Wednesday, November 5, 2008

24 hour music marathon inspires Electric Touch

By Angelyn Thornton
photo by Amy Willard
On October 30th, Barricade Buzz had the pleasure of sitting down with Ross Dubois, Louis Messina Jr, and Christopher Leigh of Electric Touch in a private office in the VIP section as the Hard Rock CafĂ© in Washington, DC quickly filled up with awaiting music-goers. 
On this night, the venue played host to benefit performances and charity auctions whose proceeds went to various causes including breast cancer awareness and Operation Troop Aid, which raises money to support American soldiers overseas. Minus the band’s front man, Shane Lawlor, we managed to spend some time with Electric Touch to discuss the ins and outs of music, touring and their fans.
The Austin-based group, which formed only in 2007, recently released its self-titled debut album in August, scoring much acclaim from critics. With three Texans and one Brit coming together to make music, the results of this diverse collaboration were bound to be anything but boring.
“A lot of it is like the bread and water of rock and roll,” said Ross Dubois, the band’s bassist. “Like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones. We also have an influence by bands that put on a big performance like Aerosmith or KISS,” he continued.
From vocals to lyrics to performance, the presence of the band’s influences can be found in different ways and at various times. Apparently inspiration can arrive at any moment as Dubois recalled, “The night before our first show, Shane and I just happened to be going through the channels and there was a 24-hour KISS marathon so we watched it and were like ‘Yeah, that’s a good move, that’s a good move!’”
Several minutes into the interview, guitarist Christopher Leigh, who was previously occupied with a search for his jacket, immediately jumped into the conversation (upon its discovery, of course). When asked what kind of first impression Electric Touch wanted its music to make on its fans, Leigh without hesitation, answered simply, “we want you to start spreading the love.” There is an element to the Electric Touch charm that one absolutely cannot deny: their fans are their number one priority.
“It’s all about the fans, you know?” remarked drummer, Louis Messina Jr. “We wouldn’t be here if the fans weren’t there. And if you’re not playing for the fans then you’re just playing for yourself.” Without being signed to a major label or having a radio single, Electric Touch has successfully been winning fans over one city at a time.
“We really want to build our fan base from the ground up,” stated Dubois. “Meaning that we want people to see us and be accepting of our performance and become fans of that,” he explained. The effort is not lost on the fans. The powerful presence that these four men have when they take the stage is undeniable.
“If [the fans] come to the show, we want them to feel. We want them to have just as much of an adrenaline rush as us when we get on the stage...We don’t want to disappoint anybody. It’s our job to entertain them,” remarked Messina.
After having the Electric Touch experience, it is difficult to imagine how any person could go home disappointed. When it comes down to it, an Electric Touch performance is just a damn good time.
“We consider ourselves to be entertainers, you know. Performers as well as musicians,” said Dubois. He added, “We try to give as much effort or more, even, to becoming the best entertainers as well as being artists and musicians.” Done and done.
These guys are no stranger to the concert circuit, having already loaded up with plenty of festival and touring experience, even in their short existence together as a band. In this past year, Electric Touch has played several big-name music festivals including: Lollapalooza and Coachella. Touring and festivals, however, are not easy to compare since they are each a different experience in their own right.
As Messina put it, “People from all over the world come out to these festivals and you’re playing for the world, basically...And the people, they just spread out, they go back to their homes and they start spreading the word there. So that’s what’s so awesome about festivals.”
After the Hard Rock tour, the band has many dates on their schedule back in Texas and will continue to rock America city by city. But are international performances in the future for Electric Touch? That’s not out of the question, according to Messina, “we’ve definitely got to go back to Shane’s hometown and we get to be the cool guys with the cool accents.” Cheers to that.
Shortly hereafter, the conversation digressed into a discussion of the origins of the Tina Fey phenomenon that has swept the nation in the past weeks. Though not entirely pertinent to the interview, it was thoroughly entertaining. Getting back on track, the guys, who opened for Filter on this particular date, noted that the rest of their shows will be with local bands.
As mentioned before, the Hard Rock national tour is helping to support charities raising awareness for breast cancer as a part of “Pinktober.”  “It’s a good feeling playing rock and roll for that,” said Messina. And we agree.  Although the band has no definitive release date for a second album, or a second album in general, the pieces are, however, falling together as they may. 
When the sophomore stylings of Electric Touch are finally ready to be released unto the world, we here at Barricade Buzz have nothing by high hopes for them. If their loyal fan base is any indication of the support that they have behind them, success is inevitable.

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