December 3, 2013 by Kevin M. Duvall
If heavy music is manly, then Ancient Shores is one of the manliest bands music fans can find. Combining metal and hardcore punk, the band’s sound is distinct, abrasive, and uncompromising. The tight, precise musicianship of their live performances has led them to extensive touring and a signing with independent label A389 Recordings.
The band consists of vocalist Greg, guitarists B.J. and Brett, bassist Joel, and drummer Evan. I talked to B.J. about the band’s music, the Morgantown music scene, promoting and releasing their music, and of course, manliness.
What type of music does the band make?
Ancient Shores has five members who have some common ground in what we listen to and varied backgrounds in musical training, which gives us a different sense of how we hear ourselves. From what I can tell, we are certainly a loud band. We push ourselves to write loud parts and make repeated parts sound louder with more aggression.
What are the band’s main influences?
We all have different bands we like or different players we admire. We write our best material when we start with a simple idea and play on it together. The problem with this is something many bands face: the inability to take hours of time, multiple times a week, and write together. It is impossible to work as often as we would like. Our main influences at this point are each other.
How did the group come together?
Started playing in August 2007. Some lineup changes aided by networking and friendships built up over the years.
What has your experience playing in Morgantown, or other areas in the region, been like? Any favorite venues or performances?
The first time we played 123 Pleasant Street was enough for me. Black Flag played there and to play where they played is untouchable for me. The first show with this lineup brought all of us closer to our goals and each other. Shows like that cannot be taken away from you. Morgantown is such a good place to play because of the friendships and memories you share with people you are watching perform, or to whom you are performing. Our label is based in Baltimore and shows there have been great. Thanks to good promotion and good people, we always have a good time in the Baltimore area. The venues are unique. We have definitely experienced a few “oh shit” moments where someone comes up to us, compliments our set, and it turns out to be someone we really respect or look up to. It honestly always feels good to hear that from anyone.
Have you guys toured outside the local area?
Yeah, we have covered a lot of the east.
Where is the band’s “man cave” (practice space)?
It is the back of a warehouse we share with probably six other bands largely composed of the same group of people.
What are the band’s upcoming plans? Any shows coming up or new music coming out?
We have a two song digital-only release coming out soon.
How did you get involved with A389 Recordings? What advice do you have for artists looking to sign with a label?
We sent them material and it went from there. If you want to sign with a label, be mature, respectful, and understand that the label is doing you a favor. A389 did not need us; we needed them (and still do). Bands who send out their first group of songs to labels will likely not hear back. Your sound will probably change the more you write anyway. Do not be discouraged. Remember, anytime you send out an email or post anything on social media you are representing your band and each other. Don’t say a bunch of garbage or express things that don’t represent the band as a single entity. Be excited about writing songs, be very excited in fact, but stay humble and throw your ego in the garbage.
What role does the Internet (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) play in building your band’s fanbase and distributing your music?
The Internet has been great for putting us in contact with people that like our music. We like playing the music we do, but at a point you realize how great it is to positively affect someone’s day because they like one of your songs, your artwork, or because they got an Ancient Shores shirt in the mail. I appreciate the ease we have in distributing or archiving music in the modern era compared to preceding decades. For us, we do not tour much so the Internet allows us to reach people we would not otherwise talk to. And we reach more people by making our music accessible online being a band that does not get out much. It has been a great tool.
Because this is for Morgantown Man Cave, what is the manliest thing about Ancient Shores?
The fact that we load in/load out in roughly five minutes. Taking too much time on either end is poor conduct on the part of a band. There is no excuse for it. We do not stand around and bullshit or wait for people to come say we played well. Not having bottles thrown at us is all the reassurance we need that we played well. We keep our cases/pedal boards/cables organized so that we can set up, play, and tear down fast.
Ancient Shores performs in support of Jucifer tomorrow at 10 p.m. at 123 Pleasant Street.