Youthful Southern California rock band General Ed. has come to shine the spotlight on their authentically-driven performances with a live jam-session, titled "Study Hall Sessions".
Turning their practice space into a DIY studio during the pandemic-era, General Ed. decided to give listeners an original look at what the band is all about elementally. Michael Godwin is one of the members who mixed, mastered, and edited the live session, combined with being the guitarist and vocalist. Filmed by Scott Godwin, "Study Hall Sessions" features artists Gabriel Godwin on guitar, Jorge Castro on drums, and Anthony Rodriguez on bass.
Intense guitar strumming opens up the first track, "Takin' My Time", and there's a potent alternative ambiance settling over the projected soundscape. With industrious metallic tonalities, combined with a scintillating synergy, "Takin' My Time" is able to carve out progressive and eclectic extensions of Alt/Rock music. Their next track, "Stray from Grace" holds a similar atmosphere given off by "Takin' My Time" and features similar buoyant guitar chords used within the track, bringing a sense of familiarity for listeners soon into the performance. Listeners will come to realize that General Ed. maintains their resonance during the live performance, and will only slightly adjust the overall inflections. Bringing in some modern-day trends with "I Don't Think She Knows", General Ed. takes the time to use the track as an anthem for confused emotions. "I Don't Think She Knows" follows the storyline of obstacles generally in the way with love, especially the turbulence that can result from not knowing what one wants. The band's presence is what amalgamated raucous electric intonations of the song, vividly creating a progressive flair. The production of "Wicked Woman" is similar in a sense, but with the production blatantly amplified. There's a certain sense of yearning imparting from "Wicked Woman", mainly stemming from the realities that love (or lust) can construct instability in one's own mind. The tempo within this track picked itself up quite dramatically, and the band augments their collective soundscape. The instrumental play in General Ed.'s cover of The Black Keys "I Got Mine" is definitely a component to hone into right away (with or without effort). The band does a phenomenal job at the performance, bringing listeners into an environment full of show-stopping hooks and fiery musical silhouettes. The fire doesn't get put out in the smallest bit once delving into their last track, "Rain on Magnolia". "Rain on Magnolia" interweaves the melodic and cordial textures of the vocal performance with the punchy bass and drum set.
The essential tone of General Ed.'s live performance felt incredibly authentic as if the listener was put directly into the jam-session itself. General Ed. was able to collectively bring real and raw rock elements to absolute life, all while projecting their own contemporary alternative sound. All in all, "Study Hall Sessions" is a tracklist to listen to throughout its entirety in order to get the right feel of General Ed. and what they're capable of as a band.
Hello General Ed., welcome back to BuzzMusic. Would you say that the experiences and narratives projected within "Study Hall Sessions" was based on your own introspections, or do you feel it was more of a sentiment you were trying to establish in order to fit a specific trend?
The idea behind "Study Hall Sessions" was actually pretty simple. COVID-19 has made life very difficult for so many people around the world, but musicians and bands, in particular, have really been hit hard, not being able to tour or play any in-person shows in order to support themselves, So the only way for us bands to give our fans a way to watch us perform is to do live streams or live sessions. We took a long break during the quarantine in order to ensure that we were all safe and healthy before getting back together, and during the break, we were thinking of possible new projects we could do. We've always been fans of live studio sessions, so after the long break, we decided that the best way to give our fans some live music was to set up our own DIY studio in our practice space and make our own live studio session. We decided to call the live session "Study Hall Sessions" because it seemed to fit our theme as a band well. We feel like the live session turned out much better than we expected, and we're really glad that we were able to make something special on our own for our fans to enjoy.
What drove the inspiration to record a full live-set, featuring the specific songs chosen? Were there any songs that felt more motivationally-driven than others?
We decided to record a full 6-song live set for the session because we knew that since we were doing all of the recordings, mixing, and editing ourselves, we would have the time and drive to play as many songs as we wanted. Our singer and rhythm guitarist, Michael Godwin, actually took on the challenge of doing all of the mixing and editing for the live session and we knew that he could do a great job. We wanted to try and play songs that we enjoyed playing live, but we also made sure to ask our followers on Instagram for any specific song requests, so the songs you hear in the session were not only some of our favorites but also fan favorites. We knew that we were going to perform our song "Rain on Magnolia" for sure because it's such a fun and high energy live song to perform as a whole band, but we also decided to perform a cover of a classic Black Keys song called "I Got Mine". We've been big fans of the Black Keys for a long time and they were actually one of the main reasons for us starting the band 5 years ago. We thought that this live session would be a perfect opportunity for us to try and pay homage to one of our most influential bands while having a fun time putting our General Ed. spin on the song.
Can you delve into the bond you share with the musicians chosen to play in the live session? What was it like collaborating with a band?
I'd say we have a strong bond as a band and it shows through our live performances. We've always been a band that works best when we feed off of each other and work together to make fun and unique music. Our singer/rhythm guitarist and our lead guitarist are actually brothers, so they've known each other their entire lives naturally giving them great chemistry. We've also been playing together as a band for several years now, so it was actually pretty easy for us to reunite after months apart and pick up right where we left off.
How did the writing and recording process ensue for the tracks listed on "Study Hall Sessions?"
Most of the songs we performed in the session were written a while back and we've been playing them live together for a long time. We took a couple of our older songs as well as some newer ones from our EP we released earlier this year called "River Canyon", but all of them were songs that we knew very well together as a band. The actual recording process for the live session was fun and stressful at the same time. Since we had to do all of the filming, recording, and decorating ourselves, it was a long process turning our small practice space in our garage into a semi-professional live studio. We also recorded in a garage with no AC during a really hot day which was a bit of a challenge, but the fact that we were recording in our own garage also made it a more comfortable and familiar environment.
What has been keeping you all inspired in 2020?
2020 has definitely been an incredibly difficult year full of terrible losses and depressing news. It's been tough for us to stay motivated and inspired at times, but the brothers, Michael and Gabriel, have been able to work on new songs together during quarantine while staying in touch with the band. This new live session was definitely a breath of fresh air for us as a band, and it feels really good to finally have something new out in the world again.