April 30, 2009

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The original Streamline
On life on the road and their new CD
By Katie Beth Ryan music@hippopress.com

Enter the term “Streamline” into the search fields at the iTunes Music Store, and you’ll stumble across a New Age group, evidently inspired by those CDs of waves crashing into the ocean and birds chirping that retail at Target for $9.99. There’s also a group from Louisiana that played a show in Boston at the same venue where the members of Manchester’s Streamline played just two weeks earlier. The mild-mannered members of the local Streamline tend not to mind that they share a fairly common band name, though it does cause confusion at times.

“I’ve had people say to me… ‘Oh I can’t wait ’til you play this song,’ and I go ‘What?’” says Casey Myers, bassist of Manchester’s Streamline. As its members like to stress, theirs was the first band with the name “Streamline” to engage in interstate commerce, though their lawyer has told them that the name can’t be trademarked.

Name mix-ups have been just one of the challenges surmounted by Streamline, currently recording a five-song EP scheduled for release in July. They’re also encouraging their friends, families and fans to purchase tickets for their set at the Rock On Festival headlined by Korn at Meadowbrook Farms on May 23, with the hope of receiving top billing next to Korn. Formed by then-16-year-old Myers and drummer Nick Drouin seven years ago, and joined by lead vocalist Kevin Laurencelle and guitarist JT (who doesn’t give out his last name) in 2005, the band has invested thousands of hours and dollars into recording their first CD, Full Circle, and into touring. All the while, they have weathered the music business and the closure of music venues in Manchester and across New England.

“People just think that we have fun and just write music and play, and they think that we’re living some kind of a special life,” Laurencelle said. The reality?

 “We’re driving six hours to New York and pulling a trailer, spending tons of money, stopping millions of times for gas, hoping we break even by the time the trip’s done, and looking at our wallet, and being like, ‘OK, we’ve gotta record next week’…We’re constantly throwing figures around.”

The struggles of constant touring caught up with the band as they prepared to record Full Circle with producer Alex Hatziyannis of Boston, better known as “Alex the Greek.” Streamline entered the studio with a vague idea of how they wanted the record to sound, but lacking cohesion as a group.

“This writing process compared to the first album has not been hard,” Drouin said. “On the first album we stressed out. I remember fighting, and a lot ... went wrong, and it was because of stress. Now since we have that out, the release of the first album is gone, the pressure of it.”

Over the past three years, the band has also seen its influences broaden, and they’re not afraid to declare their admiration for groups as wide-ranging as Jewel, Rascal Flatts and Boyz II Men.

“That’s probably the most known fact, and we don’t hide it either,” JT said. “We’re not, like, closet pop fans. We’ll tell everyone, and I think that is the little-known fact about us is that we take a lot of that type of music into our writing. I think that’s why we’ve been called the Backstreet Boys of this scene.”

Although Laurencelle admits that he wouldn’t mind seeing some of the cash that trademarked boy bands draw in, he said Streamline prides itself on the sound it has produced for its next release: “When you hear Nickelback, you know it’s Nickelback. You hear the guy’s voice. When you hear Breaking Benjamin, you know it’s Breaking Benjamin. When you hear it, you know it’s still Streamline, but you can see that we’ve grown musically.”


Streamline
Hear songs from the band at www.myspace.com/streamlineband.
Upcoming shows include:
• Friday, May 15, at Jillian’s in Manchester at 8 p.m. (with Prospect Hill)
• Saturday, May 23, at Meadowbrook in Gilford at 1 p.m. (opening for Korn)