Q: Hi! What inspired the title “Beyond the Cage of Silence” for your single?
A: JDP: I’ve seen too many who never reach their potential to enjoy life because of negative and damaging thought patterns inflicted usually in childhood, often by people who should but don’t know better. They’ve grown up trapped in relationships that don’t work for them, pursuing jobs they hate, afraid to be themselves in case it offends their mentors. Trapped in a cage of silence, so to speak. And so Beyond the Cage of Silence is about breaking free of such limiting beliefs and going beyond.
Rob: It’s a very universal subject. Many of us are trapped in a cage of some sort. Although there are no physical bars, people often get stuck in a certain situation, and are more afraid of the unknown than whatever is keeping them there. This song is about taking that leap and having faith that things will work out. On a lighter note, it can just be about hitting the open road and seeing the world!
Q: Can you tell us about the creative process behind the song and how it came together as a duo?
A: JDP: The song was written by Rob and myself years ago. Like many Gravelle-Perinbam compositions it began with Rob creating the musical structure and me composing the melody and the lyrics against it. An early version of the song was actually performed live back around 1998 or so by our then band, Dr. Squish. A few years back, we decided to rework it to be part of Rob’s solo project but it took a back seat as our band Ivory Knight was still active. If I remember correctly, I recorded my bass parts against Rob’s instrumentation with his programmed drums, then composed and recorded my own drums afterwards. But oddly enough, that was actually done years ago – well before the recording of our first original Black Veil of Silence (BVoS). With the success of BVoS, we figured the similarly-titled Beyond the Cage of Silence would make a good follow-up, and so I just recently recorded my vocal parts and sent to Rob, who handled the mixing duties on this.
Rob: As John stated, this song took a long journey from idea to realization. I think a big part of the reason that it took so long for Beyond the Cage of Silence to be released is that it didn’t suit Ivory Knight, which was more Metal. I made a few changes to the arrangement in the early 2000s and planned on releasing it as part of a solo project, but after John and I started collaborating during Covid, it made perfect sense to release it as a Gravelle-Perinbam single.
Q: What is the significance of the lyrics in “Beyond the Cage of Silence” and what message do you hope to convey to listeners?
A: JDP: As I mentioned, the song is about overcoming obstacles. My message is essentially: “Follow your own dreams, not those of anyone else. Never let anyone put you down. You ARE good enough. Be yourself.”
Rob: You may have noticed how John continued with the “Silence” theme that he established with Black Veil of Silence. I thought that was pretty cool! Whereas Black Veil of Silence was about being forced to remain silent by those in positions of power, Beyond the Cage of Silence is more about finding your voice and living your authentic self. With two songs that follow the same theme, it only makes sense that we complete the trilogy with one more song. In fact, it’s in the works right now!
Q: How would you describe the musical style or genre of “Beyond the Cage of Silence” and how does it represent your unique sound as a duo?
A: JDP: I’ve got to admit I’m not a big fan of labels, personally, but if I had to choose something, I’d say it could probably best be described as progressive rock with metallic elements. I think that the unique sound you mentioned comes from the individual styles and tonalities that each of us brings to the table, not from any particular genre classification.
Rob: I think that John summed up our sound nicely. We like to rock, but that doesn’t mean that we’re afraid to lighten things up a bit when a song calls for it…or even throw in the odd flute solo!
Q: Can you share any interesting or memorable moments from the recording or production of “Beyond the Cage of Silence”?
A: JDP: Yes! One in particular – when we got the track back from mastering, on some speakers and headphones (but not all), I could hear an apparent dropout in the lead vocal track that I could not hear in the mix. We soloed each track on its own and everything sounded great. After probably 2 months of isolating tracks we traced the issue to an aggressive note on the bass guitar.
Rob: Mixing is a lot of fun like that! I also recall that the mastering entailed many iterations. It’s the way it goes. Sometimes there would be a bit of distortion within a certain frequency range. Other times, we would notice something that could only be fixed in the mix, so I’d go back to the drawing board and run off yet another mix. But that’s the nature of music production.
Q: How did you both come together as a duo and what have been some of the highlights of your music career so far?
A: JDP: My first ‘real’ band to perform in public was called Trojan Hammer, and the guitarist was Jeff Waters, who went on to fame as the mastermind behind Canadian metal legends Annihilator.
Shortly after Trojan Hammer broke up I formed Ivory Knight (with drummer Paul Malek, who had played on the early Annihilator demos). We released a well-received cassette demo called Voices In Your Nightmare and a couple of other, less known demos. When the guitarist left, we auditioned many guitarists before finding Rob via a ‘musicians wanted’ ad we had placed in the local newspaper.
We played for many years with various projects including Sudden Thunder and Dr. Squish, then reformed Ivory Knight, with which we released 3 critically-acclaimed CDs – Up From The Ashes (2001), Unconscience (2004), and most recently, Unity (2018). Ivory Knight appeared in the Brave Words and Bloody Knuckles article “O Canada, Our Home and Metal Land! The List – Great White Metal A-Z;” in issue #92, among greats such as Rush, Saga, Voivod, Annihilator, Exciter, and Anvil! Additionally we played a ton of shows, some in premier venues, sharing the stage with bands including Sacrifice, Seven Spires, Sonata Arctica, Thor, The Exalted Piledriver, Blackstar (which featured Exciter’s John Ricci and Jacques Belanger) and many others.
In 2009 or so, I released a CD called Knightfall, which was produced, engineered, and mixed by Jeff Waters. Rob plays most of the guitar solos and co-wrote (with Jeff and myself) much of the album.
However, Ivory Knight was sidelined during the pandemic of 2020, during which time Rob and I continued to work on recording and releasing music. I released the song Picture on the Wall, and collaborated with Rob on his covers of Saga’s Mouse in a Maze, Oingo Boingo’s Private Life, and The Monks Suspended Animation. Once it became apparent that due to various commitments and priorities, Ivory Knight would be unable to resume in the foreseeable future, Rob and I decided to release our original music under the Gravelle-Perinbam banner.
Seeing the success of our music and videos has been yet another highlight. Our version of the Monkees Pleasant Valley Sunday received over 75000 views and tremendous fan reaction!
Rob: I met John back in the early 90s when I auditioned for a band he was in. I’d actually seen him perform with the original Ivory Knight lineup a few months prior, so I was really pumped about getting in his band. They had a song on a compilation album that had some airplay, so it was definitely a step up for me at that time! I did wind up getting accepted into the band, so I played with John there, as well as in a few bands afterwards, including Ivory Knight 2.0. There have been brief periods where we weren’t in the same band, but, for the better part of thirty-some years, we’ve been making music together far more often than not.
Q: Are there any specific musical influences or artists that have played a role in shaping your sound as a duo?
A: JDP: I don’t think so. Each of us brings his own influences as a musician but I can’t think of any common influence that has shaped our sound.
Rob: Of course there’d have to be some overlap in our musical tastes, but we each have our own favorite bands and artists. Speaking for myself, I was strongly influenced by Rush, Saga, Maiden, Priest, Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Metallica, Van Halen, bands like that. Guitar-wise, there’s EVH, Rik Emmett, Alex Lifeson, Jimmy Page, Malmsteen, Hetfield, Marty Friedman, Jake E Lee. I could go on and on…
Q: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a duo in the music industry, and how have you navigated them?
A: JDP: I think one of the biggest challenges is simply having enough time to properly address all that needs to be done. Besides the occasional guest, we’re performing all the instruments and vocals, mixing the final product, and creating the videos. We’re trying to bring our music to the people as best we can – we tend not to involve much of the industry per see.
Rob: We made a conscious decision early on to stay independent and not try to land the coveted record deal. I mean, we’ve been offered deals in the past and they always turned out to be super-shady. We like having total control over our music and merchandise. That does pose a challenge when it comes to getting exposure. There are definite barriers to indie bands. For example, good luck getting airplay on commercial radio stations. Unless you’re a force of nature and have sold a million copies of your CD, you’re highly unlikely to get any sort of rotation. Luckily, Internet stations have been super nice to us, and have played us regularly.
We’re also highly fortunate to be living in a time where independent artists have unprecedented opportunities to forge their own career path. You just have to hustle each and every day. I am acutely aware that there are thousands of artists, many of them really good. If you’re gonna stand out from the crowd, you have to be willing to put in the extra time and effort. Anyway, that’s our recipe for success. Work hard, play hard!
Q: How do you feel “Beyond the Cage of Silence” represents your growth and evolution as musician and as a duo?
A: JDP: That’s a tough one. I think I’ll leave it to fans to decide. I personally think Beyond the Cage of Silence is, to date, among the absolute best projects I’ve ever worked on.
Rob: I haven’t been shy in saying that Beyond the Cage of Silence is our Magnum Opus. It’s not only one of our very best songs, but, with a running time of 9:32, there’s just so much of it to love! I did manage to trim the length down to a little over five minutes for the video, but it lost a lot of goodness in the process. For example, we could only keep the guitar solo or the flute solo. We went with the latter, because, come on, it’s a flute solo. How often do you hear those? Too bad, because both me and John really like the guitar solo. Anyway, there’s always the full-length MP3.
Q: Can you give us a glimpse into your future plans or projects following the release of “Beyond the Cage of Silence” and how you envision your music career progressing?
A: JDP: We do have a lot more stuff in the works! I’ll just say Rob and I have a couple of covers we’re working on right now but I don’t want to spoil the surprise so I’ll keep the titles to myself.
I’m just planning to keep making great music and videos and putting it all out there – so far the reaction has been great!
Rob: We make a point of never divulging what’s coming next. But, like John said, there are a few more covers coming up as well as the conclusion to the Trilogy of Silence. You can stay up-to-date by visiting our website www.gravelleperinbam.com.