interview with Project 7

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Have any of you played in other bands? Numerous cover bands and original bands over the years that never got off the ground.

How is it that you started playing music? My father played classical guitar as a hobby, so at a young age I would pick up his guitar and fool around with it. Seeing an interest, he got me a guitar teacher and I studied with him for about a year, and from then on I’m a self taught musician.

What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you? Project 7 began with Dan Begelman: guitar/composer, John DeCesare: bass guitar, and Tony Gallino: drums. Now, it’s more of a duo project, with myself playing guitar and bass guitar, and Tony Gallino playing drums, percussion and keyboards.

Have you had other previous members? There were a few early incarnations of Project 7, but my 1st album and 2nd albums were done with myself, John DeCesare and Tony Gallino. My 3rd album was done by myself and Tony Gallino.

Did you make music even when you were young?

Yes, I got very involved in guitar at a young age, and went through many styles of music: surf instrumental (I was a big Ventures fan), blues, rock, classical, jazz, etc. And then I realized that

if I wanted to pursue my real passion, I needed to start composing my own music, which is a hybrid of all the styles of guitar playing that I have studied.

Where are you from? I’m from New York, N.Y.

What year did the band form? The band formed around 1990, beginning rehearsals and leading to our first self-produced album.

What's your style of genre? Progressive instrumental rock music.

What inspires you? Any great musician or composer. Although I’m a guitarist and bassist, I’m very inspired when I hear a great drummer, sax player, piano player, etc., or listen to classics from great composers.

How often and where do you rehearse? When doing pre-production for recording or rehearsing for gigs, maybe twice a week, somewhere in New York.

How have you developed since you started with the music? Since starting to play guitar, I have grown as a musician in terms of being more diverse, more mature, and more sensitive to the nuances of the instrument. And as a composer, I feel I’m growing as to developing my own voice and direction.

Do you have other interests of work outside the band? As a professional working musician, a lot of my time is spent with music in some form. But I do stay in shape studying marshal arts and keeping fit, eating healthy.

Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? I am not currently looking for a booking agent, but I will be soon as I’m looking for new musicians to rebuild my band.

Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? I am starting to look for a label that would be interested in the type of music I create and perform. I have reached out to record labels in the past, and have gotten positive responses, but none of yet to offer some type of contract or working arrangement.

What made you decide to make this music? The fact that I’m a student of the guitar, and love to play all styles of music, I needed a working model that would allow me to create and perform all the styles of music I’m drawn to: rock, blues, jazz, classical, etc.

What are your songs about? Since my songs are instrumental, there are no lyrics to tell a story. But the emotion in the music is what it’s all about. I hope my music will move people to feel something; joy, sadness, hope, inspiration.

Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? I compose the music, and being all instrumental there are no lyrics.

Do you start with the music or the lyrics? Again, no lyrics in my music.

Do you compose in a certain environment? Most of my ideas come from either sitting with a guitar in my lap and just noodling around, or while I’m driving or walking.

Have you done any covers live? Yes, I did an instrumental cover of “Maiden Voyage” by Herbie Hancock, a jazz pianist. It’s not on any of my 3 albums, but I hope to record it one day. On my second album I did an instrumental cover of “For Your Love”, the 60‘s classic from The Yardbyrds. And on my third album I did an instrumental cover of “Theme From An Imaginary Western” by Jack Bruce, but most known from the version by Mountain with guitarist Leslie West.

What language do you sing in? My music has no vocals, so no singing.

What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? Hard to say, but from 3 to 200 or more.

What ages are most of your concert attendants? Probably 20‘s and up.

Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? We vary, as we have 3 albums to choose material from, and usually we’re playing one set, 30-45 minutes.

What was your first gig like? Our first gig went very well as we had a lot of support from friends and family. I was a bit nervous as this was my first time fronting my own band, prior to this band I was more of a sideman.

What was your latest gig? We haven’t played out in a long time, the band is more in a dormant phase right now as I’m working on making a new album and will soon be looking for new musicians to play out with.

Have you had to cancel a gig? No, never had to cancel a gig.

Where have you played live this year? Have not played this year.

Where do you plan to gig the coming year? When the new band is ready, plans to play clubs in New York and Long Island. But I’m also looking into festivals that feature bands playing progressive music as I think we would be a good fit for that type of gig and audience.

When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? At present we have 3 albums and matching guitar/bass guitar transcription books available. As a professional music transcriber, I transcribed my 3 albums so any guitarist or bassist liking the music can play it note for note, exactly as it appears on the album.

Where can people buy your merchandise? My CD’s can be purchased at, and the guitar/bass guitar transcription books can be purchased directly from me. The band’s website is being re-built and soon will feature these items, and more to come.

What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? It’s a new world from the one I grew up in. We have to be flexible and willing to accept new ideas and new ways of doing things.

How do you think the music industry has changed because of this? Many new bands are self promoting and not even trying to attain a record deal like in the old days where you would shop a demo looking to get signed. Living in the age of the Internet and home computers with pro tools type setups, it’s pretty easy and relatively inexpensive to make an album and promote yourself.

What do you think of my work? Sounds pretty cool.

How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? Interviews are helpful for fans to get to know a little bit about you, makes them feel closer to you and your music.

Do you have any role models or idols? I have great admiration for all great musicians and composers, but I do have a special admiration for guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, John Mclaughlin, Pat Metheny, and others.

Why do you think that they exist? I’d like to think they exist to bring us joy and enrich our lives with their art.

Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? For me, it’s older bands that inspire. There are a lot of young, talented bands out there, but unfortunately the music that’s getting the most airplay and notoriety are hip hop and R & B artists. They are all talented in their own right, but I’m just not interested in a lot of contemporary, popular music. I guess it’s also what I grew up on, as my parents grew up on big band music from the 40‘s. Each generation finds their own voice, style, etc.

What have been your biggest obstacles? Finding my audience and finding record labels, management, etc. that would be interested in having me as one of their artists, as the music I do is not for the mainstream masses.

What advice would you give other bands or artists? Follow your heart, creating and performing the music that inspires you, regardless of what others may have to say about it. But also, take the time to develop your instrument and/or voice. Be the best you can be at what you do.

How do you get psyched for a gig? I envision how it will sound, and practicing for the gig.

Do you have any new material? Yes, I have enough new material for 2 new albums, but will narrow down to one album, picking the best songs.

What are your web sites?

and follow me on social media @danbegelman

How can people reach you?

I can be reached directly through email at

Best way to reach me is through social media (facebook, twitter, instagram)

What are your plans for the future? Future plans are to record my new album and promote it, maybe try to land a deal with an independent record label, and play out with a new band.

Do you have something to add? I hope that people, once exposed to my music, will enjoy and appreciate what I do, and will become life long fans.

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