Get Your Rockin' Spring Break On
By Andy Argyrakis, senior music editor, gmclife.com
With the seasons about to shift, it can only mean spring break's right around the corner. That boils down to no school or work, a break in the routine and plenty of fun in the sun, though for the music lover in us all, it also translates to tons of new tunes to load in the iPod to accompany us on road trips or flights to the desired destination. Several of today's top rock artists caught up with gmclife.com to give us the scoop on their fresh cuts, along with their best ideas on how to spend the biggest break of the year.
The Band: Sanctus Real / A chat with bassist Dan Gartley
The Album: Pieces of a Real Heart
The Sound: "There are songs that rock a little harder as well as songs that carry a little more weight and emotion. There are mid-tempo songs like 'These Things Take Time' and 'Dear Heart' that are influenced by some of our favorite classic rock bands. Then there are more energetic songs that are reminiscent of the Say It Loud/Fight the Tide days. We tried to push ourselves on the musicality front by adding different instrumentation like banjo, orchestra bells, and mandolin."
The Story: "We thought Pieces of a Real Heart was a very fitting title and concept thematically. Each song was written from a piece of our band's collective heart. They address different topics, but are all tethered together by underlying themes of love and humanity…being real. There is definitely a continuing maturity in the content as we get older."
The Season: "If you live in the northeast, I hope you find a nice warm beach somewhere, because you had a brutal winter. If you already live by a beach, I'm jealous and will be knocking on your door soon. I'm tired of being cold. Actually, it seems like there has been more and more students spending their breaks on mission trips or with different social organizations like TOMS Shoes, Blood:Water Mission, or Mocha Club. I bet there will be many students helping with relief efforts in Haiti and Africa. This is an extremely cool way to spend spring break."
Next: The Band: Demon Hunter / A chat with frontman Ryan Clark
The Band: Demon Hunter / A chat with frontman Ryan Clark
The Album: The World Is a Thorn
The Sound: "The new record is generally faster and more intense than our previous records. There is plenty of our signature style throughout the record, but everything has been pushed a little further. The heavy songs have more of a classic thrash vibe, especially in regard to the guitars and drums. The vocals are more raw and natural. The slower songs are darker and moodier."
The Story: "The overall theme of the record is the depletion of morals and values in our country and the world as a whole. It seems as if the term 'nothing is sacred' is truly the case today. I'm not sure if the internet has intensified the darker regions of humanity, or if it has just given us a more accessible view of it. People have always lived according to their own desires, but today there is a greater element of outspoken pride in this regard. No one seems ashamed of anything these days. And the less shame, the more anything is seemingly permissible."
The Season: "Well, the best thing you can do this spring is make it out to a Demon Hunter show! It's been a little while since we've been on the road, and we're really excited to play. We'd love to meet more fans out there."
Next: The Band: Chasen / a chat with frontman Chasen Callahan
~ The Band: Chasen / a chat with frontman Chasen Callahan
The Album: That Was Then, This Is Now
The Sound: "It is a blend of rock/pop and worship. It's also got a lot of songs inspired by everyday life."
The Story: "Hope is the main theme for the record. There's so much negativity in the world right now, we want this record to be a beacon of hope for people and remind them that Jesus Christ is the ultimate peacemaker."
The Season: "I like to camp with the family and fish as well. Another spring break idea would be to lay on the beach or go hiking in the mountains, all while listening to our new record!"
Next: The Band: Jet Velvet / a chat with co-frontmen Paul Dexter and Matt Bissonette
The Band: Jet Velvet / a chat with co-frontmen Paul Dexter and Matt Bissonette
The Album: Jet Velvet
The Sound: "We both take turns as lead singers, but these songs revolve around the lyrics and instruments more than the voices. We're definitely in an age where so much music is emotionally driven and deep that it lacks that flat-out fun, get-stuck-in-your-head kind of vibe. We absolutely love that and have always been huge fans of simple hooks that people can instantly grasp, sung so simply that people don't lose sight of the purpose." –Bissonette
The Story: "We sing a lot about relationships – both real and imagined. From as simple as just getting along, making it work, to just being there. Then there is the portion of the record where we make fun of ourselves. That's my favorite part of the project!" –Dexter
The Season: "My best spring trip was a road trip through a majority of the country in a motor home from the west coast, through Yellowstone, Canada, Cape Cod and New York. Try parking a Motorhome in Manhattan – you think you can't find a spot in a regular car? I'd suggest you drive anywhere you can snowboard in shorts and a T-shirt, iPod ears in with Jet Velvet spinning at a healthy volume." –Dexter
Next: The Band: Stellar Kart / a chat with frontman/guitarist Adam Agee
The Band: Stellar Kart / a chat with frontman/guitarist Adam Agee
The Album: Everything Is Different Now
The Sound: "Worshipful, energetic and exciting!"
The Story: "Encouragement is a theme that's prevalent on the album. With songs like 'It's Not Over,' 'Something Holy' and 'Everything Is Different Now,' we've tried to remind people that whatever you're dealing with now, it's not the end of the story."
The Season: "I took a trip up to Portland one year and went snowboarding and had a blast. Another year I went down to Mexico and had a great time. Kind of extreme opposites but both were great…You should absolutely check out a Stellar Kart show. You're guaranteed to have a great time and laugh at least once!"
Next: The Band: Queens Club / A chat with frontman/guitarist Dan Eaton
The Band: Queens Club / A chat with frontman/guitarist Dan Eaton
The Album: Young Giant
The Sound: "It's a pop record with a lot of energy. There are lots of twists and turns and lots of dance beats, and there are also a lot of beautiful harmonies. Basically, you'll be happy to add it to your collection of albums or mp3s."
The Story: "It's a very personal record. There isn't a lot of hiding. Though it may be naive, I firmly believe that nearly anyone can identify with this record if they listen to it."
The Season: "We are all huge baseball fans. We have all played baseball growing up and we love when baseball season rolls around. We usually try to get some pick up baseball games together with our friends back home and then we head down to see the Kansas City Royals…Do yourselves a favor and make a spring break trip to a Best Buy or Hot Topic that is selling our debut album. You will not regret it. Then put it into your car stereo. Then learn all the words, or what you think the words are, and sing them all the way home. Repeat steps one through three."
Next: The Band: Luminate / A chat with frontman Samuel Hancock
The Band: Luminate / A chat with frontman Samuel Hancock
The Album: Luminate
The Sound: "Over the past four years we have been constantly trying to find our sound, or what sets us apart. On this new record we believe we have found it! Anthemic melodies and ambient, cutting guitars play a major part of the sound of this record. The only way I can put it into words is by saying it is worshipful British pop rock sound that literally makes you feel a sense of hope, purpose and a passion."
The Story: "The theme of the record is definitely love. We realize it is an overused word, but we wanted this record to promote a new approach – turning the word 'love' into an action. When we started to dig into this, we realized that love is the answer to everything; that is why Jesus spoke of it so often. When we start to put love into action, we see a chain reaction. Love casts out fear; it shows mercy; it forgives; it cares for anyone and everyone in need. As a band, we wanted this record to inspire all who hear to embrace this radical lifestyle and see the world around them change."
The Season: "My personal favorite spring break was spent in Mazatlan, Mexico. And my shameless reason is definitely the boogie boarding down there. One of my secret dreams is to become a surfer, and boogie boarding is as close as I can get. And other than road tripping to a Luminate show, I'd say go to Disneyland! It's the ultimate family vacation."
About the Writer
Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Entertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, MTV.com and Vibe.com. He's also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel's very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).
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