Contributor’s Note: ONE STEP FROM FALLING, commonly abbreviated as OSFF, are an American art rock band formed in 2011 in Syracuse, NY.
The band have captivated and mesmerized audiences across the US with their unique sound and energetic live performances. With an eclectic blend of art rock, catchy melodies and heavy riffage that goes straight to your head, the OSFF style has been dubbed Heady Metal. Following the successful releases of The Wayside in 2015 and Stuck in 2018, digital sales and streaming plays continue an upward growth across the world.
ONE STEP FROM FALLING have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with many notable artists, including A Perfect Circle, Sevendust, Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment, Killswitch Engage, Stone Temple Pilots, and Pop Evil just to name just a few. In addition, fans were treated to awe inspiring performances at Ink In The Clink in 2017 and Rocklahoma in 2018 as part of the festivals’ official line ups.
Teaming up with Pavement Entertainment, ONE STEP FROM FALLING”s latest album, Stuck on the Wayside, is ready to take the world by storm. Look for the new release everywhere on May 1, 2020.
I caught up with drummer Ty Gleason of One Step From Falling for Madness To Creation to see if he could explain their strange musical hybrid of genres and styles to me. One thing that I will say please check out their new album-eclectic,hard to define certainly but definitely sounds great. Fans can find One Step From Falling at the following locations:
Mark: I just wondered how you’re getting through this difficult period for the world. How are you spending all this extra time?
Ty Gleason: Well, personally, I’ve got three little kids at home, so…
Mark: Ah, right.
Ty Gleason: Everybody’s off school. They have been for a while. And my wife’s a teacher as well.
So we’ve been busy with trying to do as much homeschooling as we can. So it’s been tough for everybody. I mean, as a band, I think it’s been extremely tough because the record got released on Monday. I’m sorry, on the 1st, and we were supposed to basically be touring in support of that right now. May was supposed to be the time that we’re supposed to be touring in support. So everything that we had scheduled, or anything that was pretty much scheduled after mid-March, just got shut down. And at this point, there’s just no telling when things are going to return. But we’ve been pretty active writing. I’d say, in its various stages, we’ve probably got four or five songs right now that we’re ready to at least start putting some serious demos. And we’ve got a couple that we hadn’t played before that we’re probably going to roll out when we start playing live. So we’re trying to be as productive as we can.
Mark: Your band is quite a new name to me, and on listening to the latest album, I find it very difficult to describe how you sound musically,and sonically.
Ty Gleason: That’s good.
Mark: Well, it’s certainly different. How would you describe, and I see this term Heady Metal, but how would you actually describe what you do musically?
Ty Gleason: Yeah. That’s been difficult. I always find that no matter what band I’m in, I find it difficult to try to pigeonhole ourselves into a genre, because there’s just so many of them out there. And so, depending on who you ask, there might be people that will consider us just straight-up hard rock, which is pretty broad, I think. There’s people that have told us that we’re progressive rock, art rock. And I think the reason why we came up with Heady Metal is because just like you said, man, our music’s difficult to describe in terms of fitting it into a genre. So Heady Metal was our way of avoiding having to take one of the standard terms that already exist and create our own. And heady, really, for us, I think it’s more just we try to write things that… In an interview the other day I used the word cerebral, which I don’t know if it’s the right word, but we want music that makes you think a little bit. We think our music is a little bit more mature. So there’s a lot of ways that we can go about describing what heady means. But if somebody said to me right now, what kind of music, I think we’ve all agreed that if we can’t use Heady Metal, then probably art rock would be what we would describe it as.
Mark: What exactly is The Wayside? Your debut album was called The Wayside. This is called Stuck On The Wayside. What is the link?
Ty Gleason: Yeah. Yeah. So another good question. So I’ll try not to be lengthy with this, but it definitely is worth explaining because people are starting to pick up on that. So we released two records independently. In 2015 we released The Wayside and then in 2018 we released Stuck. So both of those we had basically self-produced and released independently through a distribution outlet here in the US, and it was doing pretty well. We had some good radio play. We had a lot of physical copies that we were able to sell at our shows.
So when we ended up signing this deal with Pavement Records out of Chicago, we started talking with the management about what we wanted to do for the release. And so we basically gave them both of our records and said, well, there’s a couple of things we can do. We can take all the best songs, stuff that we play live, stuff that they’re obviously fan favorites. And we can take the best material off of both and we can put it into this new release. And we would change the artwork up. We would change the name up. And so we share all of our music basically with Pavement, and they came back and said, “You know what? There’s nothing that we really would leave off. So why don’t we just take all the old material, put it in an order that makes sense, and we’ll release it as an LP?” And that’s what we did.
So basically we created new artwork for it. And when it came time to try to figure out what to call it, at the end of the day we just paid homage to both of the records and just put Stuck On The Wayside together. And that’s where that came from. So it gets a little confusing for people, but hopefully that explains it.
Mark: Each track on that album sounds very complex and intricate in terms of construction. Can you briefly outline the creative process and developments, how do your songs actually come together?
Ty Gleason: Yeah. A lot of it is… So just for clarification, I’m the newest member of the band. The band has been around for a long time, since 2011, I believe. And there’s been a couple lineup changes. Last year, the band decided that… Because our singer Steve was actually pulling double duty as a base player, as a drummer and singer. And last year they wanted to make this change where Steve wanted to not pull double duty, and you wanted to concentrate on being the singer-songwriter. So they went about going to find a drummer and they ended up picking me. And so I wasn’t personally a part of the recordings because I’m just too new to the band, but I can tell you how we go about doing things now. And I think it’s pretty much followed the same.
So we’re a pretty organic band in terms of how we try to write stuff. As a matter of fact, we continue to do it this way. We get into a room, and normally when we start a rehearsal, it’ll go one of two ways. Either we’ll just sit down and we’ll start blasting through material that we know just to get warm and get the juices flowing a little bit, and then inevitably somebody somewhere will just start playing something. Whether I lay down a simple drum beat or one of the guitar players have something, and 25 minutes later we get done and we’re like, “Wow, there’s a lot of little nuggets in there that we can draw from.” And we’ve been doing that pretty consistently.
So we’re now at the point, and I’ll go back to what I was saying before about having just continued to write material, that’s where a lot of the stuff that we’re refining now has come from, it’s just pressing the record button and just playing. And we can do that. And of course, the three guys that started this band, the singer Steve and two guitar players Bob and Pete, they live very, very close to each other. So those guys can get together pretty frequently. And they do, and it’s really just sitting down and they had this idea, I’m going to pop over to Bob’s house and we’re going to go through it. We’re going to record it. And then when it comes time for the band to get together, we’ve got a lot of stuff to work on.
So since I’ve been in the band it’s been pretty incredible, the type of stuff that we’ve been coming up with. And it purely is just somebody starting something and the rest of us jumping in. And like I said, 20 minutes later, there’s always something at the end of it that we can pull out and start creating a song out of.
Mark: Is it therefore easy or quite difficult to transfer the complexities of those songs across in a live setting?
Ty Gleason: Not really. And here’s the great thing. We’ve taken, probably subconsciously anyway, but we’ve taken a nod to Rush’s philosophy of writing music, which is they never wanted to do anything on a record that they couldn’t reproduce live. Right? So everything that you hear in a recording is what you hear live, is what we recreate. And a large part of that is because our bass player Josh is really instrumental in a lot of the textured sounds and the stuff that you hear in the background. A lot of that stuff, that’s all Josh, it’s all his equipment and his setup. It weighs a thousand pounds and there’s a lot of lights and a lot of pedals and a lot of synth. And the reason why we can recreate all that stuff live is because Josh is the one that’s doing that.
And again, it might sound complex maybe to the listener, but obviously when you’ve toiled over writing it, refining it… It certainly isn’t that way when you’re playing it. I mean, there’s obviously songs that for each one of us individually might be a little bit more difficult to pull off live, but the arrangements and the complexity that you hear, we do a really good job of being able to recreate what you hear on a record in our live shows. And I think that’s why people really love to see us live.
Mark: I just wondered, it’s difficult, even more so now, in the current pandemic situation for musicians to sustain a full-time living purely from playing music. I just wondered what status you guys are at. I mean, obviously you mentioned there Pavement. Are you able to sustain a career, a living, purely from playing music?
Ty Gleason: We just signed with Pavement a few months ago, within the last probably six, seven months. So the Pavement train has really just started rolling. And of course, you roll in this coronavirus worldwide pandemic and that certainly has hurt everybody in terms of revenue for your band. We all have jobs and a couple of us have families, kids, and we all have a job. And I think that we’ve self-financed pretty much every year for the last… God, how many years? We’ve self-financed tours on our own. And yeah, we’re not coming back rich from them. Matter of fact, we’re probably coming back in the red. So yeah, you’re absolutely right. Music business nowadays, it’s almost impossible to really make what I would say, a comfortable living, unless you’re Korn, Deftones, Sevendust bands like that that are just out there touring a lot and selling millions of records.
So I think that we’ve always believed in the material, we’ve always believed in the music. We certainly believe in our live show. I think now is the time where the momentum is going to start to pick up, hopefully, and we think Pavement’s going to be obviously monumental in being able to do that. Because if we didn’t have that opportunity with them, I wouldn’t be talking to you, I can tell you that. So we believe in the record. We think that it’s a great product, and I just hope that people that listen to it think the same way.
Mark: I know at the current time a lot of bands are doing stuff online to keep their fans entertained to maintain that link with fans. I just wondered if you guys had any plans to maybe do something similar.
Ty Gleason: Yeah, we had talked about it. We haven’t been really that crazy about doing the Zoom performances online, and we have done some Zoom a couple of ago. Three, four days ago, we had a big Zoom Facebook live event where we were giving away some free swag and stuff for people sharing our video for “Lung Butter” And so we were going to continue doing stuff like that, but we don’t really want to get caught into what’s trendy, and I think it’s trendy right now. It’s just everybody doing that same stuff. So in the past before this whole pandemic hit, we would stream live from the studio, doing some acoustic stuff and like that. And so, yeah, we’re going to continue doing the Zoom meetings and giving away some stuff, but in terms of doing live Zoom concerts and stuff like that, we haven’t really talked about it. If everybody’s going left, we’re trying to go right a little bit, so.
Mark: Just a final one, then. I’m sure you’ve done quite a few interviews. I just wondered, if the roles were reversed, who would you like to personally sit down and interview?
Ty Gleason: Oh, wow. That’s a very, very long list.
Mark: Maybe a hero, inspiration.
Ty Gleason: Yeah. For me personally, it would probably be Neil Peart. Absolutely. I mean, as a drummer, but certainly myself as an avid reader, myself as an avid motorcyclist, there’s just so much more I would talk about with him besides drums. That’s such a long list. I mean, we all have so many influences, but if I had to pick one, it would definitely be Neil Peart. Rest in peace.
Mark: Outside of your family. Obviously they come first for everybody. I just wondered what you’re most proud of that you’ve achieved musically.
Ty Gleason: I think it’s just being able to play and to continue to play live, and especially in such a difficult time to be a musician, like you brought up. I’m going to be 47 years old this year, and I’ve been doing this for a while, and I’m just grateful to be able to continue to do it with some proficiency. That’s number one. And then I’ve gotten to share the stage with just so many great national acts and direct support slots for guys. And just being part of some great bands, obviously the one that I’m with now, and I spent seven years with a band before them that we did a whole bunch of stuff, got a bunch of records.
So it’s hard to pinpoint one thing, but certainly being with One Step now. These guys are certainly the most creative and most proficient band members that I’ve been with, I think. And again, we’ve been able to mesh so well. Just in the year that I’ve been with these guys, we’ve done so much, and now with Pavement I think that’s just going to get even better. So yeah, I’m just proud to be able to continue doing what I’m doing and endorsing the companies that I have endorsements with. I’m obviously proud to be recognized and to be able to play such great music and have those guys believe in me. So yeah, there’s a lot to be thankful for, for sure.
Mark: That’s great. Thank you very much. Hopefully you guys get the opportunity to promote the album and get out and get some live shows under your belts again.
Ty Gleason: We’ll see what will happen. I appreciate the interview, Mark. I do. Thank you.
Mark: Thank you very much for chatting to me. Bye.
Ty Gleason: Absolutely. Have a good night, sir.
And there you have it! Check out “Stuck On The Wayside” by One Step From Falling via Pavement Entertainment! Fans can check out Mark Dean at the following locations: