"We're five guys in a band not a solo project with studio musicians."
While Come What May has experienced difficult periods in their history, they stand out as a melodic hardcore rock group with more than enough heart, talent, and energy to sustain them in good times and bad. As the band approaches three years of playing together they’re finally gaining the following, momentum, and praise they deserve. Most recently they opened a sold-out show for Texas metalcore band, Oh, Sleeper at Atlanta's Masquerade. The five-member band - consisting of lead vocalist/keyboardist, Tim Watts; guitarist, Evan Cerwonka; guitarist/vocalist, Joey Hreha; bassist, Garrett Lennox; and drummer, Patrick Farace - are finally developing a sense of permanence and brotherhood between its members that is tangible.
Altsounds caught up with them during a break from their band practice on Sunday afternoon to find out more about the “little” band with the big sound that could and will.
Altsounds: Since I’m introducing Come What May to the Altsounds community, can you tell me about the band’s background?
Patrick: Tim put up a flyer around campus, couple places [in Spring 2009]. And me and Evan and our former two members randomly responded. We all met up and it was actually kind of weird and awkward.
Joey: Who was the weirdest?
Evan: I thought Patrick was mean the first time.
Patrick: Everyone thought I was a douche bag apparently. And we all just responded to it. I actually had to try out for my position...There were two other drummers I was competing against. One of them happened to be my instructor on the UGA drumline so that kind of sucked. Before Evan was the guitarist I tried to get Joey to join and he couldn’t because he wasn’t here. And then two years later...
Tim: He joined the band anyways. He's riding coattails [laughs].
Patrick: He got to skip all the boring stuff.
Garrett [the band’s newest member]: I got to skip even more boring stuff.
Patrick: So yeah, it's really random how it all started. None of us here knew each other before the band.
Altsounds: What artists/bands outside the rock genre inspire or influence your music?
Joey: A lot of us listen to lighter stuff. A lot of indie bands. I’m really all about Ke$ha right now [laughs].
Evan: I like jazz. Like free form jazz. Old school. The first record I bought when I moved into town was this Ornette Coleman free-jazz double disc album. And it’s just 5 dudes solo-ing, they’re not in the same key. The whole thing is just noise. It’s really cool....You have to grow into it.
Tim: I know that some of us are classically trained so I grew up reading sheet music and playing Mozart and Bach. I really like Debussy and lately I’ve been listening to B.B. King and Copeland.
Patrick: It’s definitely helped us: the fact that we all know music.
Tim: It’s cool to get that different perspective because you can’t just recycle the same garbage and play the same thing over and over again.
Evan: That's the whole reason to have five people in a band. Everyone has their own backgrounds and differences and what they bring to the table. I like death metal. In the first email I sent to Tim I said, “I kind of like the bands on the flyer but I also like death metal.”
Garrett: You listen to it in your cardigan!
Altsounds: What’s matured fastest since the band began: your lyrics or your sound?
Tim: Probably sound.
Patrick: The people that were writing lyrics now from day one had lyrics [that] were always really mature.
Evan: Yeah, Tim’s lyrics have always been good.
Tim: We had three different lyricists at one point. It was cool having different people’s perspectives and trying to tackle material in that way but at the same time we kind of trampled each other and the language and the eloquence and the continuity just weren’t there. That was always kind of weird, for me, at least.
Evan: It all switched pretty quickly because at first Cory and Jack [former band members] wrote a lot of the songs, the music and stuff, and they both left. Then it was basically just me and Tim for a bit writing constantly. I feel like the nature of the people that were writing the songs shifted really quickly.
Tim: We both reduced the number of chefs in the kitchen and the chefs are a little bit better.
Patrick: And better at working together. It was pretty tense for a while. For almost a year it was kind of bad, honestly. Then, musically we’ve all gotten a lot better. I’ve been in drumlines in marching bands so I could play in other time signatures but I had never once played drum set in anything other than 4/4 or 3/4. In this band we play in crazy time signatures like 17/8.
Listen: Come What May - "ZRG RSH"
Altsounds: In that vein, what’s your songwriting process?
Tim: Whatever works, someone might write a riff on the pooper [laughs] Someone might go read..
Patrick: I try to bring my drum set into the bathroom.
Tim: For me personally, you kind of get an idea or a theme or a melody and you mess with it until you got it the way you want it. You kind of build off that idea.
Evan: I think that in general there’s usually a skeleton or a couple of progressions and the basic rhythm feel for most of the sections.
Patrick: Someone brings the majority of it and we all kind of expound on it... By the end it’s not that similar to what the original idea was.
Tim: You don’t mess up the integrity of what the person brought but it gets fleshed out.
Evan: The point is the collective effort.
Patrick: The good things about the different backgrounds is that the songs that certain people have brought to the table have made me push myself.
Tim: Yeah, we’re five guys in a band not a solo project with studio musicians.
"We’re not really doing it to convey this kind of mean, rock-and-roll asshole attitude. It’s more we just want to play music. Whatever else there is comes second to that."
Altsounds: Joey and Garrett, you guys are the band’s newest members. How has the transition been?
Joey: Super easy. We both got into the band at really good points because things are happening. Garrett’s first show was a show with Oh, Sleeper that was pretty much sold out.
Garrett: It was a lot of fun and they’re all really good guys and very welcoming and very easy to get along with and everything.
Joey: Except for that Patrick guy. Such an ass.
Altsounds: You guys are a “posicore” band (no explicit language by band members on stage). What’s your reasoning behind that?
Garrett: A what?
Evan: I don’t know if it’s a conscious effort to be a certain way but we recognize that a lot of the people who might be listening to our music are younger. Plus it’s kind of unnecessary to do: we’re not really doing it to convey this kind of mean, rock-and-roll asshole attitude. It’s more we just want to play music. Whatever else there is comes second to that.
Tim: We’ve played with enough terrible people who’ve made us not want to contribute to that. Personally, I want to convey a positive message. Secondly, it opens opportunities, it doesn't close any doors... we’re not jerks!
Joey: Except Patrick, who is the worst.
Altsounds: Who are your favorite bands you’ve played with?
Joey: Emery, we’re playing with them in a few weeks.
Evan: So many bands are done... Light Breather (Garrett’s former band) is done.
Everyone: An Isle Ate Her (R.I.P.), Oh, Sleeper, Close Your Eyes, Kid Liberty, Second Thief, Kingdoms Divided, Rejoice The Awakening, Heathen Talk.
Altsounds: How has the death of Whitney Houston affected you as a band?
Garrett: Is that a real question? [laughs]
Tim: Not at all.
Evan: Now there’s room for us to explode on the national stage.
Patrick: We can take her spot.
Tim: Our pop single “Too Soon” will be out in 2034.
Altsounds: Tim, you’re very energetic, to say the least when you’re on stage. Whose energy do you feed off of: the band’s or the audiences’?
Tim: Both, definitely both. When I look over and see Joey freakin’ going to town, smiling his goofy smile, I love it. When I see Garrett punish his bass and Evan freakin’ Shredwonka over there. I love watching Patrick get his little moments where he’s happy and he’s smiling.
Evan: I feed off of when Patrick messes up.
Patrick: I think generally we feed off each other. The only reason I say that is because half the time we play shows there are five people.
Tim: In regards to the audience, they make up a huge portion of how I personally feel and react but I’m going to put on a show and have fun no matter what because I love to do that.... I’d say maybe 50/50 or maybe 55/45.
Altsounds: Would you guys ever do an acoustic set?
Tim: Yes, we have and we’re looking to...
Patrick: We’re looking to record some acoustic songs, put out some separate thing.
Joey: If you go to our Kickstarter® we send you to acoustic sets if you donate a certain amount of money.
*Tim cuts in*
Tim: You’re terrible at this game. Andrew is awful.
Evan: You're playing Words With Friends® with Andy?
Tim: He played the word “as”.
Altsounds: What exactly is Andy’s role?
Evan: He’s our everything.
Tim: We bust his chops so much but honestly we probably wouldn’t be where we are without him. He’s really important.
Joey: He plays drums too so he helps Patrick set up his set. Patrick takes him for granted!
Patrick: He’s been my roommate for two years. It’s on a different level now. One day he’s probably going to snap and punch me in the face and I'll probably deserve it.
"We feel like we owe it to our fans and ourselves to put out this LP because it's been so long since we've put material out."
Altsounds: You guys are raising money to record your first album throughout March 2012. Does this first LP have a name yet?
Patrick: We only have names for...five songs?
Joey: We've got a bunch of songs that are musically done but we just don’t have any names for most of them.
Tim: I don’t feel much pressure when it comes to naming it because personally it’s always worked out.
Patrick: We go to record but it's going to take John Harrell one to two months to do all the mixing and mastering... we still have some time.
Joey: We'll be recording it at the Sound Barn in Kinston, North Carolina. Sent by Ravens recorded there.
Patrick: We feel like we owe it to our fans and ourselves to put out this LP because it's been so long since we've put material out.
Altsounds: This is our final question and it's the most important one: sharks or dolphins?
Garrett & Tim: Dolphins
Patrick: They don’t have 'Dolphin Week' on Discovery Channel. It's because of the shark lobbyists at Discovery.
Evan: Extreme shark-dolphin hybrid. A sholphin. Can we have as a song title? “The Almighty Sholphin”? That's what I'm naming my song. You just got an exclusive, we named a song!
Come What May will be touring and recording throughout March with the expected release of their full-length album in May/June 2012. Check out their Facebook here and show these up-and-comers some "like"!
- March 4th: with Sent By Ravens @ Swayzes - Marietta, GA
- March 21st: with Emery & Sent By Ravens @ The 7 Venue - Douglasville, GA
- March 29th: @ Sweet Melissa's - Savannah, GA
- March 30th: @Murray Hill Theater - Jacksonville, FL