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Under The Influence is an intriguing emerging rock band from Cleveland, Ohio, co-founded by Brent Beiling and Anthony DeSalvo. With their music, which mixes different styles of rock such as punk and psychedelic rock, the Under The Influence’s members are trying to give a new shape to youngsters’ angst.
The project is a serious one, with the band members focused on the development of their sound and general expression. Blending the evergreen feeling of angst towards an unfair world belonging to most outcasts, with the technical sonorities pertaining to psychedelic rock, Under The Influence manages to be part of a fresh wave of rock and roll.
The band is going to release their debut album on August 30. Toonari Post had the chance to interview vocalist and guitarist Brent Beiling, for an insight into Under The Influence’s promising idea.
Toonari Post (TP): What is the force that drove you to undertake this music project? What is the core of your project, what do you want to say with your music?
Brent Beiling (BB): This musical project started off as Anthony (lead guitarist and co-songwriter) and me working on material together and coming up with enough songs to start a band. We have been writing together since we were 17, and we have been in a couple of bands together before.
This was the first musical project in which the genesis of the band was exactly what we wanted to happen. It was the sound we had in our heads when we would sit down with acoustic guitars and crank out melodies and chord progressions. Those days were the true roots and core of “Under the Influence.” We want people to decipher for themselves what our music means to them. If we were to tell you, then it wouldn’t be open for interpretation (which any good art always is).
TP: You defined your style as Punkedelic, due to its rock styles mixture. As the word Punkadelic is nowadays used to define different musical approaches, including a particular kind of electronic music, would you mind clarifying the characteristics of your own style for our readers?
BB: Our music has always derived and been rooted in punk rock. We just play what we want and put a lot of passion into it. As we started maturing as musicians though, we started getting more into heavy and psychedelic music. “Punkadelic” is the blend of punk rock, heavy, and psychedelic music accented with pure pop melodies. I mean it’s really just an idea that we haven’t been able to fully transfer onto our album completely how we had envisioned it, but a few songs like “Jesus Will Return On Halloween,” “Common Enemy,” “The Intro” and “Lucifer Satan Devil” [listen to some of the songs here] will give you a little preemptive taste of what we eventually want to do. As long as our fans are enjoying our music, that’s really all that matters to us.
TP: As said, the concept of your sound develops from punk. Would you say that the main presence of punk can be found in the attitude, while the sonorities are cleaner and develop also towards other directions, such as progressive and psychedelic rock?
BB: We’ve always been pissed off about things. Young people in general are supposed to question the world that they are growing up in, and help to change it for the better. So yes, our attitude about a lot of social and political issues derives from a punk rock type of attitude.
We don’t want to be a punk rock band, we just acknowledge that aspect of our music frequently enough so that people are getting that it is something against the grain of mainstream priorities within commercial rock bands. Not many of them have much to say about what’s going on in the country right now. Even though our musical tastes are maturing somewhat into more progressive, psychedelic, and pop music, we still, and will always, have our anti-establishment attitude. It’s our duty as young people.
TP: Who or what are your main influences?
BB: Our main influences are The Beatles, Rage Against the Machine, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Black Sabbath, Simeon Soul Charger, Smashing Pumpkins, Mr. Gnome. We have many more but those are our favorite bands at the current point.
TP: How is it to move within the underground scene, or what is left of it, nowadays?
BB: We are still very much so outcast within the underground scene. We have had some exposure in the Cleveland and Akron scene, but we are still trying to focus on writing music and getting our sound together before we start to tour extensively. I tour much by myself and play acoustic shows to promote the band. Our goals are to eventually get signed to an indie label and go on tour.
TP: What are your future projects besides the album release in August?
BB: Our future plans are just to play as many shows while we can. We are hungry for the stage and we really want to show people what we can do. We really don’t have any aspirations of becoming big rock-stars or anything like that; we just want to have a little slice of paradise within the slums of the underground while we are young. We want to express our anger and angst while we have the chance. We are conversing with a couple A&R people at certain independent labels so we might have a chance to do just that. So watch out for us! We might just make some noise in the underground scene.