Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it. My uncle Rick was my catalyst. He was in a band named Willow that once opened for Aerosmith during their prime. Whenever I would visit, he would break out his amazing guitars and solo like a champ. Once I learned to play guitar, I wanted to be able to play for a huge amount of people... And cover bands can't quite get there, so I started writing my own stuff. Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career? Battle of the bands in Boston, circa 1993. We were playing a set and we ended with a cover of Alive by Pearl Jam. The crowd was going wild. Our bass player was so excited, he decided to drop his bass during the outro solo and jump into the crowd to surf. When he did and my lead singer realized what he was doing, he immediately picked up the abandoned bass and finished the song. Sorry this crazy story doesn't involve loads of drugs, a goat, rubber gloves, and a pair of jumper cables - I somehow steered clear of true craziness. Too much death of friends close to me kind of kept me out of that crowd, thank god. What has been the high point of your music path? The release of my third album with my "Numba9ne" project is, so far, my greatest accomplishment. My songwriting, bass playing, baritone, and guitar playing is certainly on a different level. And I sing on a lot more of this album. The songs are diverse, but all have a sound that is unique, and new. I'm grateful for the number of listens and good feedback my Octavate EP and Numba9ne album has received. I enjoy listening to my creations, and it's pretty cool that other people enjoy it too. That's satisfaction. So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like? It's like a rollercoaster. I go months with nothing great coming out. Other times I'll have four different songs in the works. It's impossible to breed creativity and inspiration, but when it hits me, it drives me. Sometimes it's a bass line, sometimes a guitar riff or progression. Sometimes it's a few words being screamed to a particular melody. But when it happens, I don't write the song. It writes itself through me. I have a vision of what it should be, and I spend hours alone in the studio until it matches my vision. Now that I have an actual band, I do bring my ideas into the studio, and we kick around different approaches. The cool part about the band is that we have an agreement. When someone brings an idea into the space, that person is the champion of the song. They can approve or veto the ideas that others apply. But we try real hard to allow the malleability of the other ideas, so the song can stretch itself into more of a collaborative creation. There is magic in the studio, and the space creates some incredible things.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would that be? The biggest challenge is getting your music heard by the masses. It's now easy to be available in the place that music fans are hanging out. But there is so much noise in the room, it's hard to be put on Spotify lists or other mediums where others are looking for similar new music. So it's there, but it's buried under a thousand other artists like me. And shows are no longer a great way to get fans because COVID has shut down the scene as we knew it. MTV no longer plays new rock videos, and the radio no longer has many options to hear new rock artists. The world has changed, and you have to be a marketer as much as a musician. It's hard. If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why? Tool. People go see Tool because they love Tool, not because they want to be at a Tool show because Tool is cool. People who go see Tool love music in a way that I want people to enjoy mine. I go see them and focus on Justin Chancellor, my favorite bass player. LOTS of people go see them to watch Danny Carey, because he is one of the best drummers alive today. Guitarists love to go see Adam Jones and his incredibly unique approach to playing guitar. And yeah, some go to see Maynard ne Maynard. I want to play to the same kind of people, and I want them to notice everyone in my band and say "Wow. That dude is SICK". What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show? Our rehearsals start with going over songs we'll play in a show, and they end with long impromptu jams, I guess our shows are kind of the same. The magic of the space does so much. We tighten up our shit, and we explore the art of sound and time. I can't say enough about how important playing live together is. Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it! My Wasteland was a challenge for me. It's in a very strange timing that changes each measure. It goes from 11/12 to 12/12 in the verses, and is a 4/4 on the choruses and bridge. It's hard to get used to a not standard timing in a song, and even harder when it is not consistent. It was also a tough one to write lyrics to. I was reading the book "The Road" by Cormac McArthy, and ended up writing a poem that was based on a dream I had one night in the middle of reading it. The poem became the song.
What's coming up in the future? We are auditioning new lead singers and preparing for some shows coming up in Boston. Once we have our lead singer solidified, we will head into the studio and record some of the songs we're currently working on. Good lead singers without baggage are so hard to find! Tell us where fans can access your music.
Octavate is a Boston-based Hard Rock band led by songwriters Joshua Prost (JP) and Shawn Valle. JP also founded Jack Prost Band, a more Pop-Rock project, and Numba9ne, a much heavier Rock / Alternative project that’s still releasing fantastic Boston Rock. JP is also a DJ on Harmonic Headspace, a live worldwide syndicated radio show on Wave Radio Boston. Shawn Valle leads Spartan Valley, and hosts a Twitch channel that’s recently exploded with weekly followers and watchers. After success in local bands as well as creating original music in other rock projects, Shawn and JP joined forces to create Octavate. You’ll hear influences from Audioslave, Incubus, and Tool, but the sound is ultimately unique. JP plays the baritone in most songs, and you can feel the low growl in your jaw if you listen loud enough. And Shawn’s singing is incredibly powerful – each song builds emotion and feeling. Their cover of Money Changes Everything is eyebrow lifting, and My Wasteland is jaw dropping. Octavate’s first EP “Better Never Than Late” is available on all major streaming mediums including Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music, and more. Catch the band live if you can!