Mike Berginc – Vocals/Acoustic
Will Brogan – Guitar
Jonathan Laychak – Drums
Mike Glister – Bass
Jon Miller – Keys/Synth/Organ
SB: So could you tell me the story behind your musical moniker?
Mike B. – It’s a metaphor, that refers to a climb. I was in graduate business school years ago, learning about a creative method for problem solving. I dreamed up a sketch, which was a rule in the creative process and titled it ‘As Ladders’. During this time, I also wrote the first song, ‘Close to Me’ that I felt meant more about the idea of creating with a purpose than maybe I had done before. This project uses song-writing as a means to climb out of troubles and also document my feelings. That’s where I see it in 2017. It’s like a journal of song ideas that’s been 5 years in the making, and now with a band, it’s a nice group of friends too.
SB: How did your exposure to music growing up help shape the sound and direction of As Ladders?
Mike B. – I’m most happy recalling the first time that I heard a moving song. I’ve looked for music on my own, but the songs that stay with me represent a time and place where I first heard it. In As Ladders, there is definitely an acoustic influence, like 90s alternative-roots rock music such as Oasis and The Wallflowers. These band’s pulled me in. More recently, Ryan Adams is a song-writer whom I enjoy. I love Americana, like Eagles and Tom Petty. I was fascinated with Oasis’ “Wonderwall”. That song, with the MTV video, the attitude and energy all around the music built up a nerve in me to write songs. It’s my exposure to the acoustic guitar that helped shaped the band’s sound so far.
SB: You guys released your first EP called “Yarns” in 2015 and “Maybe True” in January of last year, was there a lot done differently production wise between those?
Mike B. – Yes. “Yarns” was done like a solo project, where I wrote, mixed and recorded the whole thing on a digital multi-track. Two songs, “I’m With You” and “Boomerang” where re-recorded with the current line-up at a studio here in Pittsburgh, at Icehouse Recording Studios. Jon Miller tracked and mixed the record. We put everything we had into “Maybe True” to best realize the songs in a band format. We’ll be going into the studio again to finish the whole album. We are half way there! Recording five more songs in 2017 is the plan.
SB: out of all the songs you guys have so far released, what is your favorite song?
Mike B. – Close to Me
Jonathan – IFD Live on WPTS
Will – Big Blue Dark
Mike – Close to Me
Jon – Lindsay
SB: What is your song-writing process like?
Mike B. – I’ve basically got a process down for it! I decide on an idea, or mood when inspiration strikes before I pick up a guitar. Then, I play with a melody around the chords and immediately track it to my recorder. Since the music is now a collective discussion, I bring whatever I have to the band and we play it a dozen or so times until we like it. In earlier songs, like “Lindsay” I wrote almost the whole tune in one setting. I actually lost and recovered the demo recording years later after going through lost CDs and other junk. Each song has it’s own character.
SB: What was has been your experience playing around Pittsburgh and becoming a part of the music scene here?
Mike B. – I see a nice sense of community, which exists in the open mic and spoken word events around the city. It was a big reason why I continued pursing performance of my songs. The coolest thing I’ve learned, is that no expression requires an audience. Once you sing a note it exists. But, the community here is encouraging enough to motivate musicians to want to play and realize music for an audience. That act of playing reinforces what it’s all about, a community, by and for the people around here. The music scene has supported me and each other in very real ways, all of which are positive. Pittsburgh has a rich history of art and music that I like a lot.
SB: Are you guys in the process of recording a full length album?
Mike B. – Yes, we’ll be recording five songs in 2017. We are going to start on them in February 2017.
SB: what’s the most important thing you hope people connect with when they listen to your music or hope translates when you play live?
Mike B. – I hope the songs make you feel the way I felt when I first put them to paper. That’s the real art.
SB: Awesome! Thanks for talking with me!