|Farpoint ... Intro paragraph outstanding....|
SkidMcSkidder: Hi Kevin it's great to finally hook up with you "live" - thanks for taking time out to talk to SkidMark
Kevin Jarvis: Thanks for the opportunity!
SkidMcSkidder: So let's start at the beginning... Farpoint's based in Sumter SC - what state is that?
Kevin Jarvis: South Carolina
SkidMcSkidder: Ah okay, I do struggle with the two letter state descriptions sometimes being a "foreigner"!! (Laughs Out Loud) So what's the music scene like in your part of the world? Is prog rock still alive and well in Sumter?
Kevin Jarvis: Well, anything I say here is probably going to come across as somewhat pretentious and/or arrogant, but suffice it to say that there is unfortunately not a large prog rock or art rock scene in this area.
SkidMcSkidder: I don't want to get embroiled in stereo-typing, but is SC one of those southern states branded as country or nothing?
Kevin Jarvis: Yeah, in a way. There are a lot of people into country and a lot into rap. And quite a few people do enjoy classic rock but most never stray beyond what is or once was very popular, which is kind of sad when you consider the vast amount of quality artistic music out there that is somewhat obscure.
SkidMcSkidder: For sure - I'm sad to say up until I got involved with SkidMark, I was a metal or psychedelic rock-only kinda guy! It took getting involved in independent music to really open my eyes to the diversity of different quality styles out there!
Kevin Jarvis: There's a tremendous amount of diversity, and most genres have valid artists, (not that I'm one to judge validity, mind you) but it just seems to take some digging to find most of them.
SkidMcSkidder: So Farpoint being the flag bearer of the art / prog rock movement in the locality, how'd the band find each other?
Well, that's a long and winding story...First let me say that we really
never called ourselves "prog," but that seems to be where most
people put us, which is fine and probably fitting as most of our influences
are among the forefathers of progressive rock. OK, here's how it all began.
I ran into our drummer, Rick Walker, through my work, and we discovered
a mutual interest in Kansas, Yes, and Dream Theater before we even knew
that we were both musicians. I had been playing with a group that had
just sort of dissolved, and Rick hadn't been in a band in a while, so
I took several of my compositions and asked if he'd like to add drums
to them. Through a few weeks of working together, we discovered a very
compatible musical philosophy and decided to form a band
SkidMcSkidder: Cool! You've created a quite a following over the last few years - how much of that would you say was down to your internet presence?
Kevin Jarvis: Quite a bit, actually. We do play out some in the South-Eastern US, but based on CD sales and correspondence, I'd say that most of our fan base is in the Northeastern US, Italy, and South America. So, the only thing I can really attribute that to is the internet.
SkidMcSkidder: I've gotta say also - you've a fantastic looking website - who put that together for you?
Kevin Jarvis: Thanks! We have a friend named Macon Patton, who used to run a site called Maconsites.com, who has handled our website for the past 5 years or so. He's a great guy and has been a good friend to the band and myself for a very long time. In fact, Macon, Rick and I are currently sort of redesigning the website to coincide with the release of our 4th CD sometime next year. We also have some input from our cover artist, David Frain (www.vmotionpicturelab.com) who adds some artistic content. He's also another great friend of the band and a very talented guy. He's doing a full length computer animation movie which will include 2 Farpoint songs in the soundtrack.
SkidMcSkidder: Sounds great! In fact you pre-empted my next question which was going to be about the absolutely awesome album cover designs on all of your CD's- the artwork is seriously cool and reminds of the kind of fantasy artwork you see on sci-fi books..
Kevin Jarvis: Well, thanks again. I'll be sure to pass those compliments on to Macon and David.
SkidMcSkidder: Talking of CD's... Have you had much positive feedback for "From Dreaming to Dreaming" which you released last November?
Kevin Jarvis: It's definitely been the most well-received album so far. I'm sure part of that is due to the improvements in recording quality, and Rick's return. He's something of a perfectionist, and having the drums sounding right helps out. Everyone seems to agree that it's our strongest album so far, and many reviews comment on the diversity within the album. It goes from spacey synth stuff ("Lux Universum") to folky acoustic stuff ("O Lost") to almost prog-metal ("Crying in the Rain") to pure symphonic prog ("Sojourn"). So we're happy that people pick up on that because we love lots of different types of music and don't want to listen to just one thing, so we don't want to write just one thing.
SkidMcSkidder: Great stuff - I'm going to have to make a point of listening to it - sounds right up my street! You mentioned a 4th album - has work started on it yet? Any projected title??
Kevin Jarvis: Well, yes and no. I have been working on a sort of concept story album for about 2 years now, and I've gotten Rick involved in it as well, but we're not completely sure that it's going to be the next Farpoint album. In fact, the band is in the process of deciding exactly where we are going to go from here. We've been playing out pretty regularly to support "From Dreaming to Dreaming," and now that it's been almost a year we're taking this month to sort of step back and decide on our next move. In the meantime Rick and I are still recording scratch tracks and arranging things, so we'll se where it goes. If this does turn out the be the next album, the current working title for it is "Cold Star Quiet Star."
SkidMcSkidder: I do hope the band remain a working unit and the next project works out. I remember you mentioning, either via past correspondence or on your site, that you've played a lot of internet webcasts - tell me more about the kind of site you broadcast through
Kevin Jarvis: Hmmm...I think you may have me confused with someone else. We've done some interviews, and get a good bit of airplay on some internet radio stations, but that's about it.
SkidMcSkidder: (Laughs Out Loud) oops!! heh heh okay..
Kevin Jarvis: Sounds like a good idea though!
SkidMcSkidder: Have you ever contemplated playing internet webcast radio shows such as www.bumpskey.com?
Kevin Jarvis: I'm actually not familiar with that at all. I'll have to look into it some more!
SkidMcSkidder: Well here's a round about link to Bumpskey - I notice in your section on the Farpoint FAOTM page, you put as one of your favourite CD's "Under The Sun - Self Titled". UTS have also been a SkidMark listed band for a long time and they travelled over to New Jersey to bumpskey and played a wicked "live in the living room" session after I turned them on to the Bumpskey site (my claim to fame (Laughs Out Loud)).
Kevin Jarvis: That's cool. UTS is a GREAT band. Chris Shryack is a great guy and more talented that he realizes. I think that album is one of the best releases in a long, long time, and the really impressive part is that they can pull it off live perfectly. Have you heard the live disc? It's incredible! And that is a great endorsement for Bumpskey. I vow to check it out!
SkidMcSkidder: You're right - They ARE a great band - I especially like the track "Seeing Eye God" - Where'd you first hear the band?
Kevin Jarvis: Let's see...I picked up the CD right when Magna Carta records first put it out. I was already a fan of several MC bands, especially the likes of Enchant and Shadow Gallery, plus I had most of the tribute albums they had put out (Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Rush, etc.) so I was fairly willing to buy their albums without hearing much of them. As it turned out, UTS was probably my favorite album MC ever put out, or at least tied with the first Enchant album.
Kevin Jarvis: I should say that I'm not sure that they have maintained that standard to this day, but for several years they released a lot of great stuff.
SkidMcSkidder: Yeah, UTS did drop off of SkidMark after the first site rewrite a few years back as Matt Evidon was my initial contact with the band but, I don't know if there was a falling out with his departure, but he also took their web site URL with him and so I lost contact for a while. It was by chance I found a single email in my archive from Chris which enabled me to get back in contact and offer him a new promo page on the site which is happily, back online.
Kevin Jarvis: Yes, I noticed that, and was glad to see it!
SkidMcSkidder: I must admit though, my experience of UTS is purely via MP3's of "seeing eye.." & "tracer" - I've yet to hear the albums
Kevin Jarvis: Well, you're in for a treat. Those are both good songs, but not among my favorites. Imagine the best elements of Yes, Kansas, and Rush, but combined in a totally unique way. It can be high-energy flat out rock one minute, and breathtakingly beautiful the next. I highly recommend it, in case you didn't realize that!
SkidMcSkidder: Duly noted.... we digress! Farpoint is the subject matter of this interview!! Talking of Bumpskey again, Jerry the webjay is a great guy and is a true supporter of all things indie - I'm sure he'd love you "live in the living room" next time you're on the east coast!! I've even played a couple of sets on the show myself via 'phone which was a strange experience!! (Laughs Out Loud)
Kevin Jarvis: Actually, let me add that my favorite UTS songs are "Gardens of Autumn," "Golden Voyage," "Reflections," "The Time Being" and "From Henceforth Now and Forever!"
SkidMcSkidder: Any major tours planned?
Kevin Jarvis: I wish! What we will probably end up doing is taking the fall and winter to really get going with whatever CD we end up working on, then look into some festival type shows in the spring and summer of next year. We'd love to get out beyond this region and farther north and west. We've had some great offers but it's unfortunately never worked out yet as far as finances and everyone's schedules go, but who knows...maybe this will be the year!
SkidMcSkidder: If you could tour with a mainstream band as support who would you choose - past or present..
Kevin Jarvis: Wow, there are so many bands that I have great respect for musically. I don't know if I could pick just one, but I'd love to tour with Yes or Kansas. I also think we'd probably share some audience appeal with the Moody Blues or the Alan Parsons live project.
SkidMcSkidder: Nice! And what would you class as a pinnacle in your music career if it happened?, what I mean is, for example, if my all time favourite band Hawkwind were to record one of my space rock tracks on an album of theirs' I'd made up for life - what would be your crowning glory?
Kevin Jarvis: Well, I'd probably have to give that some thought. I've actually written songs with certain singers in mind, so if one of them ever heard about them and recorded (or even commented favorably on) them that would be very cool. Or maybe if Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues approved of our cover of "New Horizons" which is due out on the Mellow Records Moody Blues tribute. That would make me happy. But really I guess the best I can hope for is for us just to keep on selling enough CD's and playing enough shows to keep on making another record...That's enough to make it all worthwhile to me.
SkidMcSkidder: For sure. And is music your full time job nowadays?
Kevin Jarvis: Well, not just playing music. I work for an audio company that installs audio/theatre/PA systems. Plus I'm in two (maybe 3 or 4) bands, I run a recording studio part time, and very occasionally will run sound or rent out sound equipment for other bands. So, my income comes from music in one way or another.
SkidMcSkidder: Wow! I'm envious!! I lost my home studio to my youngest daughter when she was born almost 2 years ago, and I still haven't found time to get the attic conversion finished to put it all back together and finish the 2 CD's I was working on back then! It's embarrassing because the majority of my MP3's floating around the net are up to 10 years old and right at the beginning of my playing "career"
Kevin Jarvis: You'll get there, don't worry!
SkidMcSkidder: Yeah, but Hawkwind aren't getting any younger and I'm going to miss my window of opportunity to get a demo to them before they begin claiming a state pension!
Kevin Jarvis: (Laughs Out Loud). You're right. better get to it!
SkidMcSkidder: You play a number of instruments in the band Kevin - you state your Martin D-15 guitar is your favourite instrument right?
Kevin Jarvis: Oh yeah, it's just the most playable and sweet sounding acoustic ever. It's all mahogany so it's very mellow, which is great for fingerpicking.
SkidMcSkidder: emmmmm...nice! Well, I've never had the folding stuff to afford a Martin (and I'm a leftie) but I do use Martin acoustic strings so does that count?? (Laughs Out Loud)
Kevin Jarvis: Actually, it's one of the lower end Martins, but I still had to save up quite a bit for it. It is all solid wood, no laminates, so I guess you'd say it's a mid-level Martin, anyway. Funny about the strings, I USED to use only Martin acoustic strings but lately I've been hooked on the Elixers. They do cost more but they just sound great and last a long time.
SkidMcSkidder: So apart from focussing on the 4th album, what's next for Farpoint this year?
Kevin Jarvis: Honestly that's probably all we'll pursue for the last quarter. However most of us are in a classic rock cover band called Iron Soul, so we'll be out playing that stuff when we can, but as for Farpoint itself, it's studio time! We actually have discussed a live show to record for release, but we're still undecided on that and if we do it it will probably be early next year.
SkidMcSkidder: Excellent. Well matey, I'm virtually spent. Anything you want to discuss or ask me?
Kevin Jarvis: Nah, I think we've covered the important stuff...and you need to go get some sleep for goodness sake!
SkidMcSkidder: Cool. It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you Kevin after all those years of email correspondence - good luck with the band, the projects and I look forward to catching up with you again soon in the very near future.
Kevin Jarvis: Thanks a lot, and thanks for all the years of support for the band and all the independent bands on Skidmark!
SkidMcSkidder: Take it easy bruv!
Kevin Jarvis: You too. Good night!
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Virtual Interview conducted using Yahoo instant messenger ™ 05-10-2005
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