It’s always like that for me, I pick the topic when the song is finished. I just felt that I had too many sad songs. So I took some time and thought about whether or not making this one upbeat would hurt it at all musically. And I decided that there were happy undertones to the song. It’s not a reflection on past experiences, it’s a warning for future ones. So everything must be o.k. right now, for me that justified the upbeat melody.

9. Message to listeners?

I hope you enjoy my songs. And please vote for me!!! I’m currently entered in the smashtune songwriting contest. www.smashtune.com/view/laynegreenemusic

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