Interview with Mike Doyle of Revery
GCF: How long has the entire process taken your band, from the time you contacted/were approached by the record company?
MD: We formed in August 2003, and recorded a full length demo in the Fall of 03. We used that demo to shop around and promote ourselves for the first half of 04. We replaced our drummer in August of 04. During that time, we started to play a few showcases. One of those showcases was for EVO records (they came to see us in Oct. 04). We had a deal on the table about a month and a half later. Once we had our lawyer check it out and make revisions, we signed it. Then we did our record from Feb to May. Once the CD was mixed and mastered, we had to wait for a release date. Originally, it was supposed to come out in July, then it got pushed to Sept. and it finally came out last month on Nov. 8th.
GCF: How long did the recording process take, and how many tunes did you record? Did all of the songs make it on the album?
MD: We did a good amount preproduction, so we knew which songs were going to make the record. We re-recorded some songs from our full length demo, and we wrote brand new songs as well. We recorded 14, but only put 13 on the CD. The process itself was from Feb to May, and we worked pretty much everyday. There are a ton of guitar tracks. Drums went down first, then bass (both only took about 3 days). The vast majority of time was spent on guitars and vocals. Then we mixed the CD. Sylvia Massy (Tool) mixed a couple of songs for us, but we decided to go with Drew Mazurek instead, so that ate up some time. Once it was mixed, we sent it out to Tom Baker in Hollywood to get mastered.
GCF: The sound is a really great kind of "raw", were any effects used, or do you go straight into the amp? Are you the lead/rhythm player, or do you split duties?
MD: Live, I am the lead player, but in the studio I recorded 95% of all the guitars. We used mainly a Bogner Ecstasy 101b for the main tones and then we mixed in a 1992 Mesa Dual Rectifier and a 1971 100 watt Marshall Superlead as well. The rawness comes from the way the guitars are EQ’d. We were very careful about the tones that went down on tape and we played a LOT of layers and doube * triple tracks. We didn’t want much (or any) EQ done in the mixing. But there are some effects there, a little delay, some MXR Phase 90 here and there. On Popstar Wedding we even did a track of one of those little toy Marshalls. . .it sounded really nasty, but definitely added something to the final mix.
GCF: How long did marketing/distribution take from the time you finished the CD until national release on Nov. 6th?
MD: It took about 6 months because the release date kept getting pushed back.
GCF: How did you intially get "noticed" by the record companies? How long after that were you signed to your current label?
MD: Our manager started shopping our demo as soon as it was done – maybe even before. We got the typical “yeah we like it, send us more” type of responses. We played a showcase in New York for one label that seemed really interested, but nothing ever came of it. Finally, once we had EVO interested, they came up and saw us, and stayed interested.
GCF: Did you have a manager before getting signed?
MD: Yes. Our manager, Jim Anderson, has been with us from the very beginning. He’s like the 6th member of the band. He works his ass off.
GCF: Did you have an EP or CD out before getting signed, and did it help in the process?
MD: Yep, the full length demo CD that I mentioned earlier did help. It got our name and sound out there for a few months before we got signed.
GCF: MDDid you guys have "day jobs" before this? If so, when did you feel comfortable quitting to do this full-time?
MD: Not to spoil the myth, but some of us are still working during the day. We signed with an indie label, so there wasn’t a huge advance of money or anything. We won’t have to quit our jobs until we sign with an agent, which is going to happen within a couple months. All of 2005 was just recording and making the CD. We took time off to go to Nashville and shoot publicity photos and stuff, and we’ve taken time off here an there to play daytime shows and do some traveling, but nothing that was extensive. I would imaging though we’ll be leaving our dayjobs by February of 2006.
GCF: How much influence did others have on your recording, or was it all up to the band?
MD: We were very lucky that we were in complete control of the recording. Our manager was also our producer, and also owns the studio! I would bet we had more control over this record than ANY newly signed band out there. Sometimes I wonder if we had too much input.
GCF: How do you go about the songwriting process, as a group, or as individuals (and then bring the ideas together)?
MD: It’s a little of both. There are three main writers (of music) and then the two vocalist handle all the lyrics. Typically, one of the writers comes up with a riff or progression and presents it to the band. Then we see where it takes us. But, we also sometimes work on our own, and then present a more complete idea to the band. “In The Way She” is an example of a song that was pretty much done when it was presented.
GCF: How many hours a day do you guys practice individually? How about as a group?
MD: We get together 3 times a week as a band. I’ll usually play an hour a day as well. I used to play up to 4-5 hours a day, and I hope to get back to that sometime soon.
GCF: Are you constantly working on new material, or do you have to practice the album songs repeatedly?
MD: We actually just started working on some new stuff. We figured we might not have a lot of time once we start touring to work on new stuff, so it’d be a good idea to get some songs in the can.
GCF: Does it feel like "work", or is everyone still having fun with it?
MD: It’s a TON of work, but it’s a labor of love. It is fun. I think the coolest thing right now is seeing all the work starting to pay off.
(Questions from our members)
GCF: How long have you been playing?
MD: I’m 33 and have played for 20 years.
GCF: Did you have a teacher or teachers, or were you "self taught"? Do you currently take lessons?
MD: I did have a teacher back in junior high school. His name was Jeff Martin, and he taught all the good players in my home town. Then about 3 years later, I just went the self taught route. I listened to all the great players (EVH, Vai, DeMartini, etc) growing up, so I was constantly practicing and working on playing.
GCF: Have you played in other bands before Revery and Sea of Souls? How and when did Revery come about?
MD: I joined SOS in 1998. Before that I was in a band called Mourning Becomes Electra. And, prior to that it was a band called Candid.
Revery was created when John Adkins (from SOS) and I, left SOS and joined up with Jason & Kenny who had just started to put together a band. That band became Revery.
GCF: Do you have any funny stories "from the road"?
MD: I have a ton of stories from my days with SOS, but Revery hasn’t done a lot of touring yet, so I’m limited there. I can tell you we had too much fun in Nashville.
GCF: Do you have a favorite guitar/piece of gear?
MD: I’m kinda a gearaholic. I love old Marshalls (I own a ‘78 2204 and a ’71 100 watt superlead), but I still think my Bogner is my favorite. I had a ‘mutt’ guitar that I played religiously for many years – it was kinda my own frankenstrat (a la EVH), but I wore out the neck, and the replacement neck just isn’t the same. My main guitar now is my ’89 Gibson Les Paul. I love that guitar.
GCF: Do you have a favorite song from your album?
MD: My favorite changes every few days. It’s too hard for me to pick just one.
GCF: Who were your main influences (personally)?
MD: Edward Van Halen (I thanked him on the CD liner notes), guys like Warren DeMartini, Eric Johnson, Jerry Cantrell, Vivian Campbell, Nuno and SRV all played a part in my growth as a player. But honestly, when I was learning to play, I would listen to pretty much anything I could get my hands on, and I would try to learn something from anyone (Zep, ACDC, The Who, Clapton). When I play, I can hear a sound in my head and that’s what I strive for.
GCF: Do you play any other styles by yourself? Any other styles with the band?
MD: We did a song called “The Blues Song” before we got signed. It was basically a slow blues that I was able to just rip over. It was a LOT of fun, and it usually took the audience by surprise, because it didn’t quite fit in with the rest of our set. But, it always got a great response. I’ve messed around with other styles, but I always come back to Rock. But would say that you can hear some blues and country even in my rock playing.
GCF: Do you guys ever play any covers, and what are you favorites?
MD: We did learn some covers, although we only played them at a few gigs. We did “Them Bones” by Alice In Chains, “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters, “Sex Type Thing” by STP, and “Plowed” by Sponge.
GCF: How do you guys communicate changes in songs to one-another? Do you write out your songs in tab/standard notation, or just tell/show eachother?
MD: No, we just hammer them out together in the rehearsal space. If someone hears something they want to try, we’ll stop the song and talk about it.
GCF: Will you be going on tour any time soon?
MD: Yes, touring will be starting in early 2006. We’re talking with a couple agents right now.
GCF: Is there anything we at GuitarCommunity can do to help promote the band?
MD: We’ll this would be a good time for me to say Thank You for doing this interview. This should help. The biggest favor you could do for us would be to buy the CD and tell your friends to buy the CD. You can also call your local rock radio station and ask them to play Popstar Wedding by Revery. Also, get out there and post to other messageboards on the internet and see if we can create a real grassroots, word of mouth following.
GCF: Finally, what's your road rig and studio rig look like?
MD: My main live rig is the Bogner 101b with a Chandler Stereo Echo in the loop. I take a line out of the head and feed either a Loft 450 Delay/Chorus or a Boss CE2 chorus then that goes to an H&H V800 power amp. I have a small pedal board as well, with a Boss stage tuner, Budda Wah, Boss SD-1, Boss OC-2 Octave, and a MXR Phase 90. Sometimes I’ll switch overdrives to a Tubescreamer. I also have an Axess BS2 Buffer Splitter that is inline after the wah. The Bogner’s dry signal goes to one Marshall 4x12 and the H&H powers a second 4x12.
In the studio, we used a combination of the Bogner, Dual Recto, and Marshall Superlead.
Guitars are as follows. . .
- 1989 Gibson Les Paul Standard (black)
- 2004 GMP Firebird (copper sparkle)
- 1993 Tom Anderson Drop Top (trans yellow/amber)
- My beloved ‘mutt’ which is a warmoth body, Zion neck, Anderson & Duncan pickups
- 2002 Big Baby Taylor Acoustic
- 2004 Fender Telecaster (American Ash) vintage yellow/white
GCF: Mike, the tracks on your site sound awesome. Thank you so much for allowing us to do this interview! Good luck to you & your band mates, and we at GuitarCommunity wish you all the success you desire!
Check out Mike's playing on Revery's new CD. Samples can be found at the Revery Website, and the CD is available at stores near you. Also, don't forget to call your local radio station to put in requests for Revery's first single, "Popstar Wedding."