MULTIMEDIA COLLECTIVE BUILDS NETWORK OF ARTISTS

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS AND VIDEO BY WILL FISHER

While their home base isn’t exactly the “Fortress of Solitude,” located in the middle of the Arctic Tundra, The Cold Collective, headquartered in Richmond, Va., is no longer a secret society. On July 16, 2016, the brand will launch its debut projects and shine some light on the rising talents in this growing  digital community.

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DESPITE FEELING “OUT OF PLACE” IN THE VIRGINIA POP PUNK SCENE, A COLLEGIATE AFFAIR OVERCOME CHALLENGES TO REACH OUT TO NEW FANS AND DEVELOP MORE MATURE, POLISHED SOUND

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INTERVIEW BY SHELBY BAKER

PHOTOS BY WILL FISHER AND BILLY COLLIER

It’s been nearly a year since A COLLEGIATE AFFAIR released their debut EP, Out of Place. Since then, the Richmond-based four-piece have been busy. They’ve toured consistently, welcomed a new vocalist, and are preparing to release their follow-up EP, titled Calling Card, in just a few weeks. With all this change and experience came a new mindset toward their song writing. The songs on Out of Place were the band’s very first attempt at songwriting and were influenced by various artists. This time around, they took the time to create polished, substantial songs for their next release. We caught up with bassist/vocalist Mike Stecher and guitarist Tim Fogg to dish about Calling Card, major influences, and what sets them apart from other bands on the scene.

What inspired the band name?

Tim: At the time, we were all going into college, and we just kind of named it that. We couldn’t think of a good name, and we wanted to stand out and didn’t want a generic sounding name. That’s kind of how it turned out.

I actually reviewed your EP Out of Place, and I really enjoyed it. I liked that it was old-school pop punk. What was the inspiration behind the songs on the EP?

Mike: We’d be at practice and Tim would play something and we’d be like, “That sounds good,” then I’d make lyrics and that’s how it came together.

Tim: We spent about two years writing it. We weren’t doing it full-time, and Mike was going through stuff — at school and at home, and that was the inspiration. It was our first attempt [at writing songs], so some of the songs are not as polished as we would have liked. Our newer songs have a much more mature and focused approach.

What bands or artists are your main inspirations?

Mike: My favorite band is IRON MAIDEN, and I love BLINK-182, FOUR YEAR STRONG, and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. Those are probably my biggest influences.

Tim: My favorite band is also BLINK-182, and I really like FALL OUT BOY. I also really like A DAY TO REMEMBER and FOUR YEAR STRONG as well.

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I’ve noticed you guys perform a ton of free shows. Is there a reason behind playing shows for free?

Tim: We generally don’t like to do that since it means we don’t get paid, and we need money to get around. It definitely can bring a lot of a crowd, and people who don’t have money can come out. It’s a better experience, and people buy merchandise, so we get some money.

Mike: It’s a lot less stress than having to worry about presales; normally you have to sell a set number of tickets [at each show], and instead it’s like, “Hey, it’s free, come out,” and new people are more likely to come to the show.

What do you think defines your band’s sound?               

Tim: When we write, we try to mix all of our influences. We try to mix a blend of RISE AGAINST and BLINK-182 to create a unique sound, as well as some combinations of some pop. Musically, we just pull all our influences, and when we write, it just comes out how it comes out.

Mike: Our EP [Out of Place] was like that.

What do you think separates you from other current pop-punk bands?

Mike: We’re labeled as pop punk, but I think that’s because nobody else knows what to call us. We’re not like any other bands we play with. We’re just sort of there.

Tim: That’s also why our first EP was called Out of Place. But when we write, we don’t try to sound like anybody, and we don’t want to sound generic, so we write each song multiple times.

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In April 2013, you guys opened for AARON CARTER on his “The After Party” Tour. How did that opportunity present itself?

Tim: I really like AARON CARTER; I saw him in concert when he was like 8 years old. We knew a promoter in Richmond, and I heard that he was performing there. I asked around and to see if people would come to it and everyone was freaking out. Now when I first get introduced to people, the first thing they know is that I opened for AARON CARTER.

What was it like opening for AARON CARTER?

Mike: It was a really good experience, and it was a really good crowd. We were used to playing pop punk and metal shows where the crowd was mostly guys, but at that show we played to three or four hundred girls, so that was a huge change for us.

Tim: It was a different crowd then what we’re used too; we gained a lot of fans and made new contacts so it worked out well.

Is there a band or artist that you would love to open for or tour with in the future?

Tim: I’d love to open for RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE or BLINK-182, either one of those.

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Are you guys working on new material?

Tim: We have a bunch of demos, and were recording a new EP and a new single. Right now, it’s being mixed and mastered, but it will be released mid-September and will be named Calling Card.

Mike: In about two or three weeks, we’ll release the artwork.

For more updates on A COLLEGIATE AFFAIR, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and check out their music on Bandcamp.

INQUIRY SEEKS TO TAKE THE THRONE AS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR BANDS IN VIRGINIA WITH THEIR UPCOMING RECORD

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS BY FIRE AT WILL PHOTOGRAPHY

With the Richmond music scene transitioning between older bands breaking up and newer bands on the rise, INQUIRY seeks to take the throne with their upcoming record. Currently the band are crowdsourcing funds on an Indiegogo campaign, and they have nearly met their goal of $2,000. Formed in September 2011, the band, which consists of drummer Bri Jackson, bassist Patrick Allen, vocalist Justin Piaoan, and guitarists Kyle Richards and Partick Van Story,  combines elements of pop punk and post-hardcore music. Their music has a very hopeful attitude, and they seek to provide inspiration to kids “walking through life with their head down”. I talked to Piaoan about his band’s thoughts on the changes in the Richmond music scene, the new direction they will be taking on their next EP, as well as what sets them apart from other local bands.

The local music scene has been going through some interesting changes lately, between venues such as Kingdom closing and a fresh new crop of bands coming up in the pop punk, hardcore, and metal genres, among many others. What are your thoughts on that?

I feel like it has been in a rebirth stage for the past two years with bands like THE GREATER THE RISK, LOVE & REVERIE, SAFETY WORD ORANGE, and most recently CONDITIONS breaking up, which is giving newer bands like us a chance to thrive and have the opportunity to take the throne, so to speak. Kingdom was a hot spot that has forever changed, but its closing leaves way for newer venues like Sound Check Studios to carry the torch. That is something that Richmond needed. I have also seen people doing more DIY shows and taking the scene into their own hands, hosting shows in their house, their shed or even their kitchen (laughs). I have even seen more bands trading shows with other bands. So it poses the question as to whether we are reverting back to promoting more on a personal level rather than through social media.

How does your band fit into that dynamic?

We just try to be honest with our music and play our hearts out. Our goal is to break the mold of what people expect of us, and we will play with anyone. When I was in high school I remember shows where bands of all genres played together, and that’s how it should be. Shows don’t have to be just pop punk bands or just hardcore bands.

I heard that your band will be recording your second EP in New York soon at Westfall Recording Company. Can you tell me more about that?

We are tryna write a five-song EP that is drenched in honesty, as always. We recently added a second guitarist. His name is Patrick Van Story, and he is from Virginia Beach. Our music is like hot air balloon ready to fly. We are in a do or die situation, and we are really doing our best to get tour ready.

What do you mean your music is “honest”?

It’s not about partying or drinking or having sex. It’s about tapping into the good and bad stuff inside all of us. It’s very emotional, heartfelt music that seeks to connect with others. We understand the troubles that kids are going through that walk through life with their head down, and we are trying to let them know that we understand their pain.

Why did you choose to do the Indiegogo campaign for this record?

We are all hard working people, and we thought it would be our best bet to make our goal. We started it three days ago, and we are almost at our goal. We have been amazed by people’s generosity coming out of the woodwork.

Do you think crowdsourcing websites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter are beneficial to the music scene?

Without a doubt! It is super beneficial. We are just normal everyday people trying to fund being in a band, as well as all the expenses that come along with it, but it is also beneficial for people that are passionate about what they do.

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How much progress have you made in the writing process for your new record?

We have the skeletons of five out of a minimum of eight songs. We want to bring eight to 10 songs into pre-production so we can pick the best songs for the EP. We have one complete song so far, and in February we will be locking down time to write everything before we head up to New York.

Do you plan to keep the same sound on “Savages” for your new record, or are you gonna try something different?

We are going to leave it be. It was the last song that we wrote as a four-piece, but we will still be playing it at our shows. The new songs will be more of a post-hardcore, heavy sound, but without the breakdowns (laughs). We have a lot of different influences, so our new record will be all over the place.

Who are some of your favorite local bands?

THE CONCUSSION THEORY, COMRADES, WINNING THE LOSER’S BRACKET, THE GREAT DISMAL, EXILES AMONG YOU, BATTLEGHOST, CENTERFOLDS, and FIRST CLASS LIAR.

For more updates on INQUIRY, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, and check out their music on Bandcamp.