Archive for October, 2013




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.


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.


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.




Ben Hardesty may look like the hammer-wielding god turned superhero, but he does have his own unique musical powers, that are eloquently complimented by his friends and family, who are collectively known as THE LAST BISON. Six of the band’s seven members have known each other since they were kids, including Hardesty and his younger sister, Annah, who plays bells and sings backup vocals. Hardesty met percussionist Jay Benfante and his older brother, Andrew, who plays the antique organ, grew up going to church with the Hardesty family, and instantly had great chemistry with them. Add classically trained strings players Teresa Totheroh on violin and Amos Housworth on cello, and the band’s richly layered sound was a match to be met. Inspired by the folk and bluegrass music of southeastern Virginia as well as an appreciation for classical music Hardesty cultivated while studying in England, THE LAST BISON have developed their own brand of “mountain-top chamber”. I had the opportunity to talk to Hardesty about the band’s recent trip to Alaska, the importance of community in their music, and their major label debut with their Inheritance EP.

You guys recently returned from Alaska. What was that experience like?

Gosh…Alaska! It’s a place you don’t want to leave. We were in Anchorage, which is 30 minutes out from the wilderness of Alaska, but we ventured out there a few times. We were staying there with a good friend of mine, and while we were there we enjoyed some of the freshest seafood—crab and salmon. We only got to play one show there, but we want to head back as soon as possible. We would love to tour all over Alaska. It’s very beautiful there and good all around.

I saw on your Instagram that while in Alaska you wore some deer antlers. Whose idea was that?

While we were there, Theron Humphrey of THIS WILD IDEA was touring through the area at the same time, and I was a big fan of him. He has over 350,000 followers on Instagram and Twitter, but we ended up connecting and met up on our last day there to hike up this mountain. My buddy that we were staying with had these random antlers, and everyone just happened to have cameras with them (laughs). So we decided to take them up to the top with us, and we just had fun with it.


According to the band’s biography on your website, your father gave you a guitar when you were two-years-old, and later told you, “It doesn’t matter if you play it right, just make it sound good!” Is that something that you still believe to be true?

I was 12-years-old when I started taking guitar seriously, but when I was two or three, my dad gave me this cream white guitar. When I turned nine, he gave me my first real guitar. It was around that time that he said that to me, and I still use that guitar to write most of our songs, even though its smaller, it still holds a lot of value to me. I’m not classically trained by any means, but my dad and my sister are. I always write by ear and just play whatever sounds good to me. I tend to use a lot of strange chord voicings, and it’s just something that I have always held onto.

That’s cool. You have the creative mindset for your songs, and your dad and sister can apply the technical skills to make the song even better.

Yeah definitely. We have been starting to get a better handle on writing songs together better in our creative process. We can understand each other better, and we have been able to write a lot of new songs much faster. Our next local show coming up is at the Norva on November 30th, and we will be playing a bunch of new songs that we have been working on at that show.

How important is family in your relationships with the rest of the band and in your music?

Our cellist actually just got engaged to my sister. I think the closer knit we are, the better. Community is huge for us, especially with our music, and it was hugely important to us when I was growing up. At the end of our shows, we even invite everyone on stage to join us in our performance.

Though your music, style of dress, and overall lifestyles may seem very traditional, how do you manage to be relevant to mainstream society?

I know we give off the folk farmer vibe, but that is more of the classic late-1800s aesthetic we are going for. We try to make it seem like we have stepped out of an 18th century stagecoach, but that goes along with the genre and the image we project. I think the important part is just owning it and sticking to your guns. We just create music that we love, and we hope that it remains relevant.


You just released your major label debut Inheritance EP through Republic Records. Why did you decide to switch to a major label?

Well we weren’t signed to a label before, and we made the trip to New York more for the experience. The people at Republic though were so congenial, and nice and personable. We really liked that maintaining the artistic side of our music was important to them. A lot of our band members have aspirations outside of music, but this felt like the best option for us. We thought about it over five months, and all the indie labels are running themselves like major labels but try to maintain that “indie” street cred. It has been fun and kinda not fun to see the veil of the music industry change before our eyes. We signed a five record contract with Republic, so one down and four to go (laughs).

What songs off that record have the most personal meaning to you, and why?

There are a few, but the one that has the most personal meaning is “Take All The Time”, which is a sacrificial love song. I wrote it about my girlfriend of three years, and it’s a song about lasting commitment. It’s about me telling her, ‘I’m not going anywhere.’

What other local artists from Virginia have influenced your band’s sound?

Though I am not really a pop punk fan, AUDIOSTROBELIGHT were a big influence in our early days as a band. Gabe is a really good friend of mine, and he helped us with a lot of technical advice that has helped us improve our live performances. I also really admire LOGAN VATH. He is doing great things in the local music community, and he will also be playing with us at our Norva show on November 30th. ESBERN SNARE is another really great band. They make beautiful music, and on one of our tours, their vocalist Luke filled in on organ for us. Also, I can’t forget the classics like ELLA FITZGERALD and CLARENCE CLEMMONS.

For more updates on THE LAST BISON and to hear Inheritance EP, visit their website, “like” their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter.




Though he is still in high school, Faron Brown aka FAM$, has plenty of knowledge to share. Born into a military family, Brown has lived in several states, but he considers Virginia to be his home. Inspired by both underground and mainstream rappers, Brown hopes that his songs will be enjoyed by everyone, and he wishes more of Virginia’s talented artists-himself included-will become more recognized in the near future.

What does your name stand for, and why did you choose it?

It means Forgive All My Sins, and I chose that because sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. It’s part of life.

How did you get into rapping?

When I was in middle school, I met my friend’s dad, who was a popular musician in Germany, and I really admired his music. He gave me some pointers and helped me get started. In seventh grade, which was 2009 to 2010, I entered the school talent show, and everyone love it so I stuck with it.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the rap and hip-hop community in Virginia?

It’s pretty dope. There’s a group called L.M.G., and they are doing their thing in the underground scene. Then of course there is TREY SONGZ and CHRIS BROWN on a higher level. I think Virginia has a lot of talent, but it is not being heard the way it should. VA needs more people to come up and make a name for themselves.

What is your song “Virginia Love” about?

It first started out as a spur of the moment song, but I wanted to make it a song that people could vibe to and get a feel for Virginia life.

What about Virginia life do you want people to get a feel for from listening to that song?

Just how it’s a diverse area with lots of different people and a lot of opportunities. I was born here, but when I was younger we moved around a lot because my parents were in the military. I love it here more than any other state that I have lived in.

Where did you get the inspiration for “U.O.E.N.O *freestyle*”?

The songs that I wrote before this have not been very hard hitting, but with this song I wanted to hit ‘em hard so more people will be interested in listening.

So are you trying to make your music harder from this point forward?

I want them all to be different so there is a variety of songs that can appeal to any genre of rap. I want to be liked all around and not just in a particular circle.

Do you have an upcoming mix tape or any other projects you are working on right now?

I’m working on a mixtape called Life Soundtrack, which will have something for everyone, from the melodies, to the chorus, to straight rapping. I want it to be something you can bang to, drive to, and rock out to with your headphones on. It will cover everyday situations, so I hope it will be easy to relate to.


I saw on your Twitter page, that you post a lot of horoscopes for Cancer. Do you use any of that in your music?

Definitely! I started reading them, and stuff was coming up that made sense to me. I check it every day and take things how they are supposed to happen.

Are there any other rappers, bands, or DJs from Virginia that inspire you that other people should check out?

BLACK COBAIN is really good. He is doing stuff with WALE. I am also good friends with NATIVES. I have known them since sixth or seventh grade, and also like I mentioned before, I really look up to LMG.

For more updates on FAM$, visit his website, follow him on Twitter, and listen to his music on Soundcloud.




Despite starting out with unmotivated members, SECRET MARK from Chesapeake have found their niche with their current line-up. Led by founding members Jon Callahan, who plays lead guitar and backup vocals, and Chelsea Elliott, who is the lead singer and bassist, the band has quickly gained notoriety in the Hampton Road music scene. Since winning the Virginia Beach date of American Battle Live, which is a nationwide battle of the bands, with their current guitarist Chris Yi and drummer Justin Capps, the members of SECRET MARK have set their sights on the next step. I had the opportunity to talk to Elliott and Callahan about the secrets to their success.

Chelsea, your brother David is in HOLLY WOULD…, which is another popular band from this area. How important was music to you and David when you were growing up?

Chelsea: I have always looked up to David. He got his first guitar when we were in high school, and his friend Cory started to play drums. I decided to learn to play bass so I could hang out with them (laughs).

What bands inspired you the most when determining the musical direction of SECRET MARK?

Jon: Musically, I have always loved MINUS THE BEAR and CIRCA SURVIVE, but everyone in the band has their own style and different influences that we incorporate into our sound.

Chelsea: For singing and bass, NO DOUBT has always been a big influence for me. I have always admired Gwen Stefani and their bassist [Tony Kanal] for their unique style of jazz-punk, and I try to take elements from that and tie it into indie music. It’s kinda like PARAMORE but not too poppy. Also, THE CURE is a major influence as well.

How would you describe your music?

Jon: It’s a fusion of different genres. You have the alternative and progressive influences from me as well as the jazz punk influences from Chelsea, as well as the other influences of our current line up, and it helps us create a unique blend.

Chelsea: Exactly! We don’t try to be like other musicians. We put our own blend on it, and it works out really well.

What is the meaning behind you band’s name?

Jon: That is a secret that goes back to our original members, and we would like to keep it that way.

I saw on your Facebook page that you played the AUDIOSTROBELIGHT CD release show at the Norva this past April. What was that experience like?

Chelsea: It was an all-around good time. AUDIOSTROBELIGHT really know how to get the crowd hyped with confetti, light shows, and high energy performances. They are a band we really look up to, and we were very excited to play with them.


Since your band formed, what would you say has been your greatest accomplishment as a band?

Jon: Finally finding a line-up that works, but we also recently earned a spot in the Top 10 of American Battle Live, which is basically a competition on the level of American Idol, but it’s for bands. The winner gets $15,000 cash along with over $20,000 in studio time, gear, and merch. There were auditions in 38 cities, and we won the battle in Virginia Beach. The finals will be in Miami, Minnesota, New York, or LA and it will be on TV, but the date has not been announced yet since they are still determining the location. We will let everyone know more details as they are released to us.

What is it about your current line-up that works so well?

Chelsea: Everyone is really motivated, and when it comes time to practice, everyone is ready to work. Also, we are all interested and like the music, so there’s a lot of good chemistry.

Are there any other bands from Virginia that you guys like that others need to listen to?

Chelsea: AUDIOSTROBELIGHT never ceases to amaze me.

Jon: As far as local bands, I really like COSTUME PARTY. They are 17-year-old kids from Virginia Beach that combine elements of surf rock and British rock. We played a show with them recently, and I loved their music. They have a really classic sound. Also, I really like MANDALA from [Zuni]. They sound very similar to CIRCA SURVIVE.

For more updates on SECRET MARK, “like” their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter and Reverbnation.




Though they have only been rapping together for the past six months, Michael Wilkins and Aaron Hicks formed NATIVES to send a message out that nothing is impossible, and even in the face of racism, inequality, and personal struggles, you can still achieve your goals. Each have a diverse musical background, including playing drums in a metalcore band and listening to pop punk, both Hicks and Wilkins bring something to the table to make them one of the most dynamic rap duos in the area to date, and with the release of their debut single “2EVOLS”, NATIVES have big goals that they aim to achieve. I recently had the opportunity to talk to them about their single and what they have in store for their upcoming mixtape.

Why did you choose to name this project NATIVES?

We really look up to a lot of rappers from New York and LA, and in those areas its pretty easy to come up. Not as many people listen to underground rap here, but we are still gonna make it. The basic message is that you can work through any struggles to achieve what you want.

Who are some of the rappers that you look up to?

We are really big into THE UNDERACHIEVERS and FLATBUSH ZOMBIES. Also, NAS and 2PAC. We have a lot of influences that we combine into one thing.

On your Facebook profile, the only description is “Music for Gods.” Why did you choose that to describe your music?

Even though we have only been rapping together for half a year, lyrically our music is a lot more advanced and we have more experience than most of the other rappers in this area. So we want people to listen to us that appreciate music, but we also want everyone to listen to it and hopefully get something out of it.

What can people expect from your debut mixtape?

We cover a lot of subjects that rappers don’t normally talk about and we bring brand new beats that most people wouldn’t use. Lyrically, we wrote songs that could be on a trap beat, but we don’t want to follow that mainstream sound. With our music we want people to be able to get hype to it and chill on it too.


Where did you draw inspiration from for the lyrics you wrote for these songs?

Its mostly about how we perceive life right now. Its not how some rappers talk about shootings and shit, but its more of a reflection of our true selves and how we want things to be. Its not bullshit though. We put personal stuff in it too, so its a balance of real life vs. imaginary. In a way we want to put the listener in a dream world and make their own experience.

What is the meaning behind your single “2EVOLS”?

When we originally wrote it, we called it “Mobbing” because the lyrics go really hard. Its definitely a song for the hip hop guys, and it has an explosive chorus. What inspired the song is that when we come together, we have the strength of an army, and we want to help push you to do anything that you want to achieve.

How has growing up in Richmond affected your rapping style?

We have seen every aspect of life. I (Wilkins) was born in New Jersey, and my family eventually moved to Colonial Heights, which is where I live now, and Aaron was born in Petersburg and moved to Colonial Heights too. Going from living in a ghetto are to a more redneck area, you see underlying racism all the time. So we take aspects of that and parts of every day life.

Are there any bands or rappers from Virginia that influence your music?

LIL UGLY MANE is from Richmond, and he plays a big part in influencing us because we are from the same area. Also, NICKELUS F of course. But lyrically we are influenced by all genres. Mike used to be into death metal, alternative, pop punk, and hardcore so he knows whats gonna bring people out and make people listen. Its not easy to tell that we are influenced by that stuff, but it is definitely in there.

For more information on their upcoming mixtape, follow them on Twitter and “like” their Facebook page.

audiostrobelight 1



Not many bands can combine the infectious pop lyrics of ALL TIME LOW and the raw rock and roll spirit of the FOO FIGHTERS like the members of AUDIOSTROBELIGHT. One of the many successful pop punk influenced bands to come from Virginia Beach, AUDIOSTROBELIGHT consists of their guitarist and vocalist Gabe, their bassist and vocalist Kris, their drummer Scott, their guitarist and synth player Ed, and their violinist and mandolin player Adam. We recently had the chance to talk to Adam about the band’s role in the Virginia Beach music scene over the past eight years and their influence on fans nationwide.

I saw on your Facebook page that you have toured with an impressive collection of national bands, many of whom I find seem to strongly influence your sound. Which bands were you most excited to share the stage with over the years?

For the big national bands, there was really only one show here or there, when we caught them as they were coming through our area. One of the bands we spent the most time with was our friends, ON MY HONOR, another pop punk band. Also, Count TO FOUR from New Jersey. We did a lot of shows with A PLACE IN TIME too. It’s basically like being a part of this new class of pop punk bands. Really, when you think about, it’s like high school. You’ve got bands like ALL TIME LOW, who are the alumni, and then THE WONDER YEARS, which are like fresh graduates. We like to consider ourselves the underclassman, starting to break into the international, and keeping up the momentum. We expected to be on the bigger stage in the next couple of years. And in the end, it really pays off to tour with the people in your “class”. When it’s you and a bunch of people on your level, you’re all putting in a lot of effort and getting the recognition you deserve from that.

Your most recent tour ended just a few months ago. What is touring like now, compared to when you began, and do you have any memorable moments from traveling you’d like to share?

It’s interesting, things have changed a lot. We’ve been playing music together for a number of years now. In the beginning, it was like a basement band. But now, looking back, we’ve gone through so many fan base changes. It started off with pop punk moshers, took a detour for a while, and now it’s back to pop punk. Hardcore and metal music has been dominating the past decade, and now pop punk is taking more ground and going more mainstream. We were fortunate to power through that, and although a lot of people don’t consider us “pop punk”, we think our attitude aligns with the genre. Mainly, we really enjoy connecting with people. We come across more people who listen to us from out of the area, and we love to have them come out, and get to meet them.

What’s coming up with AUDIOSTROBELIGHT that fans can look forward to?

We’ll be wrapping up October with a couple of special edition Halloween shows. We’ve really gotten into it the last couple of years. We’ll pick a band, do some covers, dress up, do a melody, and mix it with a normal set. This year we’re going to be doing the FOO FIGHTERS. It’s one of the biggest shows at the end of the fall. Then, we’ll be heading out with UH-HUH BABY YEAH for a month. It’ll be one of our biggest tours yet, and we’re anxious to see how it pans out. Then, we will be working on booking some new tours for 2014; nothing is finalized yet, but we’ve got some things in the work. People are never sure what to expect. We’re prone to surprises, and we love to be in your face, interacting with the crowd, getting into the fray. If we’re not bleeding or sweating by the end of it, we didn’t do our job.

What are some of the strongest influences in your music, lyrically and musically?

That’s a difficult question – all of us have our own personal influences. Kris undeniably has a huge hand in writing. I help with vocals and lyrically. Kris is largely influenced by MILLENCOLIN and NO USE FOR A NAME. I prefer KE$HA and FALL OUT BOY. Blink 182 and a lot of indie pop bands influence Scott. It all comes from different and weird places. For instance, when writing lyrics, I pull from romantic ideas. On the other hand, Kris doesn’t like to draw on personal experience. Our songs are never going to be about personal experiences. We want it to be more real, not just one individual experience one of us had. At the end of the day, everything ends up blending in new and interesting ways, and I think people relate to it better. Girlfriend songs don’t do anyone any good.

audiostrobelight 2

What album, song, or tour to date do you think has had the strongest impact on the band?

I like to everyone has their own answer for this one. Kris would probably know best, since he’s always been guiding and writing, but I think overall, it’s watching everything we’ve worked for and pumped the energy into taking root, particularly beyond us and our social reach. Actually connecting with people, out at shows and on the road. The first time we played a headlining show at home, we saw 700 people going crazy. And we just said, “Wow, people give a shit.” We get messages from kids now that say “I was having a really shitty day and your music came on my iPod and I felt better, and I had to let you know.” It means a lot, especially when planning tours and things don’t go right. When we play in a new area, we’ll run into kids saying “I’ve heard of you, and I had to see you.” It makes us realize, we need to be doing this; it means something to someone. We’re not the biggest band in the world, but someone out there cares.

What other bands involved in the local Virginia music scene do you suggest others look into?

There is a lot of talent. On a side note, I think when you go out on the road, people make Virginia Beach out to be way more important than it really is, just because there is so much talent coming out of the area. Some names worth mentioning I think would be SECRET MARK, THE ELEVENTH HOUR, YOUR FAVORITE COASTLINE, CONQUERING ROME, BROADSIDE, and WITHIN OUR GATES. I can feel myself forgetting so many people in the area. So many greats are doing good work, and you see people putting out their stickers and wearing their shirts, especially out of state. Virginia is coming on the map, and it’s growing.

Do you have any final thoughts that you would like to share?

If you are really looking for a pop punk band that is different, and doesn’t sound the same, check out our new record. It’s good quality, and we dare and challenge you to come out to a show and not have fun. We’ll be going on tour at the end of October, all of November, and early next year. We’ll be putting on the best damn show we can, and we guarantee it will be a whole new side of the band.

For more updates on AUDIOSTROBELIGHT, follow Team Strobelight and “like” their Facebook page for more details on upcoming local shows and tours.

logan vath 1



Despite being born and raised in Nebraska, singer/songwriter Logan Vath didn’t find his voice until he found comfort in the city of Norfolk. With influences ranging from his struggle to find a musical identity to feelings of displacement, Vath and his band THE VACANT have been quickly making a name for themselves. With friends, such as THE LAST BISON and OVER THE OCEAN, Vath has been steadily making more strides and warming more spirits with his heartfelt lyrics and tender guitar strokes. Vath gave me the opportunity to speak with him about his humble beginnings and how he is coming to terms with his music and his new home in Virginia.

I know that you are originally from Nebraska, but what brought you to Virginia?

I joined the Navy to get out of Nebraska, and I ended up getting stationed in Norfolk. When I got out, I stuck around here.

Do you consider Virginia your home or do you still have more roots in Nebraska?

I have always been a firm believer in the fact that home is where your things are, so for now Norfolk is my home. I still have family and relatives in Nebraska, but I like living in Norfolk. It’s comfortable, and I have gotten used to it.

I read on your bio that the way you met some of the members of your band started with an ad you came across on Craigslist. What is the story behind that?

I met Josh from OVER THE OCEAN because he was trying to sell some recording gear that I was interested in buying so that I could record some rough songs I had at the time. After meeting me and hearing some of my music, he introduced me to some people from the singer/songwriter community in Norfolk, and three of those guys are in my band now.

logan vath 2

How would you describe your musical identity?

I think that it’s still changing. This last record I did, I released the record alone, but I am really looking forward to playing a recording with my band and starting the next chapter. We are playing with THE LAST BISON at the Norva on November 30th and the next record we release will be as a full band. So to answer your question, I think I am still figuring it out.

What is the meaning behind your album title Better Man or Ghost?

I really wasn’t committed to staying in Virginia until six months ago. I didn’t really feel at home here until I was introduced to the singer/songwriter community that I now call my friends. When I left Nebraska to join the Navy, I did it in hopes of becoming a better man, but at the same time I became a ghost to those who can’t see me as often anymore. I still keep in contact with my family and friends back in Nebraska through social media, but the songs on this record are very old and I think they represent that transitional period in my life.

What song off that record has the most personal meaning to you, and why?

The closing song, “This Far From Home”, which is also the newest song on that record. I wrote and recorded it live in the studio, and it was really representative of what I was thinking at the time. It’s basically about dreaming big and not being afraid to chase your dreams. It was about me finding out what I wanted and going after it.

Are there any bands or solo artists from Virginia that inspire you that other people need to hear?

Definitely! Our guitarist Andrew Montgomery plays in a band called ESBERN SNARE. They are a great band and such good friends. Their vocalist Luke Jones is such a talented lyricist, and I am really looking forward to their new record to be released in the next few months. Also, OVER THE OCEAN is a really great band. There are so many. Norfolk has the best songwriters I know, whether they are famous or not.

For more updates on Logan Vath, follow him on Twitter, “like” his Facebook page, and listen to Better Man or Ghost on his Bandcamp.



Better known for playing rhythm guitar and being the brain behind the music and business end of pop punk giants COWABUNGA!, Ian Marsh from Reston has been working on getting back to his roots with a genre far from his pop punk project—county music. Raised by his step-dad on cowboys and southern twang, Marsh always admired country even as his band was at the forefront. Now, he is making his own path on the dusty trail and venturing to new musical grounds where he feels more at home. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Marsh about the ‘little things’ that inspire his music and his outlook on life.

How would you describe your sound?

I like to keep things simple. I don’t try to do too much. It’s just me and my guitar. It’s different, but its what I like to listen to so I try to emulate that. I try not to try too hard, its basically just me talking (laughs).

What country artists do you like to try to emulate?

Well I grew up listening to a lot of ALAN JACKSON, and when ERIC CHURCH came on the scene, I have been really focused on his way of doing things. I also incorporate any country songs i like that I hear on and off the radio.

How did you originally get into country music?

My step-dad pretty much raised me on it. Whenever we were driving in the car, it was on. When I got older, I got into hardcore, pop punk, and metal, but country was always universally appealing to me. Now, it’s my jam (laughs).

What is it about country music that makes it ‘universal’?

It’s not abrasive, and it doesn’t offend. Well…it doesn’t offend most people anyways (laughs). Also, it’s easy to relate to, and you can actually understand it, unlike some metal and hardcore music. I have always said that the most important thing in any good song is that someone can listen to it and instantly relate too it. Those are the songs that I like the best.


How would you describe your songwriting process?

It’s kinda evolved over time. I started writing songs when I was 15-year-old, and then it was based on the music first, and then the lyrics would follow that. In COWABUNGA!, I wrote both the music and the lyrics and then brought it to the guys, and we tweaked it as needed. Now, I start with an idea first, then I progressively write down ideas for riffs. Next, I come up with the lyrics, and then I write the guitar parts based off my ideas.

You have released four songs so far, but do you plan to record and release a full record or another EP any time soon?

Well I have eight new songs now that I’m still fine tuning, and I want to do another EP or two of four tracks each. The good thing about being a solo artist compared to playing in a band is that there is no pressure to get something out quickly, and I don’t want to rush it either.

Which of your songs has the most meaning to you, and why?

Of the stuff that I have put out so far, I like “Little Things” and “It’s All Good” because of the people they are about. I also have a new one that I wrote about my step-dad that’s pretty cool.

In the chorus of “Little Things”, you sing, ‘It’s the little things in life that stay important.’ What are the ‘little things’ that Inspired this song?

It’s basically about having someone there for you at all times, to text, call, go out to the eat, and just spend time with. I wrote it about my girlfriend Suzy.

I know that in the past year, you played your first show in Richmond, but do you plan to play any more shows in the near future?

Yeah some opportunities have come up, but it’s kinda nerve-wracking for me to play on stage by myself so I would really like to find a full band to play with. I also want to build up more material.

What venues in the area would you like to play?

I think Jammin Java would be possible, but I need to figure out where it would be appropriate because I don’t just want to play before pop punk and hardcore shows for the rest of my life (laughs).

Are there any other bands or solo artists from Virginia that inspire you?

I really like BRIAN GLENNON‘s solo shit. He used to play in COWABUNGA! and when he left to play his own music, he made it look pretty easy. We are still good friends, and it would be awesome to play a show with him.

For more updates on Ian Marsh’s music, follow him on Facebook and check out his self-titled EP on Bandcamp.




No band across the United States has more passion and more drive for music than the men of CONDITIONS from Richmond. Over the past seven years, they have been touring worldwide with some of the biggest names in music, and with a unique blend of melodic rock and post-hardcore, CONDITIONS has become a force to be reckoned with. Led by vocalist Brandon Roundtree, the band, which also includes guitarist Alex Howard, drummer Ryan Tinsley, and bassist Corey Thomas, has successfully released three heartfelt records, including their most recent Full of War on Good Fight Music. This band never stops giving, and though they are always on tour, the members of CONDITIONS still call the city of Richmond their home. I recently had the chance to talk to Roundtree over the phone while the band was in Dallas, TX hours away from the start of their next tour.

You guys are currently touring with CUTE IS WHAT WE AIM FOR and DINOSAUR PILE-UP. How has that tour been going so far?

It actually just started. So we’ll see (laughs). We are really looking forward to it. We played a warm us show in Nashville and then had two days off to get here, and tonight is the first night.

Your band is known to tour relentlessly year round, but what do you guys do to stay connected to your friends and family in Richmond?

We stay very active on social media, through our Twitter accounts. We all have girlfriends so we are always taking to them, and we have a lot of inside jokes with our friends and family we tweet about. Also, we are honestly on the phone all the time with our girlfriends.

CONDITIONS have been an integral part of the Virginia music scene since 2006. What are your thoughts on the current state of the music scene in Richmond and the rest of the Commonwealth?

Right now, I’m kinda out of touch with the scene in Richmond. We tour so much that we aren’t there too often, and I’m pretty set in my ways that I only pay attention to more established bands that have been around for a while. I do think though that it is a striving scene, and I’m seeing a lot more bands branch out and tour outside Virginia. We are really proud of where we come from.

On your Facebook page, you have a quote from the celebrated French composer Juliette Nadia Boulanger that reads, “The essential conditions of everything you do must be choice, love, passion.” Why is this quote important to your band?

We are all very passionate guys, and we like how she put that. I personally am terrible at naming things. I prefer the meaning to be free flowing and open to interpretation, but when we started the band, we were looking for inspiration to name the band. Our bassist at the time suggested CONDITIONS from that quote, and since then we never looked back.

What sets CONDITIONS apart from other melodic post-hardcore bands in America right now?

I will answer this the way I always do. I think that as a band, our songs have lyrical depth and we stand for things. I don’t think our music comes off as “preachy,” but I feel like the best stuff comes from the heart.

What are some of the things that your band stands for?

Primarily, strength of character, chivalry, and having a strong foundation. We want you to stand for something, whatever that may be. It’s like that quote, ‘If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.’ You need to have something that grounds you, and that message is at the heart of CONDITIONS.

Are there any other bands from Virginia that you think more people need to hear?

Hell yeah! Richmond has a great musical history. We are all huge metal and hardcore fans at heart, and in February 2012, we played Soundwave Festival in California with LAMB OF GOD, and it was so awesome getting to meet them and hang out with them. They are so talented. Also, we all love DOWN TO NOTHING. My little brother used to be in a band called ASLEEP AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, and they were an amazing instrumental band on par with EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY. Also, I can’t forget RACE THE SUN and MUNICIPAL WASTE.

Do you have any advice for up and coming bands?

Stray away from the mold of other bands, and don’t wait for a label to go out and tour. That’s just stupid. You should never refuse to do anything without the music industry involved. Just make your art and share it. Follow through, play it, and love it.

After this tour, what is next for CONDITIONS?

We have a potential headlining tour in December, and we have submitted to get on some other tours. Either way, we will be keeping busy.

Blog at | The Motion Theme.

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 211 other followers

Powered by