HERE AFTER SIX • Musical Alchemy in Motion

Best Rock Band • Best Rock Songwriter • Best Rock Guitarist • Best Rock Drummer

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music, Artist Feature, Review Music Awards,   From Issue 862   By: Matt deHeus

21st May, 2018     0

In their two years of existence, Birch Run-based heavy rock band Here After Six have created an impressive resume.  The group first made their mark last year, with a Top 5 finish against an 80 band field in the Z93 FMNext To Rock” contest.

The band proved this was no fluke with their near sweep of the Rock Categories at the 2018 Review Awards.  Included in this haul were the awards for Best Rock Band, Best Rock Songwriter for lead singer Jake Priest, Best Guitarist for Levi Johnson and Best Drummer for Bryan Tasior.  The combo is rounded out by bassist Nate Brookman, who doubles as the group’s recording engineer.

Collectively the band has hard rock chops to burn, with bands like Tool, Three Days Grace, Chevelle and Kings X all showing influence in their original material. Each member has earned their proverbial stripes though years of experience, mainly making original music.

As vocalist Jake Priest explained, “The best thing about this band is everyone brings their piece.  I write with a lot of passion, but that’s just the writing.  I need these guys for the songs to come to life.”

Bassist Brookman and drummer Tasior have been playing together regularly since 1999, a fact that shows up in the solid heavy groves that underpin the Here After Six tunes.  The chemistry of a long-term rhythm section is key to any top-level band.

Tasior had played previously with guitarist Johnson, who the band describes as a “human riff bank.”

Said Johnson, “My dad was a drummer in a band.  I grew up on all the 70’s and 80’s hard rock.”

Though they have previously experimented with line ups with a second guitarist, Here After Six has settled on a “power trio” format of guitar, bass and drums that is then fronted by vocalist Priest.

Typical of the format, bassist Brookman has had to modify his playing, to fill spaces that might have been taken up by a rhythm guitarist. As Johnson told it, “I really challenged Nate to ‘open up’ his playing on these songs.  The bass is more prominent than ever in our songs.”

The band also described an interesting and organic process by which they develop songs. Tasior described their method:  “We create songs.  We don’t just write them.  We jam them into existence.”  Adds Bookman:  “We record everything.  By the end of a practice we’d never remember all the new ideas and little pieces that worked.”

The habit of recording rehearsals morphed into a project to record and release a self-produced album.  The eponymous result, Here After Six, is a powerful seven song set that displays the band’s dynamics  and formidable skills as musicians and as creators of modern hard rock music.  Songs like Thrive, Letter to Heaven and Rusty Flagpole are downright heavy, but also very tuneful, with vocal and instrumental hooks that would sound at home on current rock FM station playlists.

Brookman carried a lot of the load in making the recording, a fact the band was quick to point out.  As Tasior put it, “We have to credit Nate with how good the album turned out.  He learned how to record.  He did it all.”

Johnson added, “Of everyone we’ve ever recorded with, Nate did the best job of capturing what the band really sounds like.”

Brookman was somewhat demure on his role in making the record sound good.  “All I did was try to carve out a little space for each instrument.” However he did it, the result sounds great.  It easily passes the “car stereo test” and will be in my rotation all summer.

The band is also a dynamic live act, able to reproduce their music in real time.  Hamilton Pub Street has become somewhat of a home base to them, though they have played all over mid- Michigan and are looking to expand that radius.

You can find out more about Here After Six on their Facebook page and you can hear them on Spotify.




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