Featured Artist: Traveler

Hello, everyone! I know it’s been a little bit since I’ve gotten to write one of these but I’m happy to say that I graduated from the University of Missouri on Sunday and finishing up this semester has been pretty intensive, but I can finally say that I’m done.

Anyways, enough about me, let me introduce you to this band called Traveler from St. Louis, a band looking to reinvent their sound as they begin to grow away from the pop-punk sound that defined their last release. The band formed back in December 2013 and is now gearing up to release their new concept album Resist. The band recently released their new single “Islands” that showcases a shift into a more post-rock/emo sound (citing influences such as Brand New, The Beatles, and My Chemical Romance). You can stream the song/ check out the interview below:

Live Shot - January
Traveler is: Lyle Schmitz (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Jordan Hageman (lead guitar/vocals), Nick Stough (bass/vocals), and Alex Kennedy (drums)

What’s the story behind the formation of Traveler?

Originally the band was a joke called Earth, Wind, and Fernandez. The band’s initial function was to just perform at a Battle of the Bands at Marquette High School (two of the members at the time attended the school). Eventually, the band solidified into Traveler as something more serious with Lyle taking the lead bringing in friends/members to write and record our debut release To Growing Old and Getting By which was released September 21, 2014. A decent amount of shows were played on that to promote it and get the word out. We ended up taking a hiatus in the summer of 2015 but eventually got back together to write and record the EP Something Blue which was released on August 10, 2016. We played shows on that and started writing again pretty quickly and here we are now with a full length coming next month.

You guys just released your new single “Islands” off of your new album Resist that is due out June 10th…what has the response been like so far?

The response has been overwhelming. We weren’t sure how the new sound was going to be received at all. Plus, the track is over 5 minutes and is without a true chorus. But, everyone has loved “Islands” so far and they can’t wait for the rest of the record.

I understand that your new music is a big shift away from what your music style used to be…what was the reason for the change in sound?

It’s not pop-punk like we used to be; we ended up being influenced a lot more from post-hardcore, post-rock, and emo. It wasn’t an incredibly conscious decision at first, it was a very natural progression for us. You can look back on certain moments on Something Blue and get little hints on what we’re doing now. We didn’t want to do another pop-punk record and be confined to just that. There’s a lot of genre blending on the new record. There’s some somber emo/indie rock, really aggressive post-hardcore, moody and atmospheric post-rock, and even a sludgy post-metal song. We were also really inspired by the Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” type of production used on the 60’s girl groups, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys, so this record is far more nuanced and layered than anything we ever did on To Growing Old and Getting By or Something Blue. There’s definitely some hints of pop-punk catchiness but it’s much different this time around. We think when people listen to the record it’ll make sense in the narrative story it follows – being a concept record.

What’s the story behind the concept album and where did its inspiration come from?

Everything we’ve done has been concept or theme driven. To Growing Old and Getting By and Something Blue followed a continuity of themes more than a narrative. We wanted to really jump into a true concept record and tell a story. With the caustic divide and political/social climate we live in – we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to explore that. The narrative essentially follows a protagonist who is not directly effected by the problems of the world around him. He recognizes them and understands them – but he feels too small and insignificant to do anything. There is an authoritarian “1984” type of government in place that acts as an extreme of the right side of the political spectrum and is in place. Our protagonist has, essentially, everything stripped from him causing him to want to take a stand.

He joins a resistance full of different characters explored in different songs that represent different issues and themes. So essentially, the record reflects problems we’re going through now but with a semi-dystopian lens. The record is not to be taken as an anti-Trump record because we do not wish to alienate our fans – but there is some of that in there. The record more becomes about what we all have to do to reach the common goal of a functional and peaceful society. It’s more about the conversation that has to happen between two parties instead of a device to drive us further apart.

We really wanted to create something timely and timeless that could still translate years from now – in the same way that Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On did in the 70’s and it’s still just as prevalent 46 years later.

Who did you guys record your new album with and what was the reasoning behind that?

We have always self-produced in the past. Lyle is a great producer and really has a unique ear for mixing and mastering. We toyed with the idea of hiring a producer or working in a studio like Gaslight or Shock City but wanted to stay DIY. We all had a hand in producing more on this record since we all had the same goal as far as how we wanted things to sound. But this record we kicked it up a notch and bought better programs and gear to achieve that goal. We love the DIY aspect of us getting our hands dirty as well as learning new recording, mixing, and producing techniques. It’s challenging and fun.

What is the band most excited about in anticipation of the release of the new album?

We’re really looking forward to seeing and hearing everyone’s reaction with what we’ve created. It is always such a humbling experience to see and hear people say they love or enjoy something you made. It makes it all worth while when you look out on an audience and they know the words and can really get into it. Other than that we’re just really looking forward to playing these songs live.

Wrapping it all up, what does the future look like for the band? Any specific plans?

First our record release show on June 10th at The Firebird with Mariner, Union Grove, Church Key, and Secondary (which everyone should come – tickets are only $10). But playing some more shows and maybe trying to do some touring? We’re not 100 percent sure at this point. We kind of plan as we go.

Release Show Poster

Spread the word and make sure to follow us on Spotify, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date. We hope you enjoy the new record and we really would love to see you all at some shows this summer. It’s going to be a blast.


Thanks for reading!


Featured Artist: Rain Check

Hello, everyone! Today, I give you my interview with pop-punk/alternative band Rain Check from Abilene, Texas, the youngest band that I’ve gotten to write about so far. They have just finished up recording their debut EP, citing sound influences from The Story So Far, Citizen, and Balance and Composure. Ever since forming this past December, they already have big plans for themselves and have shown to have a promising future. Be sure to check them out and be on the lookout for their debut EP!

How did the band initially come together? Where did the inspiration for the band name come from?

The four musicians in the band had been in another band previous to this one. We wanted to go a different direction musically so we parted ways with the singer we had and formed Rain Check. We added Tyler for vocals and we are really happy with the direction we are going. The band name itself actually just came by chance. We were tossing around ideas and that one stuck.

Does the band have any big plans for 2017? Are there any specific things you want to accomplish before the year is over as a newer band to make a name for yourselves?

Well first thing is to put out music. We are so excited about the songs we have and what they bring. We are influenced by a lot of bands but we definitely want to carve out our own niche. After that we want to do a small tour and just keep writing.

I’ve come to know a lot of awesome bands from Texas…what is the local music scene in Texas like? Has it felt like a good place to start the band?

The Texas scene varies a lot depending on what city you’re in. Abilene is weird because population wise it’s pretty good size but there isn’t a huge music scene. Most of the bands are either country or hardcore/metal so we are an anomaly. That being said overall the scene is pretty awesome and Texas has so many different cities and scenes that you can play for a lot of different people without leaving the state.

What’s the story behind your acoustic track Closure? Does the song have any special meaning to anyone in the band specifically or the band as a whole?

Tyler: “When I first wrote closure it was when I was deployed overseas and I could not get over the nauseous feeling of my relationship ending so I just decided to try and write some lyrics depicting exactly how I felt to get it off my chest. They were nothing flashy. Just raw and honest lyrics. It ended up helping me get through one of the toughest times in my life being so far away from my home and the people that I love. The reason I make music is to give myself an outlet of pure emotion that people can relate to and hopefully my words resonate within someone and makes a difference.”

Who will you guys be recording your debut EP with and why did you choose them?

We are recording with Luke Garrigus at Blackroom Studios. Luke has worked with friends of ours and all of his work is really top notch so we are excited. He has done bands with a variety of sounds and our music has some range from standard pop punk fare to darker more alternative sounding stuff so we wanted someone that can cover a lot of ground.

What kind of topics will the band be exploring lyrically on the EP?

Tyler: “My lyrics on the EP are basically me going through a grieving process. With Cauterize it’s the initial pain I felt. Ghost talks about how I can’t stop thinking about how I want her to come back. Life Lessons explains how I’m coming to terms with it and how I’m learning from my mistakes. Stuck is mainly how I couldn’t move forward. Pieces talks about how I beat myself up about it and viewing myself as a bad person and eventually contemplating suicide.”

Check out their acoustic track, Closure:


Thanks for reading!

Featured Artist: Rose Gold

Welcome, everyone, to another artist feature! I’m super excited about this one as I talk to this awesome band called Rose Gold from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to perform with them yet, but hopefully that will change soon, because these guys are super talented. They just released their newest EP The Beginning Is Near, and it’s incredible. If you do anything after reading this, listen to that EP. With some touring experience in their pockets (and more planned) and this new EP, this band is only going to keep growing and getting better.

Keeping up with the tradition of past artist features, tell me about the beginnings of the band, how you guys started, and where the name Rose Gold came from.

Rose Gold came directly from a band called Paper Planets that had just had too many member and sound changes after a year and a half of complacency. We were asked to come record an EP in California and we sprung at the chance. While we were there, we talked about changing the name because the sound was so far from where we were before. We actually threw around names for a couple of months while we patiently waited to get our mixes back.

We had some names that we were alright with, yet at least one of us vetoed the top picks, but it wasn’t till I brought up Rose Gold that we were finally all starting to agree on it. I was listening to “Body Work” by Pusha T from his album Fear of God II: Let Us Pray and heard the lyrics “…rose gold on my wrist, this Rolex is like devil’s piss…”. Rose Gold stuck out because it’s a unique type of metal and the combination of “rose” and “gold” to describe something just sounds really cool and interesting. I brought it to the guys, we put it to a vote with the other contending names and Rose Gold came out the victor.

Now that I think about though I should have suggested Devil’s Piss…that would’ve been tight.

You guys wrapped up your first tour of 2017 with avoid. at the end of January…what was your guys’ experience like on that tour? Did that tour have any special meaning to the band?

The tour with avoid. was very successful for us. We hadn’t toured as Rose Gold yet, so that was the band’s first tour. Meeting avoid. was kind of awkward at first because we had never met them before this tour so we didn’t know what kind of people they were. Needless to say we bonded immediately with them and became best friends. We’ll never hear the words “dude, hell yeah.” the same again.

The shows were all great. Every show we at least sold one piece of merch or had one person who was stoked on our set…that was at the least. The rest of the shows went even better, we moved a lot of merch and had tons of fun playing. That tour was special because it showed us that touring is definitely something we should focus on due to the reaction at the shows. Being a newer band, touring seemed a little unnecessary because we’re still trying to garner a solid local following. We still get people asking us to come back to their town every now and then. After a first tour, that’s a great message to receive.

I noticed that you guys made a Facebook post about using a fill in bass player for a number of shows, which you said allowed for the band to remain a four-piece band but have the sound of a five-piece band. What’s the reasoning for wanting to stay a four-piece band? Are there plans to add a fifth member in the future?

So, the four piece thing came from our experience with the last member we let go. We learned that the four of us were on the same page and one of our members was really holding us back in a lot of ways. Once we became a four piece, we did take the time to try a few people out to be our permanent bassist but no one was feeling naturally right. After we finished the try outs, we started focusing less and less on filling the spot and more on the fact that we were making great writing progress between the four of us.

Anytime we got together after that was just reaffirming that we didn’t need anyone else to move on. We were just concentrated on making our new music the best it can be. Austin and I switch between rhythm and lead all the time so writing bass parts wasn’t difficult with the work being bifurcated. He and I have a very mutual aim for what our sound (guitar-wise) needs to be and we refuse to give up that harmony for something we can do ourselves. At some point, we do want to have a full-time bassist so we can tour and play shows without having to worry about a fill-in but for now, we’re crafting our signature sound.

Since your second EP The Beginning Is Near has been out for almost four months, let’s talk about that. What has the response been like so far?

The response has been very great. We had a lot to prove on this EP after our folly on the self-titled EP and this was us fighting for our identity and sound. I think the greatest response we’ve had from The Beginning Is Near is our own. We’re finally happy with a project and it sounds like we wanted it to sound and we’re proud to show people and say “this is us.” Locally, the reception was cool because we had played two new songs live and people were very impressed at how much we stepped it up from the last recordings we put out. That’s when we knew we were headed in the right direction. The praise was very confirming not only because of our last EP but because of the band we were even before that.

Where did the title of the EP come from? Does it hold a special meaning to anyone in the band specifically or the band as a whole and how?

The Beginning Is Near is the last line in the last song on the EP called “Shadowboxing”. The song is about realization. It’s about realizing that you cannot change people, you can only change yourself and hope that other people see your positive transformation and take initiative themselves to become a better person. That was a huge epiphany in my life in every aspect. After I grasped that idea, my whole world changed and it was like a new beginning. Thus, The Beginning Is Near, was a new beginning for us after we absorbed all the knowledge from the lessons we learned, the mistakes we made. It’s a statement on what we can really do after realizing who we are.

Your first self-titled EP was great, but the new EP feels like a more overall cohesive process and I can feel that when I listen to it. How did the writing process differ from the self-titled to TBIN, if any?

The self-titled was not written with the intention to put out an EP. It wasn’t until we had an offer to record that we scrambled to tie up the loose ends of song ideas we had. It had probably been two years since we released any music and we were coming to practice to rehearse our set even when we didn’t have shows coming up. We were being ignorant of what we needed to do. So when song ideas came up, we would somewhat explore the option and then go right back to practicing our old songs. I think we were just in a really bad place as a team that we were avoiding writing so that we didn’t have confrontation. This was a big part as to why we are disappointed in that self-titled release. It was aimless, careless and we were only putting out music because we thought going to a good producer would be enough to take us to the next level.

Afterwards, we slimmed down to a four piece and had a good talk that put us all back on the same page. With confidence in each other we started crafting what would eventually become TBIN. This time we focused on honing our sound to still be diverse as we explored some new sonic territories. A majority of the songs we were pumping out started to surprise us by how natural and easy they were to write. Once the music was polished, I began putting some lyrics to each song. Typically what I do is swing back and forth between personal songs and external songs. By that I mean that the self-titled’s lyrics were inspired by things outside me. The self-titled lyrically was about my learning about people’s various mental illnesses that I had not known of till I was 21. It was another one of those realization moments where I had to change my life because depression, stress, and anxiety were such a deep factors ingrained in my friends. On TBIN, I went the opposite way; I went really personal. I wrote about my relationship with my father, ungrateful, spoiled friends, and self-motivation. The songs had individual moods to them so lyrically I really wanted to match that vibe.

The end result is a product of the four of us being completely happy and comfortable with what we were doing. When we focused on how we got along as friends, the songs just came with easy. That’s why you hear a cohesive product that doesn’t sound forced.

Scaling it back a bit, I saw that you guys just celebrated being a band for one year in February. What has the overall experience been like for you guys so far? What is your overall perspective of the last year as a whole?

To be honest, it kind of snuck up on us. I think Max was the one that mentioned it and we were all stumped by how fast it went by. We released two EP’s, did a weekend run, played a very successful headlining show in our hometown, and toured the Midwest in that year. We were still caught up in the work that we didn’t sit down to celebrate what was a very good year. We hope to keep that same trajectory.

Looking ahead, what does the future, and more specifically 2017, look like for the band? New tours, any plans for new music or anything?

2017 is going to look even better for us. Without spoiling anything, we have a couple new songs ready to record for a short concept EP and a separate few songs we’re saving to record after that. We’re definitely looking at bigger and better shows and of course we’ll have to take advantage of this summer for another tour. We have a lot up our sleeves but we prefer to do rather than say so just make sure to keep a close eye on us.

We also want to say thank you to everyone who supports us, we’ll never get tired of thanking you guys for letting us do what we do. Thank you to all the new friends we met on our tour with avoid.

Please follow us on Spotify. That really helps us achieve much more on that platform that most people know. Follow us on our social media platforms by searching “RoseGoldOK” to make sure you’re up to date with new music, shows, and merch.

Shouts to Tamia and Brianna for shipping me my luggage after I forgot it in Iowa.

Rose Gold is (from left to right):  Max Genzer (drums), Joseph Banuelos (guitar), Austin Elkins (guitar), Giovanni Pineda (vocals)

Check out my favorite track from their The Beginning Is Near, “Cascade” (buy it here):

Rose Gold released The Beginning Is Near on December 30, 2016.

Thanks for reading!

Boys Home debut new single “Pretty Death” from new album “Wishbone”

Oh, man, am I excited about this. Today, I am doing something new and premiering the first single from the new album Wishbone by Boys Home! If you recall, I did an interview with these guys about a month ago and I was so excited to hear their new music and trust me, this new song doesn’t disappoint. Boys Home have perfectly crafted their indie-punk sound and this new album is going to be well worth the wait. When I was listening to this new song, some of the bands that came to mind were Hum, early Sunny Day Real Estate, and early Title Fight, and a mix of all of these sounds creates something beautiful.

Their new album Wishbone will be released on June 23, 2017. Stream the new track and check out an interview about the new song/album below!

Where did the inspiration for this new single come from? What’s the song written about?

Christian: “This was a pivotal point in the writing process for us. When I sat down to write this song all of the words kind of poured out. Some almost subconsciously. I was really just trying to capture the moment I was living in. I was really emotionally unstable, my great-grandmother had just passed. The whole song is a conversation with myself really. I felt like I was constantly having to fix myself and apologize to those around me for my instability.”

What was the decision-making process like choosing the first single to release and why did you guys ultimately decide on Pretty Death?

Lennon: “Choosing the single was kind of a mutual thing. I had fallen asleep in the studio the night Christian finished up the guitars on Pretty Death. The next morning the dudes played it back for me and I was just like  “Fuck, I don’t know about you guys but I think that’s the first single right there!” And Christian and Logan were hyped on that idea. And that was that.” 

Looking ahead to the eventual release of your new album Wishbone, what are you guys most excited about with this new album?

Logan: “For me personally, I’m excited because it’s my first record with Boys Home. It’s a little different from my other band, Four Arm Shiver. So I’m interested to see what people think. Christian and Lennon are great song writers so I imagine people are going to impressed.”

Where did the inspiration come from for the name of your new album and what meaning does it hold for you guys?

Christian: “When writing this record I really began to realize that we ride through life on a thread of uncertainty. For me, personally, I kept letting that fear of uncertainty have too much power over me and I made an effort to change. The album itself picks up where we left off with the last record and progressively gets more and more optimistic.”

Your guys’ songwriting just keeps getting better and better…was there any different way that you guys approached this album songwriting wise?

Lennon: “This record writing wise was a bit of a diversion from “Mary, Your Son Has Left Me”. With that last record we were just angry. We played hard and fast, we tried to really bring out the emotion in the lyrics but, we wanted a really raw feel with the songs, their lyrics, and their structures.

With Wishbone we’ve taken time to really bring out the dynamics in these songs and wrote slightly more technical musically. We just wanted this record to be strong and unique and I think we’ve captured that.”


Featured Artist: ZIION

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today, I talk to Marcus Woods of the band ZIION from my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, the heaviest band that I’ve gotten to write about so far, that have been around since April 2016. I’ve gotten to play with these guys twice and both times they’ve been an incredible band to watch live. Not only does their passion reach out through their music, but also through their live show. With a new EP out titled Pure Heart, and just finishing up the Mountains & Valleys Tour (their first tour ever as a band), they are showing no signs of slowing down.

Credit: Laurie Armstrong Photography

How did the band initially come together and what made you guys decide on your sound as a band? Was there something specific that made you guys decide on a heavier sound?

Well, I have always been behind the visuals and sound of ZIION, and I’ve always just sort of been inspired by heavier music. Mostly from the emotion I draw from it, and at the time, when I was writing the “Pure Heart” EP I was feeling a lot of emotion, both good and bad.

Where did the band name Ziion come from? Does it hold special significance for anyone in the band specifically or the band as a whole?

Well, for around the last 5 years I’ve had a solo project by the name of ZIION, I sort of formed a connection to it being a constant in my life. But, it’s always been an outlet for music and art. Zion has many meanings all around the globe but the one that stuck with us is the Japanese meaning, which is ‘Heaven on Earth’ and a passage I remember reading that inspired me a lot was “Only those of pure heart will find Zion.”  

It holds a lot of significance for everyone really but, it holds a very specific significance to me because at the time when I created ZIION, I was ready to end my life and ZIION kind of became something that saved my life. Once I decided I was going to create a band with a positive message it turned my life completely around. So much so that I got the word ‘Zion” tattoo’d on me in Japanese.

Your newest album Pure Heart was just released this past December…what has the response been like and what did this release personally mean for everyone in the band?

The response we’ve gotten has been very overwhelming! So many people I’ve never met all around the world are listening to this music I made because I was very upset, given the numbers aren’t anything compared to bigger artists but to us the numbers we’ve seen are more than we ever thought we would reach. It meant a lot to everyone in the band too because we’ve all poured so much heart and soul into what we do. Sacrificing so much to get a message out, and to see it make an impact, however small or large, is overwhelming.

Lyrically, it seems like there are some heavy topics discussed in these songs…can you explain what kinds of topics are explored on this album and where your inspiration came from?

The lyrics in this album are all very personal and each hold meaning to one of us very dearly. For me, “friends” held the most meaning, because for a majority of my life, I’ve had demons that sort of disguised themselves as my friends. Which is why there are quotes around the word, and the song sort of just explains what I’ve dealt with battling those demons. Another song, “Queen” was written about a very special person in our vocalist’s life who was diagnosed with cancer and sort of the complications that came with her sickness and eventual passing. So, all of our lyrics have come from personal experiences and that’s how we’ll always continue to write.

But, all of our lyrics are not negative. “Close” is about facing all your past mistakes and walking away from them; moving on and closing the chapter. We want all our listeners to know that while we discuss the negative topics in life that there are always things that make life beautiful and worth sticking around for. When there is a negative, there is always a positive; balance. And we want our lyrics to act as more of a support rather than a crutch.    

You guys also put out a music video for your song “friends” off of Pure Heart…what was that experience like and what made you decide that was the song you were going to shoot a video for?

The experience was wonderful! We worked with Zachariah Mayfield, he works with Mayfield Productions and also plays in THE SICKEST band called Earth Groans. He made the whole experience very comfortable, and made it easy for us to just be ourselves. We’ll probably be working with him a lot more in the future.

We decided to shoot a music video for “friends” because, collectively it’s our favorite song to play live. We knew we could have fun with it, and that’s what matters, right?

You guys also just wrapped up The Mountains & Valleys Tour, which was the band’s first time touring…what was that experience like for you guys?

BOOOY, that experience was both exhausting and just, incredible. I personally have never been to any of the cities we hit so I was really stoked on that. But, we had to take a pretty small vehicle so it wasn’t all that comfortable. But, getting to travel and play music with your best friends? I mean, there aren’t a whole lot of things better than that.

With a new album behind you and now some touring experience, what does the rest of 2017 look like for Ziion?

We’re playing a lot of crazy shows this summer, and maybe getting another tour or two before the new year? Releasing new music for sure though, be on the lookout for that.

Ziion released Pure Heart on December 4, 2016.

Check out my personal favorite track Close:

Ziion is (from left to right) Evan Ryan (drums), Nathan Groves (vocals), Rayallen Hoover III (bass), Marcus Woods (guitar)

Buy the album here, and like them on Facebook!

Thanks for reading!

Featured Artist: Inner Outlines

Welcome, welcome! Today I am featuring pop-punk/alternative band Inner Outlines from Jacksonville, Illinois. I played with these guys a while back at a show in St. Louis and not only were they talented musicians but they were all also super nice guys. After seeing how quickly they’ve grown and progressed as musicians and how good their music is, I knew I wanted to do a feature story on them.

The band formed back in August 2014 and since then has released two EP’s, released a brand new single featuring Garret Rapp of The Color Morale, and are in the finals to perform at Pointfest, a large outdoor music festival held in St. Louis, Missouri, by radio station KPNT. With all of the big things they have planned this year, don’t miss out on this band!

What’s the story behind the formation of Inner Outlines? Where did the inspiration come from to start the band?

The summer of 2014 Cody Walker (drummer) had inquired Matt Hall (vocalist) of starting a band after their previous projects had ended. After a month of being left on “read”, Matt had finally said “okay”. They met for the first time in Cody’s hometown of Carrollton, Illinois, and started making plans immediately. Even on the second time getting together they had brought in two more members Andrew Range (guitar) and Billie Dean Smith (bass) and started putting together shows as Inner Outlines. In November 2014 they lost their brother Billie and continue on today with the band name he came up with to honor his memory.

In July 2016 Matt contacted Dylan (guitar) to fill in on bass for a show at Outland Ballroom in Springfield, Missouri, then asked him to play guitar and put Caleb in the bass slot. In August we released our EP It’s Not Safe Here along with a music video for the single It’s Not Safe Here.

Your newest EP It’s Not Safe Here came out this past August…what has the response been like?

So far the response has been great! We have been told:

“I like that bass you was playing, hahhhhhhhh.” – Jonny Craig to Caleb

We always remained focused on what we do as a band and our motto: “I mean, we haven’t gotten any fan mail.” – Caleb

In all seriousness, the EP has been the soundtrack to our growth as a band, the people who have supported us from the very beginning are still here and the family keeps growing. We are just happy to have the opportunity to share what we create with so many people already, we can only imagine what it will be in the future.

What was the reason for choosing to work with Kevin Gates at REACH Audio for this EP? It seems like he has quite the resume, working with The Ready Set, Never Shout Never, and Secondhand Serenade.

We just really liked his work with other bands, and it worked out awesome because he is very personable and is really great to work with. He pushes us in ways we didn’t think possible and he’s a great friend. The only bad thing about him is that he’s a Dolphins fan.

Where did the title It’s Not Safe Here come from? What kinds of topics are explored lyrically on the EP?

“The title It’s Not Safe Here came from the song It’s Not Safe Here first. Chronologically, our song Good For Me was supposed to be on our first record Late Night Thoughts but was completed later due to a time constraint. Then came the title track, which I had been writing for at least a year. I had been coming into realizations in my life and knew that the only way to really connect with our fans is by writing about what we really think about and about topics that we don’t really talk about to our friends and family. It’s a gateway of expression for us. Writing for people gives me comfort and we do our best to give real life a chance to be understood. It’s Not Safe Here (the song) touches on myself wanting to leave the life I once had and create a path for my friends in the same situations I was in to escape as well.

The third track Our Generation was a full collaborative effort of the band. When you wanna be in music full time, you get a lot of backlash and really the hardest part of being a band is getting started solely because of heckling from some kids. I know plenty of people who want to pursue music as a profession who are talked down by their peers or themselves. This song is our response to those who doubt the ability of anyone in the world. We were nobodies two years ago and that all changed because we did what we loved to do and never strayed from the path. Long story short, fuck the haters.

Lastly, the final track is Feel Nothing.  Personally my favorite song on the EP, this song lyrically touches mainly on the idea that you can be forced to be anyone you aren’t comfortable with being because of a toxic place or person in your life and that it’s okay to break ties with those things if it betters you. Feel Nothing means not to be lifeless and numb, but to be invincible and confident in your choices to be a better person.

It’s Not Safe Here is our growth through our own lives and telling what we’ve seen and overcome and we’re not slowing down anytime soon.” – Matt Hall, vocalist

Congratulations on making it to the finals of the Road to Pointfest! What has that experience been like so far?

So far, so good! The last time we were in this competition we made it this far, but this time we are practiced. The songs sound great, we are confident, and no matter what the outcome is we are proud to be in this band. We’ve got a summer of plans we can’t wait to share with everyone and hopefully Pointfest is in those plans!

So, let’s talk about this new single…in my opinion, it’s the best song that you guys have ever written (and not just because it features Garret Rapp, who is my favorite vocalist of all time). What has the response been like on the new single?

Literally what you said. We’ve been told that Halo has been a favorite release to a lot of people. We’re ecstatic about the response! We have been working more as a unit when it comes to songwriting and Halo is the first of many songs that we’ve busted our asses to record and release as fast as we can! We plan on releasing maybe 2-3 more songs as they are completed before we disappear into the studio with Kevin Gates. We are not at liberty to go into any specifics, but we will say that we are in the works of a new full length album exploring our genre of music that is to be released this coming winter! We’ll give out more details when we can, but for now, Halo has really shown us that our fans are on board with what we are trying to accomplish and the support is nothing less of extraordinary!

Where did the decision come from to feature Rapp on the new single and what was it like getting to work with him?

Our drummer Cody Walker is one of the biggest TCM fans we know! He went out on a limb and came to us one day with the contact info and we knew we had to at least try to get Garret on a song. Garret was originally going to be featured on It’s Not Safe Here (EP), but we didn’t want to rush anything. If we were gonna put him in a song, we weren’t going to just throw him on one of our tracks. We wanted him to be a part of our music in his own right. We asked him to write his own lyrics for his part in the 2nd verse and it turned out fantastic! We have yet to perform Halo live with Garret, but maybe one day there will be a The Color Morale/Inner Outlines Tour to get that opportunity! Garret Rapp is a great guy with a giving soul and has inspired us to continue on our path with passion!

You can watch the video here (please do, this song is incredible).

Moving forward, what does the rest of 2017 look like for Inner Outlines? Any new music or tours?

New Full length Inner Outlines record Winter 2017

We are currently booking tours and getting set to deliver a new kind of Inner Outlines to the people. Our live show is only getting better and we may have a few tricks up our sleeves 😉


Anything else that you guys would like to mention that I left out?

Just a quick shout out to our homie Freddy D’Angelo! Check out Freddy D’Angelo Studios on Facebook!

Need a producer? Kevin Gates is our guy over at REACH Audio on Facebook!

And last but not least, GO LISTEN TO MOCKLOVE!!!

Inner Outlines released It’s Not Safe Here on August 6, 2016.

Check out Feel Nothing, also my favorite song from the EP It’s Not Safe Here:

Inner Outlines is (from left to right): Andrew Range (guitar), Dylan McCormick (guitar), Matt Hall (vocals), Caleb Elmore (bass), and Cody Walker (drums).

Thanks for reading!

Featured Artist: Boys Home

Welcome to a new artist feature! Today, I’m writing about my conversation with Christian Nichols from Boys Home (formerly known as Bruise) from Kansas. I played with these guys quite a while ago at a house show in Kansas City and they were awesome. They reminded me of some old, angsty Title Fight, which I’m all about.

The band formed in January 2016, and their debut EP Mary, Your Son Has Left Me was released in July 2016; now they are currently in the studio working on their new full-length album (title hasn’t been disclosed yet) and how excited they feel about it makes me that much more excited to hear their new music. Writing this new album, their main influences are Hum, Jimmy Eat World, and Smashing Pumpkins. With some recent lineup changes, a new record coming out and over 100 days of touring planned this year, you don’t want to miss out on these guys!

What’s the story behind the formation of Boys Home (formerly known as Bruise)?

Lennon (our drummer) and myself were in a band prior to this that started in 2009. Towards the tail end of 2015, we realized our tastes were changing and our desire to be out on the road and touring became something we absolutely had to stop putting on the back burner. Our happiness kind of depended on it. So we started what was then Bruise in hopes to write music that was incredibly honest with the goal of touring as much as we possibly could.

What was the reason behind changing the name from Bruise to Boys Home?

When we started Bruise…we were aware of a contemporary rock duo from the UK with the same name, but they didn’t seem as active. Right around the time we started Bruise, there was a hardcore band from Indiana that also started under the same name. After both bands began getting tagged in the wrong events and such, we felt it was smart to move forth with a name change. We felt Boys Home was the only fitting name after throwing around about a million ideas.

Your debut EP Mary, Your Son Has Left Me was released in July 2016…after having been released for a while, what are the band’s feelings about the EP as you are recording a new record?

The one-year “birthday” for Mary will be in July. That record was a “photograph” of a moment in time for us. We still believe in that record and we still love it. We’re working on a full-length right now and it’s quite a departure from Mary. It’s less pissed off and more optimistic.

What’s the story behind the title of the EP?

We wrote MYSHLM in a transitional period of our lives. It was just Lennon and I at the time. We approached everything on that EP from two perspectives: a very literal side of us that was struggling with the ideas of life, death, and a greater purpose, and a metaphorical side that was very much about the transitional phase we were going through. It’s about realizing you no longer identify with the surroundings that used to be so familiar to you.

It appears Boys Home has been busy trying to tour as much as possible, touring off the release of your debut EP last summer with two more tours following…does the band have any specific touring plans for 2017 after the new record is finished?

We have set a goal for a total of at least one hundred days on the road this year. We did just over sixty days last year. We are very proud of LP1 and want to properly promote it by being on the road as much as possible.

Any good tour stories from your tours last year?

Our first tour as Bruise we got to hang out with some homies in the OKC area. After the show we met up with them at a Buffalo Wild Wings. Someone ended up with a pretzel and it just so happened we had a baseball bat in our van. We ended up playing pretzel baseball and it was way tight.

Boys Home - Pretzel Baseball
Just a casual game of pretzel baseball between friends. Photo credit: Steinmiller Productions

What are you guys most excited about as you are recording this album?

We’re really just happy with the fact that we feel like these songs are completely genuine and really sincere. They’re very emotional and I think it marks an important period for us, personally, as songwriters. We poured a lot into this record.

The band recorded their debut EP with Cody Nichols at Revealed Studios in Chanute, KS…what was the reason you guys wanted to go back and work with him for your new record?

Because he kills it more and more each time, haha. He really knows what we’re after and he’s always doing whatever it is that he can to give these songs their own little world to live in. Sonically, the LP is the best sounding thing we’ve done in our musical careers, I think.

Anything you want to tell the fans about your new record? What can they expect?

Any previous fans are definitely going to find a couple of gems on the record that are extensions of what we were doing last year but it will also be full of surprises. It definitely has a more optimistic outlook than the EP.

They can also expect a shift in sound. We’re still the same band. We’re just trying to look at the world around us a little differently. I think that’s something you hear in the record. I also think listeners can expect a “moment” in almost every song. A moment that’s almost an epiphany in the story of each song. I think there’s at least a song for everyone on here. I don’t know…we’ll let you check it out for yourself!

Anything you guys want to mention that I left out?

We’re about to announce a cool run with our friends in Glacier Veins, so be sure to keep an eye on our social media pages for those dates!

Mary, Your Son Has Left Me was released July 7, 2016 and can be found at boyshome.bandcamp.com

As always, I’m going to leave you with my favorite track from the band. Here’s Lighten Up, Kid:


Boys Home Promo with Logo
Boys Home is: Christian Nichols (guitar and vocals), Lennon Nichols (drums and vocals), and Logan Herrera (bass and vocals) Photo credit: Jacob Gill

Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow this blog for more great artist features!