Thanks to the inexplicable popularity of my Submit Music page, I always have a digital backlog of albums, EPs, singles and videos awaiting my perusal. Here’s a recent must-hear from Intercontinen7al, a massive global collective who give a whole new meaning to world music with their eclectic sound — and definitely live up to their name to boot. If you’ve got something I need to hear, send it my way. If I think you’re half as good as you think you are, I just might include you next time.
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “What began as a sonic experiment of recording music virtually among local bandmates in Columbia, Maryland has evolved into a worldwide collaboration. The band Intercontinen7al consists of multiple musicians spread across all seven continents (including two in Antarctica), who create original songs to prove that music can not only survive but thrive in these pandemic times. Their debut album Volume I includes the track Manor Hill, believed to be the first original composition recorded across all the continents. With all proceeds going to the GoFundMe COVID-19 General Relief Fund, the band aims to give back to those impacted over the last year.
In March 2020, when COVID-19 was impacting people around the globe and lockdowns had sidelined live music, members of the local Columbia band Toast (Matt Smith, Jamie Miller, Ben Gaither, Emily Betz and guest Becca Drayer) sought avenues to continue collaborating and playing together virtually. The band discovered the application BandLab, and a month later were sharing drum tracks, guitar riffs, and other ideas among themselves.
A few months later, the band recognized the potential of the app’s public community, and decided to publish internal song ideas outside the band framework — unlocking them so that any BandLab user could contribute. Matt posted a grunge-inspired instrumental acoustic song tentatively called Aslin. Within days, multiple parts were submitted by artists, including North American Hope Gray’s backing vocals and South American Gustavo Prida’s lead vocals (sung in Spanish), transforming Aslin into No Somos De Este Lugar. The band continued this process, posting a blues idea by Matt and Jamie for external contributors; this soon evolved into When I’m Gone, with David Lee Rendon from North America on vocals and Robert James Shoveller from Australia on lead guitar.
In late August, Matt was walking when an idea struck him like a lightning bolt: What if the band adopted Foo Fighters’ Sonic Highways concept (recording with artists from several cities in the U.S.), but expanded it to include every continent to participate. Intercontinen7al was born, with the 7 inspired by the Tool song 7empest.
The band contacted friends, former bandmates and family members, and used BandLab to target by location and instrument type to establish additional musician connections. Europe is represented by musicians such as Marcin Nawrocki, who was recruited after flagging one of the band’s ideas for collaboration. To recruit musicians from Antarctica, Matt contacted numerous research stations to ask if anyone happened to be musicians.
The 22 artists who took part in Intercontinen7al Volume I are listed below. As of March 2021, the band has grown to 43 members — who are all working on ideas for Volume II, slated for release in the spring/summer of this year.
Joshua Pearlson – guitar
Stijn Thoolen – percussion
Aymar de Lichtervelde – classical guitar
Nerse – flute, violin, slide
Tnbt – drums
Robert James Shoveller – guitar
Jeff Hobbs – guitar, 12 string guitar, piano
Marcin Nawrocki – guitar, bass, programming
Rieneke van Laarhoven – vocals
Emily Betz – vocals
Alex Burke – bass, piano
Roy Colquitt – bass
Dirty D – saxophone
Becca Drayer – vocals
Ben Gaither – co-writer, guitar
Hope Gray – vocals
Devin Heritage – bass
Jamie Miller – drums, cajon, djembe
David Lee Rendon – vocals
Matt Smith – guitar, vocals, programming
Nereo – bass, vocals
Gustavo Prida – vocals