Cease the Day
“Hardcore music with [a] hip-hop influence” – that’s how Matt, drummer for Newark DE’s Cease the Day, describes their music. I’ve never particularly cared for hardcore, and I’m about as far from a hip-hop fan as you can get. Yet, there’s something irresistible about Cease the Day’s sound. This is real foot-tapping, trance-inducing, knock-your-ass-out, then pick-you-back-up music.
Cease the Day is Russ Goodwin on bass and vocals, Matt McConnell on drums, Trip Madden with lead guitar and Pat Corcoran on rhythm guitar.
Tripp’s description of the band dives in even further. “We are likened to Rage Against The Machine meets Nirvana. [That’s] not because of having particular songs that sound like either band, but if you take the aggressive vocal nature of Rage Against The Machine, and combine it with the crunchy, brutal noise that was Nirvana, you might be getting close to a Cease The Day song.”
Normally, listening to a “musician” yapping and screaming makes my skin crawl. But I don’t find myself questioning the label of Cease the Day’s work as “music.” You see, this band manages to hold onto two distinct things that set them apart from all of the other hardcore, hip-hop or other such inclined artists.
First, these guys never lose the focus of their music. It’s not so much about the lyrics. Rather, the lyrics, the screams, and every vocal aspect of their work are all used to enhance the music instead of trying to overpower it, as is too often the case. You never lose the melodic qualities. You never miss a beat. You never fail to hear something that you don’t expect.
The other thing that sets Cease the Day apart is the fact that they’re incredibly humble. They haven’t lost touch with the music. They haven’t lost touch with the fans. And most importantly, they haven’t lost touch with themselves. Where a lot of artists today spend their songs bitching and moaning about one thing or another, displaying nothing but anger, rage or self-pity, Cease the day embodies something entirely different. Don’t get me wrong … they’ve got more than enough angry energy in their music to pass around. But these guys don’t play what they play and do what they do because they’re a bunch of malcontents. They do it, because they honestly give a damn about their fans. They crave approval and attention from their fans the way a child craves both from its parents. They lack the egos you might associate with their style and their edge. And while the band wants the label deal that every band wants, these boys understand that each and every single fan is so much more important than any deal, big station add, or major gig. They’ve got their priorities straight, and that’s precisely what gives Cease the Day their biggest edge over the competition.
Matt took the time to answer a few of my questions, in order to better introduce you to the group that defies all expectations.
AX: What’s the story behind Cease the Day? How was the band started?
Matt: Meeting in high school, Russ and Matt played in various cover bands, with minimal success. Following high school the two reunited. Starting anew, what first was a hobby, quickly became a determination. With a burst of creativity, the group wrote over ten songs in their first two years together. Following that, the band experimented with several guitarists, finally succeeding with one. After playing well together for several weeks, Tripp became Cease The Day’s full time lead guitarist. Later adding Pat as the band’s rhythm guitarist, Cease The Day’s live sound was solidified. The band has gained a notorious reputation for having an intensity that is unmatched by any other local band. The band is still unsigned but they see no indication of stopping until they get the record deal they feel their hard work has merited.
AX: What can you tell us about each of the guys in the band?
Matt: Russ – Playing since middle school, Russ has always had an affinity for playing music. With influences ranging from ‘The Sex Pistols’ to ‘Nas’, Russ has garnered a musical ability which is reflected in his eclectic music tastes. Striving to create a sound that is aggressive and raw, yet unique, Russ is never afraid to experiment. His vocal style can easily catch the ear of any devout hip hop fan, but its brutal nature is a force to be reckoned with. Tripp – After a friend began taking guitar lessons, Tripp became infatuated with the instrument, going over to his friend’s house everyday to learn more. Teaching himself by listening to Nirvana, Tripp quickly began writing his own material. Never having the opportunity to join a band, Tripp played and wrote by himself, until meeting the rest of the group in September 2004. Pat – Pat has always had music in his blood. Being childhood friends with Russ, the two have always been a close knit duo. Pat’s rock influence is rooted mostly in old school punk rock, from the school of Crass, Dead Kennedy’s, Disorder, Subhumans, and many other old style Anaracho Punk. Under their old moniker “Self Inflicted”, Pat played with Russ and Matt, but left for a brief period, only to return as Cease The Day’s rhythm guitarist in 2005. Matt – Starting in the middle school concert band, [my] drumming ability was unmatched by [my] peers’. Quickly surpassing the other students, [I] left the school band before high school, only to continue on [my] own. Meeting Russ sophomore year of high school, [we] hit it off immediately. [We] played in a few cover bands with other classmates, only to realize [our] musical talents were better off concentrating on original works. Writing songs for over 4 years together, [our] chemistry is a force to be reckoned with. Continuing to write new material to this day, [we] have a musical bond that will never be stifled.
AX: What do you hope your fans take from your music?
Matt: We all do what we do because of the feeling it gives us. Playing in front of an audience that is cheering for you, is singing your words, and is sharing kind words with you, is the greatest feeling anyone could ever have. Being tremendous music fans ourselves, we know exactly what we wish to convey. Anytime anyone has ever been happy, sad, angry, frustrated, depressed etc… they can always grab a CD and listen to their favorite artist relieve those emotions. Sometimes people listen to music to relive these emotions, over and over. We want to be apart of that phenomenon. We want people to get the feelings that we get when we listen to our favorite artists. That would mean the world to us.
AX: Your songs have a pretty unique sound for the area. How do you come up with your material?
Matt: In the past, Russ and [I] were the sole creative inputs for Cease The Day, both being integral parts of the creative process. Being the guitar player/singer for the band, Russ would write several different riffs and bring them to the band’s practice space. Russ and [I] typically toss ideas back and forth like a songs chord progression, breakdown, and vocal style. After turning [my] basement into a small recording studio, [I] began recording everything [we] would come up with. Fast forward 4 years later, [and we] are still using the same method. Now with additional creative inputs, Tripp and Pat are also included in the band’s song-writing process. Still working [with] the principle of writing several riffs and bringing them to the practice space to record, the band’s formula hasn’t failed [us] yet.
AX: What do you feel sets Cease the Day apart from other bands in the area?
Matt: The fact that we haven’t heard a band in the area that has the same sound is often discouraging, not encouraging. We often feel that because we have such a different sound, that there is no market for us. Having such a unique sound, Cease the Day may be after it’s time, or before it’s time; we aren’t really sure. However, we think this feeling is a common one amongst bands, so in an effort to stay positive, we will play any venue to try and find our target audience. Being unique is what we hope will set us apart from a scene that is inundated with typical musical acts.
AX: Where do you see this band going in the future?
Matt: In the next few years, we would like to see the band playing as many shows as possible and reaching as many people as possible. Finding the right target audience is what making it in the music industry is all about. So, for the next year or so, we intend to do just that. Although the future means we are all going to get older, we plan on seeing this band through to the end. Every one of our members is dedicated to making the best we can out of this band. Even if our dreams and aspirations of making it ‘big’ don’t come true, if we can just make the fans that we have happy, then it was all worth it. Cease The Day is still going to play for many years to come, trying to achieve a success on many levels. One major goal we can all agree on, is to be heard outside of Delaware. We are stuck in a music scene that has no room for us. So, we have to make our own niche somewhere else, and we will in the near future.
Well, there you have it – an insight into Delaware’s Cease the Day. They’ve found a fan in me, and if you give them a listen, they’re sure to hit a chord with you as well. You can find out more about Cease the Day at www.ceasetheday.com. While the band’s site is currently under construction, you can visit their MySpace page at www.myspace.com/ceasetheday. You can pick up a copy of their self-released 10-track LP, “In Sunshine,” at any show, and it will soon be available for sale on their website. They can also be heard on 93.5 The Beach’s Local Produce with Mark F, as well as The UK’s ‘Pulse Unsigned’ Hard Rock Satellite Radio station.