Band: The Bodhi Tree

Members: Matt Collier, guitar and synth; Sharon Collier, percussion; Nate Miller, guitar; Rocky Yohe, bass and synth

Who we talked to: Sharon Collier, 34

How did you guys meet/how long have you been performing together? My brother and I . . . were the founding members of the band. We started, I guess, about five or six ago. We write, like, all our own music. It's all instrumental. About a year and a half ago, Rocky and Nate joined the band and we've expanded and written, like, some new music and also went back to some of the music me and my brother had done and revamped it for the four of us.

Did you and your brother grow up in a musical household? Yeah, definitely. We always had some kind of music on in the house. Our dad, he plays guitar and our mom played the piano. My dad and my mom both played in the church. My dad had his own band in the church that he played with. Sometimes, we'd go out on the weekends and travel . . . with his band. That was definitely an influence on us.

Describe your sound. I kind of define it as a cross between Pink Floyd and Enya. We sort of pull from all different types of world cultures. One song might sound sort of like Santana, and the next song might sound sort of like it's from outer space. We won't really set out to make a particular song - it just happens. We let the creative juices flow. Our live performances (have) something for everybody. We have fans from all different age groups. Our music has been used in yoga studios and martial arts studios, and people play it at work sometimes. It's very relaxing, and it makes you feel peaceful.

Who are your influences? Pink Floyd would be a good one (as well as) Loreena McKennitt, Ravi Shankar (and) Led Zeppelin. We listen to everything. We don't really discount any kind of music because there's always something to be gleaned . . . from it. We listen to "Echoes" a lot on (WXPN) because our music kind of fits that genre.

How did you come up with the name? The Bodhi Tree is actually the tree Buddha sat under when he achieved enlightenment. We're not necessarily Buddhist. In fact, Rocky and Nate are Christian. We like the image of the tree and the serenity. Generating that peace through our music is sort of like what we wanted it to represent. That image of that tree and how it grows and expands (represents) a symbolic branching out. (The band) started with my brother and I, and now we've expanded to two more people.

Where do you play in the area? We've played numerous places, mostly it's been coffee shops . . . and street fairs. We stay away from the bar scene. First of all, our music really wouldn't fit. We want to be in more positive environments. With Badog (Music), Rocky has the connection there. He knows the owner of the store.

What else is on the horizon for you? We're actually playing at Sonnewald Natural Foods store for their Earth Day event (May 15). We're also working on getting a full-length CD together. We're hoping to have it done soon (and) we want to perhaps have a CD release party as well. We want to incorporate lasers. (Laughs) That's one of the things we're working on as well. It's sort of like a concept album coupled with visual imagery (to) tell a story through the music and the pictures. We're still in the . . . planning stages (for that CD).

Where are you in the recording process? We record everything ourselves . . . at my brother's house. With the advent of home software, it makes it much easier and cheaper than going to the studio for sure. My brother . . . mostly does a lot of the mixing and mastering himself. We have about six songs recorded so far. We want to do about five or six more.

Have you met any other local musicians? We have met a lot of different musicians just from the nature of the places we play . . . a lot of musicians attend. I would think we're more open to perhaps having a singer (join us). None of us really sing, so we're limited in that respect. We've kicked the idea around as to maybe having somebody collaborate with us to do vocal tracks.

What subjects influence your songs? We kind of do it on the opposite direction. We'll come up with the song, and we'll listen to it. Being that it's instrumental . . . it's more like the music kind of gives you ideas as to what you . . . think it's about. The things that the music makes you think of kind of becomes the song title.

- Erin McCracken, FlipSide staff

If you go

The Bodhi Tree will perform 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 18, on the Community Stage at Badog Music, 60 Glen Drive, Manchester Township. For details, call 266-1012 or visit www.badogmusic.com.

Online

For details about The Bodhi Tree: www.myspace.com/thebodhitreemusic

Listen to the interview: www.flipsidepa.com

Read more meet-the-artist interviews: www.flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory