POZ BandsOnBands: Pentimento On Underøath

by Zack Zarrillo - Nov 12, 2012

Mondays mean BandsOnBands, and we’re excited to be posting the PropertyOfZack feature today with Mike Hansen of Pentimento. The band is releasing their incredible self-titled album tomorrow, and it’s one of 2012’s best, so make sure to check it out tomorrow upon its release. 

In this week’s feature, Mike dives into one of his favorite bands, Underøath, just in time for their break up. Mike describes the way the band shaped his life younger life and the way that drummer Aaron Gillespie inspired him to do more than meets the eye of a normal drummer. This is one of the best BandsOnBands features we’ve had on the site, so listen to great songs by Underøath here and check out what Mike had to say about one of his biggest influences below!

From Mike Hansen of Pentimento: 

When we were approached by POZ with the opportunity to do one of these articles, a lot of obvious choices came to mind as far as what my influences are and what I’m used to mentioning whenever the question about my favorite bands, or what bands really inspire me comes up. AFI, Strike Anywhere, Converge, Hot Water Music, Crime In Stereo…the list goes on and on. But as I had time to myself while we were on the road during our run with The Swellers and Diamond Youth, I started to come across a lot of thoughts about bands that had a way bigger impact than I give them credit for. In other words, I tend to forget about a lot of bands or artists when trying to call all my influences to mind. I started to dive deep into my iPod to rediscover the things I was all about during my younger, more impressionable years. 

I thought long and hard about all the things I tend to skip over from those years of my life; like the first time I’d heard Boysetsfire. It was so angry, but so thoughtful. So real. So beautiful. After The Eulogy changed my life. Why the fuck do I always forget how important that band & record was to me? I remembered how The Used’s self-titled record was the soundtrack to my Sophomore year in high school. I remembered how The Used were there when I needed someone to tell me that as a 15 year old who was wrapped up in all the wonderment and allure that the developing female student body (see what I did there?) of the Buffalo Academy For The Visual And Performing Arts had to offer, breaking up with your girlfriend of 4 weeks actually wasthe end of the world. And then, I came to the conclusion that there was one band in particular that had a major influence on me in ways that I may have not even been aware of until I gave it some actual thought. 

I thought it was only appropriate to do this piece on Underoath, considering their recent announcement about reaching the end of their journey as a band. 

At 15, your mind is all over the place. I feel like this spills into people’s musical tastes quite a bit - as I can name just about every one of my friend’s guilty pleasures from that era of our adolescence. Of course when we listen to it at this day and age, we pretend we were never ashamed of listening to any of that stuff, and say something to the effect of “I don’t give a shit dude. This song is AWESOME”. We’ve all been there. And that’s the beauty of this whole thing. It’s easy to relate. While I won’t say I was ever embarrassed about listening to Underoath, I will say that I’m embarrassed of the sorts of things that period of my life inspired. Hip-print shirts, lip piercings, and painting my entire room black (including my ceiling fan) just to name a few. But the reason I chose Underoath is because of the effect that it had on the things I apply to my life now-a-days with the whole “being in a band” thing. 

The first time I’d heard Underoath, I was in the basement classroom of my high school. I remember clearly hearing the “Drowning in my sleep…” bridge of “It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door”. ( which I believe to this day that part is fucking genius) I immediately burned “They’re Only Chasing Safety” and proceeded to blast that in my headphones at any given opportunity on my Sony Walkman CD player, complete with 15 second anti-skip. 

I was playing in a band at the time, and found myself using Aaron’s drumming in Underoath as a guide. I spent so much time trying to figure out the things he was playing because it just sounded so fucking cool. I felt like every fill was perfectly calculated to make me go “wait wait…WHAT WAS THAT?!”. Not to mention, he sang while he played. Now, I was no stranger to seeing drummers with a mic in their face, but this was different. This wasn’t back-up vocals. This wasn’t harmonies. This was a dude who was beating his drums senseless, and using this voice of his in a way that made it sound as though he was begging to be the lead singer. I was amazed at his ability to carry himself as a drummer, as well as a singer, and be just as strong in both respects. Watching that sort of thing come out of a human being like that truly inspired me to try and grow that way as well. I wouldn’t compare myself to Aaron, or even say that my skill set is on par with his. But what I will say is that Underoath was the band that pushed me to try and hone in on playing as hard as I could, while singing like I needed the entire world to hear what I had to say - even though I was behind a drum kit. Through watching videos of Underoath, and just hearing the intensity through the production of records like They’re Only Chasing Safety, or Define The Great Line - I learned a lesson on how to play from my heart, and not from my head. It gave me the confidence I needed to grow as a drummer and as a musician. I won’t say they’re the only band to have shown me what it means to be as passionate as possible when I’m at my kit, but they’re certainly a major factor as to why I do what I do. And for that, I thank them sincerely. 

Years later, during the beginning of Pentimento - I was in Jeramiah’s car on the way to our practice space in Downtown Buffalo, NY. This was right after Underoath released “Disambiguation” with Daniel Davison on drums.  I was “over” Underoath in a way I guess, but I was still excited to hear what Davison would do for the band and what Spencer would do as the main vocalist. I was blown away. Once again, I found myself tuned into the record in a way that made me want to do nothing else but sit down at my drums and hit them as hard and as creatively as possible. It’s that staying power that Underoath seems to have had that made me want to write this piece about them. They’re by no means my favorite band. But I certainly do owe them a lot, and don’t get to show my appreciation for the ways they helped shape my perception of music and my style of drumming through their records, performances and songwriting. They’ll always have a place in my xheartx.

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    Mike speaks so fluent it’s insane.
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