Take Broadway uptown, and then continue north where the rooftops turn to treetops, and there you will find the sounds of composer and songwriter Anthony Gach.
Mixing his love of big city funk with the singer-songwriter melodies of upstate New York, it wasn’t until after being a freelance vocalist and player on multiple instruments including trumpet, guitar, and bass that Anthony Gach stepped into the role as bandleader, forming an eleven piece horn fronted band he named Harmonic Aggression in 2014.
Attacking all directions of the musical spectrum, the album ‘Ignite & Elevate’ was born. Although Anthony Gach & Harmonic Aggression focuses on funk, soul, and R&B, Anthony Gach explored the depths of ballad writing and didn’t shy away from his acoustic side.
Shining a light on the eighth song found on the tracklist, we come to “Live It Up.” Carrying an old-school Hip-hop feel to the overall composition, we admire the complexity that shines through the crisp and golden horn notes as we rhythmically sink into the cutting-edge approach showcased. With an abundance of sounds pouring through your speakers, you’re still able to grasp onto the passion heard through each harmonized note conveyed.
Anthony Gach presents his vocal tenors in a way that radiates confidence and charisma. As he delves into the soothing execution of his emcee-like verses, we feel the drive of his soul overflow with musicality performed. Everything coincides so extremely well together. We capture prevalent energy that you don’t quite reach these days with the abundance of electronic soundscapes taking over the analog world.
The recording of “Live It Up,” feels natural in the way it's performed as the authenticity of proper live-off-the-floor recording channels the nostalgic hues and love put into music. Be prepared to take in killer vocals, euphonious harmonies, a redefining guitar solo, and enough dynamism to shake the ground you walk.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Anthony Gach & Harmonic Aggression. What a beautiful experience it was listening to “Live It Up.” The concept was executed so well! What inspired the creation of this song?
Firstly, thank you for your kind words. It makes me happy to share my music with new ears.
“Live It Up” came to life in my desire to portray a lyrically uplifting tune on the album “Ignite & Elevate.” While not always so on every song, my lyrics tend to focus on the struggles of an artist. Very autobiographical, and the stories I tell don’t really have a conclusion because not all of my goals have yet been accomplished. Musically, the bulk of my writing is in antithesis to this as it is upbeat funky and danceable. So I wanted to break the mold and showcase a more all-around uplifting song. This song is in its truest form a rap song, the only one on the album. After all the instruments were tracked I just thought it grooved so hard that I decided to see what a rapper might do over it. Over the years the band has changed shape from a very set lineup to me, the drummer Randy Hill and vocalist Catie Graves. Rounding out the rest of the band on the recordings and in a live setting could be any number of musicians we’ve encountered and trust. The best way to create chemistry with so many players is to throw a bunch of cover songs into the live set. When we met Wayne Patrik and invited him to play with us we were able to add a hip hop to our shows as he is as capable an MC as he is a keyboard player. It was unexpected when he started busting out the old school hits but we went with it and it became a part of our sound. I needed to incorporate that somehow on the record and Wayne penned and rhymed on the track while Catie sang the hook.
How does “Live It Up,” compare to other songs heard on the album? Why does it stand out to you?
Going back to the time we spent as a cover band to meet new players and establish chemistry, I didn’t want to fall into another bar band situation; although with our large horn section we were never just another bar band. The idea I had is that if we’re going to do covers; we’re going to do a themed night or tribute night to an individual artist. And for two years we covered a wide variety from Country to Madonna, Motown, Prince, 90’s R&B, and hip hop to our most popular Chicago Tribute show. The ability to successfully weave between genres is what inspired me to write this album in such variety. While the record lays mostly in funk and R&B, I dabble in Latin rock, folk, country, and blues; and of course with this track, rap.
Could you please take us into what the creative and recording process was like when bringing this track to life? How long did it take to capture 11 different instruments in a single recording?
As stated above, I had wanted to fit a rap sing somewhere on the album but the actual rap song I did write didn’t make it onto this album. I had a melody for the female singer to take throughout the whole song as I’ve said above, it’s not until I was able to hear everything together is when I scrapped the melody on the verses and decided to make this the rap tune. And that last-minute rewriting is very unusual for me. I wrote the bassline first and that groove set the pace of the rest of the song. I’m very fortunate to be able to play a bunch of instruments at an above-average level so once I have all my ideas organized into verses and choruses, bridges solo, etc, I’ll record all the parts on my home recording gear. I’ll record all the horn lines on the trumpet and sing the female parts in falsetto. Then I’ll notate all the parts out. I’ll send the recorded demo and the sheet music to all the players and by the time I schedule any time at a real studio, everybody knows how the song should go and what exactly to play. While the album does give the musicians to flex a little; the majority of everything you hear is pre-written. In some recording sessions, I get lucky and we all get in the studio at the same time but most of the time we track each rhythm instrument separately on different days. The horn section is always recorded all at the same time and “Live It Up” has a full horn section with alto sax, tenor sax, bari sax, trombone, and trumpet. Then, of course, the vocals are recorded last and separately. It seems more daunting than it is; as long as I do my job to prep everybody properly, everything always falls into place.
What is the meaning behind the ‘Ignite & Elevate’ album? What are you hoping your audience takes away from it?
Because our original EP and follow-up single concentrated more on solos and jams, I tended to discard any material that didn’t meet that jam/funk sound. I tried to sell my other songs to other artists with very little success and I incorporated some of them into my solo performances. I think this album really showcases my writing as we stay away from extended solos and weave in and out of different genres. The significance of the title Ignite and Elevate mirrors the painting of the Phoenix on the cover which reflects our new direction; concentrating on big arrangements and song structure. I never had a strong desire to be a performer but my passion has always been in writing and arranging. Of all the original bands I’ve been in since HS, I have always been the main songwriter. But I never wanted to be your typical acoustic singer-songwriter either; I always wanted big arrangements and never had a full horn section before the advent of this project.
What's next for you?
Firstly, I’d like to push the album to as many listeners as possible. I think this record has such a varying display of moods, instrumentation, and different vocalists which I believe fits perfectly into today’s playlist industry. The next album has already been written and we’ve begun tracking some of the new songs. While I do love performing with the band, my goal is to play fewer shows but at better clubs. I’d like to get out of the bar scene and in NYC and Westchester there’s no shortage of clubs that want original music. I think ultimately it would be in my personal interest to continue to record my songs whether we play live a lot or a little. I’d also like this album to serve as a resume of sorts to be able to promote myself as a songwriter and an arranger in hopes of finding work with other bands as well. I’d hope to pitch some of these songs to be considered for soundtrack syncs as well. Sent from my iPhone