The combination of Haley’s thundering alto voice and Craig’s passionate saxophone creates a story like no other – She will reclaim what is hers! “Records Back” is the second single from Project 1268’s upcoming second album. This song has a tune that will linger with you from the first time you hear it and a groovy, dangerous feeling combined with aggressive lyrics and sizzling solos make it a great anthem. This song was wonderfully crafted to create an almost 90s hip-hop plus jazz vibe that will leave the listener wanting more. Sonically, it is one of the power duo’s most complex works to date. Check out the song and the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how it all got started?
PROJECT 1268: C – We both grew up in the state of Oklahoma, in a suburb of Tulsa called Broken Arrow. We were very close in high school, but Haley was so ridiculously smart that she graduated early. Many years separated us. We went to different colleges, had families, etc We talked briefly after the Advent of Facebook, but in 2019 we ran into each other at a jazz club in Fayetteville Arkansas. We were shocked and thrilled to find out we both lived in the same metro. We were so happy to see each other and reignite our BFF status. I was dabbling in the local music scene and in 2020 Haley and I joined forces and it was obvious from moment one that we had some serious magic ….
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
PROJECT 1268: C – Haley had formal vocal training, school and church choirs,etc. I had piano lessons, sax lessons, marching band, then later choir as well, although Haley had graduated before I started choir. Yes, the works for both of us.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘PROJECT 1268’?
PROJECT 1268: C – we purposely have about 10 answers to the question about our group name, but a great answer is we can probably name about 1268 strong musical influences. We LOVE music. For me, probably ABBA, ELO, Steely Dan, the jazz group called Spyro Gyra, just to give a thimblefull.
H – Mom always had 50’s 60’s 70’s on the car radio. Dad played John Denver, Peter Paul & Mary, and anything he could pick on a guitar. The names and the voices were not the influence. The heart of the songs, the connection to someone else’s experience inspired me.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
PROJECT 1268: C : We are a little older and have some serious life experiences. We would like listeners to walk away with something that influences their decisions for the better. That makes us sound like such PARENTS.. Hahaha
Our sound is unique… our producers told us to “pick a lane and stay in it”. Hahaha. We love sixties and seventies era soul and folk music. We kinda strive to sound like some of the greats like Aretha or Wilson Pickett, or Mamas and the Papas, Simon and Garfunkel, but we try to blend it with a little bit of a modern twist. Think Amy Winehouse or Caro Emerald.
H – When I listen to music and I hear my own story or feelings in someone else’s song, it moves me. It connects me to them, no matter who they are. It is the same for everyone, I believe. Contrary to what it looks like sometimes, we all crave common ground. Everyone needs to know their pain is shared, understood. Protest songs, Hymns, even the national anthem – they all bind the participants. That is powerful. That understanding is what I would like to resonate.
5. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as ROCK?
H – I pretended to be every singer I loved. I used to stand on a picnic table in the back yard and sing into a garden hose. I was everyone from Tanya Tucker to Karen Carpenter to Cher.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative, and entertainment?
C – All of the above – honestly entertainment and technical artistry is low on my list, though, because a soulful, heartfelt but very imperfect song can pack a much bigger punch than a flawlessly produced tune. But a great song will literally be all of the above.
We talk about records a lot. In one of our songs, Haley wrote that the record store is a “museum of vinyl and wax, every note the ghost of someone’s soul in every track”.
H – Music is art. It is a voice, and extension of your inner dialogue. All the facets of that internal world will naturally be expressed: politics, crime, victory, spirituality, anger… on and on. To try to remove elements like these would be unnatural. Having said that, I love pushing our creativity and technical skills in both the lyrics and melody.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
H – Music has always been my soul’s native language. Having a place I can get myself on paper or in the air is something that has given me joy and freedom my whole life. And getting to share and learn with Craig? Well, that’s the best.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
C – the shower! It’s my moments of isolation and slowdown. The poem or lyric concept usually comes first for me, then chord progression, then melody. That’s reverse from a lot of people, I know. I love Haley’s lyrics, because they are always profound, so with those I take time to put a feeling of the music to fit her lyrics. She actually specified one time, “make this Barry Manilow-ish’.
H – My songs come from journaling. I don’t hear music in my head like Craig does. I see images that show me what my deepest feelings are about something. They gradually become words, phrases, lyrics.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
PROJECT 1268: C – difficult in life? That’s a tough question – the answer may show up in our songs. Musically? My forever answer – how to reach people in this madly crowded digital music market
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
PROJECT 1268: C – without question I’m living my greatest musical time right now, starting a garage band with my best friend. I love every minute we create music together, and every drop of blood sweat and tears we pour into it. We are at an age when many people unfortunately make decisions to stop pursuing their dreams, bu we are staying true to our desires, our message and staying disciplined. We are already successful beyond our wildest dreams simply because her kids and my kids (all grown now!) have all shared that we are inspiring them
11. With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters, and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
PROJECT 1268: C- Ignore. In the US we call them armchair quarterbacks. They have never won a game because they have never even played it. We both try to be crazy supportive of other artists and bands, too, even if they aren’t playing our favorite styles because now we really have a taste for what it takes to keep pressing forward.
H – I tend to ruminate on weird, unkind things people do to each other. My head is a much more peaceful place without social media.
12. Creative work in a studio or home environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excites you most, and why?
PROJECT 1268: C- both. Sitting with Haley and working on exactly the right word and inflection and rhythm pattern is awesome. The song Records Back was so exciting as it came together with our producers, too! Oh but we also LOVE being live and watching people sing along with a song that WE wrote!!
H – Live audience, no doubt. Body language and facial expressions… in those we share so much without even talking to each other. I love that.
13. Do you think is it important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you think everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own personal way?
PROJECT 1268: C- we always want to have a message or a piece of takeaway advice, but of course we want people to feel the way they want to feel, too.
H-Music is like any art: it will touch us in different ways because our internal lives vary so widely. Our take-away from a song will be as different as our fingerprints. It’s wonderful to know that my words and music are reaching people outside my own experience on levels I did not consciously intend. Gives me chills 🙂
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