Jon Lamanna of CRY TO THE BLIND discusses approach to their upcoming release, anticipation growing for a “big announcement”

Jon Lamanna and his band Cry To The Blind, have been on a collision course with major success for quite some time now. The players that make up the sum of this highly talented band, have been successful veterans of the upstate scene for over a decade. Their time is now, and a major announcement is coming soon. That moment will be January 27th, at the bands CD release party at Water Street Music Hall in Rochester. Make sure to check the show out, it is going to be off the hook. I caught up with Jon recently to discuss the future happenings of CTTB.

Erik: This is a pretty exciting time for you guys right now. Tell me about the recording process for the new record, and how you approached the record from the creative standpoint.

Jon: We had the luxury of recording the album in our guitarist Matt Spaker’s studio (Foundation Studios) so the process was way different. Before when we had recorded an album, we had the songs 100% written at practice, then simply took them to the studio and recorded them as they were written. In this case, we actually held pre-production sessions in which we all brainstormed ideas and wrote the songs together in the studio. It’s crazy because now we are learning how to play our own songs as a band at practice preparing for the CD release show.

Erik:  I have to tell you, I was blown away by some of the tracks you sent me a couple of months ago. Better than Me is one of the best songs I believe you have ever recorded. Especially from a lyrical standpoint. What drives your inspiration when writing songs these days. Obviously, your life and the band has evolved quite naturally over the years. What motivates your message?

Jon: That song in particular was inspired by a falling out we had with an old friend over a variety of circumstances. I love singing that song, we all wrote it together in the studio, I’m also very happy with how it turned out. That song is unique on this record, because it’s got a rather negative tone, kind of a nastiness to it. Most of the material we’ve been writing has been positive and motivational in nature. For whatever reason, when I sit down to write, I write inspirational get up and go anthems, it really helps me to get emotionally invested in the songs because it’s almost like I’m convincing myself to press on, to keep fighting for this band, because I truly still believe this is what I was meant to do.

Erik:  Looking back over the years, and the bands you have been in to get to this point musically…did you ever think that the raw power introduced when you were in 40 oz., would lead to what you are doing today. It was quite a stunning evolution. Aside from the obvious shift in trends nationally, what do you think lead to the dynamics shift in songwriting?

Jon: I guess I would say that as people change, their taste in music changes. The 40oz material totally fit who I was and the life I was living at the time. This band reflects who I am now, and who we are now. I have also taken a ton of time to study songwriting and after 40oz split I took a much larger role in writing the songs, which led to the more catchy/poppy sound the band has today.

Erik:  I know you have some big things on the horizon this year. Tell me about the great announcement that is on the horizon? We would love to know!

Jon: It’s a secret… the only way people will find out is at the CD release party @ Water Street on Jan 27th   But it’s a big deal, and it will put us in place to take our band to the next level.

Erik:  I am highly excited about the CD release party on Jan. 27th…It is a great gathering of past and present friends and family so to speak! Tell me about the band selection process for the show? Also, how exciting is it to see Hate Machine back on a stage these days? I mean wow, we are talking about a reverse full circle event here!

Jon: Yeah, having Hate Machine is amazing, Jed is truly a HUGE influence on me as a front man. I still feel he’s one of the best I’ve seen, national bands included. I actually haven’t seen them since 08’ so it’s gonna be my first time as well. In general, we tried to stick with bands that have a large Rochester based following. Water Street is a BIG room, and we needed bands that could help us make this the biggest show this city has seen in quite some time. It helps that we are friends with these bands as well, all of them have supported us in one way or another.

Erik:  Tell me about Hard Pressed Management, and how things have come to a major turning point since your addition to this firm?

Jon: It has helped us to legitimize the band. When you have a professional, well spoken individual with business savvy calling clubs and venues and working for you, it gives your music a better chance to be heard, vs. calling yourself and saying “yeah, I’m the singer, book my band, we rock”

Erik:  You have played some pretty big shows over the last couple years. What were your favorites, and why?

Jon: Mine would be opening for Flyleaf at Town Ballroom in Buffalo. Sold out show, such a good positive energy in the room that night. Others would probably be Krockathon in ’09, Rockstar Uproar in ’10. Paying those big shows is great because you get to hang with all the national acts and sign autographs all day, it’s surreal. It gives you a glimpse into what life might be like if you’re fortunate enough to make it big.

Erik:  I remember as kids, there were a certain percentage of us that had the dream of doing this music thing full time. I think on some level, we are all on our way to cementing that…making a go at a full time living based around music. What are your thoughts on the prospects of this being a very real possibility, and at a time where adult responsibilities are first and foremost?

Jon: Well, it’s very difficult right now because we all have families, children etc. The cool part is CTTB IS a family, all of our wives/girlfriends sell tickets, work our merch booth, carry gear, they’re all in it for us as much as we are. It is scary to consider being out on tour alot and away from your children, but it’s a once in a lifetime chance to provide them with a better future, so it’s worth the risk in my opinion. The chance for me to be able to change lives and touch people emotionally with the music is what drives me. It’s what I feel I’m supposed to do, to be this motivational speaker who sings, so to speak.  We are all excited and scared about it, but trust me when the time comes to take that leap of faith, we all will jump headfirst.

For more information on Cry To The Blind –
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cry-to-the-Blind/108920287952

CD Release Show Event: http://www.facebook.com/events/307613689279482/

-Erik Jensen

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