The Madison Project Interview

Can you first give us an introduction to the members of the band, and then describe for us the genesis of the Madison Project?

Madison Project is a rock trio that formed Burlington, VT. Forrest Thomas on drums Ben Kogan on bass and me on vocals and guitar. The genesis of Madison Project came from an idea; a vision that i saw. The previous band that i was in was going in a different direction and I found myself not being able to write what i was really trying to put down; it was not comming naturally and i was forcing something that wasnt true. i began writing different guitar parts, melodys and focusing on the hook of the song. when writing “I Am The Target” i wrote what came naturally, of course i have influences but i wasnt trying to sound like other bands, just Madison Project; and i think that it shows on the record.

What bands would you say are your greatest influences, and how do they factor into your sound as a band?

In my youth; lke most people my age heavily influenced by early 90’s “grunge” bands like Nirvana, Alice and Chains and Pearl Jam. Then as i moved into my early teen’s, being around the skate scene, i was introduced to bands like NOFX, Bouncing Souls, Slimer, The Vandals, Blink 182, Homegrown, MXPX, The Descendents…i could keep going.

I think that vocally i grab alot of influence from my punk rock background, i love that grit voice. i think alot of my influences are somewhat hidden in my unconcious. my best friend had just arrvived back from France and he called me from JFK. “I was listening to the Sliverchair album “Frogstomp” on the plane and your record has the same type of feel, you into them?” I was very much into Silverchair when they came out (also love their sophmore release “freakshow.”) I first heard Silverchair on WAAF (Boston), bought the album, and saw them on their first US tour and really dug into that album. You could say that albums like that, i study them and really get into the dynamics. i havent listened to Silverchair since the late 90’s, and i defanatly almost forgot about them. I just re-bought those albums. So, yeah. i think that some of this music is comming from my unconscious. alot of people since the release, like my friend; have sent myspace messages and fans commenting after a show have said that Madison Project in all different ways can find something that they relate to and is reminicent of a different time of their lives. i can remember sitting in my mom’s car listening to the radio, classic rock and roll. the background from soundtracks on tv shows and movies. Its the feeling of living and how you choose to look at the world. believing that there is something out there that is guiding you. believing that it is helping us find the way. i think that everything happens for a reason and i follow what i understand; its the unconcious, the inspiration of the unknown; thats the evolution of creativity.


In the same vein, what LP, CD, tape (or 8 track), would you categorize as your most cherished, and why?

I think that in some way, when all the digtal music cameout, alot of those cherished moments failed. there was something so personal with a cassette tape. opening up a Maxell 90 minute tape and sitting there for half the night making a killer mix tape, and now i can just go on my iTunes and make a playlist then burn a copy in under 5 min. I would say that my most centimental tape would be NOFX “Punk In Drublic,” In 1994, it was the album of my summer, so many good memories. Now its 14 years later and i still cant stop listening to that album.

Can you give us a little bit of information about your debut album, “I Am The Target”? How has it added to rock music, and how was it to work with Frank Aversa? Finally, were there a number of tracks that were left on the cutting room floor, or did most of them make it to a finished format?

Working with Frank was a great experience, when i met him at the studio for the first time it seemed like our personalities clicked, and that made for a good recording enviornment. We had a week for pre-production, which we re-worked some parts and changed somethings around. There were even some songs that wernt completley finnished, and Frank and our musical director Robby Baier; who also played bass and co-wrote the opening track “Rock It,” helped with some of the writing process. Having a fresh pair of ears never hurts, sometimes you have the song so engraved in your brain, that you dont know that the simpilest hook is right there in front of your face.

Are there any plans to tour in the next few months? What places, venues, or cities would you like to play but have not yet?

I think that after the summer tour, i will get back and work on new material to add a few more songs to the live show. I think that “I Am The Target” still has lots of life in it and i don’t want to rush back in the studio, touring has been so much fun and gets better every tour. We also havent visited many cities that have supported the record. We have done very well in college and major radio, there has been 3 songs (Fallen, Rock It and Masters Flying) that have been in rotation since the release, its good to know that people like what we are putting out. I’m stoked.

What is the most memorable time that you have had on tour?

my most memorable experience on tour is not just one. its just the feeling of being on the road, getting more stoked everyday, playing better everynight. just locking in super tight. i sleep better on the road than i do at home. if have to name one, it would be on the “I Am The Target” release tour. We had a killer show that night, the tour was going amazing. we were blasting some tunes in our 16 passenger van, somehow we started a mosh pit. all of us (besides our merch guy who was driving) we were going over the seats, crowd surfing…. and this is all down the highway at like 3am. then we got a hotel later and were doing front flips from bed to bed…i could name a million, i just love being on tour.

What was behind the decision to go on an Acoustic Tour?

The decision to go on the Acoustic Tour was an idea that has been floating around my head since the beginning of the writing process for “I Am The Target.” I wrote all the songs on an acoustic, and i just think it sounds really good acoustically. We were trying to fit in some acoustic versions as B Sides, but there wasnt enough time. This acoustic tour has been so much fun, possibly one of my favorite tours since the record has been released. I think will keep doing the acoustic shows from time to time, its a nice change in pace and the crowds have been very responsive. I plan to go into the studio; late July to record a track off “I Am The Target” played acoustic.

How has the rising prices of gas modified your touring plans, and barring a tax break on gas, how does it look to influence your touring in the months and years to come?

This is been the hardest time for a touring band ever and i think that anyone who is on the road for weeks or months at a time will agree. The prices are over $4.50 a gallon, and while making money at the shows and merch sales, it still is really tough. I have been on tour for the past few weeks with The Nightbirds for the Madison Project Acoustic Summer Tour and we are all in the same van. I am in a laundrymat and all the news is talking about is the gas prices, California is at $4.75 a gallon. Its going to be tough to make it, but somehow it always works out. thats half the fun, the unexpected.


How do individuals get in contact with you, and if they wanted to hear your music, how exactly would they do that?

The best way to contact Madison Project is to visit our myspace page (myspace.com/madisonproject) It is run by the band, so I try to write back as quick as possible. Our debut album “I Am The Target” is available for download on iTunes and other internet download sites.

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

1 thought on “The Madison Project Interview”

  1. Because post 1970 a lot changed in the guitar manufacturing industry. Instead of being more of a hand made guitar, they became production line produced. And the quality of materials declined. Such things as the wood used (Brazilian Rosewood was used a lot and then the importation laws changed on that into the US and it became illegal to import) was lower grade.

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