Update: Since this article went to press, the Some Call Us Heroes appearance at Yucca Tap Room has been canceled due to "unforeseen medical circumstances," as described on the band's Facebook page.
A few years ago, five Phoenix musicians from various respected local bands came together and hit the ground running.
It all started with Laconic. When the metalcore act disbanded, Danny Brian (vocals/guitar) and Sanjay Parikh (guitar) couldn't stay away from making music, so they began to put together some demos -- no band, no name, no direction of any kind. Suddenly, drummer Ian Schad (Adavant) joined the duo.
"At first, we just wanted to be a studio band and have fun to get back to the roots of why we began playing music," Brian says.
Pretty soon, bassist Zoe Salazar (Butcher Jones and Sixstitch) came on board. The lineup was almost complete. Brian called his friend Dan Noonan (Depswa) a week after the guitarist had moved back to Arizona. Combined, the musicians created a unique sound: The instrumentals and vocal styles pull from opposite sides of the musical spectrum, resulting in a truly eclectic vibe that could appeal to fans of metal, industrial, and alt-rock.
Thus, Some Call Us Heroes was born, immediately booking shows and releasing its September 2014 debut, Destinations. A music video for "All In" quickly followed.
"We don't really fit into the shows we play, but that catches peoples' attention, I hope," Brian says.
The vocals use 311-style choruses, raw screams, and shouted lyrics, reminiscent of Wayne Static and System of a Down. Listen closely, and the guitar swings from Pantera-esque riffing to an atmospheric, sludgy Deftones sound. Other influences include Sevendust, Breaking Benjamin, Korn, Slipknot, and Staind, lots of nods back to hard rock of the '90s.
The mix of influences is so varied that there's no one band that comes to mind when you hear Some Call Us Heroes, an impressive feat in today's cookie-cutter music scene. On the contrary, Destination's track listing takes the listener on a musical tour of genres. The band's strong sound makes sense when you consider the multiplicity of settings each member has worked within.
A musician's decision to be a part of different bands provides a sort of musical barometer over time, a measurement of an his or her evolving influence and skill set. Eventually, people recognize the musician's passion and talent. It's how "musical heroes" are made.
"I don't think many musicians understand the type of role they play in peoples' lives," Brian says. "A lot of musicians are considered heroes to fans."
While the name Some Call Us Heroes didn't have an original meaning (they were just looking for something catchy that would stand out), the band emphasizes the importance of mutual respect -- not only between fans and artists, but a respect for other musicians and the need to evolve one's craft.
"We're fans first and musicians second, ourselves," he adds. "All my favorite bands play such a role in my life, so when I play music, I want to have that same respect for those who like my music."
The band is gearing for its first show of 2015 and currently is working on its next album, which, Brian says, will remain true to the band's formula.
"Music is about putting yourself into the song, and your mind onto the paper. We've all had a lot of talks in other bands about conforming and trying to do things that are popular just to 'make it,'" Brian says.
"But in the end, it shouldn't be that way. You play what you feel and see if it catches on. And if you don't make it, then at least you expressed yourself."
Spoken like a dedicated musician.
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