Interview & Images by Amanda Dedieu; CB South Senior
Video by Carly D'Angelo: CB West Senior
How did you get started/what inspired you to start a band?
The band started in its first format when John was in 9th grade. The band was originally an alternative Christian band with Singer Katie Benson, percussionist Zach Keifer, and guitarist Jack Prince . After about 6 months (give or take), Katie decided to take a different path career wise. After Katie left, the band had an interview scheduled with a local radio station in Philadelphia—an internet-only station called Your Local Note. Needing a singer, John went for Eric after seeing him perform at an open mic night at church. Eric performed a couple songs live at the interview and remained the front man ever since. The band later let go of Zach, the drummer at the time, due to time conflicts. Later we picked up bassist Jake Mercer, and percussionist Jeremy Connor. We have been together in this format for about six months.
When did it start and what was it like in the beginning vs. now?
The band started when John was in 9th grade. We started as an alternative Christian band and developed to an indie rock/pop band. Our sound COMPLETELY changed, both musically and lyrically.
What are some of your immediate goals for the band when you started?
When the band started, our plan was to make a difference and honestly, that still is our goal. The only difference now is that people are actually noticing and enjoying our music. We have come a very long way since the start, and are starting to gain publicity in many different mediums.
Do you write your own songs? What is your song writing process?
John has written most of the songs since the band originated, and now Eric has taken the role along side John. Our next EP\album will consist of both songs from Eric and John, and possibly Jack.
What’s the most difficult part about being in a band, writing music, balancing with school, etc.?
We all have different perspectives and roles in the band. We are flexible and make time for both school and music. The most difficult part is that three of the guys are also deciding about college and what their plans are for next year and the years to come after that. Also, just the general struggle of getting 5 teenage kids with packed schedules to commit to a regular practice schedule is something we've run into frequently. John and Jack continually push themselves to write more intricate riffs to play. They want to find a way to showcase the 9 years Jack has been playing, and John’s four years of experience, and still bring in ideas from different styles of playing.
How did you get your first EP on iTunes?
We are connected with many bands that are successful. Our good friends from the band Sonnder helped us out and gave us the resources we needed to put our EP out digitally in different formats.
Now that you have your first EP on iTunes, what’s your next step? What are you goals?
We have come a very long way since the EP release. We are developing better music and sounds that we are hoping are noticed and enjoyed by more people! Our goals remain the same—we want to make our dream a reality; we want to be able to create music that people love and may even help them get through tough times, and at the same time just have a blast with this. We are hoping to tour this summer and also talk to some pretty cool people who will be our "key" to moving on from there. Musically, what we want to do, is continue to push the boundaries of our music knowledge and technique. This could include coming up with more intricate riffs and moving beyond just basic chords, as well as being able to bring the different styles of music we all listen to and like to play outside of the band, into our own music.
What advice would you give to other teen musicians looking to start a band?
Sometimes you need to put all your cards on the table. We all have a plan on this earth and if you want to start a band, then do it, because only good things will come out of it. Also, stay true to yourself and don't let people tell you that you can't do something ... We have been told that many times, and we have excelled in so many ways despite being told we couldn’t.