Not long ago, three school friends casually jammed in a garage a few times a week. Less than one year later, the trio and three new recruits formed a six-member band, now known as Amongst Heroes.
Originally, the band featured three Concordia students: Frankie Valela on bass, Kevin Marriott on rhythm guitar and Dave Neuman as lead guitarist. Within months, they added Bradley Cooper’s clean vocals, Daniel Katz on drums and Nicholas Lessard’s screams. Amongst Heroes had its current and official six-member lineup as of June 19, 2012.
The inspiration for the band’s name originated in a simple brainstorm session.
“The name was [Cooper’s] idea,” said Marriott, who majors in finance at the John Molson School of Business. “We were playing with the word ‘amongst’ and [Cooper] texted us the idea of ‘heroes’ while we were at a bar.”
Two weeks after Lessard joined as the final member, and after three full days of recording sessions, the newly formed band released their debut single Topeka on July 6.
Four months later, the song surpassed 10,000 views on the band’s YouTube page. This is in large part due to the group feverishly reaching out via social media to gain support.
“We promoted our band like all hell on every social media site available,” said Valela, who majors in communications at Concordia. “The most views we got came from YouTube. We posted on other videos telling people we have a song available. It’s one of those things where the more views you get, the more people will come.”
It did not take long for Amongst Heroes to get their first gig. On Aug. 22, the band was set to play their first live performance at Cabaret Underworld. In the time between the release of Topeka and the first show, the group met five times a week to ensure they were ready.
“Shows are probably one of the most important things for new bands,” said Neuman, who also majors in finance at JMSB. “I was so stoked to play as I’d never played live before. The closest thing was a piano recital when I was 13.”
On Oct. 23, the band released their second single, Interpreter. The entire process of recording the song took less than a day.
Next month, Amongst Heroes heads to Ottawa for their first out-of-town show. At the beginning of next summer, the group plans to release their first EP.
“We’re trying to work our way up and we think that’s the best approach for us,” said Valela. “We’re writing more and we want to wait until we have the best material before releasing our EP.”
Looking back on the last five months, the band recognizes the importance of their fans and those who have supported the group along the way.
“The most important part is to get ourselves out there and grow our fan base as much as possible,” said Neuman. “The fans are what make the band. Without fans, we wouldn’t be doing this.”
The members of Amongst Heroes plan to go as far as they can with their music, with the hopes of getting signed by a major label and going on tour. Until then, the group will be balancing school and band practice in order to continue rising through the ranks of the metalcore scene.