WASH January 2013 : Page 68

68 | the RADAR | music Local Boys Make Good Music With a Kickstarter campaign and a new record deal under its belt, Honor By August sees endless possibilities. | By Lauren Sloat | Portrait by Brett Winter Lemon | If you’re not already familiar with Honor By August, you will be soon. The Northern Virginia-based rock band is poised to take 2013 by storm. The group, fronted by Georgetown University grad Michael Pearsall and featuring Evan Field, Chris Rafetto and Brian Shanley, is about to drop a new full-length record, paid for through Kickstarter and, for the first time, has nabbed the backing of a music label. With a signing party set for Jan. 12 at The Howard Theatre—where they’ll preview all 10 new tracks from the fully fan-funded release—the only question is how long they’ll remain a hometown secret. Monuments to Progress is a fitting album title for a band that’s made a study of career musicianship. Formed in 2005, Honor By August started by playing Wednesday-night shows at the now-closed Staccato in Adams Morgan. “It was the only place that would give us a shot,” says 29-year-old Pearsall. Not for long. Within a year, the band played to a sold-out crowd of 20,000 as the opening act for Bon Jovi at the former MCI Center. They had beat out 150 area bands in an XM Radio contest. “Besides Bruce Springsteen, opening for Bon Jovi is the next best thing you could possibly do,” says the New Jersey-native frontman, who has also opened for Switchfoot and Third Eye Blind. The accolades are no accident for a band that also won the grand prize in the Billboard World Song Contest. As a marketing major in Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, Pearsall learned skills that paid off during the band’s six years of independence. Writing songs, recording albums and landing gigs all fell squarely within the group’s own responsibilities—until now. The pieces started coming together this past fall. The band put on a memorable performance at Hotel Carolina, a festival sponsored by music label and management company Rock Ridge Music, and surpassed its Kickstarter campaign goal through the blind faith of fans. “That’s remarkable in this day and age,” says Pearsall. “It’s rare that people are buying full albums anyway, never mind one they haven’t heard.” honor roll Rock Ridge President Evan Field, Michael Jason Spiewak agrees. “I was Pearsall, Chris rafetto, totally blown away,” he says and Brian Shanley make up the group of the band’s performance. honor By August, “This is a group of guys which is rocking DC that are really committed with a new album to be feted Jan. 12 at The to their craft. They want to howard Theatre. win, and they want to work hard. I really believe in the band and in the material they’re writing.” That material—pure, unadorned rock songs about love, regret and faith—is perhaps best exemplified in the album’s last track, “Believe,” from which its title is borrowed. Pearsall explained the track one day in late November: “All the sacrifices we’ve made for this band, this life— you never know. Nothing’s guaranteed.” In a serendipitous confirmation of the band’s real monuments to progress, Spiewak called one day later. The news couldn’t have come at a better time. “We love playing music together and sharing it with other people,” says Pearsall. “That’s what we want to do with the rest of our lives.” | Jan/Feb 2013

The Radar Music

Lauren Sloat

Local Boys Make Good Music

With a Kickstarter campaign and a new record deal under its belt, Honor By August sees endless possibilities.

If you’re not already familiar with Honor By August, you will be soon. The Northern Virginiabased rock band is poised to take 2013 by storm. The group, fronted by Georgetown University grad Michael Pearsall and featuring Evan Field, Chris Rafetto and Brian Shanley, is about to drop a new full-length record, paid for through Kickstarter and, for the first time, has nabbed the backing of a music label. With a signing party set for Jan. 12 at The Howard Theatre—where they’ll preview all 10 new tracks from the fully fan-funded release—the only question is how long they’ll remain a hometown secret.

Monuments to Progress is a fitting album title for a band that’s made a study of career musicianship. Formed in 2005, Honor By August started by playing Wednesday-night shows at the now-closed Staccato in Adams Morgan. “It was the only place that would give us a shot,” says 29-year-old Pearsall.

Not for long. Within a year, the band played to a sold-out crowd of 20,000 as the opening act for Bon Jovi at the former MCI Center. They had beat out 150 area bands in an XM Radio contest.

“Besides Bruce Springsteen, opening for Bon Jovi is the next best thing you could possibly do,” says the New Jersey-native frontman, who has also opened for Switchfoot and Third Eye Blind. The accolades are no accident for a band that also won the grand prize in the Billboard World Song Contest. As a marketing major in Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, Pearsall learned skills that paid off during the band’s six years of independence. Writing songs, recording albums and landing gigs all fell squarely within the group’s own responsibilities—until now.

The pieces started coming together this past fall. The band put on a memorable performance at Hotel Carolina, a festival sponsored by music label and management company Rock Ridge Music, and surpassed its Kickstarter campaign goal through the blind faith of fans. “That’s remarkable in this day and age,” says Pearsall. “It’s rare that people are buying full albums anyway, never mind one they haven’t heard.”

Rock Ridge President Jason Spiewak agrees. “I was totally blown away,” he says of the band’s performance. “This is a group of guys that are really committed to their craft. They want to win, and they want to work hard. I really believe in the band and in the material they’re writing.”

That material—pure, unadorned rock songs about love, regret and faith—is perhaps best exemplified in the album’s last track, “Believe,” from which its title is borrowed. Pearsall explained the track one day in late November: “All the sacrifices we’ve made for this band, this life— you never know. Nothing’s guaranteed.”

In a serendipitous confirmation of the band’s real monuments to progress, Spiewak called one day later. The news couldn’t have come at a better time. “We love playing music together and sharing it with other people,” says Pearsall. “That’s what we want to do with the rest of our lives.”

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/The+Radar+Music/1275061/140768/article.html.

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