The Vocal Chords
We are emulating some of the artists we love from the 50’s through the 90’s and closely re-creating their sound.
Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Peter and Gordon, The Shadows, The Drifters, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Peter Paul and Mary, Lambert Hendricks and Ross, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Pete Seeger, The Kingston Trio, The Mamas and the Papas, The Seekers and many others are inspiration for our sound. Country, Classic Rock, Jazz, R&B, Singer/Songwriter, more, we love it all!
Zack (a chosen name) grew up in the 60‘s and 70‘s in both the USA and Canada surrounded by Beatles and Jazz music and loved the harmonies in all of it. He was formally trained in Piano and is the lead keyboardist and singer in our band.
Zack is also the lead composer and performer for the Cud Chewing Cows who perform with The Vocal Chords on “Butter Love”. The Cud Chewing Cows compose and perform all genres of music but have little to do with the 60’s style. And ultimately, “that type of music is what I listen to and enjoy myself, so why not perform and record it?” asks Zack rhetorically.
In the 90’s he performed as part of the People’s Gospel Choir of Montreal for the Governor General of Canada and Leonard Cohen in Ottawa and recorded backing vocals for several important Quebecois artists. His most exhilarating moment was his baritone solo at the Opening Ceremony of the Montreal Jazz Festival in front of an estimated 100 000 fans, “The planned soloist couldn’t make it and I was asked to be the fill-in guy and had to step up to the plate at the last minute. No practice, no notice. I hope the people listening had a lot to drink! Nah, seriously, it wasn’t that bad. No tomatoes.” (He self jibes and laughs.) He continues, “but it’s in those fantastical moments where one feels almost outside ones own body. The choir behind you, the choir leader looking with positive vibes and 100 000 people expecting a rocking show. And man, we rocked it! OK, I could’ve done better, but I’m my worst critic, but when those voices come together, it’s heavenly!”
Performances and experiences like that helped shape the ever-positive, ever-smiling Zack.
“So why 60‘s covers? Why re-create the wheel? Even the Beatles recorded covers of other peoples songs. Almost every artist does at some point. And now, Dylan and McCartney don’t write the same way any more with their heavy folk and Buddy Holly influences, respectively. They’ve evolved as artists do and as times change. I want to go back to a simpler, safer time, to the originals.”
“I like the sound of those 60’s guitars, the amps, the effects, mics. All of it had a different sound than in todays music. There’s a movement back to vinyl in part because of the warmth of the sound that was inherent in analogue music recordings. That’s a sound we hope to re-create, to emulate. It’s the songs of our cousins and parents. It’s a type of music that’ll never fade away. Not if we can help it!”
“The 60’s music was filled with great harmonies and that’s what I love, so as Vocal Chords, that’s what we do! It could be classic rock or classic jazz or classic country or singer/songwriter. As long as it’s fun, we engage!”
“Many artists have done covers of these classic songs. How do ours differ?”
“You decide”, says Zack. “Sometimes we adhere so faithfully to the original, sometimes we add vocal lines where there were none just because they should have been there in the first place (in our view), they sound so good.
Now that the first album “Butter Love” is on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon, what next?
“Well, first let’s deal with what’s going on!”, says Zack. “A day after release we got word of confirmed Radio Play in Scotland, England, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and the USA…real over-the-air-radio, and for those not in those countries, it’s also on the internet through their site at Radio Six International (Glasgow), visit our site for more information and breaking news!” he laughs and continues, ” The next day we got word of an interview which (once printed) we will link to from our site.”
“We have some recordings lined up for future releases on our next album due in early 2017 and hope to create a few singles between now and then.”
“It’s great fun to record these classic hits and to make the videos too. We haven’t spoken about those, and that’s part of the fun. We use originally sourced videos when possible and layer our musical recordings on top. Sometimes the lips match, sometimes they don’t. Old meets new! New meets old! The effect is often wonderful and magnifies the musical listening experience when trying to find a reference point, an origin, a look at the fashions, the cars, the instruments, the dances, the crowds… it brings you back!”.
Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
We arrived on Earth in the 60’s and were raised by loving family and friends and surrounded by the arts: instruments, singing, dancing, painting. Older cousins were listening to Jazz and the Beatles (and a lot more); parents were listening to folk and Classical music; and that was all part of the tapestry of the early days. It must be in the genes. Nature vs. Nurture. That old debate.
Exposed Vocals: How did you come up with that name? What was your inspiration behind it?
“The Vocal Chords” made sense, after all, our ‘vocal cords’ (as some people spell it, without the ‘H’) are where our sounds are made vocally. By adding the ‘H’ we also reference musical chords.
After a quick search on Google we noticed not too many bands with that name, explored their site briefly and knew we were quite different.
After getting our music on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon, we noticed more bands with our exact name but they’re not us. (Lesson learned was, search on iTunes and the other stores as well as Google when selecting a band name.)
FYI iTunes and Google Play have made us our own artist’s page. It’s a little more confusing on Amazon as they have us clumped together with the other artists named ‘The Vocal Chords’.
However we do have direct links from our website at www.vocalchords.ca (notice the domain is not spelled ‘vocalcords’ without the ‘H’; it is spelled with the ‘H’ and has a .ca ending, as the .com was taken).
Is everyone confused yet? TMI? Alright, just click then.
Exposed Vocals: What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?
As fans we think streaming services are great! As artists we think it’s the pits. We have not released our works (by choice) on the streaming services (for now) and do not intend to. (Our works do stream, but not by our choice, on Google Play and Amazon Prime but we had no say in the matter; if we wanted to sell downloads on their stores we couldn’t opt-out of streaming. At least Apple’s iTunes let’s the artist opt-out of Apple’s Music streaming service. Kudos to Apple Inc., again!)
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
We just left a tip in that last answer. As for getting airplay, if you’re good, you’ll get noticed. Just keep doing what you’re doing musically and if it’s good, you’ll be found in no time.
Of course you have to lay the groundwork and plant the seeds to be found, but you’ll be found.
Use the online stores (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, others), social media (Facebook and Twitter), online videos and audio samples (YouTube and SoundCloud – and allow comments, people like to read comments and see what others are thinking), band pages (BandCamp and BandPage), and unique Band websites … You’ll get found.
Of course, play live shows, if that’s what you do. Again, you’ll get found.
Exposed Vocals: Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?
We have two bands, ‘The Vocal Chords’ and ‘The Cud Chewing Cows’ www.cudchewingcows.com . The Cows’ music has nothing to do with ‘Cud’ nor ‘Chewing’ nor ‘Cows’. It’s admittedly an odd name (back to your second question, a name we did not want to repeat for it misrepresents our sound). The Cow’s do all original music from all genres: Classical, Country, Folk, Rock, Jazz, World and other genres in-between. It’s the sort of music that sticks in your brain after a couple of listenings. One day you wake up humming something and ask yourself, “what is that I’m humming?”. After a short while you realize it’s the ‘Cud Chewing Cows’. Wow! Then you give it another listen. It gets addictive. Great music for all occasions. There’s something for everyone. Fun to drive to! But as Cud Chewing Cows, we have not been doing ‘covers’ of other artists songs. It’s all original.
So to that part of your question, our song-writing process? You’ll have to interview the Cud Chewing Cows. LOL
‘The Vocal Chords’ by contrast purposely emulates artists we love and grew up with throughout our lifetime. We try to closely re-create the original sound. We are not worried about originality because by virtue of creating a new work with new instruments and voices, no matter how much one tries to emulate the original(s), it never does exactly; which means that ‘OUR’ work ‘IS’ original (the audio differences makes it original). Strange, but true!
There is no shame in our game. Almost every artist sings/sang covers. Ella Fitzgerald sang Cole Porter and a lot more. The Beatles sang Buddy Holly, Goffin/King, Alexander, Berry and a lot more. And yes, that includes the Stones, Peter, Paul and Mary and just about any artist you can think of. Wiki your favourite artist and see.
“Well, other artists don’t usually put out an album with all covers, they just sprinkle them in with their original music”, one might say. To which we reply, “So? That’s not our ‘musical mission’ as ‘Vocal Chords’. If you want original, go listen to the Cud Chewing Cows music. They just released two albums last week (May 19th), one of which is called “Slaughterhouse Flies” which is all NEW and they are releasing their whole catalogue, an album each week, between now and the beginning of July (‘Grass Roots just came out on the 19th as well and ‘Choice Cuts’ comes out this Thursday on June 2nd).
Exposed Vocals: Do you have a band website? What online platforms do you use to share your music?
Thanks for asking that. The Vocal Chords can be found at http://www.vocalchords.ca (‘chords’ is spelled with an ‘h’ and the ending is not a .com) and the Cud Chewing Cows can be found at http://www.cudchewingcows.com .
Start there! Each site has direct links to the online Stores, to YouTube and Vimeo, to SoundCloud, BandCamp, BandPage, Facebook and Twitter, Fan Sign Ups, (Merch, coming soon) and a lot more. If it’s not there today on one site or the other, it’s coming soon! Stay tuned!
Exposed Vocals: If you were given half a million dollars and a year off, what would you do? How would you spend it?
Is anyone offering us a half a million dollars? Who? Where? What? When? How?
As for a year off… A year off of what? Living? Creating? Suffering financially? We would definitely rather be healthy, creative, promoting and productive than ‘off’!
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
All the aforementioned are ways to promote ones music. Hopefully this interview will help. (LOL)
Here are some direct links to our Bands’ stuff:
The Vocal Chords
Official Site – http://www.vocalchords.ca
Official Mirror – https://sites.google.com/site/vocalchordsmusic/
Amazon – https://amzn.to/1Ub7Xex
Vimeo – https://vimeo.com/user47658810
SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/thevocalchords
Jango Radio – https://www.jango.com/music/The+Vocal+Chords
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/vocalchordsmusic/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/vocalchordsband
BandCamp – https://thevocalchords.bandcamp.com
BandPage – https://www.bandpage.com/TheVocalChords
BandPage (again) – https://thevocalchords.bandpage.com
The Cud Chewing Cows
Official Site – http://www.cudchewingcows.com
Official Mirror – https://sites.google.com/a/cudchewingcows.com/cud-chewing-cows-the-band/
Google Play – https://goo.gl/vKgMFn
Amazon – http://amzn.to/1O2GOhm
Vimeo – https://vimeo.com/user47658702
SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/cud-chewing-cows
Jango Radio – http://www.jango.com/music/Cud+Chewing+Cows/_full_bio#
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thecudchewingcows/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/CudChewingCows
BandCamp – https://thecudchewingcows.bandcamp.com
BandPage – https://www.bandpage.com/TheCudChewingCows
BandPage (again) – https://thecudchewingcows.bandpage.com
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
Yes, we can confirm we ARE recording new songs but for now we are trying to focus on promoting our newest album “Butter Love” featuring 13 songs from the 1960‘s and 1970‘s which just came out May 22nd (not even a week ago, as of this answer).
The day following its release we received word of guaranteed airplay in several countries. The day after we received word from ‘Exposed Vocals’ to be interviewed. We should be interviewing you and asking you how you discovered us? Good job! (LOL)
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
We’ve always been in the arts. Film making, Animation, Graphics, Apps, Music, etc. Check out the “Mother Ship” at Space Viz: http://www.SpaceViz.com .
Exposed Vocals: How do you juggle the rest of your responsibilities while trying to stay ahead in your music life?
Pace yourself. I write down things to do each day and check them off as they get done. Baby steps. Walk before you run. I keep each days expectations realistic (mostly). Sometimes it requires long hours (usually does) but when I lay me down to rest I know I accomplished those checked off tasks and that feels good.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in 2016?
“Butter Love” just came out to great praise. We hope it helps raise the numbers of visitors and ‘thumbs up’, ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ on Facebook and Twitter. Our social media sites are brand new and need the ‘discovery’ so thanks to everyone for sharing your discovery of us with your ‘friends’!
Within one day of the release of “Butter Love” we received confirmation of ‘heavy rotation’ (meaning ‘played often’) on real Radio stations in the USA, Scotland, England, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan.
Then the following day, Exposed Vocals, reached out to us for this (eventual) interview. Then…
Of course all our stuff can be found everywhere including some singles we hope to release between now and the end of the calendar year. (What was that you read? “Singles are a comin’?” Woo! A Summer Spectacular’ perhaps? LOL)
Some of our newest unreleased (as of yet) material has really come out nicely. A fantastic sound! As they say, “Stay Tuned”.
Our ‘BandCamp’ page (coming soon) will offer Fans their best deals in 2016 (and we hope beyond). Fans can get all sorts of things there. Early releases, merchandise, the ease of staying ‘in touch’ with the artist, bonus materials for their purchases; it’s all facilitated on BandCamp. (No we do not work for them but we do like their philosophy and ease of use.) We do not have anything posted there (as of today) but in a few days or a week it should all be up and running. As always, get everywhere from our site.
Thanks for interviewing us ‘Exposed Vocals’! We wish you and your illustrious readers and avid music fans a fantastic Summer filled with BBQ’s, Canon Balls in the pool, and fabulous memories invoked by the music of The Vocal Chords’ ‘Butter Love’ and The Cud Chewing Cows’ newest releases ‘Slaughterhouse Flies’ (a nod to Kurt Vonnegut) and ‘Grass Roots’. And please, Sing Along, Sing it Loudly and Sing it Often!