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Schema Makes Headlining Debut w/ Nocturnal Kernalz: Interview

Photo Credit: Scarlet Bucket

Local progressive rock group Schema will make their headlining debut this Friday at The Charleston Pour House. Schema is made up of Charleston locals Adam Coyne (Guitar), Ryan Bresnihan (Guitar), Matt Jackson (Bass), and JP Treadway (Drums). This weekend we got up with Schema to ask them a few questions related to their recent growth, where they came from, and some specs on the musical adventure they have (re)embarked on. Check out the interview below and snag tickets to Friday’s show here.

You joined Schema around the time that your former band BYOG called it quits. How did you link up with the dudes in Schema? (JP)

Schema and BYOG played a show together several years back (think it might have been Schema’s last show before they went on a hiatus). So we all met back then as we played a co-bill show with them at the Pour House. Fast forward to July of 2016 when Alex from the Pour House needed a date filled and I suggested Schema. They played a reunion show and it kicked ass. I approached them to try and help them book shows, as I did the majority of the booking for BYOG, but their drummer/founding member, Jay wanted to pursue a career that focused on his passion and love for farming. After a few jam sessions and hanging out with the guys more frequently, I joined the band.

What is your favorite thing about playing in Schema? (JP)

Playing with these guys has opened up a lot of doors to my playing. In most of the bands I’ve been in I’ve primarily been a time keeper, keeping a steady beat and not venturing too far from that. Playing in Schema has been a major change to that concept as we have many composed parts and sections where I had to learn to adapt to this style of music. It’s definitely been a challenge, but I feel great about my playing right now and can’t wait to see what comes out of all of this.

During the process of writing songs and practicing them, do y’all take time to discuss where to bring out the improvisation, or does that stuff happen organically? (Adam/Ryan/Matt)

Usually when we are playing around with a new idea, we will groove on each section and explore the different possibilities within one riff; play it double time, or half time, or each person can go off and see what feels and sounds best altogether. Once we have the composition of the song, we will designate a certain place to begin the improv section, usually resolving back to the section before it.

Absolutely. Designated improv sections, or jam(s) for short, are a crucial part of our sound. When we’re writing a setlist, we usually pick a place in each song to transition into a ‘jam’. At that point we’ll either improvise our way back to the previous tune, or segue into the next tune. That’s not to say we don’t occasionally go off the cuff and improvise certain parts that would otherwise stick to a set format. What we do plan out is where the improv section will begin, and where the transition will lead us back to in each song. Obviously we try to mix it up as much as possible.

What can you tell us about Schema’s plans for the future? (Adam/Ryan/Matt)

We want to play music, drink beers, and make people dance. Its always been about the music for us, I know I speak for every member of the group when I say that. We’re all good friends outside the band and in a sense, Schema is like a family and we are all brothers, bros. if you will. So as long as we can keep playing the music we love, and have fun while we’re doing it, you will be hearing a lot more from us in the future.

It seems that effect pedals are a big part of y’alls sound. What kind of effects do your guitar players use? How does it affect the sound of Schema? (Adam/Ryan/Matt)

Excellent question, and yes, effects pedals are a huge part of how we play. I’d have to say the two effects both Adam and myself use the most are wah and delay, both of which are heavily associated with funk and rock. We both use pedals made by Xotic effects, Morley, MXR, TC electronics, Electro Harmonix, and a few others that rotate on and off the pedal board. To further elaborate, I would say Adam’s pedalboard is more geared towards creating ambient soundscapes for our jam sections; loaded with lush reverbs, modulation, and delays that are synced to the beat. Whereas my sound, in recent months, has become much more focused on utilizing effects that don’t necessarily alter the way my guitar sounds, but rather enhance it. In other words, the effects I tend to use basically increase the output/volume of my guitar so that when the band gets louder, I get louder too. Matt uses a few pedals as well, favoring the octave pedal for a deeper, heavier sound, and an envelope filter for the more funky stuff. We like to be able to go from funky and grooving out, to heavy and rocking out in an instant; And we all have the pedals we need to go from one spectrum to the other seamlessly.

Trying out different effects has been ongoing adventure ever since Adam and I started playing together. Ultimately, we discovered that the overall sound can be dictated by which pedals we are using, and just as importantly, which pedals we’re not using.

How does it feel to have your first headlining show? Anything special in the works? (Adam/Ryan/Matt)

We are pretty excited to see our name on top. Also, we’re thrilled to be sharing the stage once again with our brother band, the Nocturnal Kernalz. Without giving away any crucial details or spoilers, I will say that we’re bringing back one or two oldies that no one has heard us play in recent months. I would guess that most people have never heard these tunes before. So to answer your question, yes we do have some special things planned for this show. Primarily, we want the focus for this gig to be on our original material, since its our first real headliner at the Pour House.

Photo Credit: Steph Corey

Schema is ready to rock The Pour House Friday night, so come out and drink some beer, dance, and enjoy the ride Schema plans to take us on. Tickets here. If you’re still on the fence, check out their Eleanor Rigby Jam from March 11, 2017: