Tag Archive: chesapeake

the great dismal 2


Though they used to play cheerful pop punk, the members of THE GREAT DISMAL have embraced the sadder parts of life with their latest venture together. Formed by vocalist and guitarist Sarah Camden, drummer Chris Kimball, and bassist Tim Holmes, the band has quickly become one of the best known bands in the latest emo resurgence in the Virginia music scene. We recently spoke with Camden and Kimball about their sad songs from their debut Clay Manor EP, their thoughts on the local music scene and how it has developed since their former pop punk days, as well as what they have in store next year.

In your song “Vultures” you sing the line, “All the vultures in Virginia have been circling my house these past few weeks / And I wish that I could see ya / But if I step outside they’ll surely take me and / Rip me apart, piece by piece.” What is the meaning behind that?

Sarah: Basically, the whole song is about how some people at shows have no respect for people outside of the two bands that they like. They pick on others and try to start shit for no reason, and when I wrote that, I felt like an outsider to those people.

Why did you choose to put that song first on your debut record?

Sarah: It was our most energetic song, and we wanted to start out strong.

Chris: It was also our only track with percussion and the fastest.

Sarah: It’s our hype track (laughs).

What are your thoughts about the current local scene in Virginia?

Sarah: When I wrote “Vultures”, I was really biased because I was in a band with no hype, and I was really bitter about the local scene. That’s How I Beat Shaq was a great place for our scene though. At first, I didn’t think I would feel welcome there because of the people that ran it, but once I got to know them better, the were really nice and open. It was a great venue because everyone was there for positive support in a fun way.

Chris: When i got into the local scene, I listened to bands like AVERMAN and THE LINE DRIVE. Those bands paved the ground for newcomers like us. I think the whole scene has gotten better, and it’t not all about hardcore. More kids are coming out and creating their own styles of music.

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Other than Shaq, where is your favorite local venue to play at?

Chris: We’re a pretty Shaqcore band (laughs), but The Iguana has been good to us. The Refuge is alright too.

What do you think it is about your music that helps you stand out from other bands in the local scene?

Chris: Well the fact that we have a female front is one thing.

Sarah: We try to break away from what everyone else is doing. In my last band we tried really hard to sound like FOUR YEAR STRONG because we thought that’s what people wanted to hear. Now, when I write songs, I just jam on my guitar and write whatever sounds good to me. Also, Kimball and I have different influences that we try to bring together. I like MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK and he likes MUSE.

Chris: We try to bring the vibe of old 90s pop with a more emotional feel.

In a review of your album, your friend Mikey from Richmond explained that stark realism about how bad life can be is one of the most important elements of your music. He says, “It’s not about whining anymore, it’s about accepting how shitty life can be.” Do you agree with that?

Sarah: Yes and no. I get episodes of getting down, and I need an outlet to complain. I hope people can relate to it though. I just want to be real and not stray from myself.

Chris: I think our music is good for getting pissed off and sad to.

Do you think pop punk will ever die?

Sarah: No because people love nostalgia.

Chris: I don’t think its juvenile, but it definitely has a youthful energy. I don’t think its going anywhere.

Sarah: I think it dies every four years or so (laughs). It takes a lot of breaks.

Chris: There are definitely trends, but there are always new bands coming along that revamps it.

Who are some of your favorite local bands?

Sarah: THANKS and TRUST FALL are our favorites.

Chris: GRANBY STREET is really good. Who else?

Sarah: CONQUERING ROME has been really nice to us. Is AVERMAN still a band? I don’t know I have the memory of a goldfish (laughs). If we forgot you, I’m sorry.

Chris: Basically if you are nice to us, we like you.

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What does your band have planned for 2014?

Chris: We are recording an original Christmas song in the next couple of weeks. It’s not titled yet, but it might be called “A Very Dismal Christmas” (laughs).

Sarah: We don’t decide on any of our song titles until we are in the middle of recording them, which is probably why they all suck.

Chris: We also have six or seven songs that we will tun into an EP eventually. We are currently lacking in funds for studio time for a whole record, but we hope to record them by February. We also want to do an east coast spring break tour with THANKS.

For more updates on THE GREAT DISMAL, be sure to “like” their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter and Tumblr.




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.

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Ever since Jeremy Harrell could pick up a guitar, he has always had a passion for music and expressing himself through passionate, heartfelt lyrics. Combining his soulful musical background of his youth with a little bit of country and a little bit of rock and roll, the members of CORBIN DALLAS have crafted something special that has caused fans to connect with their music on a very personal, intimate level. I was fortunate enough to talk to Harrell about his band’s humble beginnings, recording with Lucas Borza of HONOUR CREST, and their too be released debut record.

How did you originally get into playing country music?

Honestly, it just kinda fell together like that. I started off playing acoustic by myself and I eventually added in my band members over time. My drummer and bassist have played together over the years, and our guitarist played bass with me before, but we thought he would be a better guitarist for us. They are really great guys, and we wouldn’t be the same band without them.

What is the meaning behind the name CORBIN DALLAS?

I am a pretty big Bruce Willis fan, and in the movie The Fifth Element that is the name of his character. When I saw it, I thought that would be a great name for a band, and it just stuck.

What do you think sets your music apart from other country bands in the area?

Well as cliché as it sounds it’s a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. We never sought out to write strictly country music. I grew up listening to Motown and the blues. When I write, I am not trying to write about the birds and the bees. I just let it come out, the music takes on a life of its own.

What are some common themes of the songs you write?

Relationships, happiness, the good stuff, the bad stuff, heartbreak, and the road behind. Basically memories. I don’t really like to write the “partying stuff”. I prefer the “passionate stuff”. I just hope people can relate to the music and take it they want to take it.

Recently, you have been recording with Lucas Borza of HONOUR CREST. How did you go about selecting him to produce your music?

Lucas and our drummer have been long time friends, and we started recording with him when he was just starting out and looking for experience. We were basically his guinea pig band. We set up in our drummer’s living room like a bunch of nerds. Now he and his band are joining Rise Records, and we are really happy to have him be a part of what we are doing.

I saw on your band’s Facebook page that you reached 500 followers yesterday. How supportive have your fans been since you formed CORBIN DALLAS?

Pretty good. The number of fans we have has been growing rapidly and coming out of nowhere. I wish I could step outside of myself to hear what they are hearin’, but its growing really fast. We’ve been really lucky with it lately.

I also noticed you will be performing at this year’s Vets Fest. How important is it to you and your band to support our nation’s military veterans and active duty armed forces?

It’s very important to us. We approached the coordinator Faith Conlon about playing, and she was more than happy to add us to the lineup. We really wanted to be a part of it to pay our tribute to the veterans, and we are honored that we get the chance to play it.

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What are some other bands from Virginia that inspire you that others should listen to?

HONOUR CREST first and foremost. They are out there doing what they do best and doing it very well. Also, REVERY from Virginia Beach. Our manager is in that band, and they are a great group of guys. People should also check out THE STEPGODS from Virginia Beach on Sacrifice Records. They are more experimental and “earthy”.

How soon do you expect your debut record to be released, and what can your fans expect from that album?

We have been talking back and forth to Sacrifice Records, and we are possibly going that way. If we do, the record, which may be named after our song “Let’s Ride”, will be out around January. We only have three more songs to record until we are finished all 10 that will be on the album.

For more updates on CORBIN DALLAS and their debut record, be sure to “like” their Facebook page. You can also catch them on The Hampton Roads Show this Friday, August 9th on WAVY TV 10 at 11:00 a.m. or online on their website.

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