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10 Quick Ones with STEEP STEPS – December 2017

| 5 December 2017 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Electronic Production duo Steep Steps, made up of ArtRock band RÊVE front-woman Athena Hiotis and Multi-Instrumental Producer/Engineer Tony Correlli, has taken two of the hottest contemporary TV show franchises to create what is destined to be one of the most enigmatic acoustic fusions of the of recent history. Eschewing any expectation of genres, the pair has taken the Midieval instrumental arrangement of HBO’s hot television adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire,” Game of Thrones, and injected it with layers of dark synths and electronic orchestration recalling Netflix’s mid-80s placed, hit drama Stranger Things. Unsatisfied to leave the experience as audio alone, Steep Steps has created a haunting music video inspired by the sinister ambiguity of ‘the upside down.'”  We get Tony and Athena to answer our 10 Quick Ones about new music, their influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Tony: The song starts off sounding like the “Stranger Things” theme, but the beat and the arpeggio are adapted to a different time signature. So it’s stretched out, with the beat more spaced out and the arpeggio filled in with other notes to cover the time, giving it a different feel. When the “Game of Thrones” string parts comes in, played on a synth sound, it accents where the original notes are played – but we also added notes where the original had rests. That gave it a more step-sequenced feel as a nod to ‘80s synth music.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Tony: I had a toy keyboard that played a demo, and I learned how to play the demo exactly. Then I started to add to it and paraphrase and found it to be much more fulfilling than anything I was doing in school.

Athena: I don’t ever remember wanting to be a musician; I just remember always having done it. My dad played and my parents got me a little Playskool keyboard when I was almost a year old and I’ve been playing ever since. Studying music in high school and college exposed me to the music industry and I knew that I wanted to pursue music on a professional level around that time.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Tony: Radiohead was really influential to me. Klayton of Circle of Dust, now known as Celldweller and about a dozen other pseudonyms. He’s an extremely talented and prolific artist. Deathcab for Cutie have such excellent guitar lines and arrangements. My favorite songwriter is David Bazan. He tells stories, he speaks his truth, and it’s always sincere-sounding. I have great admiration for Trent Reznor and things he’s done throughout his impressive career and what he’s continuing to do- still inspiring.

Athena: A lot of my musical and composition tendencies come from classical and world music influence which is what I grew up listening to. Modern artists that influenced me are Alanis Morissette, St. Vincent, and a lot of modern pop artists, like Katy Perry. Alanis’ album Jagged Little Pill ushered in a lyrical baptism for me. That album caught me to like emotions dictate the lyrics, no matter how extreme they may be. It was empowering. St. Vincent’s has taught me to really explore my music space and to translating my musical influences. Katy Perry and the like – I mean you don’t get catchier than those songs. Having an element that people walk away remembering is crucial, whether it’s a vocal melody, hand clap rhythm, or a guitar part.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

Tony: It would be so fun to work with Beck.

Athena: I’d love to see what it’s like to work with Lady Gaga.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

Tony: A song you’d hear at the end of an unsettling movie that may get stuck in your head and draw you back into the film’s moral dilemmas and existential dread.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Tony: Working with musicians is always a positive, collaborative experience. So many industries are full of competition, rivalries, and hierarchies. When I work with another musician in the studio, we’re on the same team with the same goal. The world would be a better place if people got together to jam more often, at least hand out and listen to records from time to time.

Athena: The ability to write this universal language. There’s a great responsibility being able to create a piece that is interpreted no matter the place or time. I think that’s incredibly humbling.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Tony: When we’re not working on music, we’re setting up elaborate pranks throughout the city of Baltimore that may not be realized after we’re dead and gone.

Athena: I’m the first one to sleep, I’ll tell you that.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Tony: I would love to make documentaries. To just pour myself into a topic, talk to a ton of people about it, and try to put it together in a logical yet compelling way. I admire those who do that well.

Athena: An interpreter, specifically in the healthcare industry.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

Tony: I’ve been producing bands and artists at various talent levels day and night for so many years now, so I have been involved in more than a few songs that I’m not super-proud of.

Athena: I had an opportunity to work with someone but I took a risk that ended up not working out in my favor. I don’t know if I’d redo it because it ended up yielding something even better.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Tony: To be a fly on the wall during the making of Dark Side of The Moon would be incredible. And later Beatles sessions, of course. Being a sound engineer, it would be interesting to see how the methods we use every day were created when they were all charting new territory. It’s hard to imagine my generation stretching the boundaries as far as they did, but watching it happen may inspire us.

Athena: I’d like to be around for any David Byrne recording session, specifically Talking Heads era. But really, I’d be happy with anything.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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