The Wring started as my solo project. By 2015 I had written a lot of songs and believed that at least a few might be worthy of someone hearing them. I've been fortunate to bring my songs to life with the help of some amazing talent...
Living in Northern Ontario, Canada it might seem that very few opportunities might exist for connecting with players in a proggy headspace. I was very fortunate to gather Rob, Jason and Dan. We jammed a lot and ended up recording the self-titled album The Wring – released in 2017.
We did some cool shows. We opened for some legendary bands – Diamond Head and Anvil(!). We also did shows with Crone of War, Dead Daisies and Sven Gali and played the Budweiser New Music festival, opening for Finger Eleven and Glorious Sons.
Through 2018, Moss Beckman joined on bass for our live shows. We could not have done those without him.
In late 2018, I felt it was time for another recording project but the rest of the lads decided they needed to move on to other things. I enjoy a ‘band’ vibe, so I resumed my search within the local talent pool. Over the next year, The Wring released the single 48 oz. which features Dan MacDonald on vox, Craig Giles on bass and Cory Kottick on drums. Cory also co-produced the single. We didn't do much more past that, though a good experience and a pretty good tune.
Fun Fact: 48 oz. is (approximately) the amount of blood an average sized male can lose before death becomes imminent. Since this is not Cannibal Corpse, the reference is metaphorical.
Drums & Production
Fast forward to early 2020 and the start of Project Cipher:
The Wring is in hiatus. Covid is attacking the world.
I still had a lot of songs written and demo’d and really wanted to get them recorded. I decided to get back in touch with Jason Henrie – the original bass player for The Wring – I asked if he wanted to do a recording project. He did. In addition, through his session work with Jason Sadites and Marco Minneman he had some contacts in the world of pro musicians…
I connected with Thomas Lang through Jason’s network. Thomas is a world class drummer, producer and music educator. He also turned out to be an amazing person. He was featured on the cover of Modern Drummer magazine in August 2020 – during the same timeframe he was working on my songs!!
Thomas recorded drums for 7 songs that would become ‘Project Cipher’. This guy has a musical resume that would stretch to the moon… but he took the time to learn my songs, playing them through in single takes so that – in his words – “it would sound like a band not a session”. He also did video for two of the tracks, so you can watch him and catch that vibe. What a great experience.
Thomas also took the time to connect me with Marc Bonilla. Marc is a pro musician, vocalist and producer who worked with Keith Emerson, Ronnie Montrose and Glenn Hughes, to name just a few. His soothing vocal style offers a great contrast and complement to the songs. Marc is a great singer and an even better human.
Next came the bass... Jason Henrie intended on tracking all of the bass parts but life commitments precluded that. He didn't leave me stranded though, connecting me with Bryan Beller. Bryan has an incredible list of credits (Vai, Satriani, Dethklok and of course, The Aristocrats). He is also an awesome dude. He really brought the songs to life.
Jason Henrie tracked bass on four songs and, as always, did an impeccable job. That Wal has a voice and life-force all its own. Jason also has an incredible flair for graphics & video. He created the videos for 'The Light' and 'Cipher'. He also came up with a lot of the graphic content for web and social media.
I also have to mention a cameo guitar solo on 'Dissension' performed by Jason Sadites. His Chris Poland meets Paul Gilbert effort really elevated that track!
Finally, I needed someone to put this all together so I enlisted Forrester Savell for the mixing and mastering of the songs. Forrester is super pro and really understood what I was trying to do, capturing the essence of each song.
For a regular guy from Northern Ontario, it was a great experience and, I think, a pretty good record.
Project Cipher was released in May 2021. With great promotional support from Jon Asher at Ashermedia, Project Cipher reached all corners of the world. It also caught the attention of a record label from Italy - Wormholedeath Records - and they signed the album to a distribution deal. Very cool.
No band, but plenty of new ideas; only one thing to do:
Make another record.
So, as Project Cipher was making the rounds in the world, I was creating what would become SPECTRA.
Once the demo versions were complete, I needed to secure players to bring it to life. Again, my first point of contact was Jason Henrie, erstwhile bass player and confidant, who connected me with Marco Minnemann. Like Thomas Lang, Marco has a musical pedigree of incredible depth. I was very humbled by his kind willingness and enthusiasm to play drums on my new record. Of course, his performance was spectacular.
Once drums were done, I needed bass. Jason had been my first choice for many years but he was unable to commit to this project, so I jumped onto SoundBetter and waded through hundreds of players to try and fill out my roster. I still can't believe how lucky I was to find Reggie, Chandler and Isamu this way.
Reggie Hache is an extraordinary bass player. He caught the vibe of the songs instantly and created insanely intricate and melodic lines to complement every part. He also added keyboard parts to The Wolf and the spooky piano line in From Mars. As a bonus, Reggie is a talented video creator and he generated video for 'Stiletto', 'From Mars' and 'Fallen'. Very cool.
Once the music was done, I needed a great singer. I knew that Marc Bonilla was touring with Asia and, truthfully, I was thinking of a different vibe for SPECTRA. I happened upon Chandler Mogel. Chandler has performed on dozens of recordings and live acts and has a vibrancy in his voice and in his character that I immediately loved. He had to interpret and reimagine my (terrible) demo vocals and was patient and accommodating as we worked through that. The result speaks for itself.
I added keyboards at the very end, compliments of Isamu McGregor, who really killed it. The keys ended up fairly deep in the mix but they are outstanding.
So now I had what I believed to be a pretty good record with some incredible performances by incredible musicians... and I needed a mixing engineer. By chance, I was listening to the newest Voivod record, Synchro Anarchy, and loved the production. I looked to see who did the work and discovered Francis Perron from Radicart Studios. I contacted Francis to see if he would be interested in mixing SPECTRA. He was. I was so lucky, again. Francis did a great job of interpreting my vision and provided valuable guidance and advice along the way. I am very grateful for his presence.
Gord Woolley created the artwork and graphics for the album cover and CD package. I still can't believe how perfect they are for this record!
So here we are. SPECTRA was released in December 2022 on Wormholedeath Records (thanks again to Carlo and Naty!).
Jon Asher (Ashermedia) and Erin Buell (thebandstrategist) are helping me reach a few more eyes and ears and I am working on songs for The Wring 4.
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