MP3 Altered State - Get Real
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11 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, POP: Today's Top 40
Not since Chrissie Hynde fondled the brass in her pocket has a three-guy group with a fiery and charismatic female lead singer (Lorna Dowell, unafraid to declare that "I Need A Vacation" while exposing her "Skeletons In The Closet") kicked up this much punky pop/rock dust.
Songs like "Consuming Me," "Anticipation," "War" and "I Want It Now" have received spins at over 75 stations from Champaign, IL to Amarillo, TX and Eureka, CA. Altered State is also crossing mediums. A publisher who loved the crunchy guitars and cool harmonies of "Let Me In" placed the song in the Tim Daly TV movie Bereft.
Stoker, former drummer with Dexy's Midnight Runners whose production credits include Sting and ZZ Top flew to Altered State's hometown of Saskatoon and liked the raw tracks he heard. He produced "Get Real," "I Need A Vacation" and "Only Women Bleed," and mixed and contributed additional production to the other eight tracks. The project was mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering Studio in Los Angeles.
"The songs on Get Real are a lot more polished and cohesive than the material we recorded for only $2500 on our first album," says guitarist Biman Bharadwaj. "It's along the same vein stylistically, same drive, same width, just not all over the place. Growing together as a band is a definite learning process, but what's always been clear to us is that it should be all about the music. A lot of groups want to impress you with their image and attitude, the tattoos and earrings and things, but we're into songs about life, love and frustration. For me personally, I record music so that I can play it live. There's such a great buzz for us when we have a good sound guy, everything comes across just right, and the audience gets right into it."
Dowell, who cites her chief rock influences as Alice Cooper and AC/DC, adds, "Maybe it's the times we are living in, but when I listen to people who like our music, I find that they're really excited about hearing something that sounds happier. So on Get Real, we've managed to create a light, upbeat vibe while still getting our point across. The title track conveys a lot of what we're about. People feel they're getting scammed all the time and long for honesty and integrity. Why do we have to be politically correct to the point of being politically incorrect? While the lyrics have a tinge of anger, the reality is that nobody wants to listen when you're angry. So we say what we say but without bringing the listener down. We just want them to think, and make sure they have a good time in the process."
Each member of Altered State is originally from a different region in Canada -Bharadwaj from Toronto, Doyle from Thunder Bay, Dowell from Quebec and drummer Dean Walsh from Saskatchewan. "I think our different life experiences play into what each of us brings to the band," Bharadwaj says, "but our personalities are all along the same wavelength and we basically all love playing and writing music, performing live and hanging out together afterwards. Dowell adds, "I think the reason the chemistry is successful is that we all have similar goals, but don't butt into each other's personal lives any more than necessary!"
Considering the incredible impact Dowell's vocals have had in forging the band's distinctive sound and live performance energy, it's funny to think that Altered State's founders Bharadwaj and Doyle were initially resistant to the notion of having a "chick singer." The two started jamming with another drummer while attending the University Of Saskatchewan (Bharadwaj was a chemical engineering major), then got more serious about music when they graduated and decided to make an album.
"We'd hear Lorna tearing it up at open jams in some of the local clubs, and always loved her voice, but just didn't think about her as part of our original concept of Altered State," Bharadwaj says. "Both Jim and I tried singing lead and we eventually realized it wasn't working. We felt that in order to stand out, we needed a special instrument and even put an ad in the local music shops to look for a lead singer. Then one day, we just asked Lorna if she wanted to join, and thankfully, she said yes."
She adds, "I really never perceived myself as being in a band, but I'm a person who likes to try everything, and the challenge of being a lead singer was really exciting to me. I've always been drawn to harder rock because I liked movement, and I really felt at home onstage. When I'm up there, I move around a lot to get out my stress and I also have to be aware of Biman, because he's usually bouncing around on stage playing guitar. I want to do everything but think about depressing things around me. We started out in local clubs doing covers, then started writing original material. It's been great playing for Canadian audiences, but we can't wait to get out there and play for people who don't know us yet and see what they think."
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