Atlanta-based progressive rock band Six Elements was founded in 2007 by keyboardist Michael (Misha) Shengaout, whose dream was to create conceptual music combining meaningful, inspiring lyrics (like Rudyard Kipling's famous poem "If") with arrangements in the tradition of Russian Romantic composers (think Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky). Misha spent the next two years developing material for the band's first album.
He met guitarist Jeff McGahren in 2009. They hit it off, co-wrote two songs for the album, and spent the next year developing arrangements for their first CD. In mid-2010 bassist Dave DeMarco (Crack The Sky, Oblivion Sun) and drummer Marc Norgaard signed on for the recording sessions. It was Dave who introduced Misha to vocalist Stanley Whitaker (Happy the Man, Oblivion Sun), ultimately completing the three-member band.
Six Elements took the next year to lay down their inaugural album, Primary Elements, after finding Brandt Fincher, a top-tier sound engineer who could mix their ambitious, polyphonic arrangements into crisp, clear, compelling tracks, many of which flow seamlessly into the other. By the end of 2011 the album was perfected, and the release date for Six Elements' debut album, Primary Elements was set for March 5, 2012 under the Tower of Harmony label.
Critics compare the band's vocals to early Genesis with Peter Gabriel with solo guitars reminiscent of Pink Floyd. Whatever their influences, Six Elements' vocals and guitars are harmonic gift wrap for the band's message, which Victorian novelist George Eliot summed up well: "It's never too late to be what you might have been". Not surprisingly, the album's break-out single is the song "If", which channels the inspirational words of Rudyard Kipling's poem "If". The song is featured prominently on the first page of the semi-monthly webzine "All Things If", which is devoted to the ideals of this poem.
Progressive Rock meets Rudyard Kipling's "If"
Six Elements Releases "Primary Elements"
To Help Bring Emotional Order to Life's Chaos
Atlanta, GA, February 10, 2012—Kipling's poem "If" is more than just a collection of sentences that rhyme; it inspires an idea–the idea of being all you were born to be. You see this idea embodied in the lives of Socrates and Joan of Arc, expressed in the words of Kipling's "If" and Henley's "Invictus", visualized in films like "Forrest Gump" and "The Shawshank Redemption". In their new album, Primary Elements, Atlanta-based symphonic rock group Six Elements imparts this idea through music, including an arrangement of Kipling's "If".
Six Elements' founder Michael (Misha) Shengaout, who fused the idea with his passion for progressive rock, says, "If our bodies are what we eat, then our souls are what we read and listen to. Our society, so obsessed with the diet for the body, utterly overlooks the diet for the mind. Some ideas deserve to be on the daily menu and shouted from every rooftop. The idea of Kipling's poem "If" is definitely one of them. Our album takes this idea and applies it to the different "elements" of life. We want our music to remind us the ups and downs of our existence can culminate in a triumphant, meaningful "final chord."
Music is the harmony of the human soul expressed in sound. An effort to appreciate the complex harmonies of music can lead to an appreciation of hidden harmonies in life. An appreciation of seemingly disconnected chords coalescing into a majestic musical creation can help us recognize the triumphs of tomorrow behind the difficulties of today.
Six Elements has earned the right to create this kind of music by living it first. Stanley Whitaker (vocals) has experienced life's ups and downs both in music (performing with cult bands like Happy The Man and Oblivion Sun) and in life (fighting off cancer). Jeffrey McGahren (guitars) has had his share of existential frustrations. Misha Shengaout (keyboards) has been tested by immigration and raising a son with autism. Their brand of progressive rock reflects their life experiences and the attitude that makes it all worthwhile. Primary Elements (released on March 5, 2012) takes the idea expressed in Kipling's "If" and weaves the perfect musical clothing for it.