Band Interview: Recess

Recess Band Photo

Tell me about yourselves? How did you all meet? Where are you all from?
We met almost through fate. Vincent and I are siblings who have been around the live music scene our entire lives courtesy of our dad’s involvement with local tribute and cover acts in the Cleveland area. Alex was introduced to our duo at the age of 9 through a talent showcase and immediately found chemistry with us as we quickly assembled a cover band. Arslan was introduced to the band in 2010 at the age of 15 when he found out about the local band through YouTube. He sent us a cover of Sweet Child O’ Mine as a “digital audition” and he nailed it, so we sent him our address and he happened to live only 2 miles away. Like we said, it seems the stars aligned themselves and everything fell into place in terms of finding the core members.

What are your names and what position do you have in the band?
Vincent FondaleVocals and Songwriting.
Anthony FondaleProducer, Songwriter, Keyboards and Backup vocals.
Alex RazGuitar and Backup Vocals.
Arslan KhanDrums and Backup vocals.

What if anything does your band name mean/Why are you called that?
Our band name was really a spontaneous decision. At the time, we were a bunch of 10 year old kids and we came up with “Recess” because it was genuinely the funnest part of the day in our lives at the time. It ended up sticking over the years and became a brand that people knew us by and we all just came to love it.

Describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
Our music is theatrical, organic, anthem pop/alternative/rock that is driven by memorable melodies and deep lyrics.

What song(s) do you remember most from your childhood?
We all sought inspiration from different artists growing up. Some do not correlate and match at all, but that’s the beauty of being an individual and tying inspirations together to play music that we all collectively love. For example, Vincent started off singing Steve Perry and Dio classics, while Anthony and Arslan were inspired by Good Charlotte and System of a Down respectively. If we could single out a record that we all loved as band, however, it would be “Separate Ways” by Journey. It was our most popular cover as kids, garnering several thousand views at YouTube’s early stages.

Do you have a process for writing your songs?
We really don’t have a distinct formula. We never force a song to be written. Our songwriting process typically starts with a vocal melody written by either Vincent or me (Anthony). Typically, when you have a strong melody, the direction and vibe of the song is already there; it’s just up to us to orchestrate it and let the pieces come together. We never rush through the process; some of our songs have sat for months until we could all finally look at each other while listening and mutually agree “that’s the one”.

Have you released any music yet, and if so how has it been received?
We released our debut EP titled “Boundary Lane” in July of 2018 featuring fan favorites like “Story Goes”. The songs quickly became “ear worms” live to the point where fans were figuring out the songs and singing along by the final chorus. The audience reception to our music, live especially, is what drove us to continue to push our boundaries as creators; we wanted to keep our fans completely surprised and unsure of what to expect from us next. We took that momentum into the release of our newest singles “Leaving Home” and “When the Sky Comes” off our sophomore EP “From Dust to Gold” and, so far, the reception and fan interaction is growing at an exponential rate. We are just excited to keep pushing our boundaries and continuing our “no ceilings” approach to where we want to take Recess.

Are you planning any music releases for the near future?
“From Dust to Gold” is mastered and is set to release in late March.

If you have released music, where can fans to be find it?
Our music is available on all major platforms. We are on Spotify and Apple Music for streaming. We also have the official audio video for our latest single “When the Sky Comes” on YouTube.

Do you have social media for the band and if so please provide links?
@RecessOfficial is the handle for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues?
We are very lucky to have played some of the stages we’ve performed on. This past summer alone, we found ourselves on main stage at Rockin’ on the River in Ohio as well as an iHeart Radio mainstage at Edgewater Beach in Cleveland. We also played the Cowan at the TopGolf in Nashville a few months ago, which was an unforgettable experience. We are definitely blessed to play some of the festivals we have especially as a local original act. However, the undisputed biggest show we ever played was this past January at the legendary Viper Room on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood.  

Do you have any gigs in the near future, and if so where and when?
We are currently the middle of our booking season so our show list for this summer is yet to be finalised and soon to be announced.

How do you balance your music with other obligations?
We really don’t at this point. The only obligations any of us have in our lives besides Recess are our menial, fast food day jobs, which all of us are willing to compromise at any moment for what we actually want to do. Me (Anthony) and Arslan were peers at Cuyahoga Community College working on an associate’s of arts in Recording Arts and Technology together in 2015, which definitely required a balance between Recess and Blackboard deadlines. Even during college, however, Recess came first for all of us as it always has. Since that point, however, we are all married to Recess and are extremely happy doing it.

Following on from that question, what has been your biggest challenge as a band and have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so then how?
Our biggest challenge is balancing work and Recess as the band grows and becomes a full-time obligation for all of us. As much as we want to, none of of can quit our day jobs just yet because being in a band is a major investment that never seems to end. Its like that Camaro your friend’s dad has in his garage: It’s in pieces and doesn’t look like much, but, with enough time and resources, it can come to its final form. We all shared a vision of what we wanted Recess to become when we first met each other in 2010. That was the easy part. The biggest challenge has been maintaining and glorifying that vision on a daily basis through all the challenges life throws at you (including all the naysayers who tell you to get an actual job).

And let’s end with something a little different…Which famous person, living or dead, would you have dinner with and why?
Ryan Tedder, lead singer of OneRepublic, is a prominent music industry figure the entire band looks up to. Not only is he a gifted vocalist, he has written some major anthemic songs of our generation for multiple artists that all four band members grew up on. He’s the man, and he’s also a great producer.

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