Japhy’s Descent became a band in the summer of 2011, and that’s right around the same time I became a music writer, so in a sense we, or at least our careers in Phoenix, have grown up side by side.
Since then, I've written about them. Booked them. Watched them play numerous times. They were the first band I caught at my first Apache Lake Music Festival, an event which has become one of my favorite music festivals every year. As my relationship with my first love ended, we saw them play. Both she and I were moved enough to leave the room as we stood side by side listening to their tune “Owl,” and tears began streaming down our faces as we acted “like we’re not scared,” as the song says, of the end of our relationship.
Now, I definitely want to believe that Japhy’s Descent and I have a special connection, but I can also concede that part of the reason they and I have crossed paths on so many occasions big and small is that they play a lot. They get asked by all of the best bands in town to play their shows, whether it be a release party, birthday show, or festival, and as long as their schedule permits, they say yes.
“We played a show a while back in Colorado, and some old-school Tempe scene guy who had moved said ‘What I like about your generation is nobody wants to be alone at the top,’” says lead singer and guitarist Travis Ryder.
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Japhy’s Descent has contributed to why that perception now exists. Throughout their tenure in the scene, they have used their draw to help open mics flourish, as well as doing their best to help their favorite local venues stay afloat.
They haven’t been doing it alone, either. Their attitude of putting the scene before themselves has rubbed off on tons of Tempe bands like Sister Lip, Woodworks, Treasurefruit, and Banana Gun, just to name a few.
“I don’t think we’re alone at all. I think there was a time, especially when we were first starting, that it seemed like a lot of bands were in it for themselves. But because of the way we and other bands have kept people involved in the scene and keep getting new people into it, it has continued to grow as a community. People have continued to put growing the scene before growing their brands,” says lead guitarist Martin Sugg.
On May 21, Japhy’s Descent will celebrate their fifth trip around the sun together as a band with a huge local festival at Shady Park in Tempe featuring Dry River Yacht Club, The Sugar Thieves, Sunset Voodoo, Sweetgrass, Of The Earth, TripLip, and Sinister 7.