TWDS: Concert #3 Preview
Hope For The Day is excited to present the third concert in the Things We Don't Say series! Featuring a lineup that is made up of As We Once Were, Better Love, Howell, Bad Planning, and Safe Bet, this concert will take place on February 11th.
Thanks to a grant provided by the Community Memorial Foundation, the concerts in this series take place at Evolution Music in Downers Grove, IL and are a creative method of community outreach, programming, and proactive prevention. Pre-sale tickets for the show are available here (if you would also like to RSVP on Facebook, you may do so here).
While the last installment in the series focused on hardcore and metal acts, this lineup features some wonderful pop punk, alternative rock, and emo influenced acts that are sure to lift your spirits this winter.
As We Once Were are a pop punk/alternative rock band from Tinley Park, IL. Taking influence from a variety of bands such as Real Friends, Coheed and Cambria, Four Year Strong, their unique sound distinguishes them in a genre that consists of hundreds (if not thousands) of bands. Hope For The Day previously had the pleasure of working with the band when they played an acoustic set at the Anti-Stigma Symposium in Joliet, IL last year.
I had the pleasure of sitting down and having a conversation with Vinny Roman (vocals, guitar) and Bryan Anderson (bass). They explained that the self-expression involved in writing music is what initially inspired them to become a band. Bryan mentioned that writing is very therapeutic for him; when he writes about what he is experiencing and feeling, he ends up feeling better. As someone who has a hard time connecting with other people in social settings, music has provided a way to create that connection. When you think about it; the mind is like a bottle of soda. Everything that we experience during our life shakes it up and builds pressure; healthy self expression (through outlets such as music, in Bryan's case) allows us to relieve that pressure.
Vinny discussed his own experiences with mental health as well, as he mentioned "My dad passed away before my senior year of high school. I feel like it was the worst time that it could have happened. After that, I had to emotionally withdraw from a lot of things. I made it through school fine and I got accepted into college, but in college you have to put a lot aside. Having the added layer of pressure and emotional distancing, it was such a bad time because I have been so out of touch with myself. Whenever I would try to think about what was going on in life, I would get incredibly depressed. My last year of school was terrible; there were whole days where I couldn't convince myself to get out of bed. You're trying not to let your own issues get in the way of what you need to accomplish. It was something that I never want to experience again... It's made creating a lot more difficult than it should be; I lost my voice. I didn't feel like I had anything special, anything to share. It was a daily thought of "what do I have to share than can connect to people?". I'd draw blanks".
As We Once Were is a band that is not afraid to speak up about mental health and to let their fans know that It's OK to Not Be OK. Over several years with two EPs released and lots of shows played, they began receiving messages from people who felt that they had been impacted and helped by the band's music. Vinny stressed that "I can't even describe what it's like when someone says our music has helped them. I always strive to have that connection with creating. Even one person saying that something we've created has helped, I can't even describe how amazing that feels".
The band has been working on their third EP, Day In | Day Out, since last September and are currently preparing to release it in late February. Vinny elaborated on the writing process for it as he got into the habit of writing a lyrical passage every day about what he had went through. This included themes such as experiencing numbness and feelings of being confined (and therefore needing to remind himself that you are capable of more than you believe). This gives it a cohesive, dynamic quality that is undoubtedly reminiscent of it's title. While the band has faced a lot of challenges in order to reach this point in their career, the mentioned that this is the most proud they have been of their music. Day In | Day Out came about naturally and they put a lot of effort into it; they hope that it will show!
Better Love is a rock band from Chicago, IL. Their vocalist and guitarist Brad Harvey will be performing a special acoustic set at this concert. Having just released their debut EP (We Were Younger and Less Put Together) Better Love is looking at a very promising future.
Brad is no stranger to mental health challenges and he bravely shared some of his own personal story with us. "I’ve spent most of my life battling bouts of depression and anxiety. Thinking about my teenage years, I recall certain days, weeks, or even months (one summer in particular) that now feel like a hazy memory of a cloudy day. I remember having no desire to leave my bed, nonetheless my room. I remember sitting up until 5am alone every night because I couldn’t shut my eyes, and my mother who was concerned about my appetite. It’s not that I didn’t want to eat, I just felt that my body literally couldn’t ingest anything. These are times that I usually try not to remember until I realize that despite how I felt in that moment, experiencing those darker times and ultimately overcoming them was important for me and my own personal growth."
"Most of my early twenties have been filled with roadblocks and being placed in different transitional periods. It’s been a long period of change that I’m still facing today. Late 2016/early 2017 came along and I found myself in a similar mental state I had been in years before. My day to day functionality was hindered and I put a heavy emotional distance between myself and loved ones around me. I began seeing a therapist in April of 2017. I had a lot of internal debate about this, truthfully because I spent my entire life convincing myself that my problems were small. It took my girlfriend sitting me down and expressing her concerns about my health for me to realize that for once, I needed to let myself believe that my problems mattered. I sought help, and began writing what came to be the first Better Love EP."
Better Love aims to use their platform to spread a message of hope and to let others know that It's OK To Not Be OK. Their debut EP We Were Younger and Less Put Together is now available to stream on all major platforms, including Spotify and Bandcamp. It also available for purchase on iTunes.
Howell discusses a variety of topics throughout the EP, with songs such as "Debris" touching on mental health with lyrics such as "I won’t let my mind be filled with this debris / The fears I hide behind / My end is all that I see / I won’t let my mind get lost in misery / That’s playing with locked doors with broken keys". Songs that address our challenges are wonderful for self-expression; they allow us to showcase our thoughts and emotions in a therapeutic manner.
Bad Planning are a punk band from Barrington, IL. Taking influence from band such as Bayside and Saves The Day, the band will be performing a special acoustic set at this show.
When asked about what music means to him in his personal life, vocalist Alex Crook explained that "...people on the outside people think that we face mental health challenges because of this type of music; however, it actually is something that gives us hope and a positive emotional outlet. Writing songs and playing music literally makes us feel better. It’s part of our healing and our friendships are a celebration of that healing. No matter what your role in the (music) scene is, musician, fan, promoter, venue host, show goer; this is what makes us feel better and it’s how we celebrate. A lot of us have gone through some kind of emotional pain. I’m glad that this scene has given people a place to fit in and feel okay".
Bad Planning is currently preparing for a new release within the next few months! The first single off of it, "Dead Ends and Amends", can be listened to here.
Safe Bet is without a doubt one of the most loved acts in Chicago. Known for his heartfelt, emotional acoustic songs, Gino Savarino has built an admirable community around his music.
One of his fans, Heather Mascheri, explained to us that "...Gino sings about heartbreak and that might make people sad, but when my friends and I are in the crowd singing along to his songsm it’s like anything bad that’s happening in life is all out of that venue; it just vanishes. We can all be singing along about heartbreak and sadness but my heart feels full, not heavy".
When asked what drew him to writing music, Gino told us that "I picked up the guitar around age 10 or 11 and I immediately knew that writing my own music was something that I wanted to dedicate a lot of my time to. I’ve always thought creating different sounds with voices and instruments, as a form of expression, is such a unique thing. I wasn’t really in touch with my local music scene and was sort of unaware there was really even such a thing. When I started Safe Bet, people asked me to play shows, so I got involved in the scene and then I started going to shows whether I was playing them or not. There is a great sense of community in our scene and that is something I’ll always love. I’ve met so many awesome people and have made so many great friends through being involved with the music scene."
A lot of Safe Bet's songs deal with the emotions of loss, sadness, and loneliness following the end of a relationship, which often impacts our mental health. Gino explains that "My songs, clearly, are about a breakup; something that a lot of people can obviously relate to. It is never easy parting ways and placing distance between yourself and someone you have invested so much time, effort, and love into. Personally, my breakup affected my mental health greatly. I beat myself up over and over and over about the situation for so long. I tore myself apart, and stitched myself back up in a way that I would say makes me an entirely different person today. I struggle with depression and often have a lot of issues with seeing my own self-worth. The songs that I am currently writing touch base on these topics, and it has been tough but almost helpful for me in a way to dig deep within myself to try and understand why I am the way that I am. I bottle a lot of things up and try to get them out in my writing; I know that one’s mental health isn’t always so easy to talk about. However, it’s great to see that slowly, more and more people are starting the conversation and talking about what needs to be talked about."
Another fan of his, Taylor Merrick, continued by elaborating that "...Safe Bet is an artist in the scene that has really tugged at my 'heartstrings'. His music is so full of emotion and quiets everyone in the room with the power of his voice. His songs are very pertinent to anyone who has had a falling out with a significant other, or even a very close friend. His music has helped me a lot and brought out emotions I haven’t felt in a while. Gino is a very important member of this scene to me and I cannot wait until his new album comes out".
You can listen to Safe Bet on all major digital platforms, and you can connect with him on social media through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Keep your eye out for new music coming from him over the next few months.
Don't forget to get your tickets for this concert here; we will see you on February 11th at Evolution Music!