While the members of Bells boast pretty extensive experience in metal, coming off the heels of participation in bands like August Burns Red and This or the Apocalypse, their new band’s style treads out into instrumental post-rock territory. The 5-piece from Lancaster, PA, have been friends for years and finally decided to pool their talents together in the ephemeral Bells. Focusing their songwriting in creating vast soundscapes with extreme technical know-how, Bells’ first release, Our Forest, Our Empire, features dynamic moments that alternate anywhere from driving to quiet to triumphant to patient – creating more of an experience than any individual song.
For Fans Of: Explosions in the Sky, Gates, The Joy Formidable
Social Sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.We have myself, Jon Hershey, Tim Kettering Joseph Terranova, and Toby Pool. We’ve all been in and out of bands for a while, playing different instruments along the way, so the roles vary depending on song.
What’s your hometown (or what are your hometowns)?We are from Lancaster, PA.
How did the band come together? How long has it been?
It all starts back in early 2000’s where Jon and I met, when our two bands (Here to Eternity, and Shutup Gorgeous) played a show at this place near Lancaster called The Mill. We became friends, and we realized how small Lancaster was, meeting musicians in many of the other bands who would later become members of Bells (Joe and Tim). Jon and I started writing music together when he left August Burns Red. The two of us played together under a few different monikers, and decided to stick with the name Bells after I left This or the Apocalypse. We’ve been friends with Joe, Tim and Toby for a long while so it was a natural fit to complete the band.
How have you grown since you started?I remember Jon and I meeting at Lititz Springs Park, sitting on their picnic benches with our acoustics. We didn’t have any other gear, so we made due with what we had. We would write these long, very circular, polymetric riffs, with odd time signatures. Listening back to them we always get a good laugh because of how rigid they feel.
What sets you apart from other bands?
There are a lot of bands in the world, for us to claim to be doing something completely unique seems a little hubristic. We don’t spend much time looking outward, measuring ourselves up against the current musical landscape. We’re not here to sell ourselves as if this is a business. We write music to humbly inspire and bring people together, anything more would feel fake.
What’s the best part about being in your band?Having a creative outlet where there are no constraints and no pre-disposed notions on what we need to do. With so many things in life being a rat race, it feels good to leave all of that behind and play music with some of my best friends and if there are people that enjoy it along the way, that’s pretty neat too.
More times than not, influences tend to bleed through. What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
I grew up in a pretty confused house. A small shanty on a hill, full of my then alcoholic parents and us 3 kids. I remember falling asleep in my bedroom as my parents got stoned listening to Pink Floyd at full volume. I can retrace that moment laying there in my bed, hearing the beefy synthesizers and Gilmour singing “Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.” Growing up and always trying to understand what is normal, at that moment I became really introspective and felt this tugging to understand: Is this what life is? Is this the machine? Anyways, I feel super inspired by music, but feel like true inspiration finds you, and it’s a beautiful thing when it happens, because it gives hope for change. Quick side note: My parents are such a source of inspiration to me and I wish everyone could meet them. They serve as a shining example of hope and change in what may seem like an infinitely hopeless place.
What would you say the band has already accomplished and what do you have your eyes set on next?
Recording / self-releasing our first album was a really big deal for us. The different people who came together to help and the teamwork involved to pull it off really makes us appreciate everyone who believes in us!
I remember a comment from a Chilean fan who messaged us a few years ago. He reached out to us just to say hi, and we exchanged a few emails. I later discovered he had recently lost a friend to cancer, and he described himself walking down the street in Chile after his death. He was listening to our cover of ABR’s Pangaea, mentioned it was a great experience. I felt humbled, sad, and honored to be able to be part of such a sensitive time in someone’s life.
Our recent “Lungs for Life” show with Caspian was one of the most intense shows we’ve ever been a part of. The extreme set of emotions of serving such a brave dude like Jake who is facing a full double lung transplant, paired with playing with one of our favorite modern day bands, Caspian, who had the unexpected death of their bassist. We’ve all played and attended many shows, and can’t say any of us have ever been to a more emotional show. It was an incredible honor to be a part of that day.
As for the future, we’re currently writing our next album which we hope to release fall 2014. Possibly a short EP before that, we’ll see!