WASHINGTON, D.C.’S IN YOUR MEMORY RELEASE DATES FOR “HOW I MET YOUR GIRLFRIEND TOUR”

IYM 4

PHOTOS BY NICHOLAS KARLIN

Based out of Washington, D.C., IN YOUR MEMORY is a post-hardcore band with a “jazz-netic” twist to the genre, leaning on their punk rock influences. Formed in 2012, the band made its debut in 2013 with their self-titled EP, In Your Memory. During these past few years, the band has made some style changes and lineup adjustments that finally solidified their membership in 2014 with a roster consisting of singer Omar Veras, guitarists Casey Allen and Alex Scott, drummer Jonathan Shephard and bassists Troy Humphrey.

Continue Reading

WASHINGTON, D.C.’S IN YOUR MEMORY WRITE HONEST “JAZZ-NETIC” POST-HARDCORE ON NEW ALBUM, REFLECTIONS, AND PREPARE TO RELEASE NEW SINGLES OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS

IYM 4

INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS BY NICHOLAS KARLIN AND AGNES OWUSU

Personally, I cannot think of any bands that combine jazz and punk influences to fuse a new sound as effortlessly together as IN YOUR MEMORY. Based out of Washington, D.C., this post-hardcore five-piece consists of vocalist Omar Veras, drummer Jonathan Bonifacio, bassist Troy Humphrey, and guitarists Casey Allen and Alex Scott. Together, they form one of the most cohesive groups the D.C. area has seen since forming in 2011 in Scott’s basement. Despite a rough start in 2013 with the release of their self-titled EP, the members have switched gears and roles in the band to develop this new, innovative sound on their most recent EP, Reflections, which include three songs that literally reflect where they are as a band with much more honest songs about Veras’ personal life and recovery from alcohol addiction.

In September 2014, your band released Reflections, which is the first new release since your self-titled debut EP in 2013. On your Bandcamp page, you described this three-song EP as “a sum of the last two years of our lives.” Can you explain what you meant by that and how your band has developed since then?

The majority of that was based off of everything that was happening with me when I was drinking, when I had the whole DUI thing happening, also situations that I was put in from previous relationships — stuff like that where I was the “bad guy” in relationships. Long story short, when we went in to record it and [while] producing Reflections, when I was writing lyrics, I wanted to get the point across. I was talking to my producer, and he was like, “Dude, the more honest you are, the better it’s gonna be.” So instead of taking the approach that I took before in the self-titled EP where it was the cliché “It’s about a girl” thing, all of these songs had a different meaning, whether it had to do with “Karma,” “Breaking Habits,” or “Layers of Lies,” that was pretty much the approach. When we took it to the live stage, whether it was a house show or a bigger venue, it was just more believable.

What is your song “Breaking Habits” about?

That was the first one out of the three that we finished, and it is that right there — breaking the habit. That’s literally verbatim of what happened to me when I got not my first but my second DUI, honestly. It was just what was going on in the back of my head, how everyone was talking to me about it or behind closed doors. Also, on the post-end of things, after everything happened, [it’s about] how did I take everything. For example, in the chorus, [I sing], “Is this my Interview, / Feels more like an Intervention.” So it’s like, the more people ask and the more people want to know, it’s just like people are constantly asking, and you have the same answer for every single person.

IYM 1According to your band bio, it describes your music as a “jazz-netic twist” to the post-hardcore genre, while leaning on your punk rock influences. What are some ways that you combine jazz music with punk and hardcore?

I used to play guitar in a band before I started singing, and everything we do instead of [playing power chords], our guitars a detuned down to A#. I know between myself, Alex, and Casey, when it [comes] to writing material, nothing sounds just like a power chord. If we want to add diminished chords or different variations of jazz chords in there just to give it a kind of different appeal or twist to things, we find a way to throw it in. Not only that, but our bass player is coming from a reggae background, so kind of in the punk rock genre you have a bass player following the guitars, while he is kind of doing his own thing. You can feel it, especially in “Layers of Lies” where the bass kind of has its own anthem, its own feel. Not only that, but our drummer does his part too to stay in tune. Circling back to the whole “jazz-netic” piece of things, we make sure we remember our roots of the punk and the rock influences, but at the end of the day, we want to stand out so we add those extra nuances.

In what ways did Reflections expand your audience?

Ever since I joined the band, the critique we would always get would be, “It sounds good, but is it ‘rock?’” Even when we started touring In Your Memory, the self-titled EP, we would always [hear], “The sound sounds good. It’s different, but is it rock?” That was [back] when Troy sang, our bass player. Then things happened, and I started singing after that because I had the more “rockish,” raw tone. As far as Reflections, once we put that out, with the help of out producers Kevin Gutierrez and Martin MacAlister [of Assembly Line Studios], they put us in the right pocket. We all had a big discussion, and we spoke a lot about how we wanted everything to sound from the drums, to the guitars, to the vocals in the front and in the back, even harmonies, and we wanted to make sure that no matter what, if you were to hit play, you would know that this was a rock album. So that was the first thing of [making sure] we got into the right avenue with the right audience to touch base on.

But we were also thinking of things more professionally with more business appeal. We wanted to have something that was a little more marketable, something that made sense not only at a bigger or social media aspect, but also locally. Looking at this area in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, there are a lot of different genres going on, a lot of different bands. So we wanted to make sure it was something where it was true to us, it was easy for someone that wants to pick up a CD and listen to us and make sure they can digest it, but the main thing was when we play shows with other bands, we wanted to make sure it has a good flow from us to the next band. It’s great to stand out, and it is great not to sound the same. But you still have to have a good solid show.

Can you tell me about the Disney cover song you guys are working on, “I’ll Make A Man Out of You” from Mulan?

It’s actually fully done. We finished pre-production back in December [2014]. We got the final copy January 5, and the same gentleman that is going to help us with our next release, Eric Taft, just finished the mixing for it. We recorded it with Martin [MacAlister], who did Reflections with us too. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. Right now, we are in the process of getting the copyrights, and I know Disney is all over the place with that to make sure no one makes money. We didn’t do it necessarily to make money, but mainly to have fun with things because it isn’t something we have done before. We haven’t given any cover, period, any random twist. It got to the point where we started bouncing ideas off each other where this year we want to put out four videos because we’re local. The only way to keep our name on people’s tongues is constant releases. So we decided to make this song one of the next videos that we put out.

What is the theme that you guys are doing for the “I’ll Make A Man Out of You” video?

We want to make sure that we have fun with it instead it just being a band scene. For this next video, we [plan to] take it to the next step as far as comic relief, if I may. We are releasing it around Valentine’s Day for a reason because we take relationships to another step. Plus, the concept of “I’ll Make A Man Out of You,” we give a modern twist to it. Hopefully it’s not expected, and we keep people laughing. But our next video will keep the momentum with the comedy behind them. Eventually, we might do something serious, but I’m not too sure because I’m not too sure how serious we carry ourselves. Obviously we are very serious about how we carry ourselves, but we are all goofballs. IYM 5

Why did you choose to work with Eric Taft of Buzz Lounge Studios (originally known as Salad Days) on recording your next two singles?

We were bouncing a lot of ideas back and forth. We went from recording with the guy that did PARAMORE and this and that. We were thinking about going to the “next step,” but then, we started slowing down and looking at the bigger picture. The point of it is, [we thought], “What is the point of investing all this money, taking a trip, and doing all that stuff if only 15 people listen to it?” Who knows if by recording with this person if it really mattered? So we were like, why not record some place closer to home? Why not work with someone that is already embedded into a scene that we are slowly getting ourselves into, networking more, making friends with bands, and stuff like that. But a lot of bands we already worked with recommended him to us, so it just made sense to use someone that everyone [in the area] has worked with. Personally, I am a big THRICE fan, and I know that the studio he currently owns is where they originally wrote a lot of their records, CIRCA SURVIVE’s records. … Not only that but after talking and relating with him, there were a lot of influences that he listens to that we related with [as well]. His talent, given all the other bands that we’ve heard, it’s mainly to support the scene.

Do they have titles yet for the singles you will be releasing with Taft?

We have two tracks that we just finished doing pre-production. In total, we want to release six, but we in a debate of whether we should put all six on the next EP, or release two singles and do a four-track EP after. If we do that, we do have two tracks. The first track will be called “Solace,” and the next track is going to be called “Decadence.” We won’t make another big twist based on the feedback we heard from Reflections, but it is different. Maybe the maturity and the progression in how much more technical we got [is different] just because of feedback we received. … These new songs are a lot more aggressive. They are a lot more energetic, and even live, we already played these two songs on our last run when we went to [Pennsylvania]. It was phenomenal, with no antics, no lighting, no extra backtrack. It was rawness, and it worked. It’s great when something like that comes to fruition.

When do you plan to release the two singles and then the four-song EP?

We haven’t settled on a date yet. We’ve been talking about a few things here and there. We are going to start to record the other [songs] midway through February, but we are all over the place. No matter how much you want to keep things in line, some things come up. … I can only assume we might release “Decadence” and “Solace” by the time we do our summer run, which will be two or two-and-a-half weeks that Casey is currently putting together. That’s gonna be an east coast run. We are going to have some Ohio dates as well, but it will possibly be anywhere between May and July.

IYM 3

 

On your website, you announced that you are booking a tour this spring. Can you tell me more about that?

That spring tour is going to be a quick run. What’s happening is Casey is also doing his part in booking in the Baltimore area as well. A lot of bands that we have befriended in the last few years, he has been booking, and they have been asking for us to come back to their states and towns. When we did that run in [Pennsylvania], we had five or six days there, and we really had a good turnout. They also want us to come back to see some friends and play some shows. It’s just gonna be [another] quick five or six day run, but the big one will be in the summer time.

For more updates on IN YOUR MEMORY, be sure to visit their website, “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and listen to Reflections on Bandcamp.

FOLLOWING TWO HIATUSES, KODIAK RELEASE FIRST NEW MUSIC SINCE 2009 ON SPLIT WITH SISTER BAND SATELLITES ON PARADE

kodiak 1

INTERVIEW BY KNIAL SAUNDERS

PHOTOS BY JUSTIN BEAN

KODIAK, Manassas, Va. natives, are back at it after a couple of hiatuses sidelined their efforts in recent years. But this time they are back with the release of a split EP with sister band SATELLITIES ON PARADE, which was released on January 15.The bands current lineup includes vocalist Mike Woods, also known as Prince Bob, guitarists Jeff Lukas and Josh Teodoro, bassist Aaron Ryder, and drummer Zeke Gough. The guys of KODIAK sat down with us to share a bit on their history, thoughts on the new EP, and what fans can expect from them in 2015.

How did you choose your band name?

We were originally thinking of the name Grizzly, but there was already a band with that name with a decent following. Zeke had Grizzly and Kodiak [tobacco] dip on him, so he held high the token KODIAK can like Excalibur and exclaimed, “By this, we shall be known.” Yeah, we were named after a can of dip.

In 2010, your band went on hiatus. What was the reason behind that, and what brought this band back together?

We’ve been on two hiatuses actually, one in 2010 and another in 2012/2013. The first was because Quad Fest at Radford. People were being shit birds down there, trying to start fights with us because who the hell knows. [The] night ended with a few friends getting arrested and a band disagreement/ tussle. Zeke broke up the fight. Josh punched a dumpster and broke his hand. You know, the usual. Then 2013 was just a time of a few members dealing with several personal issues they needed to sort out, [but] shit [has] been sorted. The two reasons we’ve always come back is that we’re all best friends, and our fans motivate us more than anything. We owe it to them.

kodiak 2

 

Personally, I find your sound to be reminiscent bands like ALEXISONFIRE and MISS MAY I. Who are your strongest musical influences right now?

ALEXISONFIRE!? Thanks, that’s a new one. Well, we all have our own influences, but there’s a few big ones for us: HE IS LEGEND, MAYLENE AND THE SONS OF DISASTER, EVERY TIME I DIE, NORMA JEAN, [and] STONE TEMPLE PILOTS , you know, sexy bands like that.

Split EPs, while not uncommon, are still few and far between. What led to the decision to split this EP with SATELLITES ON PARADE?

Satellites are our sisters from other misters. They are like family to us. We’ve been wanting to do a split for years. Just glad as hell it finally happened.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SPLIT FROM KODIAK AND SATELLITES ON PARADE

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SPLIT FROM KODIAK AND SATELLITES ON PARADE

 

What elements and experiences came together to inspire the creation of this EP? What would you say the overall message is?

Honestly, we just wanted to do a split with Satellites. We share similar fans and friends, and we think that this split was for the fans of both our bands. It was a long time coming. I feel like each song for sure has its own message, but if you were looking for an overall message… “Hotdog Zeke.” That’s it.

You must feel incredibly proud of yourselves for this release. What comes next for KODIAK?

[It] feels like a big weight [has been] lifted. This is our first legitimate release since 2009, so it’s been a long time coming. A full length album is in the works. More shows are coming up and hopefully a tour this summer.

kodiak 4

 

What have been your most memorable performances to date? What made it special?

That’s a mixed bag. Jeff’s favorite show was the one up in Rochester, Pa., where the moshing during our set started a fight that spilled into the street. Our first show, which was ONCE NOTHING’s farewell show, was incredible. Our farewell hiatus show at House of Yi was a tear-jerker, and any of our comeback shows were always made memorable by our fans. The Red Shed and Breezeway were definitely fun as hell, and our sets at The Untitled Music Festival have been some of Prince Bob’s [Mike Woods] favorites to date.

For more updates on KODIAK, please like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and listen to their split with SATELLITES ON PARADE on Bandcamp.

SUMMERTIME DISCUSS THEIR DREAMS TO PLAY WITH HATEBREED AND SELENA GOMEZ, AS WELL AS THEIR DEBUT ALBUM DUE OUT LATER THIS YEAR

summertime INTERVIEW BY STEPHANIE MCKENDRICK

Prior to their first show at 147 North in Winchester, Va., we sat down with the members of SUMMERTIME rom Front Royal, Va. to talk about having fun in the summer, the emotions their songs express, and their dream to play with HATEBREED, jazz bands, and Selena Gomez.

Continue Reading

PYRO, OHIO STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD IN THE POST-HARDCORE SCENE

PYRO OHIO 1

INTERVIEW BY SHELBY BAKER

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY GLORIA KANG AND MARISSA STRAW

Although their name suggests otherwise, PYRO, OHIO is an up-and-coming post-hardcore band from the cities of Christiansburg and Blacksburg. Consisting of vocalist Peter Verity, bassist Luke Brugh, drummer Mike McGrady, and guitarists Stephen Noel and Jake Whalen, the band came together about two years ago and have been on a constant flow ever since. For the 2012 Vans Warped Tour, they were chosen to play on the Ernie Ball stage as a part of their Battle of the Bands competition after having received roughly 13,000 votes. They’ve developed a fan base, affectionately called “Pyromaniacs”, and have released two EP’s–Welcome to Pyro, Ohio and Before the Sun Sets… through At Your Command Records. In addition, their new single is to be recorded soon and will be released next year.  Musically, the band is influenced by a range of bands from A SKYLIT DRIVE to INCUBUS, but they have created their own distinctive sound. I was fortunate to talk with the band for a quick interview about their history together, their musical influences, and where they stand in the post-hardcore scene.

What inspired your name?

Stephen: Right from the beginning we knew this band was different than anything we had ever done before. We wanted a band name that reflected our unique sound and that also embodied our determination to make this band work. We ended up with our name PYRO, OHIO, and it has a lot of meaning to me personally. The meaning I point to the most is the literal meanings of the words “Pyro” and “Ohio” and their juxtaposition. To me, this band is about the burning desire to find your passion and make a life out of it (hence being a “Pyro”) and the struggles of trying to stand out in this particular lifestyle/career (“Ohio” is derived from a word meaning “the great river”).

How did your band get started?

Luke: Stephen and I played together for like 10 years in various bands. About two and a half years ago after some time apart, we started this band with Peter and our original drummer George. Within 4 months we recorded our first EP which helped us earn a spot on the 2012 Vans Warped Tour

Who are your biggest influences?

Luke: TOOL.

Jake: DEATH.

Peter: BLINK 182.

Mike: A SKYLIT DRIVE.

Stephen: INCUBUS.

Peter: We’ve got a lot of different genres (laughs).

What inspired the symbol of the man with flames for a head?

Stephen: When the band was about two months old I was trying to make logos. I was thinking what could I do, and I thought about the little man that was on the bathroom stall signs. I thought that someone would be able to recognize that and added a flame on his head. We then had an artist do the logo.

PYRO OHIO 2

What do you guys hope to bring the post-hardcore scene?

Jake: Just like a fresh sound. I feel like we’re a little different from the current sound out there. Our current sound is like on the total opposite spectrum. It’s more than just breakdown, chorus, breakdown chorus.

Stephen: We have backgrounds in playing anywhere from progressive metal to pop punk. The result is something that is classified as post-hardcore, but we don’t strictly conform to the structures or tendencies in that or any genre. We just write what triggers strong emotions in us. That is the kind of music we enjoy.

Are there any Virginia artists that you recommend?

Stephen: We’re good friends with FOR THE BROKEN and THE NORTH. Also, HONOUR CREST just got signed to Rise Records, which is awesome. HONOUR CREST are hard-working, kind guys who deserve that success. Those are just the bands that we have hung out with. BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS, CONDITIONS, and LAMB OF GOD are pretty sweet as well.

For more information on PYRO, OHIO, visit their website, follow them on Twitter, and be sure to “like” their Facebook page.