Supercel songwriter and lead vocalist Paul Casanova and bassist Jackson Tarricone answer questions for Last Day Deaf.
What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
Paul: The desire to be musical has been a compulsion since birth. Music chose us. we did not choose music. In more practical terms, our motivations and inspiration came from exposure far and wide; the Sears catalog musical instrument section with its’ magnetic pull, our parents record collections, Saturday morning cartoons Like Warner Brothers featuring Carl Stalling compositions, and animated series from The Jackson 5, The Osmonds, Archies, Fat Albert and The Cosby kids, as well as The Ed Sullivan Show, 70s TV variety shows, 70s cop dramas, tv musical families, musical theater and concerts our parents brought us to. Ultimately though, the resolute certainty of our path was affirmed from attending our first live rock concerts to our many years together rehearsing tribute shows at our Rock music school “The Rock Underground”, to our first rehearsals playing PLEASE music, and, eventually doing renditions of Paul’s unreleased original back catalog, where the chemistry between us became quite evident. This also set the table to cook up our own unique recipe of collaborative work.
Jackson: I think the quality of Paul’s songwriting and how we all gelled together so well and found our niche within the group served as ample encouragement to put a lot of effort into this project. We’ve really improved and matured in the last three years. Having joined in the summer of 2016, I’m the newest addition.
Supercel was formed in 2016 as an organic offshoot of The Rock Underground Music School in Bellmore Long Island where Paul is owner and Music Director rockundergroundmusic.com. The band is made up of Paul on Songs/vocals/Guitar, and current students and teachers of the school: Bassist: Jackson Tarricone, Guitarist: Tom Stoerger , Drums: Anthony Sabino, and Keyboardist Sean Gaffney.
We consider ourselves and Alt/Pop band. Based out of Brooklyn and Long Island, NY we wear a mix of influences from soul and 70’s concert rock, to indie pop and psychedelia, stiching it together and weaving a tapestry all our own.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Our debut was recorded over the course of 2018 in Brooklyn. Co-produced by Paul Casanova and Mother West producer Charles Newman. It came out on July 19th.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Jackson: We all have pretty different tastes, although there is a fair bit of overlap. However, I can really only speak for myself. I think a big reason why I play as busily as I do is because I was obsessed with The Beatles growing up (as so many were and still are). Paul McCartney’s approach to bass playing as if it were a guitar definitely impacted me a lot, as did John Entwhistle’s high octane yet still rock solid bass riffs. I also admire Deck d’Arcy of Phoenix and John Stirratt of Wilco. I think there’s a bit of abstract humor in the way, so perhaps I’m also influenced by Eric Andre (who is also a bass player!).
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Paul: While our music incorporates many diverse influences, it filters them through a cohesive vision while not sounding any more genre specific than simply the very broad lense of Epic Alt-Pop Rock. Echoes of all music past exists within the confines the group creates without pigeon holing themselves into one definitive genre or style. One will find many fragments of many familiar genres. Perhaps it’s best described like this;
Propelled by fierce musicianship and mature interpretations by an immensely talented and young rhythm section that display theband’s vigor, collective inspirations, and evolving diversity since their inception in 2017, the group draws from a wide range of influences from Classic Rock to Modern Pop, to Classic n’ Neo-soul.The eclectic and hard to pin down supercel sound might best be described as something along the lines of a steady transmission of countless familiar melodic frequencies, concentrated within one flowing epic rock stream. With a modern ear for stretching familiar aural boundaries within conventional song forms; expounding on rapturous themes and littered with cryptic allusions to fast times roaming through the city’s social underground as much as ruminations on metaphysical redemption, supercel ponders our proclivities and hopeful yearnings scattered across life’s mine fields like a Pollock painting on a panoramic landscape.
Jackson: A big part of our appeal is our versatility, so perhaps it isn’t so much that we offer something dramatically different from our “competitors” so to speak, but that we offer more. For that reason, it is very difficult to describe our sound as it differs from song to song. Our sound ranges from dance pop to ominous rock and everything in between.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Miles Davis “Kind of Blue”
Steely Dan The Definitive Collection
YES “Close to the Edge”,
The Treasured writings of Kahlil Gibran
E.E. Cummings Poetry
Gardener’s Art Through the Ages
Talking Heads “Stop Making Sense”
David Bowie “Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders from Mars”
Beatles “Let it Be”
Better Oblivion Community Center by Better Oblivion Community Center
Good Chester Boy by Tim and Greg
Swimming by Mac Miller
War for the Planet of the Apes
My Idiot Brother
Despicable Me 3
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Brave New World by Aldious Huxley
11.22.63 by Stephen King
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Paul: They’re two different mediums much like Film and live theater. We love the studio for the challenge and ability to craft, shape, and produce the most deliberate and accurate representation of one’s creative process. That said, playing live is more visceral, immediate, treacherous and walking-without-a-net which provides an opportunity to interact with one’s audience in a way that takes into account a mutual experience that becomes sensitive to the artists’ responsiveness to the audience’s listening experience in terms of length of arrangements, tempo, dynamics, potential for “ad-lib” improvisation, and potency of execution.
Jackson: I much prefer live performances for two reasons. One being that we have much more flexibility and autonomy in how we approach our music, so we can each embellish and try new things. Two being that the mere presence of a crowd tends to energize our sound. So, it’s very much a quid pro quo in that sense; the presence of a crowd makes us sound better so that the crowd can enjoy our music more. A singular sound engineer in a studio saying “wow that sounded great” doesn’t quite match up to an entire crowd’s ability to validate us (although it is equally appreciated!)
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Paul: I joined Marching band in sixth grade. I was given the task of repairing and reassembling marching drums, cymbals etc. Instead, I disengaged the orchestra cymbals, bass drum, and drums from their typical marching-drum roles and used them to assemble a conventional drum kit; turning the marching band into a big band overnight. Problem was, we were a marching band for parades and after my bold attempt to transform the band into something hipper, other students followed my lead and brought in more conventional drum kit gear. This turned the drum section into a behemoth of gear and sound, ultimately drowning out the rest of the instrumental sections during middle school rehearsals. With obvious dismay, our band leader Mr. Giovanni (I still remember his name) screamed repeatedly over the din that we were way too loud. It was my first subversive “punk” move and embracing of the iconoclastic rock ethos to follow one’s ROCK impulses, so I quit marching band at age 11, never to return again. Subsequently I did however get my dad to buy me a proper snare drum, which I added to an old toy kit my younger cousin had thrown away. It had a small tin cymbal and paper drum heads which I covered with some weather-window-sealing-tape. I took the make shift kit to my basement, placed it between two stereo speakers, added a red light overhead, turned off the cellar lights, and spent all my time blasting AM radio hits while I played along for hours and taught myself how to play my first real instrument, drums. It was truly where my Rock n’ Roll journey began in earnest.
Jackson: In the initial recording sessions for the album back in 2017, I recorded all of my parts with a broken pinkie. Of course, I have since redone this because we have experienced tremendous improvement in both an individual and holistic sense, but this was certainly an eclectic situation.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
Paul: Chain Reaction
It typifies an ambitious approach to songwriting as it contains our love of progressive music in its’ use of orchestration (timpani & Strings) and ambitious arrangement; POP in it’s simple melodic refrains and adornment of handclaps and gang vocals; and a balance with a love of punk and hard street rock with its’ megaphone declarations of semi scandalous proclivities and cinematic episodes, culminating in our protagonists’ exclamations that like many of modern life’s contradictions, “…and it turns me on”. The outro brings all these elements together in the grand tradition of “cruising-down-a-highway-classic-rock”. The track’s epic feel captures an amalgam of influences and visons for supercels’ musical trajectory.
Jackson: Out of the songs we’ve released, I’d say “Down to That River” is a standout track. It has such an ambiguous but still very layered sound. Paul calls it a modern take on “I’ll Be Around” by The Spinners, which I can see to an extent. I also hear a bit of “J-Boy” from Phoenix. In addition, it’s the only song on the album we all wrote together out of a jam, so this alone gives it a distinct quality.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
We have a batch of new singles getting cued up for release later this year and through next year.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity….
Paul: Question: What do you hope to gain from your music and career?
A body of work and recognition that we have indeed followed the correct path, pre-determined in the stars before and after us, to fulfill the promise of our births; To be artists expressing a cathartic sound that appeals to and conjures the emotions of the listener.
Jackson: What is the best part about being in Supercel?
The best part by far is playing shows or jamming out in rehearsal. The existential dread of life subsides temporarily, allowing all of us to get into our flow state and forget about everything else. Personally speaking, it’s one of the few times that I’m totally grounded in the present. I’m not entirely sure what the future holds or doesn’t hold for Supercel, but I’m forever grateful for this group and the experiences we’ve had.
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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