Consider the Source

 Have you ever watched an artist paint? He works in layers, slowly building background upon background, adding highlights and shading, until he finishes — orchestrating a masterpiece that resembles, but is entirely different than, each individual layer.

This is Consider The Source, a jam experience out of New York City that paints a canvas with every song. Its three members ― Gabriel Marin on fretless, double-neck guitar, John Ferrara on bass, and Louis Miller on drums — layer Middle Eastern and other world sounds over jazz and funk techniques, all over their unique psychedelic rock sound, to create an incredible fusion of culture and style.

Consider the Source is like nothing you’ve heard before. Upon playing the first note, its energy and quiet communication is instantly felt, with quickly moving, sometimes almost erratic rhythms drawing you in, forcing you to focus in on what each member is trying to convey. Once it has your full attention, the trio truly takes your mind on an adventure, constantly surprising and defeating any expectations. 

I had the pleasure of meeting the guys after their show in Roanoke at Martin’s Downtown on April 4. This was the first show on their tour as well as Miller’s debut show as drummer, so it was a great opportunity to chat about the band’s past, present, and future.

Me: If you guys could, tell me a little bit about your musical history.

John Ferrara: Well, we’re into pretty much everything — jazz, rock, obviously Middle Eastern, a lot of Indian music, music from all around the world. We grew up surrounded by all sorts of different stuff, and also being from New York, you know, mixed cultures, mixed ideas of music and things in general kind of all influences what we do.

Me: Can you give me, maybe, some bands that you guys would say have specifically influenced you?

Gabriel Marin: The Bad Plus, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Primus, King Crimson—

Louis Miller: Meshuggah?

GM: Always. Hahaha. ― Tool. Gotta say I love Tool.

Me: What is your musical philosophy?

LM: Energy.

GM: Originality, honesty.

LM: Spirit.

GM: Expression.

LM: Groove.

GM: Hahahaha. We’re so deep.

Me: Hahaha. (To Miller:) I know that you’re a new addition to the band. How has it been playing with these guys, so far?

LM: Oh, every time I get asked I have to respond that I feel kind of in this position, which is an amazing privilege, because the two of them are not only essentially the best at their instrument that I’ve ever seen and played with, but in tandem they create something unique. I mean, they hear each other’s voice so well, they complement each other’s sound so well that I’ve been saying that it’s making my job easier, because I — at some times just feel like I just need to — when I’m playing the drums make sure to just compliment that. There are other times when I feel like I can really take a lead and really drive a song, but some other times what they’re doing is just so beautiful, I’m doing my best to fit in and make that sound work for just, for what it is.  But, you know, as a trio as well — I don’t mean to separate myself from what they’re doing. And that’s what we’re working toward every day, is sounding just like one person.

Me: And I definitely can see that when you guys are on stage — the communication.

LM: And stepping into the group also has been interesting because Gabriel and I had played together when we were younger. So we have something of a more intuitive, deep connection musically, in such a way which allows us to sometimes just kind of know what each other is doing without quite hearing it, we can just read each other’s body language and things like that. And so, that’s been great. And it’s just really a privilege and a kind of a magical experience for me right now, driving around in a van, having fun.

Me: Alright. (To Marin and Ferrara:) How long have you guys been touring?

GM: Five years?

JF: We’ve been touring, yea, about five years.

Me: I know you guys have been all over the world. If you could just list a couple places that you really liked playing or things that were special to you.

GM: Israel is a great country for us; we have a huge fan base there. Germany was awesome. We played with a band called Panzer Ballet that was one of our favorite bands, and so we got to play with them in their home base in Germany, which was amazing. Turkey was great; Istanbul’s an amazing city. We want to go back there. We want to be big in Turkey. I think that’d be really cool.

Me: And I’m sure getting to travel all around and playing in so many different places is really awesome.

GM: Ah, it’s amazing.

Me: John, I noticed that you two, John and Gabriel, you guys kind of battle it out a little bit on stage. Is that something that you guys do often? Is it planned?

JF: There are some sections of the songs where we kind of say alright, around here let’s do this kind of thing. I don’t see it so much as a battle; I see it as a more of a conversation. He’ll do something and I’ll say, “Oh yeah, I got ya. That’s cool. What about this?”

GM: It’s never a battle. It’s really just like, oh, that was awesome. Then you try to inspire the other person. That’s not try to play something better, you just try to bring something better out of yourself.

JF: We have a very healthy relationship.

Me: Gabriel, can you tell me a little bit about your guitar? I noticed some really interesting sounds and techniques coming out of that.

GM: Well, the top neck has no frets. It’s sarod, or nude, so I can play all the Middle Eastern music on the top neck and the bottom neck’s normal guitar, but both necks have a synth pickup so I can trigger midi sounds, so I can get the saxophone and trombone sounds and all that.

Me: Cool. Where do you guys come up with your song names? I heard some really interesting ones out there.

JF: It’s often shows we like, quotes from shows, or books we read, things like that. The second song we played, “No Touching,” is an Arrested Development quote. We have Curb Your Enthusiasm quotes.

GM: Got a bunch of Simpsons. Our songs are so serious and emotional, that with instrumental songs it’s so easy to be really cheesy and be like “Battle of the Seven Kingdoms,” you know what I’m saying? Hahaha. It’s so easy to go so overblown or something like that, that we’ll write something that’s just like, OK, let’s give this song a silly name … so you’ll come up with a song and then we’ll have a good name for it like that.

Me: Consider the Source. What does that mean to you guys? Where does that name come from?

JF: It conjures up the connotation of originality, purity. Get at what, essentially, the source is of something, whether it be music, whether it be a thought or an idea. So those people who just say, I believe this or I am this type of person or I do think this way, and it’s like — do you? You know, really figure it out. And I think what we do in our music is something we do dig. You know, we do try things out, we do try to look further into something and explore. And it’s funny because I feel personally, when the name was first brought up — it was actually Gabriel’s father who had the idea for the name — and we were all like “Yea, that’s really cool” (sarcastically). And then I feel like as we got older, we grew into the meaning of it.

GM: It’s also like when a lot of bands that do Middle Eastern, Indian music, they’ll record it and then they’ll put a beat behind it or something like that. But we really study the roots of it. When you’re learning it, you do it with respect, so when you change it it’s not just willy-nilly. It’s respectfully because you believe it.

           There you have it. Straight from the source — Consider the Source, that is. You can check these guys out online at or on Facebook, but don’t stop there, because there’s nothing like seeing it happen live.

Printed in 16 Blocks Magazine
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