Category: featured bands

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.




Based on a steady diet of burritos, beer, and black metal, the members of the Virginia Beach band TRUST FALL have been gaining recognition across the commonwealth and beyond for their dark and mysterious songs, their commitment to the D.I.Y. scene, and their dedication to keeping the music scene in Virginia Beach alive. Last year, they opened a D.I.Y. venue called That’s How I Beat Shaq with members of THANKS—another Virginia Beach emo band—and they have been hosting shows there ever since as an alternative to the scene at bars and nightclubs in the area. I recently had the chance to talk to their vocalist John about the tongue-in-cheek black metal background of the band and what they have planned for the near future.

I really love your band’s album art. Do you guys draw the art yourselves?

For the demo we put out in 2011 and the split we did with our friends in THANKS, our drummer Rusty drew, and the art for our 7 inch was done by a fantastic artist named Erin Greenough from Edmonton, Alberta.

How did your band get started, and why did you choose to name the band TRUST FALL?

Our name came from the movie Mean Girls, and Ryan and I started out as an acoustic project in June 2011. We knew Rusty for over a decade before. After his band LITTLE FOOT broke up, we asked him to be our drummer, and he has put up with us being idiots ever since.

Your band’s motto is “work hard, play weird, stay kvlt.” What does it mean to ‘stay kvlt’?

We are all really into black metal, and it started as a tongue-in-cheek joke between us and our fans, but when we became a full band in January 2012, we adjusted our sound to be more dark and mysterious so it stuck.

What exactly is “blackened emo”?

It started out as another tongue-in-cheek black metal joke. We try to bring a black metal aesthetic to our music, and we write songs that are dark and heavy with very emotionally driven lyrics.

Do you think with the constant move towards digital releases of music, album art is being forgotten about as part of the music experience?

I can’t speak for everyone, but personally, I still think it is very important. Even if I am buying a record on iTunes, it’s part of the package and part of the listening experience. I think we try to make our album art a reflection of the music to be digested.

Recently a lot more pop punk bands, indie bands, and emo bands—including yourselves—have been releasing their music on vinyl and cassette tapes, in addition to CDs and digital releases. Why do you think this has been a trend?

We all hold value towards the things we own whether they are toys, souvenirs, or a record. They are physical artifacts that help us remember the past. CDs are kinda shit, but vinyl sounds great and cassettes are something that you can hold and cherish.


I know you guys are huge supporters of D.I.Y. bands in the music scene, but how important is that to your band’s identity?

It is very important, and we would not be where we are without the VA D.I.Y. scene. We co-own a venue in Virginia Beach called That’s How I Beat Shaq, and we think it is so important to have positive places around Virginia where bands can play and not have to deal with the big egos and fights that happen in the metal and hardcore scenes that have gotten many venues shut down. We really appreciate venues like That’s How I Beat Shaq, and they give us lots of energy and drive to continue to do what we do.

How would you describe the emo scene in Virginia?

It’s not flooded, but there is great quality. THE GREAT DISMAL is a great band from Virginia Beach. They are very melodic emo. Richmond and Northern Virginia have some awesome bands like CAUST and KILGORE TROUT, and there’s a great band called KAOROUNEGISA that just started that has members of CAUST, SOLOMON SOLOMON, and other guys from the Virginia and Maryland emo scene.

Do you have any upcoming shows in the area?

Currently, we are taking a break to work on our new record, but on October 27we will be playing Tobeyfest at VA Live Entertainment in Chesapeake with THE MENZINGERS, our buddies THANKS, THE GREAT DISMAL, CANDY HEARTS, and a lot more. The day after that, we will be playing a show at That’s How I beat Shaq.

Do you have any final thoughts?

“When Doves Cry” by PRINCE is the greatest song of all time.

For more updates on TRUST FALL, “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, and listen to their music on Bandcamp.




Formed in 2011, the members of LAKEVIEW have become one of the most popular bands in the Virginia metalcore scene. With over 19,000 “likes” on their Facebook page and a dedicated fan base, LAKEVIEW has set their sights to bigger and better things. Coming off a brief hiatus, the members of the band are stronger than they have ever been, yet they remain humble and still value their friends that helped them get to the point they are at today. We recently had the opportunity to talk to their drummer Eric St. Clair about where they draw inspiration from, LAKEVIEW’s upcoming plans, and he offers advice for aspiring musicians.

I saw on your Facebook page that you guys recently took an unexpected hiatus in your music for about a month between July and August; I won’t ask about the personal issues, but how is LAKEVIEW coming back and conquering these personal obstacles?

We have definitely struggled to overcome the issues we were having, but as a whole, LAKEVIEW is a really strong unit. We’ve been working really hard on the pre-production and production of all our new songs, and I believe personally everyone will be in love with what is in the works.

When creating music, what central themes from your life do you focus on for inspiration?

Honestly, I tend to pull from every aspect. Anything that goes on, anywhere I am, I am always thinking of new cool riffs, lyrics, and drum parts. My brain is always working, but as for a “central life theme” I don’t believe there are any in particular I could choose from. Every song is a different animal.

How do you hope your songs impact and resonate with your fans now, and future listeners?

If you have ever heard of us, or when you do hear us, you will notice we cover a pretty broad spectrum of sound. We want every single person to take away something from our music. Whether it be head banging in your car on your way to work, rocking out at a show, sharing our music with a friend or what have you, we just want you to enjoy it.

Who are your biggest inspirations when it comes to creating music?

Although said many times by many people, we really believe our biggest inspiration is our friends. Without them we couldn’t do anything. This has been a long journey thus far, and we have met so many beautiful people and created such a strong friendship with many of them that are still huge LAKEVIEW supporters until this day.


What does the future have in store for LAKEVIEW?

We definitely have some tricks up our sleeves. We can’t be specific yet, but we are finally back to being independent and out of any horrible contract we were in so our new stuff is definitely something to keep an eye out for. We’re working super hard on it, and we really hope it shows.

If there was any band—living or dead—that Lakeview could tour with, whom would that be?

I can’t speak for Taylin, Noah, or Griffin, but as for me, I am a huge jazz and pop punk guy. It would definitely be a throw down between THE BUDDY RICH BAND or BLINK 182 hands down.

To this date, what do you consider your most important or most surprising accomplishment as band?

Probably the dedication of our friends and fans. Over the past two years, we have gotten over 19,000 friends on Facebook and many others on other social networking sites, but the dedication and loyalty always blows me away. The LAKEVIEW family has always run super strong.

For all future musicians out there, what are some words of wisdom you would like to share?

Dedicate yourself, love the art, stay true to yourself and you really can’t go wrong. Always remember that hard work pays off. Nothing great is ever handed to you for free.

Are there any bands or musicians from Virginia, or from surrounding areas, that you think people should check out?

For sure! We have a lot of buddies out there — Make sure you check out KETURA, MADISON APART, SET FOR TOMORROW, and MY ENEMIES & I. They are all great bands and even better friends.

Are there any final thoughts you would like to share?

Like always, I really appreciate any and everyone who has ever reached out a hand to help us. Industry Made, Syke, Aspire To Inspire, The Artist Inside, etc. Thank you to everyone who has made everything we have done thus far successful. We look forward to everything in the near future.

For more updates on LAKEVIEW, follow them on Twitter and be sure to “like” their Facebook page.




Unlike other bands in the Virginia music scene, the members of THE NORTH have come from across the United States to form their brotherhood. Influenced by bands from their hometowns as well as post-hardcore musicians of the past 10 years, the music of THE NORTH packs a serious emotional punch. Though they have only been together as a full band for 9 months, each member of the band brings something unique to the table. I recent had the chance to talk to their vocalist Brad Dare, their bassist Dan Interrante, and their rhythm guitarist Noel “Napoleon” Brown about their influences, the band’s views on the current state of the music scene, and what what fans can expect from their upcoming record.

According to your bio, your band is based in Virginia Beach but has members from all over the country, including Ohio, Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and Virginia. How did you guys come together to make it work?

Dan: We started late summer last year as an acoustic project, and I wrote sad songs about how I missed home in Massachusetts, but we didn’t become a full band until last December.

Napoleon: Brad’s ex-wife introduced us, and then we recruited Rob. It all sort of just fell into place. None of us expected this to happen, but we just have such great chemistry musically.

How would you describe your sound?

Brad: It’s a lot like old school post-hardcore. Like old UNDEROATH and SILVERSTEIN.

What can fans expect from your debut EP A Place Called Home?

Dan: We are really trying to bring back that old school vibe with heartfelt, emotional lyrics. We really like that particular scream style where you don’t have to read the lyrics to understand the emotions of the song.

Brad: Also, our songs have a lot of pent-up energy with an emotional build up. We think that is something that is really lacking in music today. We don’t think you should have to throw down constantly and play breakdown after breakdown. It should be a mix of highs and lows.


A central theme of your songs is identity and asking yourself “Who do you want to be?” That being said, how would you describe the identity of your band in relation to the rest of the Virginia music scene?

Napoleon: We all have been on different pats that led us to this point, and something that we really stress is to always be yourself at your fullest potential. We have always been about putting family first and the band second. It’s about valuing those around you who support you.

Brad: This band is really my family. I was living in Cincinnati, OH while the band started recording, and hardly knowing me, they came up and helped move me down here. This band is about more than just music. We want to help our fans be better people.

If you could tour with any bands from Virginia, who would you pick, and why?

Napoleon: Even though they don’t exactly match our sound, AUDIOSTROBELIGHT are really cool guys. They have a great attitude. We are also friends with CALL IT COURAGE and PYRO, OHIO, and we are playing with them next month.

Dan: Another band we respect a lot is UNTIL THE WIND SHIFTS. We go see them play, and they come and see us. They also have great attitudes, which I think is really important and it’s rare to find in the metal scene. I wish people were more positive in this scene. We personally try to make a point to show people that we care, and we respect other bands that do that too.

Do you have any upcoming shows that you would like to announce?

Napoleon: September 28th we are playing at Shakas with CALL IT COURAGE, and October 7th we are opening for A LOSS FOR WORDS, HANDGUNS, and MAJOR LEAGUE at Kingdom, which will be a huge show. Please come out and support us!

For more updates on THE NORTH, “like” their Facebook page and stay tuned for their debut EP A Place Called Home.




Since their release of their debut EP in late 2012, the members of IN VISIONS have been making a huge name for themselves in the Virginia music scene. Led by vocalist Grayson Rhine and lead guitarist Todd Meyers, the band’s heavy yet catchy songs have made an impression on fans in Virginia and beyond. Over the summer, they won the opportunity to play the Virginia Beach date of the Vans Warped Tour and have more dates lined up for the fall. Their heavy yet positive message is one of the many things that set them apart from the other bands in Virginia’s vast metal scene. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Rhine about the band’s humble beginnings, their upcoming album Advice, and Rhine’s personal connection to the themes of the record.

You guys have two major upcoming shows with THE GHOST INSIDE and THE CHARIOT. How were you selected to play those shows?

As soon as we heard that THE GHOST INSIDE was playing at Empire, we hit up Tyler [Greene] to try to get on the show. He has helped us a lot in the past, and we really like working with him. For THE CHARIOT show, we were hit up by Jonathan Slye who also booked the Alliance Fest and Intensity Fest this summer.

How did your band get started?

Todd, Brandon, and Francis were writing music together, and I knew Todd through mutual friends so Todd asked me to be their vocalist. I really liked the songs they were writing. They were a mix of heavy and catchy, bouncy and melodic music. Todd is a monster when it comes to pounding out songs, and I was really impressed with them trying to keep progressing towards more heavier, catchier styles. After I joined the band, I hit up Shane who had been my friend for years and is one of the best guitarists I know.

This past summer you guys played on the Virginia Beach date of the Vans Warped Tour. What was that experience like?

It was a dream come true, man. We all grew up going to Warped Tour, and to be able to go and play on a stage and stand backstage of bands we grew up with and lookout into the sea of people was unreal. Its why we do what we do. That was one of the most fun weeks of my life.

What is the meaning behind your band name?

It means something different for all of us, but to me it’s about the lyrics I write and the vision that I have for them. I want them to be able to have a purpose and to help others get through hard times.


On your Facebook cover photo, you guys are posed in an old-timey photo shoot. Whose idea was it to do promos like that?

The day before Warped Tour it was my birthday, and we went to the oceanfront in Virginia Beach. Shane, my little brother, and I were walking down the boardwalk and we saw the booth for it, and I was like ‘Guys, we have to do this!’ The photographer was like, ‘Ok, Brandon is going to be the Naked Desperado, Todd is going to be the Gangster Pimp, Francis will be the Crooked Cop, you will be the Naked Cowboy, Shane will be the Naked Indian.’ It was a lot of fun (laughs).

What is your favorite venue to play at in Virginia, and why?

Back in the day it was the Sterling Community Center, but currently I would have to say Empire. They have awesome sound, and the dudes that run it are awesome too. They bring great tours that usually draw a big turnout, which is great for the music scene.

What can fans expect from your upcoming record, and when do you plan to release it?

The release date has not been set yet, but it will be coming soon. It’s going to be titled Advice, and it’s very real. The last year has been a pretty unfortunate time for my family. We lost someone very close to us, so the lyrics I wrote have themes of anti-suicide, struggling with loneliness, and trying to help people in those situations. The basic message of it is to tell people that so many people love you, and we hope that they can find comfort in our music. We try to write meaningful, heartfelt songs that can help people. The songs are a good bit heavier, but they are pretty catchy too.

Are there any other bands from Virginia that you are into that other people should listen to?

There’s a lot…SET FOR TOMORROW, MADISON APART, LAKEVIEW, who also has new stuff coming out soon, THE REBUILT MACHINE, and of course MY ENEMIES & I. We actually recorded our CD with their guitarist Zach. He’s an awesome dude, and we love their music.

For more updates on IN VISIONS, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.




Hailing from Norfolk, SK THE RAPPER is more than just an artist. Adding blogging to hi resume, SK is continuously striving to build an empire and make a name for himself in the hip-hop industry. He has been described as a cross between megastars KANYE WEST and JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE due to his musical hooks and unconventional image. He recently released a lyric video for the first single “I Need You Back” from his upcoming album Autograph Later 2.0 which is reminiscent of current rap-pop heavyweights JASON DERULO and FLO RIDA. I was fortunate to speak with SK THE RAPPER where we talked about his beginnings to his current state as a musician and branching to other industries.

What or who inspired you to become a rapper?

Seeing other artists on TV. I didn’t really go into pop until now, but that’s what really did it for me. Rap and hip hop [artists] like DMX and other people on TV [really inspired me]. I thought it was so cool.

Who are your major influences?

The biggest influence of mine is NELLY. There’s a lot of Nelly influence in my music as well as FLO RIDA and the BLACK EYED PEAS. Artists like that really inspired me, but NELLY the most.

What made you choose the name “Shaun the Kid” and shorten it to “SK”?

Well when I first started, my rap name was TKO, it was so funny. I didn’t really know back then. I was really starting to get into pop [music], and I didn’t want to really do something too hardcore. I wanted it to be more neutral, like it can go either way.

Name badges, as in the stickers that say “Hello, My name is”, are a common template in your videos and blog. What inspired you to make it your signature?

The “Hello, my name is” is sort of a conversation starter. My whole brand is more like the kid next door, not the superficial type but more like someone you would know. It’s just something that I do.


What is your opinion on the current state of the rap/hip-hop scene, and what do you hope to contribute to it?

As for as hip hop, I don’t think it could be better, but as far as rap is considered, it used to be better back [in the day]. I like popular music. There are certain people that shine, but there are not a lot of people who push the boundaries.

What was it like attending the 2013 BET awards as well as the 2013 Young Hollywood Awards?

I loved it. I’d like to go back. I’m so infatuated with the Hollywood awards and California awards. I liked the Young Hollywood awards a bit more. I really just like the whole culture. I liked the whole atmosphere of the Young Hollywood. I loved both awards, the Young Hollywood was great. I want to get nominated for one of those awards.

How was meeting Kevin McHale?

Honestly, I don’t watch Glee, I’m a fan of Kevin because he used to be a part a group I was a fan of. It was great to meet him though, and I love his music.

I think it’s interesting that you create music and have a blog about music and celebrities. How did you get started blogging?

Basically, I [try to market myself more as a] brand over just me as an artist. I’m one of those types of artists who will go from music, to acting, to a clothing line. I’m into building a whole brand. I have a few people who blog for me, and I train them on what to post. I have a lot of younger fans. A bunch of 13-year-olds and stuff like that I didn’t want to be an artist who posts music. I wanted to do something iconic to keep kids engaged. I wanted to have something where it’s a continuous blog, so it’s not all about me.

Are there any other artists from Virginia you think people should check out?

There are not a lot of artists that I get into from Virginia. I feel like if someone who has a hit song I really want to get into them. The singer on my song “She’s Dope”, she’s in a lot of my songs, and she’s a great singer, but she doesn’t really have her own music. But CHRIS BROWN is from Virginia!

TREY SONGZ is also from Virginia.

I’m a huge fan of people like that who have a high caliber.

For more updates on SK THE RAPPER, stay tuned to his website, and be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.




While some hip hop artists are more concerned with getting big rims, jewelry, and record sales, the members of SOME NEVER REALLY GET… (SNRG) are more concerned with matters of the heart. Even though they were born in Virginia, Beau Canlas, who is also known as LA Stone: The Last One, and his brother Aaron, who is known as Eyespk, spent the majority of their childhood in the Philippines, and the music they grew up on helped to shape their perspectives of the music scene and what is missing from it. Their goal is to build connections and bring more soul into the hip hop culture. I recently had the opportunity to discuss with LA Stone, Eyespk, and their DJ AARock the meaning behind SNRG and what their movement is all about.

On your Facebook page, it says that your group has performed in cities all over the world, including Washington DC, Toronto, Manila, Los Angeles and New York City. How did SNRG get started?

LA Stone: It all started out as a t-shirt company, and we were living in the Philippines at the time. We were born in VA, and our dad was in the Navy. My brother was really into drawing pandas, and we eventually sold a design to the National Zoo after one of their baby pandas was born.

Eyespk: While our dad was out at sea for months on end, he would send us mixtape cassettes from music all over the world. Lots of international music, which really influenced me to start writing.

LA Stone: My brother has been writing poems and stuff since he was a kid, and when I saw one of his poems, I really encouraged him to cultivate his skills. After a major company stole some of our designs, we were pretty jaded with the clothing scene, and we decided to shift our focus more towards making music.

AARock: I got in with the two brothers two or three years ago through Collaboration DC’s director Christian Oh. He thought that we had the potential to collaborate well together, and when we met we just hit it off. I really liked their sound and their personalities. It just felt like a good fit because they played the music that I liked to play, stuff like old school jazz and soul, hard and soft jazz. They were really open to anything. They were very open to music outside of the mainstream.

What is the meaning behind your group name “Some Never Really Get…”?

AARock: It’s really about a sense of expression in the hip hop culture. It’s a way of life. Our music encourages you to just be yourself and fill in the blank.

LA Stone: Basically our goal is to spark that conversation and promote understanding between people to help them establish connections with each other and getting disconnected to the mainstream. We want to bring soul back to the city and bring life back to imaginary friends.

What exactly do you mean by “imaginary friends”?

Eyespk: Your imaginary friend is basically your alter ego. It is a reflection of yourself, and who you wish to be. Like me personally, I used to be really shy but through music, I was able to become the person I wanted to be. And we encourage everyone to look deep within themselves to have the courage to become the person they wish to be. We are not reinventing the wheel, but we are helping to create a different dialect of hip hop.

What is the objective of your #GetFamilia(R) campaign?

LA Stone: Basically we want people to get something. Get emotional. Get motivated. Fill in the blank with whatever suits you best. It’s focused on the individual to help you become better while simultaneously forming a coalition of creativity to create a hip hop culture that in inherently different from the mainstream culture so it is also about Get Familia. Like my brother said, we speak with a different dialect and we are multilingual. We come from the Philippines where there are 70 to 80 different dialects of Tagalog. Our dialect is a combination of English and Pampanga, and we bring elements of both cultures into our music.

How does the music of SNRG feed your subconscious?

LA Stone: It’s really about asking the question to our listeners, “What do you want to get out of life? What do you want to get out of music?” We try to leave that question open ended and let the listeners decide what they want and how to accomplish that. We promote passions provide the message to dream big. We say, ‘Those that get it, get us.’ We also do a lot of youth driven things because we want to inspire artists as well as hidden artists, which are people that might have a desire to sing, act, write, dance, etc. and are too scared to try because they have a fear of failure. The goal of our music is to encourage these hidden artists to take that chance and believe in themselves.

Are there any other bands or musicians from Virginia that you know of that others should check out?

LA Stone: ATOMS APART, which is our buddies Mike and Emile from Arlington. They play shows with us a lot at Jammin’ Java. They used to play in a punk band, but now they are like progressive new wave. They are super underrated. Mike has such a quality voice.

AARock: SUBSTANTIAL. He is a really good friend of mine. I also really liked THE FIVE ONE, before they split up and become RDGLDGRN and THE BLUE COUNTY.

Eyespk: Two bands that I really like are SUPER BOB and THE IRRESPONSIBLES.

Do you have any final thoughts or announcements for your fans?

AARock: It’s really great that this is happening. I mean, where are the bands or the crews in hip hop anymore? We need something new to make a statement to the hip hop community that offers more substance than the “super rappers” of mainstream music. We are really excited to build the brand and build awareness of real music. We are going to Texas soon, and we hope to tour in Japan early next year.

LA Stone: We have three mixtapes out so far, and we are planning to release a fourth mid to late September. Since started, we promoted our music at a grassroots level and didn’t really encourage people to “like” or Facebook page, we would be more concerned if they actually liked our music and we would give them stickers at our shows. All of our songs are free too. Lately though, we have been focusing more on building our online support and in the past week we have gone from around 200 “likes” to over 1,000. We hope it keeps growing, but we hope people can connect with us through our music.

For more updates and new music from SNRG, visit their website, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, and share their music with your friends.

Blog at | The Motion Theme.

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