Just weeks after the release of their sophomore album, These Waves, Sonoma County based alternative rock band, Green Light Silhouette, unexpectedly found themselves not only in the midst of the pandemic, but also in the absence of a lead guitarist. Tone Def Sound speaks to bassist, Ryan Macauley, about past and current challenges, how these obstacles have altered their sound, what the band has been up to during the pandemic, and more.
First off, what shape is a Green Light Silhouette and what’s behind the name?
“The Shape of a Green Light Silhouette is whatever shape our music takes. With an ever adapting sound the silhouette’s shapes are endless.
The story behind the name is probably like most band name origins. Somebody in the band randomly suggested a band name and it got tweaked slightly. We were almost Black Light Silhouette, which seemed a little dark and too serious for the type of music we were playing at the time.”
GLS went through a significant change in lineup between the first and second album. How did that alter the bands dynamic and creative process, and what’s your current lineup look like?
“It was a huge change. So big that if we didn’t find the right people that were going to be as passionate about the music we were making we were going to call it quits. Fortunately we found some great replacements in Josh on Drums and Estevan on Leads. It definitely altered the way we write music however because of the new band members still learning our style, Neal and I shared the majority of the writing this time around. This really helped our sound, because a majority of the first album was songs that Neal had written on his own years ago, some even being before GLS was formed so it had a different vibe to it. The current album you can really see how our styles have both evolved and melded together. And then to add to that we had great input on the feel and tempo of the songs from Josh, and Estevan really brought so much color and ambience to everything including great solos.
The current lineup is:
Neal Mckenzie on Lead Vocals and Rhythm Guitar
Ryan Macauley (me) on Bass and Backing Vocals
Josh Tellez on Drums
Unfortunately shortly after the release of our album Estevan quit the band. So right now we are trying to figure out what we are going to do, but it’s been kind of on hold with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Having known you and Neal for years, I know that the pandemic hasn’t stopped you guys from continuing to create new music. Has all the downtime led to any new material that could possibly go towards a new album or even a side project?
“We are always writing. That never ends. We have material to work on, if I had to guess between the two of us we might have as many as 6-7 songs in the works. The pandemic has kind of slowed that process of turning them into full songs because we like to flesh the songs out and let them evolve live. Also we have been reeling from losing our Lead Guitar player so we have been a bit hesitant to go full throttle on new stuff. In the meantime we have been collaborating on a lot of cover songs and just having fun recording at our own homes on that stuff. Once we figure out what our lineup is going to be we will have a lot of material to work with!”
What’s your advice for any young chaps considering getting a band together?
If you are thinking of getting a band together, don’t try to force a particular sound. I have personally had the most fun and the best music come out of the fact that each member has a different style and approach to music. If you are looking to add members and they are passionate about playing but don’t totally share your same listening interests you might find that to be just the influence that your band will need to stand out above the rest. From the beginning GLS has had so many different styles and influences in the different members. For instance, Neal is very indie rock driven and you can hear it in his writing. My main influences come from metal and 90’s grunge. I think that is why our new record is so well received, because we took the best parts of our influences and were able to somehow temper them into 11 cohesive amazing songs. When you have that as a band, that is when it is the most fun. So if you are starting a band, explore different sounds and don’t limit yourself to one style. It might sound a little disjointed at first, but over time it will meld into one sound.
Any last thoughts, music recommendations, misconceptions you’d like to clear up, sins you’d like to confess, or anything else?
My last thoughts would be to please listen to our record! And after you listen to that, check out some music that influenced us along the way such as Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow, Superheaven – Ours is Chrome… also not a direct influence on the last album but the new Hum album is amazing.