Name: Viv and the Revival (Viv Peyrat - Vocals/Lead Guitar, John Hoff - Drums, Jake Brnich - Guitar, Derrick Leach - Bass)
Sounds Like: Bruno Mars and One Republic meets Guns N' Roses
History: I [Viv] started playing music at a young age, played in a bunch of bands until I started writing my own songs at the age of 22. I quickly started getting a lot of placements on TV ("The Voice", NBC, Bud Light, MTV, etc.) with my songs. I asked one of my best friends to play guitar for me in my band, and then we found the remaining members two years later. Now, six months later, we have our new line-up and we are playing shows everywhere, and are about to release our first full length record, The Introduction, on February 18th, 2014.
Something Special: I was born in Paris, and speak French fluently. John, our drummer, was in the Air Force. Jake, our guitar player, is a guitar builder. Also, Derrick, our bass player, used to do stand-up comedy in NYC.
Future Plans: We are planning to tour everywhere in 2014! The new record The Introduction drops in February!
UC Takeaway: "Always believe and stay true to yourself. Write the songs that you believe in!" So says Viv, of Viv and the Revival. Generally speaking, musicians fall into two categories: those that are performers and who simply love being out on the road and in front of a crowd, and those that are writers at heart and feel most comfortable not on stage but with a pen and paper or in the studio. All artists must attempt to master both aspects of this two-sided coin, but for this post we're focusing on the latter. In the beginning, a song is just an idea - perhaps it begins as a line, or a feeling, or a moment. But with hard work, perseverance, and often times, a little (or a lot of) collaboration, it becomes something much bigger. Some numbers will come easier than others; some will be hits, others will be misses. In the end, though, they're all yours, and they're all something you get to share with the world in a way that is both extremely personal and universal all at once. So believe in your work, and check out Viv and the Revival below!
Sounds Like: The Beatles, The Black Keys, Beck, Cold War Kids, Radiohead
History: Julian Fulton has been writing songs since he was a kid. Once he finally thought the songs were decent enough to perform in public, he ventured out to coffeehouses, dragging along his girlfriend and brother for support. The next two or three years were spent workshopping different material and trying to find a niche. This leads us to early 2011 when Julian impulsively signed himself up for a battle of the bands - sans a band. There was a very quick recruitment period that resulted in the first manifestation of The Zombie Gospel, and what began as a completely unknown, unpracticed band one show was a buzz band by the next. By the third show, they were playing to a sold-out crowd, and their fourth was the Bamboozle Music Festival. After recognizing the group's potential, Julian took the following year to experiment with his earlier songs, record an introductory EP (Heart & Arms), strengthen their live show, work with different musicians, and attempt to hone in on exactly how this weird, ever-changing band was going to work. And though he can count contributions from at least 10 other people, Julian has most recently and frequently been supported by Russ Eia on bass and vocals, his brother Aidan Fulton on drums, and long-term girlfriend Kristine Donovan on vocals and percussion. These three also helped Julian to release a follow-up single titled "Two Little Thieves" in June 2013. The NJ-based band continues to garner positive buzz and hopes to make an even bigger splash in the coming years.
Something Special: They are all obsessed with Breaking Bad and Julian's dogs.
Future Plans: Julian has put the project on hiatus for the remainder of 2013 in order to write, record, and audition potential members. With any luck, the group hopes to reemerge stronger than ever in 2014 and release a full-length record by the following year. However, you can also look forward to new solo releases from Julian Fulton in the coming months, including a 3-song EP of Daniel Johnston covers.
UC Takeaway: Here's a bit of advice from Julian: "To all musicians - just keep at it. Things will suck. They'll suck bad. And they'll suck a lot. Trying to make it in music is ridiculously hard. If it wasn't, everyone would be a rock star. And though there's no guarantee you'll be successful, there's a guarantee you won't be if you give up. Sounds corny, but it's true. So stay positive, quit feeling bad for yourself, and work harder, even when you think you can't. There's always more you could be doing." We couldn't have said it much better ourselves! No matter how many stories you hear, there is no such thing as an "overnight success". All success takes a great deal of hard work and preserverance. And Julian is right - while there is no way to know whether or not it will all pay off in the end, there is no alternative to failure if you never even try. In the end, you're more likely to regret the things you didn't do than the actions you took along the way. So if you truly want to be an artist, give music your all, and check out Julian and The Zombie Gospel below!
Name: Toy Soldiers (Ron Gallo, Dominic Billett, Matt Kelly, Bill McCloskey, Luke Leidy)
Sounds Like: We left our hearts in New Orleans. Jerry Lee Lewis meets Mad Dogs and Englishmen? I don't know.
History: The five of us met at singles "karaoke night" during our respective stays at space camp in 2010. I [Ron Gallo] had always seen the guys as outstanding vocal performers of ironically good '90s pop songs until one night through the window of a bunk I saw Matt, Dom, Luke and Bill KILLING it on "Rock Band" for XBOX 360 and that's when I knew we needed to join forces. Our first show together was at CMJ in New York in 2010, and since then we've barreled all over the country in our big dumb van playing everywhere from celebrity chefs' homes to dive bars, theaters and rockstars' astro-turfed living rooms. Our latest album, and first with the current lineup called The Maybe Boys, came out on in September and you should buy it/listen to it on Spotify on your iPhone 6 billion times.
Something Special: Ron and Bill are also Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin impersonators that perform semi-annually under the name "Franks and Deans". Dom is a culinary magician. Matt is a successful grant writer. Luke has a history in musical theatre, dance and is nationally recognized as a the Burger King.
Future Plans: We're finishing up the last leg of a two-month tour now, doing a session at SUN Studio in Memphis, going home, taking the winter off to write, record, regroup, rest, and beautify, and we will most likely release a few fun EP's this winter and then think about our next album and start touring again in March. In the meantime, Ron will be releasing a solo record in January and doing a two week tour out west.
UC Takeaway: A little advice from the Toy Soldiers themselves: "Keep going, especially if people that don't need to tell you to, tell you to, and make good things forever, be a good person and give it 110% 200% of the time and be realistic." If you could understand the syntax of that sentence, we'll be impressed, but the sentiments remain clear: give music your all, and don't stop until you're sure you're done. One point in particular stuck out to us: if people are saying you're good, especially those who don't have to (anyone outside of immediate family / friends / other associated loved ones), listen up. Equally as important is taking critiques from all who give them. Music is a constant learning process, and if you're not growing and developing, you're going to get left behind. Staying humble along the road to fame will not only save you from the dreaded "rockstar" syndrome, but also allow you to hone and perfect your skills, making you the best possible artist you can be. So listen to the advice of others, keep improving as a musician, and check out Toy Soldiers below!
History: When I was two and a half my mom stuck me into ballet and tap classes - I had two older brothers and a younger brother on the way. In an effort to get me hanging out with other little girls and liking pink and Barbies rather than black and skateboards, my mom thought this was the best option. But growing up with three brothers, I could never be a "girlie-girl" - not really. I discovered I could sing at about age 10, and since I danced it seemed the obvious transition was musical theater. I started doing as many theater productions in and out of school as possible, and I finally went to school for theater when I got to college. But I kind of always knew something wasn't right. I idolized bands like Smashing Pumpkins (they were my first concert when I was 12, thanks to my older brothers), Live, Incubus, No Doubt and 311 rather than the Broadway stars that my musical theater friends loved and adored. I just wasn't interested in learning about musical theater unless it was a show that I was in. To this day I still really only know about the shows I have been in with a few exceptions. Now I idolize bands like Glassjaw, Coheed & Cambria, Norma Jean, Alexis on Fire and The Gay Blades, not that my music is anything like them. After college I joined a progressive rock/post-hardcore band called Ground to Machine. We played heavy songs, and I really got to perform my heart out on stage. If that band could have gotten around our internal issues I really feel like we could have become something huge. But I left after only two years and formed my own band, Verity In Stereo, with my younger brother who plays piano. That band had incredibly talented members, but we were not all on the same page as far as wanting a career in music or not (clearly I chose the former). So once again I left to start this new project that you hear/see now which brings us to today. My first EP as Kiirstin Marilyn was produced by Todd Weinstock (Glassjaw - one of my favs) and Brian DeNeeve (From Autumn to Ashes, touring guitarist for The Wanted). I was RAW NYC Artist of the Year in 2012, and I have performed all over the Northeast in the US (NYC, Boston, DC, Asbury Park, etc) as well as internationally in Toronto, Canada, London, England, and in the YouBloom music festival in Dublin, Ireland. I just released my brand new single "The Struggle" on November 10th, produced by the very talented Benny Reiner.
Something Special: I am a New Yorker through and through, specifically a Manhattanite. I can be rough and the F-word is just a part of my everyday vocabulary (sorry I'm not sorry), but I have a bleeding heart for those who have trouble with helping themselves. I love all animals (even subway rats). I helped fight to get the carriage horses off the mean streets of New York City and with the election of our new mayor it seems we are closer to this goal. I have a black cat named Rico, and he's my baby (I'm proud to be a crazy cat lady). I wear cat shirts. Urban Outfitters is my favorite store. I hate Williamsburg. I have half of my head shaved (sure, like Rihanna, but I did it first ;)). I love the summer. I hate the winter. I almost ran the NYC marathon until it was cancelled last year - maybe 2014. I love my friends and family and I know without their love and support I could NEVER ever pursue this dream of a music career.
Future Plans: Just released my brand new single on November 10th so the next step is promoting it; planning a tour down the East Coast to Florida and hopefully more international shows with Barcelona, Spain as a possible destination so far.
UC Takeaway: "Never give up and never give in to the fake people in this industry. Be yourself and make the music you want to make. It's the only way you will ever be happy." Well if Kiirstin's lengthy interview tells you anything, it's that she's certainly not fake. Being true to yourself in any job can be difficult, but this is especially relevant when it comes to an industry as tough at the music business. But conforming to today's mold will only put you out of date for tomorrow; better to break free and set the trends rather than follow them. It may seem difficult at first, but not only is it a superior choice for your career, the peace of mind that comes from following your heart rather than the fickle winds of the industry as a whole is priceless. So as cliche as it may sound, march to the beat of your own drummer, and check out Kiirstin Marilyn below!
Name: Last Call Home (Michael Beyl - Singer/Guitarist, Nick DiTomaso - Bassist/Vocals, Robby Melendez - Drummer)
Sounds Like: All Time Low, New Found Glory, The Summer Set, Relient K, Simple Plan, One Direction, Cartel, Blink 182, Click 5
History: Michael Beyl is the mastermind behind this original sound of Last Call Home.
Taking matters into his own hands, Michael flew himself to Atlanta, Georgia to meet up with producers Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount (All Time Low, Cartel) to shape the EP and form a solid sound. Well, knowing Michael needed musicians who could have a deeper connection with the music and sound, he sought out Robby Melendez and Nick DiTomaso to complete the band's first image. Three members that each came from different bands who each needed that shot at redemption in the music scene. We pride ourselves in this "final hoorah" by representing a nostalgic sound that we hope can make an impact on others as well. We know we aren't the only ones that need the good old days. This is just our Last Call Home.
Something Special: Michael can't go a day without thinking of "the next big thing." His business ideas are booming and we cant find a way to stop it. Michael also has a knack for pizza and has been planning a fixed dough-spinning contest just so he would inevitably win, hands down. Besides his pipes, Michael's musical talent consists of multiple instruments which makes writing a piece of cake. With his brilliant work ethic and passion for film and video editing, it comes as a huge plus to the band naturally to this multi-talented singer. Nick is actually quite the piano shredding go hard! His positive outlook on life makes for his generally outgoing and crazy personality on and off the stage. Nick's passion for graphic design and the arts has helped form the image of the band today with a lot of the current graphics set on the social media sites, posters, and even live banners. Robby Melendez credits his swift hands to years of training in drum corps. With 14 hour practice days and touring the country in front of as many as 73,000 in Indianapolis at Grand Nationals, an on point performance from Robby comes to him "in his sleep." Robby also loves to cook, so if you're feeling hungry and got a couple extra dollars on the coast, catch him on the line at the famous JRDN restaurant in Pacific Beach, San Diego.
Future Plans: We are looking to hit hard early 2014 and fully loaded! With tour plans, acoustic performances, and a killer live show, This EP is only the start.
UC Takeaway: "We are here to bring back the good old days with our nostalgic drive and charisma. Our EP, World War You is set to hit home and remind us all of when we were young and free." That's what the members of Last Call Home had to say to us UCers. Often in music, artists are trying to be unique and create a new and inventive sound, unlike anything anyone has ever heard before. But sometimes the classics are the key. Recreating an older sound with a fresh twist and new catchy riffs is a great way to find your place in the vast musical world. You never want to be a copy-cat, but you also don't have to reinvent the wheel; heck, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. As long as you put your own signature and flair into your music, go with whatever sound drives you, instead of just trying to be creative for the sake of creativity. So don't knock familiar sounds, and check out Last Call Home below!
Name: The Elephant In The Room (Alfred Vitale - Vocals/Guitar, Joseph Savino Jr. - Guitar/Vocals, Jared Duncan - Bass)
Sounds Like: Muse, QOTSA, Rx Bandits
History: Joey and Alfred met at a venue called "The Cove" for some kind of hardcore, ska, or punk show through a mutual friend. This was over 15 years ago. We played in a few "forgetful" bands with an assortment of musicians. We eventually created this band which has been the culmination of years of playing, listening, and writing music together. We have shared the stage with bands such as: The Bravery, Train, Jessie Malin, Hawthorne Heights, The Dear Hunter and more.
Something Special: Joey is a cheeseburger connoisseur. We all like bourbon whiskey and craft beers. Alfred knows a conspiracy theory for everything. Jared is a huge Giants fan. Joey is a huge Devils fan... Whoops I mean Rangers. And Alfred is a huge Juventus fan. We shout/request Iron Maiden for every band we see.
Future Plans: New record out October 29th! Produced by Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter/The Receiving End of Sirens
UC Takeaway: What is The Elephant In The Room's advice to other artists? "Staying positive. Writing music that will mean something to a person. Leaving it to interpretation. Our advice would be, never give up. Don't play music for the wrong reasons. And, everyone can do it themselves... but you need to work hard. VERY HARD." TEINR covered their bases pretty well with that quote, but we'll expound on it just a bit (since, well, that's what we do). Working hard and staying positive are topics we cover a lot here at UC, so let's focus for a moment on the middle portion of their statement. Writing music that will mean something while also leaving it up to interpretation is an interesting task. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, in many cases the more specific the song, the more universal it can feel to listeners. Putting yourself into your music, as intimidating as it may seem, is an important part of the songwriting process. So don't fake it; put your heart and soul into everything you do, and check out The Elephant In The Room below!