Spolight: The Lifeline

Picture-2Music lovers fall under the spell of such a unique, haunting melody as they tune into the band casting their magic from within their music. The dulcet sound of a bow being rhythmically drawn across violin strings, followed by the electric guitar and bass, the sounds that most are very familiar with, copying the rhythm. Definitely a different type of music, where classical meets rock. Who is this band that created such an interesting, wonderful combination of genres? Introducing, The Lifeline.

The Lifeline originates from Chicago, IL, with members Ryan T. Hope (vocals, guitar), Rebecca Faber (violin), Rhapsody Snyder (keys, harp) and Derek Kalicky (bass). The band has released a total of three records; their debut independently released, Where There Is Life, There Is Hope… (2005), For All Who Triumph (2006) and Reflections of Hope (2011). For All Who Triumph showed the listeners that by not altering the line between the very different genres, but by bringing the concept that at the end of their record, The Lifeline would leave them feeling very content by what they had just heard. The band’s next project was a short film called “Trilogy” which contained a series of music videos placed together. Because this was past anyone’s anticipations, “Trilogy” moved onto film festivals such as the West Hollywood Film Festival and the Midwest Independent Film Festival. It accepted two awards (Golden Eagle from CINE and Best Cinematography from the Midwest Independent Film Festival’s BMA’s in 2008). Because of their increased popularity, The Lifeline opened for groups such as 30 Seconds to Mars and Saving Abel. As of March 11, 2011, the band signed with T.J. Sagen of JBM Management (Disturbed and Art of Dying). On January 2012, Ryan T. Hope’s vocals can be heard in “You Won’t See The Light” with Geno Lenardo on guitars. This song featured in the latest Underworld franchise soundtrack. As of January 29, 2013, The Lifeline released their recent single “See You Again”, a very chilling track. Upstate Metal’s Kate Drexel had the opportunity to do an interview with front man, Ryan T. Hope.

UM: How did you come up with your band name?

RH: It was a collective effort, Rebecca and I had been offered an on-air acoustic performance from the local radio station in Champagne, IL and it was like our first real public performance. We knew we were forced to come up with a band name because we couldn’t just be “Rebecca and Ryan”, it didn’t have that ring to it. So we just stumbled upon The Lifeline. We were looking through some kind of dictionary or something like that, whatever bands go to, to try to find words and combine them. But Rebecca came across “lifeline” and I was like “That’s great! How about The Lifeline” and she was like “Okay”, and it just stuck. And after we played that on-air gig we felt like that was our name now and it just stuck with us. It’s hard coming up with a name for your band, because it’s like one word or three or whatever. You want to come up with what your band is all about. If you pick the wrong name, people might get the wrong idea about you right off the bat. Something you need to be careful about.

UM: What gave you the idea to use the instruments in your music? Referring to the violin.

RH: Well, it was pretty calculated. When I first met Rebecca, I didn’t even know she played the violin and as our friendship developed…she knew I was a musician…and as our friendship developed, I started to learn some things about her and that she was a music major and that kind of thing. I’m also a string player too; I played bass growing up, in the orchestra. When I found out she played the violin, I was really intrigued and I thought, “What kind of music could we create with the different kind of instrumentation?” And we just went from there and it started off very acoustic but it had a rock edge to it so eventually we felt “Hey this could probably translate pretty well, a hard rock setting.” We tried it and it worked out pretty well, so that’s how it came about. But we just use the talents that we have and the instruments that we could play and we just took it from there.

UM: Where do your song ideas come from?

RH: Oh man…I mean everywhere really. We’re both really heavily influenced by classical music, obviously, so occasionally we will hear a classical piece that kind of grabs our attention and several of our songs are loosely based off of classical pieces. Like “Romeo and Juliet” for instance, kind of loosely based on Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Sometimes I’ll hear things in rock music that really inspire me, like the new Muse record for instance; that was something that really caught my attention so I’ve been kind of geeking on that for a while now. That’s definitely influencing me very much, but I mean, ideas for songs though, anywhere. I feel like the best songs are the ones that you write about your personal experiences, and the things that have happened to you, and everyday life. That’s what most of our music subject matter is about, and the influence definitely comes from the emotion that comes out of those experiences. Not too complex, but it’s a variety of different areas that I can say that we take our inspiration from.

UM: Who are your inspirations?

RH: Personally, my inspirations…I mean I’ve always looked up to Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. From a musical standpoint, the guy is absolutely genius when it comes to making compositions; I mean I’m a huge fan of the concept album and he kind of pioneered the whole thing so he is definitely one of my biggest inspirations, of course David Gilmour, the guitarist of Pink Floyd…man, there’s too many to talk about as far as musicians go. Singers, I’d probably say Freddie Mercury was my first big inspiration. I don’t know but there’s something about that guy’s voice that goes right through you, captivating and there’s no one else in the entire world that sounds like that dude. It’s kind of something that you’re born with and that’s amazing, so I’ve always been in awe of him. Every time I see a concert on TV or listen to a clean record, I’m like “wow” that’s what I want to strive for, just be awesome.

UM: What inspiration does the band use?

RH: We take it from everywhere, like I said classical composers are definitely a huge influence. The Smashing Pumpkins have been a gigantic inspiration, they’re a Chicago band, they made their way up the ladder of rock and roll here in Chicago and definitely a band we look up to and take a lot of inspiration from, business wise. They’re really good at promoting themselves, selling their brand, and I think that’s the reason they’ve been around as long as they have. That’s just one. One of many, but that’s probably one of the biggest collectively for all of us.

UM: What does your music reflect about you guys?

RH: Well, I mean, like I said earlier about the band name, you definitely want to pick something that sums up what your music is and who you are as people in one word or a phrase and in music itself and it has the same effect as the band name. We’re kind of like a quiet intensity sort of band. We are unassuming, just normally walking down the street but once you talk to us, you’ll realize that there’s a lot more than what’s on the surface and I think that’s the best way to describe us. As a band, musically, where there are a lot of different layers to our musical personalities.

UM: What’s your favorite venue and why?

RH: Oh, that’s a tough one…I’d probably say the House of Blues here in Chicago. There’s just something about that place, if you’ve ever been to a House of Blues, just the décor and the vibe. I know its pretty much the same at every single one across the country, but there’s something about the one in Chicago that kind of makes sense, you know Chicago being the home of the blues. And it just has this ambience that I haven’t really experienced at any other venue, anywhere that I’ve been. Plus it just sounds and looks amazing on stage, and you just feel like you’ve got the audience in the palm of your hand because it’s super intimate yet it can fit a lot of people. It’s an interesting room. So it’s definitely my favorite and I think the rest of the people in the band would agree. A close second though is definitely the Aragon Ballroom here in Chicago, a lot of the same stuff going on there. There’s such an amazing vibe that comes from being in that building, and when you’re on stage, you just feel you’re a part of something bigger than yourself.

UM: What’s the story behind your leading single, “See You Again”?

RH: It’s not super interesting, I guess, but it’s one of those things where, like I was saying earlier about drawing inspiration for music from everyday things, and Rebecca and I got talking about life in general and loss, just an idea of what if something that you cared about was there one second and the next second gone? Like, how would that make you feel, and we took that mood and that idea and just started writing. I think the piano part was the first thing that came out, Rebecca came up with the piano line first and we just developed the entire song all around that. It happened really quickly, sometimes with songs you have an idea, you mess with it for a while and it doesn’t really go anywhere then you come back to it later. But this song, it just happened like, boom-boom-boom…it was done. And we knew we had something special there, and we wanted to use it as a model of where we wanted to take the band next, and it’s kind of a neat transitionary song for us.

UM: How did you become a part of the Underworld soundtrack?

RH: Well, a few years ago, I had the pleasure of working with Geno Lenardo from Filter on another project that was unrelated to the Underworld thing, and he and I have gotten together and wrote a couple of songs together. It didn’t really take off or go anywhere but we stayed in touch. He kind of has been honing on his craft as a producer and engineer and stuff like that for the past few years and when he landed the opportunity to contribute to that soundtrack, he naturally called me up and said “Hey wanna give this a shot and work on this with me?” I was like “Yeah of course!” We got together and recorded the vocals in a day and the rest is history. There was a bunch of other submissions that he sent along and mine got picked over a couple of well known artists and it was a pretty good feeling and definitely something I’m really proud of. I do have some other things in the works with Geno for the future, so it’s a pretty cool opportunity for me.

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