HARTFORD — There are bands that are tough to pin down in terms of genre, and New York CIty’s Consider the Source is one of them. Gabriel Marin shreds on double-neck guitar, chaturangui and kamancheh among other instruments while John Ferrara plays various types of basses and Jeff Mann is the rhythmic foundation on drums. Together, they create multi-dimensional instrumental music that’s a melding of ‘70s- and ‘80s-era jazz fusion into the rock and roll power trio structure. It’s amazing to witness live and folks around the Hartford area will get a chance to experience this when they perform at the Arch Street Tavern on New Year’s Eve. The show starts at 9pm with Boston jam-rockers Leon Trout kicking things off.
Marin and I had a talk ahead of the performance about the name of the tour this upcoming show is a part of, living in New York City as a full-time musician and a new album that the band is looking to release in 2024.
RD: This run of shows that Consider The Source have been on is titled the “Are You Watching Closely Tour”, which shares the same name of your sophomore album that came out in 2009. Have these shows primarily consisted of songs off of that particular full-length release? Did you prefer to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the album rather than the 15th? How did this tour come about?
GM: Basically, a few years ago we did a reissue of the album during the pandemic to celebrate the 10th anniversary and it went really well. When we first started playing, vinyl records weren’t really a popular concept. It was an old thing, but nobody was buying new releases on vinyl so we weren’t really thinking about putting albums out in that way. Fast forward over a decade later, we’re not in college anymore and people are listening to vinyl all the time so we’ve been reissuing our first couple of albums on vinyl and it’s been really fun. We have a new album that we recorded during the beginning of the pandemic that we’ve been trying to figure out how to effectively release and we have plans to put it out next year.
For our tour this year, we’ve gotten numerous requests to reissue some of our older material, which is where Are You Watching Closely comes in. We haven’t gotten to play some of these songs off of the album in about 10 years, so it’s been really fun to go back and relearn a lot of them. We’re playing some of them for the first time with our current drummer Jeff Mann, who joined up with us after our third album. He’s been with us for over ten years now, and we’ve never played some of these songs with him before so it’s been great.
RD: That’s awesome. When it comes to Are You Watching Closely as an album, how vital do you see it as it pertains to the evolution of Consider The Source’s current sound? How developmental was the songwriting and recording process for it?
GM: Very much so, when we put out our very first album, it was more like a demo CD. After that, we released our debut studio release with Esperanto and it very much sounded like us, but we were all in college at that point and we were getting our playing, our writing and our sounds together. With Are You Watching Closely, a lot of the songs that are fan favorite songs started to appear on that album. If you listen to it and you hear us now, you’ll see that we’ve grown a lot but that was definitely one of the first times where we knew that we achieved our identity.
RD: It’s been mentioned that you, John and Jeff draw some of your musical inspiration from reading, so what particular books would you say fuel this?
GM: We all read a lot of different things. Some of us are history nerds, some of us like science-fiction and each of us have our own religious and spiritual backgrounds that we read books from. It’s more of the concept of us being inspired by stuff that’s not just in the realm of music. It could be art, it could be writing, it could be all these different things. I’m a history nerd and through learning about the way various kinds of music came into form whether it’s Indian or classical, they are these set in stone things, but during the 1500s and 1600s these were all coming together.
Now you can say that this music is Indian or this music is Turkish, but hundreds of years ago everything was this group invading this group and then there was this until another group invaded that group and so on. Since we make fusion music, it’s really interesting to see how almost every style of music in the world started as a fusing of things together to eventually become a set style.
RD: Being from New York City, how has it been these days with living there as a full-time musician? The cost of living must be astronomical.
GM: If I wasn’t from there, I don’t think I would possibly be able to live there. Being born and raised in New York City, I can’t see myself living anywhere else. I spend a chunk of time in Istanbul every year and a chunk of time in New York City, so I’m a city boy through and through. It’s definitely not the same, it was way cooler when I was young. The prices are absolutely out of control.
I live in a very deep immigrant neighborhood in Queens, which I absolutely adore. It’s my favorite place I’ve ever lived in and I couldn’t contemplate living in the more expensive, cool parts of the city. It’s not the same as it was, but nothing has ever replaced it for me as a place I enjoy living in.
RD: It’s cool that you still have such a concrete attachment to your community there. You mentioned earlier that Consider the Source are looking to release a new album in 2024, so what can you say about it without giving too much away?
GM: Actually, this is really cool. This was the first time that we’ve ever worked with a producer and it’s not just your typical producer, it’s David Prater who notably produced the album Images and Words with Dream Theater.
GM: Yeah, that was a huge album for all three of us when we were young. When Jeff first joined the band, somehow that album got put on and we were joking about how we grew up on it. We all knew the instrumental parts, I knew all the guitar parts, John knew all the bass, Jeff knew all the drums and all these years later David saw us play in Colorado and he told us that we were the best thing he’d seen since those sessions. We recorded five songs with him and they’re all long so it’s going to be a full-length record that runs a little over 40 minutes. We busted our asses and did it in 2020 while not knowing how long this would go.
We didn’t want to put it out during the pandemic because we couldn’t tour in support of it and everything, so it’s been a confusing time with putting things out nowadays. We’ve worked with labels, we’ve been independent and we’re trying to decide whether we want to do the former or stick with the latter. Our last experience with a label wasn’t great, so we’re trying to figure out the proper means of releasing this really cool album. We’re definitely going to put it out next year and tour on it. We always take the first two months of the year off in January and February and then starting in March we’re going to be back playing shows and we’re going to hit it hard.