interview with The Forge

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Have any of you played in other bands?
Yes, I have played in many other bands, including, Polka, Salsa, Jazz, Dixieland, Big Band, Concert, and one other touring brass quintet.
All of those groups have contributed in many wonderful ways to my growth as a musician. Not every group was a positive experience, but certainly every group was a learning experience!
All of the others in the group have also played in many other bands just like me, and with even more varied experiences. One of the trombonists is also part of an early music group and performs often on sakbut. 
How is it that you started playing music? I started playing piano when I was eight years old. I then started trumpet with my school band when I was twelve. I stopped playing piano at that point, but I was grateful to be able to already read music when I started the trumpet. I am a big critic of the way we start young musicians here in the states. I think we should do more of a Suzuki or conservatory approach to allow the students to achieve success much sooner. I'm not sure just how the others in my group got started, but I would say it was similar to my process.
What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you?
My name is Larry Powell (52), 1st Trumpet and leader of The Forge. I play trumpet, flugelhorn, and I do the electric guitar solos on all the tunes.
Daniel Golando (57), 2nd Trumpet. Dan's forte is that he is a fantastic improviser. He and I can play either 1st or 2nd part.
Caleb Ketcham (25) is my 1st Trombone. Originally, this was the horn part, but for the kind of music we do I needed a bell-front instrument. Caleb nails the high stuff beautifully!
Ryan Krofta (22) is my 2nd Trombone. This is the traditional bone part and there are a lot of solos, some improvised.
Rich Dole (39) is my Bass Trombone. Originally for tuba, but again the bell was pointed the wrong way. Rich lays this part down like a beast!
Have you had other previous members? Yes. Dan and I are the only ones still remaining from the original sextet. The other have moved on of their own accord.
Did you make music even when you were young? Yes, but not seriously. It wasn't until I was 16 that I decided this is what I wanted to do as a career.
Where are you from? I was born and raised for four years in Kentucky, USA, then lived for four years in Germany, then back to Kentucky. I've now been in Indiana for thirty years.
What year did the band form? I formed this group in 2014.
What's your style of genre? We perform music mainly from the era of Classic Rock, but we also include music of Lady Gaga, Imagine Dragons, and other contemporary bands.
What inspires you? Great music performed really well.
How often and where do you reherse? We rehearse just before a gig or tour and usually at a local university.
How have you developed since you started with the music? Originally, we tried to do jazz and rock with a traditional brass quintet. But, we found that we were sounding like every other group out there. To set ourselves apart our agent and I decided to focus only on the Classic Rock. I later made the decisions to swap out the horn for the trombone, and later the tuba for the bass trombone. We may be making another change later this year by switching out the bass trombone for an actual bass player, but that is yet to be determined. All the decisions are based on what can make the music more effective and easier to deliver to the audience.
Do you have other interests of work outside the band? Most of what we do is music related. We all have families and I would consider that an interest outside of the band!
Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? We currently have a booking agency, Dow Artists. We've been with them since we started. I can't imagine being in this business without an agent. Some people gripe about the percentage that they take, but it's worth it.
Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? We just recorded our first album with a local studio, Aire Born Studios, here in Indianapolis. We are not signed to them and I would gladly welcome a label that would take us on!
What made you decide to make this music? For years I have been a studio musician, orchestra trumpeter, and freelancer, never actually playing the music that I grew up with in the late '60's and early '70's. I heard Rhythm & Brass do some Classic Rock tunes a few years back and it stuck with me until I decided that there was no reason I couldn't do that, too!
What are your songs about? All of our songs are either Classic Rock covers or arrangements. So, they're about sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, and stickin' it to the man!
Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? There are no originals. I do some of the arrangements and then I have two other arrangers that do a great job for me. Everything is instrumental, no lyrics.
Have you done any covers live? Yes, we mostly do live shows. 
What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? The fewest people we ever had at a gig may have been around twenty. The most was twelve hundred. We talk about performing the same regardless of how many people are in the audience. Those that are there deserve to hear a great show!
What ages are most of your concert attendants? We see a very wide range of ages at our shows. At the post concert meet-n-greet we talk to teenagers and people in their nineties. They all love it.
Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? We have a repertoire of about thirty tunes at this point. Depending on the venue and length of show we will add or subtract certain tunes. But, for the most part we play the same show. That will change when we repeat a venue.
Do you have a regular place you play live often? Not at this point. We are doing a lot of showcasing and end up traveling all over the states. We don't do bar gigs or park gigs. I only want to do the concert venues.
What was your first gig like? Our first gig was awkward. That's when we were still trying to do jazz and rock. No music was memorized and we had no connection with the audience. We played well, but we really missed the opportunity to reach out and grab people's attention.
What was your latest gig? We showcased in Seattle for a lot of performing arts presenters.
Have you had to cancel a gig? Fortunately, no. But, we've come close due to some severe weather conditions.
Where have you played live this year? We've actually only done the recording project this year. Our first live gig this year is in June.
Where do you plan to gig the comming year? We have 15 to 20 presenters wanting to book us for the 19-20 season. So, wherever they are is where we'll go.
When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? We only sell t-shirts at this point. I added those in at the beginning of 2017.
Where can people buy your merchandise? Those t-shirts are available at the shows and online at www.forge.band
What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? I'm not picky. As long as they have access to it that is what is important.
How do you think the music industry have changed because of this?
Technology changes so fast and I don't think the music industry was ready for it! The biggest change is that consumers have the ability to share or acquire
music without paying for it and that's a big loss for the original artist/writer and the label. Not sure if they'll figure out a way around this for some time to come.
What do you think of my work? I've just become familiar with your work via You Tube. I've been watching some of the interviews. I really like that we get access to artists that previously may have been unreachable!
How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? Well, I think that every bit of exposure is helpful to the growth of a band and their fan base. It could also be that it could be mutually beneficial for us as you know people and I know people who might want to know each other!
Do you have any role models or idols? Sergei Nakariakov is my trumpet hero. Rex Richardson, Doc Severinsen, Vince DiMartino, Led Zeppelin, Adele, Lady Gaga, and anyone else that is a seriously great artist.
Why do you think that they exist? Because they are committed to excellence. They are the cream of the crop. They set themselves apart because they are unique in their artistry, delivery, genre, personality, etc.
Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? Both. I am a big fan of Pink Floyd and Disturbed. It just has to be good music to be inspiring to me.
What have been your biggest obstacles? Money and a general lack of knowledge of the specific type of music business that I'm trying to conduct. I've invested a great deal of money and time into my group, but I've learned so much along the way. The obstacles are still there, but now they don't take quite as long to get around.
What advice would you give other bands or artists? Find your niche. Find members with a like mind who share the passion for the art and go, go, go!
How do you get psyched for a gig? The day I get an email from my agent saying we have a contract offer! Even if it's several months away, I'm stoked.
What are your web sites? www.forge.band
How can people reach you? www.forge.band or larry@powellmusic.net
What are your plans for the future? I plan on staying the course. So many other bands have folded by this point. Our audiences love us and our agent believes in us. As long as we can continue to grow our fan base we will keep going. My greatest goal is to win a Grammy. I believe that is achievable within the next ten years.
Do you have something to add? Find your passion and don't let people talk you out of it. It doesn't have to be what you do for a living. It can be a side gig. If is it something you love to do, just do it and sell out. Don't hold back. Your audience deserves everything you've got.
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