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Central California Life Magazine

Cen Cali Life Interview Spotlight: Local Musical Group Via Music

May 17, 2018 10:54AM ● By Richard Melella

Via Music combines an eclectic group of both musicians and musical styles to listeners a diverse and unique “way” for people to worship. As an extension of their home church in Fresno, CA, the band hopes to use innovative style to spread the Good News of the Gospel.

Central California Life Magazine Marketing Director, Richard Melella had the opportunity to interview group member and producer Shayne Blaze. Shayne, along with Daniel Kier of Groove Bass Studios and renowned Emmy-winning producer Michael “Smidi” Smith who has worked with names such as ColdPlay, Paramore and One Republic shared with Cen Cali- the roots, vision and future of Via Music.

Congratulations on Via Music’s first Album “Ellipsis.”  What an exciting time for the group.

Thank you! Yes, we’re excited with everything that’s been happening for the team recently. The group has been coming together gradually forming eventually to the 11 members we currently have.  

How long has the group been together?

This group has been established for about two years now. It’s been crazy seeing the way that we’ve all come together to create such a diverse group of people, backgrounds, and talents and how that played into the making of the album and really has made Via Music into what it is today.  

Cover of Via's Debut Album, Ellipsis  

It’s always interesting to hear the story and history behind a musical groups formation. How did the concept of Via Music come to be? 

I think Via Music came to be when our team realized our mutual desire to not just play music, but to create something new that could have the potential of reaching people who maybe would’ve never been accessible otherwise. So about two years ago some of our musicians came together and started just writing and getting rough outlines for what would become Ellipsis. During that time of writing and later producing Ellipsis, Via Music kind of just became an embodiment of our vision of reaching lost people “by way of music.” And I think along with that, the diversity of our team really works to fulfill that vision by bringing a lot of different perspectives to the table that allow us to widen our reach further than any of us individually could.

11 members in the group! – that’s a lot of voices and musical input- does that pose a creative challenge?  

By kind of taking each person’s gifts and backgrounds and using them for different parts of Ellipsis, everything came together well to allow us to create something completely unique that blends a lot of different genres and ideas and hopefully relates to even more people. 

Are the songs on the album original?  

Yes, so 6 of the 7 tracks on the album are original. We did a cover of “Holy Spirit” by Brian and Katie Torwalt with a short addition at the end which allowed us to put our own little spin on one of our team’s favorite songs.

What was the creative process behind Ellipsis and how did the band get the opportunity to get an album produced by an Emmy – winning producer?

Each of our six originals were written separately by a mix of different members and kind of reflect different perspective or experiences that were going on at the time. Then, those raw songs were brought to the team and consolidated into the songs that you hear on Ellipsis now.

The story of how we were able to work with Emmy-winning producer, Michael ‘Smidi’ Smith was kind of crazy, I knew him (Michael) from a previous interaction way back and just hit him up to see if he’d be interested. The way he responded was awesome and he was willing to really help our team out and really make Ellipsis into what it is today. It was an honor to work with him, and we’re just thankful as a team that he came in and helped us to create this album. 

The song “Renewal” was released this past January.  It’s a beautiful worship song. Tell us about the song and its meaning to the group.

So “Renewal” was a song written by a brother and sister in our group, Joel and Joanna Mariano. It’s reflective of a season they were going through where they were both kind of surrendering different things and were able to bring those experiences together to create something that now can be shared and prayed over so many more people. It really represents the album so well and was released as the single to give people an insight into who we are and what we’re about.

Musical Influences for the group? 

Our team really looks up to and admires worship teams like Hillsong United, Mosaic MSC, and so many more that are really working towards a lot of the same goals that we are of reaching lost people and using music as a kind of pathway to connect to people in the real world. We also were really inspired by other artists as well in how they’re successful in creating unique and eclectic sounds, like Frank Ocean and Bon Iver. Seeing what those other artists create really inspired us to put everything into this album and see where it would take us. 

How is the album doing- has there been a lot of support for the groups music?

Yes! We’re so happy with the response the album is getting and the fact that it’s out doing exactly what it was created to do which is just relate and connect with all kinds of people. We’ve gotten so much support and really are just overwhelmed and thankful for the way people are responding. 

What does it mean to the band to be affiliated with your home church Via?  Are all the members of the group members of Via Church of Clovis/Fresno?

Yes, we’re all with Via and are up there leading and worshipping every Sunday. It’s been awesome to be able to share this whole experience with our church fam and how supportive and excited they’ve been through the process has been incredible as well.

What’s next for Via Music? Where can I our readers hear Via Music and purchase the Album, Ellipsis?

Next would be to continue playing Ellipsis live, and to start getting more music out as soon as possible. What Ellipsis, both the title and the album, really mean is “a beginning thought or leading statement” and that’s just what we intend for this album to be. We’re hoping to have the opportunity to just keep creating and see where Jesus will take our team. You can find Ellipsis out anywhere you listen to music digitally, - Spotify, iTunes, etc. - and you can follow our team on Instagram @viamusic.

Thank you, Richard, for the opportunity for us to share our music mission and vision to your Cen Cali Readers!

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Happy Reading,

Karen Maroot