Pray for Sound, hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, shares with us a truthful, artistic experience.
Inspired by his earlier medical struggles, band founder Bruce Malley released their debut album “Monophonic” in 2011 on his own. Shortly after that, he recruited more members to start touring and working on their new album “Dreamer,” which was released earlier this month. We got in touch with the band to shed more light on their story, the new record and what the future may hold in store for them.
Pray for Sound started as a one man project by Bruce before he recruited more members after releasing “Monophonic.” Was it intended to be a full band from the beginning, or did you feel the need for more musicians along the way?
Actually, originally, all I knew was I wanted to write an album…just to be able to say I did it. I had some song ideas, but I couldn’t find any musicians that fit well with me or would take the project seriously enough, so I decided to just do it by myself.
So can you tell us a little about how you guys did find each other?
After its release, “Monophonic” got a very positive response. I was considering trying to do some live stuff to help promote the album, but again, it had to be with the right people. I had known Joe from high school and actually played in a really terrible band with him for a while.
Anyway, I shared Monophonic with him and around the same time, his band broke up. I asked if he had any interest in playing Pray for Sound songs on bass, and he was immediately interested. He recruited Chris and Steve from his old band, and shortly after that, Chris brought Nick in, Chris’s best friend. Within about two weeks, we had practiced twice and could play all the songs on the album.
If it hadn’t worked out like it did, I may have never bothered transforming Pray for Sound into a full band.
How much did “Monophonic” mean to Bruce being able to tell his story about his earlier medical struggles in such an inspirational way?
“Monophonic” meant a lot to me. I liked being able to tell my unique story to people who wanted to know, and letting others, who didn’t care to know the true meanings behind the songs, make up their own meanings. I also think it’s a nice added bonus to the music in an already saturated market.
A lot of bands find it’s hard to get a new inspiration after releasing such a unique and self-related work as “Monophonic.” Did you experience that in the new record?
Definitely. It was extra tough for me since I was handling over the reigns to multiple other musicians. I think the other guys were a little intimidated as well, since they didn’t want to follow Monophonic up with anything other than a great album.
On top of that, we did our first DIY tour together in August of 2013. After we got back, we planned to stop playing live shows for a while so we could write new material for the new album. Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff we wrote was just straight up bad: very forced, emotionless, uninspired, etc. We were very burnt out.
Thankfully, we got out of our slump fairly quickly. We demoed out probably about 20 songs/ ideas and after about 6 months fully fleshed out the 7 we thought worked best together. Those 7 songs became “Dreamer.”
You put different layers of the dreaming process over the tracks with the relevant symbols over the artwork, what is the story behind this concept?
Honestly, we had demoed out a handful of the ideas and generally thought the songs sounded “dreamy.” We just took that initial idea and rolled with it. The concept was a lot less important to me this time around. The main goal was to just write solid songs.
This release showed more contributions to other musicians who added vocals, violin and viola. Who are those who contributed along the way? Do you think you may add other instruments or members in the future?
Chris LaRocque, Nick Stewart, and I all played guitar, Joe Aylward played bass and Steve Aliperta played drums. Joe and our friends, Theresa Cleary and Kendall Di Tommaso, did all the vocal tracks, and Theresa also played all the violin and viola parts.
For me, it was awesome to get input from other musicians. It also took a lot of stress out of the recording process because everyone was playing his or her own parts. We definitely plan to work with other musicians in the future, as long as it makes sense musically! I honestly think that some of the string sections are what really make “Dreamer” great, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t happen again.
Going through the new album, your music seems maturing through the time. The tracks felt rather melodic with a brighter resolution towards the end with more layers integrated in it. Do you feel you found your unique voice on this record, or are you still searching for it?
“Dreamer” is absolutely a brighter and happier sounding album compared to “Monophonic.” I think we were just trying to send a different message. When I wrote the songs on “Monophonic,” I was trying to express how I felt experiencing all the ear issues I had. For “Dreamer,” like I said earlier, we were mainly focused on writing well-written songs. I was also generally writing songs with other people around, rather than alone, which I think made helped make Dreamer a little less dark too.
Overall, I feel like we’re getting closer to our unique voice, but definitely not quite there yet. I still think there’s something missing…We’ll keep trying, but I’m not sure we’ll ever find it.
With releasing your first full album together, what are your plans for the future?
Short term, we still have a bunch of press stuff planned for “Dreamer.” We’ve been trying to reach out to labels and get vinyl going; there are some possibilities there.
The other guys in the band are also in another band, so they’re kind of focused on that for a bit, but at some point I’d love to get back on the stage doing tour runs in the New England area, at the very least. Hopefully by later this year, or early 2015, we’ll be playing live regularly again.
While the other guys are busy, I’ve also been writing songs pretty regularly. I try to come up with an idea or start of a song once or twice a week. I’d like to come out with a follow up to “Monophonic” at some point—especially since I recently found out I might be able to try getting prosthetic hearing bones implanted in October. I’ve also been talking to our label, Flesh and Bone Records, about possibly doing a split with one of the other bands on the label. Right now it’s tough to say, but new music is always in the works!
Basically we’re not planning on really slowing down any time soon! I keep writing music, and as long as I’m doing that, albums, and in turn, live shows, will still keep happening!