Welcome to Kick Acts. Tell us a little about yourself and were you can be found online.
Greg: I’m Greg, I sing the songs in Western Education. I’m an entertainment junkie; so I’ve seen a lot of movies, and played a lot of video games. You can find me all over Facebook and Twitter; both personally, and with the band. I’m also a music tutor, with an online profile on Wyzant.
Georgio: My name is Georgio Broufas, I am a songwriter and guitar player, I am fully Greek, and I like spicy food a lot. You can find me online through Facebook, twitter, my bands social media, and probably on the website of the school I teacher at, because I am also a public school music teacher.
Who are your musical heroes and influences? Why?
Greg: Growing up, my musical heroes were Brandon Flowers (The Killers) and Morrissey. Besides the music, I just thought The Killers flirtation with makeup and metro-sexuality were the coolest things I had ever seen. I remember watching an early video of them performing at one of the big UK festivals, and I was like “That’s what I want to do”. This might be weird for some older people to read, but I was 11 when “Somebody Told Me” came out, so it was my first taste of what “new-wave” music was. That song really shaped my musical taste.
Georgio: Elliott Smith is an absolute monster. He writes the most beautiful, heartbreaking songs I’ve ever heard. He played guitar really well, he plays piano really well, he is just the top of the food chain as far as being a talented musician. Blink182 are heroes of mine because they are the first band that really made me want to play guitar and start a band. Tom Delonge, Jimi Hendrix, John Frusciante, Jack White, and Brian May are my guitar heroes (no pun intended). I usually try to take everything that they’ve done, put it into a melting pot, and throw in my own flavor whenever writing guitar riffs for the band.
Do you have any advice for someone just getting started in the music business?
Greg: Never get down on yourself. Don’t quit the band. Also, meet everyone. By that I mean the press, the other bands, the fans; everyone. You never know who you’ll run into later, or who might help you when you need it. Also, you need to have good songs. Your local rock club has plenty of crappy bands playing; don’t be one of them. Take the time to hone your craft before you go out and show it to
someone. Also, you’re going to make mistakes, so don’t get too down on yourself.
Georgio: Get ready to take a lot of hits, mostly negative, and make sure you have the willingness to continue if you really believe in what you are doing. This business is 99% rejection, but if you keep at it and work hard and ignore negative influence you will eventually pave your way and find the success you can visualize yourself having.
What piece of advice did you ignore that you wish you hadn’t?
Greg: Good question. Probably the people telling me to slow down, or to take my time to let the band grow. I’m a very “This must happen now” sort of person, and I can come off as pushy. But sometimes you just aren’t ready. Being in a band, and growing a successful act is a slow process, and sometimes I feel like I stepped on some toes, or butted heads with people that I shouldn’t have. I mean, we all make mistakes, but I feel like in a band you need to be proactive. But I’m proactive to a fault.
Georgio: I came into this business with a very naive mindset and believed that if you have awesome tunes you are good to go, but pitching/selling your product is unfortunately just as important, if not more important than your actual product. There are 10,343,143 bands in the world, so what makes yours so special? You have to out-hustle everyone, or just pray that you get lucky. I am a realist, so I usually go crazy promoting, and doing whatever I can to help my band.
Do you have a greatest gig story or worst gig horror story you’d like to share?
Greg: I remember I spun around and hit my face on Will’s bass before. There haven’t been any disasters, thankfully. Only small things, like cables coming unplugged, kick drum legs falling off, but nothing show stopping. Honestly, my biggest fear is someone throwing a beer/drink at my double-keyboard setup. My best gig memories are the ones where the crowd sings the lyrics back to you, and you can hear them. That’s the best feeling. Also, if I had a dime for every woman or man who shouted during a show that they loved me, I would be a rich man.
Georgio: Here’s what I got: I was once kissed on the cheek in the middle of my set- had my amp literally fall flat on its face during our last song of a set, (in the final seconds!) and had my guitar cable come out of my input a few times because I’m moving around too much. I am also known to yell out stupid things that come to mind during any instrumental breaks in our songs.
Do you have any other hobbies other than playing music? Collect stamps? Collect hats from off the side of the road? Draw pictures of peckers or boobs? Make sock puppets? Sit in the dark and eat Cheetos?
Greg: I’m absolutely a gamer- Everything from the classics till now. I’m the kind of guy who wants to experience everything, so I don’t get obsessed with one game, or one film. I like to play them all, or watch them all (in the case of films). I’m not necessarily a collector- but once I own a game, I keep it. So the collection I’ve acquired over my life is pretty extensive. I like horror games and movies, especially. So, in reality, I’m not that cool of a rock musician. I’m very much a homebody, and keep to myself.
Georgio: I am an avid fan of eating Oreos around midnight. I follow soccer pretty seriously, and play FIFA soccer almost daily on Ps3. I really enjoy watching forensic shows and shows that deal with cracking homicide cases. I have a pretty decent Christopher Walken impression (it’s me just going WHOA). I think that’s about it. No pecker or booby pictures, sorry.
What do you think about the current music scene or lack of? Care to address that?
Greg: Rock radio has been pretty stale, with a few exceptions. I’m a tough music critic, so I’ll tell you most music is “so-so”. I don’t love or hate a lot of bands- I’m just unimpressed by most. A tenant of the Western Education creed is that every song must be exciting and fulfilling in some manner. No song can be boring. We’re very tough on ourselves- and I think every musician should. No more melodramatic love songs, or bad bridge sections. That’s a big pet peeve of mine- bad bridges (or the “middle eight”, whatever term you want to use for them).
There is just a lot of mediocrity, and I’m here to change that.
Georgio: I believe that it’s all psychological. Based on your personality there can be an awful/non-existent scene or an awesome scene full of a bunch of great bands. That question seems too bias for me to put my two cents in because someone will always disagree. I guess my answer is: what do YOU think?
Do you think reality shows like American Idol, X Factor and The Voice have helped or hurt the music industry as a whole?
Greg: They don’t do anything. Here is how I interpret those shows: The artist who wins signs a one-album deal- the album sucks, they get dropped, and that’s the end of it. These shows just try to tell audiences that there is a magic bullet to fame, but that’s not true. Singers are useless. I’m a singer, and I’m telling you, singers are useless musicians. If you don’t write songs, you’re screwed. If all you do is sing, you’re just a vessel who can’t do anything. There are plenty of “pretty good” singers. I’m a pretty good singer, too. The power is in the songwriting, not really the performer. Sure, there are exceptions to this, but there are so many capable singers, so who cares?
Georgio: I think they have hurt the music industry as a whole as far as quality and personality. In this single based world, cohesive/interesting albums are becoming a lost art. What is the big deal about being an outstanding singer? There are millions of those. Write some kick ass songs and then I will be interested. These shows just constantly (for the most part) conceive good singers with brainless pop songs that were written by someone. I also love the generic cheesy self portraits that almost all of them have for their debut albums. Those shows are only fun for the first few weeks so that you can listen to the people who are really bad at singing and in denial. I am sick in the head and slightly enjoy watching people bomb on TV, but lets be honest many of us do but do not admit it.
What is your opinion of unauthorized music downloads?
Greg: The law is behind the technology. We’re just in that cycle again. Song mp3’s are 5 megabytes, so they are incredibly easy to transfer, download, and copy. They require so little to execute and play, that they are worth nothing. It’s harder to pirate video games or films because they are so large (among other things). Albums and songs are such small files, that they are super easy to transfer. We’ve all illegally downloaded or copied music- it’s just too easy and untraceable. Music has become valueless- and I’m a musician saying that. Music files have become worthless. Yes, it’s a problem. But the laws are just behind the technology, and there is no magic switch to fix this.
Georgio: If your band is big enough that people want to leak your stuff or pirate it: Go you. I would be all about that.
Tell us something about you/each of your band members that we wouldn’t expect to hear.
Greg: I straighten my hair. My promo pictures are all lies! Georgio is married, and has a child. Mark can name all 700+ pokemon. Will is a big rap and metal fan (which you wouldn’t expect if you listen to our music).
Georgio: Greg our singer is deathly afraid of most if not all animals. Mark is a Guitar-Hero savant, he plays that game like an absolute animal and it is almost scary to watch. Will is a huge fan of black metal and rap music, although he plays for a poppy rock band, and I (Georgio) am really good at throwing grapes in the air and catching them in my mouth.
Hypothetical situation. You’re on Gilligan’s Island and you get to hook up with only one of the survivors… Which one and why?
Greg: I believe all of the original cast members are dead- so no thanks.
Georgio: I am happily married and you are trying to get me into trouble. Next question.
Do you know what a vinyl album is and have your ever purchased one? If so, what was it?
Greg: I do. I purchased The Strokes “Is This It” on vinyl. My record player is broken though, so I’ve never listened to it. I received a limited edition “Hot Fuss” (The Killers) vinyl as a gift, but I’ve never spun it.
Georgio: I know what a vinyl album is, my parents have a bunch in their attic. I have never personally purchased one. I think the idea of them is cool, but having grown up in the 90’s and 00’s, I would say that I am a CD guy.
You’re marooned on an island with Justin Bieber. Do you choke him out the first night in his sleep or what?
Greg: If we’re marooned on an island that means the petition to kick him out of America worked. I guess we’re all set!
Georgio: I would ask him to let my band open for him so that we can draw a huge fan base and become super popular overnight. If he said no, then I would probably just choke him out I guess.
What is your opinion of Miley Cyrus?
Greg: “Party in the USA” is a cute song, but I don’t really care about her that much. She’s been in trouble in the press the past few years, so her dad must be so proud.
Georgio: Prime example of a good girl gone bad. Lindsay Lohan part deux, except with more naked pictures and bong rips.
Which would you rather hear in concert? Lip-synching or real vocals?
Greg: Real vocals. Have you heard about the new Hologram concert thing? The whole aspect of hologram concerts is kind of scary to me. Also, lip-synching the vocals? Then why not just listen to the CD? The whole imperfect side to the live show is always so exciting. Sure, it’s not perfect, but there is a certain magic to it.
Georgio: I would always rather hear real vocals in concert. Why would people pay good money to listen to a backing track that is already on their CD in the car? That always baffled me.
Who, or what, is the next big thing?
Greg: We’re going to get rid of payphones and put cellphone chargers in their place- I’m telling you. Also, is it just me, or is everyone having their wisdom teeth out these past few years?
Georgio: I think that William Hung is going to come back in a really, really big way. 2015 is his year for a comeback. I can feel it in my blood and guts.
One artist you can’t get enough of and can’t live without is… Why?
Greg: Probably Max Martin- That’s a guy that everyone knows, but no one has ever heard of. He’s written more than 30 #1 hits for so many famous pop acts. Just google him, and you’ll be amazed at what you find. You probably know all of the songs- whether you love them or hate them.
Georgio: I don’t really have one. I usually go in and out of phases where I am obsessed or really into a certain band or artist. I think it is a bit odd to be obsessed with one artist constantly forever. Close calls would be Blink-182 and Elliott Smith because they are so nostalgic for me, but I have went a while without listening to both of those artists also.
Confession time. Share a secret about yourself.
Greg: I’m afraid of animals. I had a bad dog experience when I was little, and that was enough for me. Animal lovers don’t make sense to me. I don’t hate animals…but we should be focusing on helping our fellow humans, if you ask me. (Sorry PETA…and Morrissey)
Georgio: The first time I drank to excess when I was 16 I blacked out and woke up having peed my pants. I learned a valuable lesson that night about excessive alcohol consumption and why not to be stupid about it.
Favorite movie of all time and why?
Greg: Oh man. I don’t know. Shawshank Redemption was great. Office Space was great. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was amazing… those are a few. I also really like home invasion movies for some reason, so I enjoyed the recent “The Purge” and “You’re Next”. They are all amazing for different reasons. I really liked the sense of struggle and accomplishment in Shawshank and the LOTR trilogy. When the ring goes in the fire at the end, you’re just like “YES. WE DID IT”. Also, have you seen my stapler?
Georgio: Dumb and Dumber. The reason why is because it taught me about some place warm, a place where women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talking about a little place called ASPIN.
Our last question is called “Shout It Out Loud”. It’s where you get to talk about whatever you want to talk about. So go ahead and “SHOUT IT OUT LOUD”!
Greg: Here is a Public Service Announcement to everyone: Stop writing bad bridge sections. Take turns faster when you’re driving- you’re killing me. Everyone be nicer to each other- you’re all jackasses. Especially you kids on Xbox live. Stop using gay slurs, it’s not nice- and it’s 2014. Coke is better than Pepsi- if you are a restaurant that serves Pepsi, you’re taking the cheap way out and I hate you. Finally- and this is very specific: The Resident Evil 1 Remake on the Gamecube is the best horror game of all time, without question.
Georgio:I am just sitting here thinking of a topic to blab about but of course nothing comes to mind. I will instead just type observational sentences based on where I am, how I feel and what I see in front of me. There is a rug with toys on it (I have a young son), there is a vacuum on the left, I am sitting on a black leather couch, there is a flat screen TV directly ahead of me, and there is a DVD collection on an entertainment center to the right of the TV. The air condition is on in this house and it is slightly on the nippy side right now, although outside it is currently about 90 degrees. I would prefer this cooling AC rather than the scorching hot temperatures of the outside world right now. My talking tank has now reached empty. Thank you and goodbye.
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