Big Stories

POZ Showcase: Storm The Beaches

by Zack Zarrillo - Nov 17, 2012

Self-proclaimed “smart pop” founders, Storm the Beaches, are nothing but unique. So while these Baltimore, Maryland natives are defining a new genre with their distinctively technical sensibilities, oddly-Rush-like vocal attack, and undeniably catchy pop delivery, Storm the Beaches are busy honing their skills with the release of their debut album, Hemisphere. The quartet’s debut is an enthralling and sprawling pop soundscape that is modern in touch and untraditional in nature. So while their contemporaries are traveling down the same, boring trails paved by the pop-rock kings of the past, Storm the Beaches are taking a chance and blazing their own path. If nothing else, the guys deserve credit for trying something different in a genre so littered with carbon-copies and robbers. 

For Fans Of: Boys Like Girls, This Love, Rush 
Social Sites: Facebook, TwitterBandcamp

Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Mark Mikina - Vocals/Guitar/Writer 
Wills Mayo - Guitar/Stringed Instrumentation 
Jon Adams - Bass
Dave Favazza - Drums/Percussion 

What’s your hometown (or what are your hometowns)?
All four of us were born in Baltimore, Maryland.

How did the band come together? How long has it been?
The band came together oddly enough after a birthday party/jam session. I was already in a band but we literally broke up a day or so later. The person whose birthday it was had asked me to play some songs and so we took that as an opportunity to set up everything we had! Wills had come with me to jam around as well. Former members Danny and Josh were there and that was the first time we had all played together. We ended up playing for a really extended amount of time which the rest of the people were a little shocked by, but we were having the time of our lives. We had all never experienced anything of that sort before and all of us could not stop talking about it for weeks afterwards. Sure enough, Danny and Josh called Wills and me a couple weeks later feeling the same as we did about the event. Since the jam, all four of us had felt depressed like we would never play music like that again and we didn’t know what we wanted with life anymore. The next thing we knew, we were a band. The first time we practiced was in winter of 2009 in a cramped dark basement in Josh’s house. The first thing we named on and played was literally “Some Sort Of Distraction” (a song off of our first recording and EP Gifts From Sea). It took us about 45 minutes - an hour to really nail the song down to its final form, but it was the craziest experience that I will never forget. Danny and Josh left the band in 2011 and Jon and Dave joined the band in early 2012. The band has never been a stronger writing force ever as it is now. We are all close friends and are ready to take over the world. 

Why should people listen to your band?
We have come up with our own sub-genre for ourselves. People have always had a hard time describing us and classifying us into a category or a genre. We call ourselves “smart pop”. We came up with ‘smart pop’ because obviously we cannot deny that with all the catchy riffs and the ‘get caught in your head melodies’ that our style doesn’t somewhat fit into a pop genre of some kind. But we try our hardest to think outside of the box. Not as far outside as most people want to go, but just right outside of the “pop” box. As much as possible we want to deviate from the obvious verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, chorus… sure, it makes for a great song structure that anyone at any age can get down with and appreciate, but as long as you keep that catchy melody and other factors that resonate with the pop audience, a band can really get away with experimenting a LOT with the instruments, and the structure of the song, and the lyrics, which in return is going to get you recognition with other genre audiences. We experiment a ton with effects and pedals to make a lot of ambiance and layers underneath the obvious instruments you will hear in a recording. But no matter how experimental we get, or how interestingly we structure a song, or how prophetic we try and make our lyrics, we will never deviate or abandon making a great get caught in your head catchy melody. It is the icing on the cake. A song is not complete, no matter how great your stupid shredding skills are on the guitar, without a great melody.

How have you grown since you started?
I think that when you are on the outside of the music scene or the music industry, you get a false image in your head of what it looks like and what it is/what it’s all about. Most people when they join a band they think it’s going to be all fun and games and hanging out getting drunk 24/7. You assume girls are going to be throwing themselves at you for no reason other than “I play guitar”. You assume big huge guys are going to come out of nowhere and set up all of your gear before you play and take it all down for you once you finish your set so you can go sign girls chests and sell CD’s and retire back to your tour bus before you go to the next city. That’s the furthest thing from what being in a band is all about. I personally have seen everyone I know that is in a band go through their “I am way better then you, I am in … (place band name here)”. Unfortunately, I myself is included in that list. What I have really grown in is respecting and loving other people. Everyone in the entire world plays a role and I have to believe that no matter how big or how small your so called “role” is in this world, you are adding to the order of the universe. Even if technically your thing is to cause chaos, I still believe that you are meant to be alive for some reason. I have grown from the last three years of being deathly ill with chronic Lyme Disease and a rare genetic disorder Elos Danlos Syndrome which has caused me severe chronic pain pretty much my whole life. I have really learned not to take my band for granted. My band is the only reason that I would ever choose to exist. It is the perfect platform to spread love and hope and truth to all humanity. 

What sets you apart from other bands in the scene?
The scene we were conceived out of was for the majority a pop/punk music scene. Bands like All Time Low and The Dangerous Summer have come out of this Baltimore music scene. The first thing that sets us apart is pretty obvious and that is music genres. We are not really that pop/punk-ish. At least I don’t get that vibe from us. Growing up, I listened to way different music than all of my friends and people around me did. They were listening to pop-punk and alternative rock, bands like Fall Out Boy, Blink 182, Green Day, Foo Fighters, AFI, Weezer, The Offspring, etc. The first records I ever got that were not Amy Grant Christmas CDs from my mom were “3 Dolla Bill Y’all” and “Significant Other” by none other than Limp Bizkit. The next CD I got was “Break The Cycle” by Staind. Then I got really heavy into Slipknot and still to this day I cannot stop listening to them. After that I got really into Korn, Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin, Godsmack, The Used, Finch, Crossfade… basically I was really picky about my music, but the criteria was mostly just being really, really heavy and either tuning down to drop C, B, or A flat. So already you can see that the bands I grew up on were a lot different from the standard tuning tunes of the pop/punk culture. But I knew that if we were playing in a pop/punk scene, it was adapt or die. Most of these kids had never even listened to the bands I listened to when I was in high school and they were rocking out to Blink-182, but for some reason they already knew they “hated” those band. So when they heard our music for the first time, a lot of them were shocked and thought we had invented some sort of new music, or a new approach to pop/punk which is really funny to me. They came up with every extreme idea except the obvious one. I can’t write pop/punk music to save my life and this is as close as it is going to get to it. It was my attempt at making pop/punk music and I was convinced it was a failure while everyone else thought it was an amazing pop/punk record.

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POZ Review: Storm The Beaches - Storm The Beaches

by Zack Zarrillo - Nov 15, 2012

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Another alt-rock band from Baltimore, Maryland, the foursome that makes up Storm The Beaches shows everyone that they’re not like the rest. They’re not a wannabe All Time Low band or Animal Collective cover band. Storm The Beaches is ready to rock, and their debut full-length, Hemisphere, is pretty solid. 

The album is lengthy at 15 songs, some of which could have been wiped out, but it’s enough music to really give listeners an idea of what Storm The Beaches is capable of. On Hemisphere, Mark Mikina (vocals/guitar), Wills Mayo (guitar), Jon Adams (bass) and David Favazza (drums) really showcase their skills collectively as a band. The lyrics are well written and thought out, some subjects more serious than others, but never depressing to actually listen to. The instrumentation sets itself apart, but sometimes gets lost in the storm that is Mikina’s voice. 

The main drawback is Mikina’s vocals, which are slightly pitchy in the opening song, “The Bittersweet.” His voice sounds more altered on acoustic tracks like “This Is How We Spend Our Time.” Although his voice can be a hit or miss from track to track, when it sounds good, it shines.

“Green And Blue” has twists and shouts that are pleasing to the ears. The beginning starts off slow with a serene keyboard medley supported by lighthearted drumming that really compliments Mikina’s vocals to convey a bittersweet message about green and blue pills. “Throw away these pills/ Try to save my soul/ I feel strong enough, so bring the withdraw on,” Mikina sings.

“Do you feel alone like I do?” Mikina asks in the next song, “Something More.” The lyrics truly speak for the song and will get under listeners’ skin with the all-too-relatable notion that, “there’s gotta be something more than this.” 

“Auditory Hallucinations” is an accurate title because the song does just that—the guitar chords are almost spellbinding and paired with Mikina’s voice, the listener could most definitely drift off into a musical frenzy. “These auditory hallucinations/That I was getting from my medications/There all just memories playing back that I have had/ And I know this sounds crazy/ But when I think about this lately/ As I look back/ I wonder how I made it through that,” he sings.

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Storm The Beaches Stream ‘Hemisphere’

by Zack Zarrillo - Nov 13, 2012

Storm The Beaches' new album, Hemisphere, is officially out. Stream it below by clicking “Read More.”

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POZ Stream: Storm The Beaches - The Bittersweet

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 8, 2012

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Storm The Beaches are releasing their new album, Hemisphere, on November 13th via Apparition Records, and PropertyOfZack is happy to be streaming the album opener titled “The Bittersweet.” The record itself was recorded with producer Trevor Simpson (You, Me & Everyone We Know), and it turned out great. Pre-order Hemisphere here and stream “The Bittersweet” below by clicking “Read More.”

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POZ Behind The Booth: Storm The Beaches

by Zack Zarrillo - Aug 22, 2012

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Today we are posting our final Behind The Booth series Storm The Beaches as they finish the recording process for their debut LP, which will be released via Apparition Records. Watch the eighth and final update below by clicking “Read More!”

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Storm The Beaches Stream New Song

by Zack Zarrillo - Aug 15, 2012

Storm The Beaches have released a new song called “Someday Came Suddenly.” The band’s new record, Hemisphere, will be released on  October 23 via Apparition Records. Stream the song here and check out what frontman Mark Mikina had to say about the song below by clicking “Read More.”

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POZ Behind The Booth: Storm The Beaches

by Zack Zarrillo - Aug 8, 2012

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Storm The Beaches are near the end of their recording cycle for their debut album on Apparition Records, and we have our second to last Behind The Booth feature with the band ready to go on PropertyOfZack. Watch the seventh update below by clicking “Read More!”

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POZ Behind The Booth: Storm The Beaches

by Zack Zarrillo - Aug 1, 2012

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Storm The Beaches announced their signing to Apparition Records over a month ago and have been recording their debut record, which will be out later this year. The band is doing a Behind The Booth feature for PropertyOfZack to keep fans updated from the tracking process. Watch the sixth update below by clicking “Read More!”

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POZ Behind The Booth: Storm The Beaches

by Zack Zarrillo - Jul 18, 2012

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Storm The Beaches announced their signing to Apparition Records over a month ago and have been recording their debut record, which will be out later this year. The band is doing a Behind The Booth feature for PropertyOfZack to keep fans updated from the tracking process. Watch the fifth update below by clicking “Read More!”

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POZ Behind The Booth: Storm The Beaches

by Zack Zarrillo - Jul 4, 2012

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Storm The Beaches announced their signing to Apparition Records a few weeks ago and have been recording their debut record, which will be out later this year. The band is doing a Behind The Booth feature for PropertyOfZack to keep fans updated from the tracking process. Watch the fourth update below by clicking “Read More!”

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POZ Behind The Booth: Storm The Beaches

by Zack Zarrillo - Jun 27, 2012

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Storm The Beaches announced their signing to Apparition Records a few weeks ago and have been recording their debut record, which will be out later this year. The band is doing a Behind The Booth feature for PropertyOfZack to keep fans updated from the tracking process. Watch the third update below by clicking “Read More!”

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POZ Behind The Booth: Storm The Beaches

by Zack Zarrillo - Jun 20, 2012

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Storm The Beaches announced their signing to Apparition Records a few weeks ago and have been recording their debut record, which will be out later this year. The band is doing a Behind The Booth feature for PropertyOfZack to keep fans updated from the tracking process. Watch the second update below by clicking “Read More!”

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PropertyOfZack Behind The Booth : : Storm The Beaches

by Zack Zarrillo - Jun 13, 2012

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Storm The Beaches announced their signing to Apparition Records a few weeks ago and are already in studio recording their debut record, which will be out later this year. The band is doing a Behind The Booth feature for PropertyOfZack to keep fans updated from the tracking process. Watch the first update below by clicking “Read More!”

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PropertyOfZack Interview : : Storm The Beaches

by Zack Zarrillo - Jun 2, 2012

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Storm The Beaches just signed to Apparition Records, and PropertyOfZack did an interview with the band to discuss the signing. In the interview, the band and I discuss how long they’ve been in talks with Apparition for, the response to their first released material, the writing for their full-length record, touring, and the future. Check it all out below!

For the record, could you state your name and role in Storm The Beaches?
Mark Mikina:  I sing, play guitar, and I am the main song writer.
David Favazza:  I play drums and do all things percussion.
Jon Adams:  I play bass.
Wills Mayo: I play anything with strings and sing backup vocals.

It was just announced that the band has signed to Apparition Records. The label, like the band, is a young one. How long had talks been going between you two?
We had been in talks with Apparition Records for at least 5 months, maybe more, but they had been watching us for the past two years. So in one form or another we have been with with Apparition Records for a long, long time. All of us in Storm The Beaches think that it is great that the label is a young label. For us it means that both parties have just as much to gain from this exciting adventure.

Why did you decide Apparition was the way to go?
We had been in talks with many labels over the time we have existed. Especially after our first single “Rooftops” came out. A friend of ours, Jack Barakat from All Time Low, sent the song to a bunch of people and it just became way bigger than we ever thought it would be when we first wrote it. Before “Rooftops” and our first EP Gifts From Sea came out, we were just another local band who had a dream of being signed and making music our career. The thing about that was that when we started talking to these other labels, it no longer seemed possible because we knew that they were setting us up to be in debt for a long, long time. When we first spoke to Apparition Records they said that they spent their lives watching labels screw over their artists and they wanted to be the label that changes all that and makes a difference. Immediately we started listening to what they had to say. We had been hit up by smaller labels in the past but they never had their stuff together. In fact, Apparition Records is more organized then most of the bigger labels that we have talked to. Another HUGE deciding factor was that the bigger labels loved our music, but insisted that we send demos to them. That never made sense to us, considering that we just spend thousands upon thousands of dollars making and recording these songs to put out to the public - which the label loved - but they wanted us to make a cheap unmixed crappy demo in our living room and send it to them… that is what they were basing a deal off of? I may be wrong here, but doesn’t that sound a bit backwards? Apparition was great about giving us complete artistic control when we were writing our new full length. They said if we wanted a ten minute sax solo that we were totally allowed to do that. They understood our sound for what it was. They knew that it was different then your average alternative pop/rock and they really left it up to us on how to define our sound on this upcoming record.

The band released two EPs in 2009 and 2011. Have you been happy with the reception to them?
It is amazing to think that out of just two EP’s - only 9 songs - that we created such a large following and created enough noise to open for some national touring acts and even some of our personal heroes (Saosin, All Time Low, The Dear Hunter, A Rocket To The Moon, The Dangerous Summer, The Annuals, The Bigger Lights, Paradise Fears). It’s amazing to think of what will happen when we more than double the amount of songs we have with our brand new 15 song full-length album. It is interesting to watch the music business. A band can have just put out their first 5 song EP and immediately be a huge success. On the other hand, you have another band who has just released their 5th full-length and are finally getting a fanbase. This just goes to show that people appreciate QUALITY over QUANTITY. People will promote or share with friends a band that is great no matter who they are, or how popular they are, as long as they are a producing great music output.

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Storm The Beaches Sign To Apparition Records

by Zack Zarrillo - May 30, 2012

Storm The Beaches have signed to Apparition Records and will be releasing their debut album via the label later this year. Check out a video announcement from the band below by clicking “Read More.”

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Ernie Ball