Act As One: Best Alternative Band & Best CD Release of the Year

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music, Artist Feature, Review Music Awards,   From Issue 703   By: Robert 'Bo' White

06th May, 2010     0

One of the great things about the Review Music Awards is the way talent percolates to the top by virtue of public support, as opposed to the favoritism of corporate cliques or art circle elites. Act As One has made a mark on the local scene despite their individual anonymity.

This close-knit sextet has a Herculean work ethic and takes considerable time to feed their muse and develop their craft. Music is their lifeblood and it shows. This is a hard rockin’ band that creates music within a genre-hopping soundscape of pop, punk and thrash. They grabbed several well-deserved awards including Best Alternative Band, Best CD Release, Best Rock Guitarist and Rock Musician Deserving Wider Recognition, both secured by Shawn Brown.

We were very surprised when we found out that we won some of the awards,” exclaims Shawn.  “Unfortunately, we did not attend the ceremony because of the late schedule for the Rock Awards, so when Robert Martin emailed us the next day and said our awards were at the office, we were shocked, but in a good way! We did not expect to win any awards because we assumed that the popular bands that play the bar scene much more than us would take home their usual trophies.”

So what is the bands’ fan base like apart from being so supportive?

“Our fan base is primarily in the 18-24 year old range, or so our Myspace and Facebook statistics pages tell us! We play lots of all-ages Hall shows in what people would typically call the underground scene. But our fans are very dedicated to us and our music. We couldn't ask for anything more from them, as it is evident from every show we play that they appreciate us as much as we appreciate them.”

“They identify with certain songs that we play, and with us as people, and definitely want to be a part of our dream of playing music for the world. We see them singing and jumping along with us at the majority of our shows, and that's a rare feat in the underground music scene. It's normally pretty tough to get people to break out of their shells and just have a good time, but we somehow manage to get people to do it. We can't thank our fans enough for the support they give us.”

One thing that strikes me is how adept Shawn is at the guitar. How did he learn to play so well and how would he characterize his style and approach to guitar?

“I've been playing guitar for about 13 years now. I took a few lessons early on, but other than that I learned to play by jamming with friends. I found the best way for me to get better was to play with other people. Jamming by myself helped me to learn the technical stuff like theory, but by getting together with friends and strangers alike, playing music that they like to play, and leaving my own comfort zone of music got me to where I am now.”

“My style of guitar is primarily set in arpeggiated riffs. I've always kind of hung out in the CAGED system of Major scales and used it as my ammunition for writing. I'll just sit down with my guitar, pick a scale and mode that I don't normally play, and then see where it takes me.”

“I take great influence from other guitarists! I love the riffs that Alexi Laiho from the Finnish Metal band Children of Bodom writes, but I love the guitar playing of the two guys in the now disbanded pop punk group Rufio. Basically, if there's a cool sounding guitar riff, then I'm listening. Someone once told me to stop writing so many harmonized guitar riffs. That kid can kiss my ass.”

The lyrics of Act As One’s originals are emotional and speak to issues around love, longing and regret.  Taylor and Shawn do all the lyric writing in Act As One. They draw from past experiences in their life and put those emotions into words.

“It's very typical for pop punk lyrics to be about girls and friends and that's something we aren't afraid to write about. We aren't trying to be overwhelmingly creative and write metaphors in our songs that make you have to think while you're listening. We like to keep things simple. Everyone can identify with break ups, friendship problems, and the everlasting question of when to start growing up.”

“We prefer to write songs in these themes not only because they draw from our personal lives, but they are similar themes of the big pop punk band songs that we grew up listening to. We strive to be unique in our musical composition while staying very down to earth in our lyrics. We want people to be able to relate to the stories we tell. We haven't really determined if there is a universal message in our songs, but one that pops up often is that no matter how bad things get, they'll always get better.”

Any future plans?

“Our future really can be summed up in one word. TOUR! We want to get back out on the road again. We went out as far south as Orlando last winter during a short stint with Knuckle Up! from New Jersey and we've been dying to get back out ever since. We're going to keep on playing as many shows as we can all over the state of Michigan until we can get a tour booked and hopefully see the entire country.”

“We're going to write another album by the end of the year and hopefully record and release that in good time. We're really excited about the future of the band, as things have been going great so far! You might be hard pressed to find a happier bunch of guys in the Tri-Cities. We absolutely love playing our music for people and never want to stop!”

Act As One will be performing at White’s Bar on June 11th with RZL DZL and What Counts.


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