L-R Tommy Hornsby(Bass), Bobby Hornsby(Guitar & Vocals) & Justin Bourn(Drums)
From Canton, Georgia, Coda has slowly building an audience locally with their heavy riffs and hard-hitting drums. The progressive metal/rock band released their first album Mechanism through Tate Music Group early this year. The band is currently working on new material for a new album. CBNAH staff writer Panagiotis Drakopoulos caught up with lead vocals and guitarist Bobby Hornsby to talk about the band, their music and a few thoughts on the music industry.
CBNAH: Can you tell us about growing up in Georgia?
Bobby Hornsby: Absolutely. Without sounding too silly(laughs), I live north of Georgia, about an hour away. As far as growing up, not backwoods but kind of in the woods, we always had property, we've always been able to kind of ride spoilers and dirt bikes. Never in the middle of the city but growing up in Georgia is good. The weather is never too bad, too hot and really too cold. It's just been good.
CBNAH: How did the band came together?
BH: Well, my brother, Tommy plays bass and he was in a band with our drummer, Justin. I was in a separate band maybe five or six years ago, and it ended up falling apart like a lot of these do when they're early on. I basically said, "I would like to play with you guys. I know you're starting up and going. Let's get together and see what happens?" We all share a common interest in music, which is always been the progressive kind of technical side of things. We've worked hard and stuck together ever since.
CBNAH: Who are your main influences in the music?
BH: Oh man, Dude (laughs). The obvious ones are going to be Dream Theater, Rush, Tool is pretty good. A lot of the newer acts like Animals as Leaders, Protest the Hero from up there where you guys in Canada, which is great. Any of those acts that are super technical and we also get into a lot of the other -- this is going to sound silly, but anything that sounds sonically good to us like Kesha and Pink. Some of their albums are so sonically just in your face and loud. It's unbelievable how they can make it some of that stuff sound so good. So, we're across the board, Pink Floyd and a lot of the old classic rock stuff. The only thing that we never really been into would be like Country.
CBNAH: Take us through your writing process - Do you guys write separately or together?
BH: Usually the way that works for us is bringing in a riff or a drum beat or an idea or what we call "vibe". Kind of what we're trying to portray with it and it usually stems from that little bit of a seed up until, whatever it is becoming, whether it ends up like a five minute deal or fifteen deal. It's mostly, I would say about ninety-five percent of the time it's always started with the music that way usually with the vibe or the riff. Lyrics, melodies and that kind of stuff will come after. Because I'm the vocalist I like to hear and have the whole slate done, and say we need to elongate something for a verse or a chorus or a bridge, we'll go back and make the song longer musically to fit that with the vocals.
CBNAH: Tell us about your first album?
BH: Our first album is called "Mechanism" and it's been out since February 4th and we released it through Tate Music Group. There's nine songs in total on the album and that is our first one.
CBNAH: What are the current plans for the band?
BH: Right now, we're working on new material. Regardless of what we're doing, we're always pitching in new ideas and throwing stuff out. We own our own studio, for us to able to go in and record or lay something down is not a very difficult process. We don't have to book time or anything like that. As far as being able to book shows and get on tour, absolutely! We're working on that pretty aggressively. We never stopped writing and still working on getting the marketing up and be able do some shows.
BH: It can. As far as writer's block not necessarily because we're always been able to spit out ideas, that's never the problem. Where we start getting into a little bit of a holdup is when we sometime disagree about the direction or the way something should be played or maybe the length of a scale. We'll go back and forth a little bit with that depending upon how we each feel.
CBNAH: Years ago, a lot of musicians would some sort of accomplishment if signed to any record label. Due to the current climate of the music industry, do you feel you can make your name through Youtube and other social media platforms?
BH: Yeah, you're dead on with that. I can only speak from experience from the record label that we work with, I could be wrong about this like I said. I think the way it's turning now, a lot of record companies are doing distribution and marketing deals versus the entire will record you, will do this and that. I don't think it's as big like back in the 80s and 90s, where you were signed and they gave you a huge advancement right upfront. I think just like what you said the reason that is because it's gotten so simple to be able to record and market yourself. You got Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation is great, and YouTube is perfect. Now everything is digital. You can go get yourself set up with Pro Tools and you're done. What it would of taken an entire production team to be able to do that back in the 80s and 90s, now it's right there on your laptop. Now it's very easy for bands to able to locally grown themselves and do that on their own.
CBNAH: Do you think the music industry needs something like a Netflix model for music where you can pay a monthly fee to download or stream music?
BH: You know I never thought about that, dude. That's pretty cool and neat idea.
CBNAH: The idea could work with the Netflix model. Asking people to pay five to eight dollars a month to listen to music from all record labels and artists of different genres.
BH: I would say, I would be behind that for sure. Because from my experience it's increasingly difficult to, even though you can market yourself and you can put your name out there, when everyone can do it... It gets very saturated and therefore the money is not near as big as it was once at one point in time. So, I'm with you on that, it's a killer idea.
CBNAH: The idea is possible but it depends on how the record labels and artists would split up the percentage of the profit would be the issue.
BH: That's exactly right.
CBNAH: By the way, what's the metal scene like in Georgia?
BH: Well... (Laughs) Bare with me on this one. I'm not trying to sling dirt at all but the metal scene in Georgia is, in my experience nonexistent. You can get far as you, your buddies and some bands that you can network with. Go out and play at different places and get a name going but it seems like a lot of the bigger cities have that niche and that sect where you can get in there and really make a name. Atlanta is, I don't know maybe it's just hometown woes. It's difficult now, very open to country and hip-hop but it's tough in the metal world especially when your trying to play fifteen minute songs.
CBNAH: Do you or anyone in the band get nervous or have stage fright?
BH: Yeah it can but that will come and go. When you done it enough, when you get up there and move around enough it's not bad. Anytime it can get kind of nervous once you get a song or two in, after that I'm pretty well warmed up, loose and ready to go. I think both Tommy and Justin feel the same way.
CBNAH: What would be your perfect dream project?
BH: Wow. This is going to be weird but I'm not going to play anything on it. I'm going to produce it, mix it and master it. So, it would be Russell Allen (singer of Symphony X) on vocals, John Petrucci (Dream Theater guitarist) on guitar, Tony Levin (King Crimson) on bass and Matt Garstka (Animals as Leaders drummer) on drums. Somehow I would blend those dudes together and get them to write one massive forty-five minute song. That would be my dream project. That's my side of things, I love a song that can tell a story and to me, you need more than two minutes.
CBNAH: What are your main inspiration lyrically?
BH: It can be from anything. It literally can be -- Just a moment or a moment that you had just thinking with yourself. Just a thought or some of our stuff can be a little political or at least the state of the world the way we see it. So, anything, it can come out of thin air.
CBNAH: What can people expect from you guys in 2014 and beyond?
BH: Barring this tour thing that we're still in negotiations about, if that goes through we'll be out there and playing. As it looks like right now, it's going to be a east coast possible up all the way up till Maine. I can't get in much more detail then that. If falls through or doesn't happen, for sure we'll be recording. I would like if that happens, to be able to get the next album out by February of next year. Hopefully we can tour Europe in the future because it would be awesome. From what I read and talk to buddies who have done it, Europe it seems is much more open to the rock, the metal and the progressive side of things. I know a lot of the bands that we look up to, they do really well and in Japan and Australia than here. For instance Dream Theater, they tour Europe like it's their backyard.
CBNAH: Anything you would like to say to your family, friends and fans that have supported the band?
BH: Yes, absolutely, thank you. Thank you because this is not the easiest journey in the world. We appreciate it and we're glad that you guys are there.
Check out Coda:
Official Site: http://www.codasound.net/