Thursday, 16 July 2015

Well-Known Strangers Q&A

Your names: 
Betsy Ade (Vocalist, Mandolin) & Joe Adamek (Guitars, Piano). 

Where are you from? 
Betsy is from Kenosha, Wisconsin and I'm from Racine, Wisconsin (about 15 minutes apart).

Name of band: 
Well-Known Strangers.

Who else is in your band?
Sacia Jerome – Cellist, Backup Vocals
Roger Gower Jr. – Drums / Percussion
John Kulas – Bass Guitar
Jon Wolf – Rhythm Guitar

How would you describe yourselves and your music?
What makes our group unique is we’re a collection of musicians with very diverse social and economic backgrounds. Despite our differences in lifestyle and opinions on various topics, we get along great. We’ve also been doing the ‘music thing’ individually for a long time (some longer than others). No drama, just enjoying writing, recording, and playing music together. Tough to describe our music as we touch a number of genres…rock, pop, country, alternative. The strings tend to bring a country feel at times, when I write I tend to cross a few genres, and Betsy’s vocals can drive a song in a number of directions due to her amazing range and styles. We have elements that make people think Goo Goo Dolls, Of Monsters & Men, Florence & The Machine, Rusted Root, and Mumford & Sons….so we’ve been told. 

Who are your main influences musically?
Musically, Betsy and I (and the rest of the band) have been influenced by trendsetters throughout our lives, leaning to artists that either have no fear at setting new standards, finding unique approaches towards instrumentation and lyrics, or have simply created music that speaks to us individually. In some cases, just seeing various artists live and their approach toward performances have had a massive influence. Early spinning of Beatles records drove a huge focus in me to write try and develop strong choruses, catchy hooks, and radio-friendly melodies. U2 has also had a massive influence on me through Bono's powerful lyrics and live energy, the Edge's amazing guitar riffs and use of effects...not to mention the band's dedication to each other. Finally, I really like The Cure. They put a massive imprint on my writing since the early 80's, with their creation of unique sounds and Robert Smith's amazing and fearless song construction. For Betsy, her influences have a foundation associated with passionate lyrics and melodies, incredible vocal energy, and creative use of instrumentation. These artists include, but are not limited to, Ani Difranco, Brandi Carlile, Sarah Mcglocklin, Alanis Morresette, Fiona Apple, Florence and the Machine, and Coldplay. All trendsetters with powerful passion, song construction, and instrumentation. Well-Known Strangers' music has and will explore many genres and trends set by these (and other) amazing artists.

What do you hope to achieve in music?
All of would LOVE the ability to simply wake up each day, write music, record, or play live as our full-time job. Ultimately we’d love to have success and make a name for ourselves throughout the Midwest and further. 

What has been the highlight of your career so far, and why?
We’ve truly been blessed with so many amazing experiences (touring, recording, playing amazing venues/festivals/shows). In addition, we’ve had the opportunity to work with or simply receive guidance from some amazing people ranging from musicians, to graphic artists, to poets, to other media and industry leaders. People like Steve Hawkins at Route 20 Outhouse, Frank Mastalerz from FM Entertainment, Mark Harrod, Jackie Brown, Matt Specht, and so many others. One major highlight has been working with Nick Radovanovic and Steven Servi (producers at Skies Fall Media) who have recorded artists that include Melissa Etheridge, Acceptance, and Eric Hutchinson, to name a few of the more recognizable names. They bring a production process unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Simply amazing and definitely a highlight for all of us.

And what’s the moment you want to forget?
This may sound cheesy, but all the ‘rough’ moments have helped shape who we are today. We look back, laugh, shake our heads, perhaps even cringe a bit, and try our best to avoid those moments moving forward...and there have been SO many that have only strengthened our focus, abilities, and creativity. Most forgettable moments include live performance mistakes, dealing with rude and/or non-professional people, and simple things like forgetting lines here and there. 

If you had to pick just one of your songs to represent your music, what would it be and why?
Aligned. This song touches so many elements within band, both individual moments throughout our lives, and even touches on the way our band came together. It’s a song that speaks to all of us for many reasons. 

Where can we listen to it? 
You can find Aligned, and all our songs on, in addition to sites like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify. Also, our videos are on a number of online video sites including YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, and more. 

Where can we find out more about your music?
The best place to find out the most information about our band is directly from our official website.

Anything else you’d like to say about your music that I forgot to ask?
One thing that everyone has been asking is 'who is writing the songs?'. While I wrote all songs on the EP initially, everyone else has helped further them along to where they are now. Betsy played a major role with overall song construction, lyrics, and instrumentation. Sacia has been amazing with her extensive classically-trained cello backround…she brings the most knowledge of music, theory, terminology, etc…integral in our work. Roger has been a major support for me personally, encouraging me to never stop doing what I love. John and Jon are all excellent musicians and have helped to transform ideas to reality. I've had the pleasure of jamming out with both John, Jon, and Roger in a recent cover band.

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