The Twilight Collective – Indie Band Feature

The Twilight Collective

The Twilight Collective
Philadelphia, PA

Once in a while you’ll hear a musician or a band, and they’ll just blow you away. You may not even realize why. They’ll just exercise some sort of control over your senses that you can’t explain. They probably won’t sound completely different than anything you’ve heard before. Let’s face it, none of them do. Everything in music has been done before, at least to some degree. But it’s the act of trying again until someone really gets it right that can make the difference.

Whether it’s the lyrics or the vocals, the catchy beat or the overall sound, some songs just grab you in a way that others can’t. What gives certain artists this power through their music? Is it luck? Perhaps. Is it talent? Maybe, but there are a lot of talented artists, and I’d be hard-pressed to name just a few who fit into this category. Is it the chemistry between the artists themselves? I’m sure that’s a part of it. Maybe the chemistry between the artists and their fans? Definitely. Yet, no one of these circumstances alone makes a band truly great. Fortunately for us, The Twilight Collective has mastered all of them.

The Twilight Collective consists of five guys from the region, although scattered throughout it a bit, who have put together a sound so energetic, so fun, and so strangely familiar that you’ll think they climbed into your head, swam through every thought and emotion you’ve ever had, and pulled from the best and worst to incorporate a sometimes harsh and sometimes refreshing reality into their songs. With each member coming from much heavier musical backgrounds, their bouncier style is somewhat surprising. Yet, they pull it off with an authority that you can’t deny. You’ll be hard-pressed to sit still. Their music will awaken something in you that you didn’t even know was there, and it will completely overcome you.

So, who are these guys? What makes them different and so special? Not much really. It’s the fact that they’re really not that different that makes them special at all. They don’t put themselves on a pedestal, and they don’t talk down to their fans. They’re just regular guys, and that’s the best part about them. It shows through in their music. It shows through in their personalities. It shows through in their look. They could be your little brother, the boy that grew up down the street, or one of your best friends. All in all, they’re just like you.

The Twilight Collective began with the shared dream of Matt Canning and Phil Bryer, both guitarists. They had become acquainted back when Matt was a member of Dark Day Dawning and Phil was a part of the younger band, Always the Victim. When those two bands dissolved, Matt and Phil stayed in touch and decided to put together a project of their own. Matt had put together some guitar-driven, videogame-style recordings, which would later become the heart of what is now the music of The Twilight Collective.

After a while, Matt and Phil, both from Philadelphia, started auditioning drummers to join them. They came across Harry Mazzio, from Wilmington, through an online message board, and they connected. Harry later brought in Doug Davisson, also from Wilmington, to cover bass for the group. All they needed was a vocalist. Matt turned to Mark Mongiovi from Lancaster, a friend from his previous band Pilotlight, to take on the challenge. The guys all clicked, and the band was formed. They settled on the name The Twilight Collective due to the fact that they seemed to meet in the fashion of a secret club, not willing to share their music with even their closest of friends until it bordered on the near perfection that you’ll hear in their recordings.

I had the opportunity to see the guys perform live during their recent east coast tour, at a stop in Wilmington, DE at The Harmony Grange. Their show left absolutely nothing to be desired. The energy of their music carried distinctly onto the stage, and they each relayed their unique personalities into their every movement. To say I was impressed would be a gross understatement. Amazed, blown away, fascinated by the sheer aura that emanated from the stage – those would be more accurate.

The personalities of each of the members of The Twilight Collective are uniquely their own. But, there’s one thing they all definitely have in common – they’re all f*ing amazing! Who they are shines through in everything they say and everything they do. On stage is no exception. What you see is what you get – a bunch of guys who love what they do, and who do what they love with a kind of dedication and perseverance that should make other artists step back and take notice.

Each member of The Twilight Collective is an awesome person and a fantastic musician, and when they’re onstage, those traits are even more evident. Mark and Harry can command an audience like precious few that I’ve seen. Mark’s somewhat unique voice and impressive range are the perfect complement to the playful energy resonating from the focal sounds of Matt and Phil on guitar. Harry adds a more aggressive angle to their sound and performance, and Doug ties is all together, reminding everyone that while these guys love to have fun, they’re also professionals and have a respect for their work.

When you have the chance to check them out live, there are a few things you may notice. First, take a look at Matt. What you’ll see is a guy so into his instrument that you’ll wonder if he even realizes there’s anyone else in the room. While at that particular moment, you know that he’s playing for the crowd, you can’t help but realize that he’s really playing because it’s in his blood. Matt would probably play with equal passion and enthusiasm, whether there were a couple hundred people watching or whether he were simply playing for himself. Next, take a glance at Mark. What you’ll see is the charismatic face of the band – the one who delivers the lyrics and vocals almost flawlessly, keeping his composure yet losing himself in the music all at once, as he works both the crowd and the stage. Then, we’ve got the giant back there on drums. Harry comes across as someone who both works hard and plays hard – and on stage, he’s doing a little bit of both. He’s definitely the attitude behind the music. Doug, on the other hand, seems to be the most mellow person in the group, at least on stage. Don’t get me wrong, he’s got an energy equal to anyone else in the band. But there’s a seriousness on Doug’s face that you really can’t miss. He appears to be so lost in his playing that, short of being charged head-on by a MAC truck, nothing could really distract him. And last, but of course not least, there’s Phil. I didn’t notice a whole lot about Phil, when I was watching them. I’m sure he’s equally passionate and equally talented to any other member of the group. But he had something that the rest of them didn’t have, and quite frankly something that captured every second of my attention when I was watching him – his hair. This boy’s got some crazy hair! If you watch nothing else, watch this kid flail around on stage. Trés cool.

Personally, I’ve been very fortunate. Every artist that I’ve met so far throughout the region has been a great person. And on top of that, I’ve met some amazing talent. Doing what I do, I really can’t ask for more. Yet there’s something distinctive about this band. There’s some rare trait that these guys bring to the table, although I can’t tell you exactly what it is. Perhaps I just connect to the music, because it brings me back to ’98, the end of high school and beginning of college, when I was just a little bit younger, full of attitude, and without a care in the world other than what I’d be doing tomorrow. Maybe it’s just in my head …. Nah, these guys are special. No matter who you are or where you’re from, you’ll relate to their music, at least on some level. Their music embodies all that it is to be young.

I can’t recommend The Twilight Collective highly enough. If you haven’t heard them yet, my heart bleeds for you. You have no idea what you’re missing. With their incredible sound, personalities and professionalism, you never know how long they’ll still be around locally. These guys are going somewhere. I can promise you that.

Catch them now. Catch them often.

You can find out more about The Twilight Collective in this month’s issue by reading their tour journal for more information about their recent east coast tour, the transcript of our chat room interview to get a glimpse into their amazing and hilarious personalities, and next month you can check back in AudioXposure’s upcoming media section for more live photos and video clips! Don’t forget to check the event calendar so you can get out to one of their shows. You can read more about the band’s history, and the individual bios of each member at the band’s oh-so-comprehensive website at

Jenn Mattern is a professional writer and PR consultant, formerly specializing in music PR for indie artists. She owns 3 Beat Media, the parent company of AudioXposure. While AudioXposure is retired, you can still find Jenn at her other web properties including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, and NakedPR.

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