A Photographer’s Return to the Local Pennsylvania Music Scene

A year and a half off of work will put a dent in anyone’s career. In my case, my career has never been my 9-5 job, it was always my work done in the music scene. I felt as if 2018-2019 was a nonstop time, show after show, album after album. When the world slammed on the breaks, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I sat at home, my camera in its case collecting dust. How does a concert photographer do her job with no concert? It was a horrible 19 months for me, my love for art crashed and burned, and I didn’t know how I’d be able to get back into it. Luckily, on July 11th, everything fell right back into place.

This show was a local event, not a huge tour with flashing lights and pyrotechnics. But it was exactly what I needed. Heavy music, friends, and a damn good location to take some of my favorite photos to this day.

Two of these bands I didn’t know very well, Elsewhere and Escape Artist. Their live sets blew me away, full of passion and an eagerness to get back. I wish I could recite their pre-show speeches word for word, but the tears in everyone’s eye told me what I needed to know. I was happy to take photos, banging my head to the infectious music as I always do. While not knowing these bands before that day, I made new friends and connections that I already plan on working with in the future.

Elsewhere

Escape Artist

Toothless

Toothless and Renovare are bands that have been in my life a long time, and been my friends even longer. Every time I see them, I’m reminded of the overwhelming support I have in the scene. Toothless has been allowing me to photograph them since I was in middle school, and have always been supportive of my growth. Renovare is the same way, and have always been a band that has supported me growth and fought for me to be respected as an artist. Their music drew me in first, Toothless having the chaotic, heavy sound that makes you want to get moving. Renovare has intricate riffs and long, drawn out songs to show the sheer talent of everyone in the band. The lead singer, one of my closest friends, shows her vocal talent in melodic, ethereal performances, mixed with grit and anger from her lyrics. 

Renovare

This show was less about seeing my favorite bands, and more about seeing those who gave me my photography career. There were tears, laughter, hugs, and moshpits. It was the most beautiful welcome back I could have wanted. And I cannot wait for the scene to come back swinging.

Photos and review courtesy of Emily Sulkowski

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Sleepsculptor Interview

 

In a genre like metalcore where so many bands fade into the back, patterns often repeating, and a lot of songs falling into a similar sound, how do you make yourself stand out? Sleepsculptor’s answer is to create intense, chaotic music that will leave your jaw on the floor. Of course many bands fall flat by doing too much. Sleepsculptor has done the opposite, taking a huge hold on the scene they’ve become a part of. I talked with Ben Pypiak and Hunter Derr, lead vocalists of Sleepsculptor to ask about what makes the band special. 

What inspired Sleepsculptor and the sound you guys were going for?

Hunter: Definitely bands like the Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Arsonists Get All The Girls, IWrestledabearonce. We were going for a more mathy approach to metalcore.

Danza was a metalcore giant that had a huge influence on the scene with the same sporadic, chaotic sound Sleepsculptor achieves. The band regularly covers them in their live shows, giving insanely impressive performances of Rudy X 3 and The Alpha The Omega, a song that the TDTE never played live themselves. Their cover of Rudy X 3 can be seen here: https://youtu.be/h8gE8z82Xc

The inspiration coming from bands of the same genre brought me to my next question. 

Is that where you pull inspiration from while writing. Is it solely mathcore/sporadic metalcore based or do you pull inspiration from other genres?

Hunter: I feel like we most definitely pull from a lot of genres. I mainly listen to Captain Murphy and Earl Sweatshirt. Everyone else listens to some pretty niche stuff I’d say.

Do you ever worry about how your music will be received based on how unique it is?

Hunter: Nah not really I feel like we just write what we want to write and if people like it, that’s cool. If not, I don’t really mind because I make music for myself at the end of the day.   Ben: It’s pretty cool to hear that people like what we make anyway. 

Sleepsculptor isn’t for the faint of heart for sure. The live shows feel claustrophobic in the best way possible. The constantly changing guitar, the vocalist’s fast and angry tonal changes. It’s enough to make anyone want to get moving, and their shows certainly deliver. It’s amazing to see them move as a unit, which is difficult for bands so large sometimes. Along with two vocalists, they have two guitarists, Jake Moyer and Kuyler Massam, who offer intensely technical playing along with the classic breakdowns everyone knows and loves. To help with the fast paced performances, James Slattery as drummer, and Travis Antoniello on bass, are both well versed in the metalcore scene, both being in the Wilkes Barre local band Toothless. With so many amazing creative minds, I always wondered who took the reins while writing. 

Is there any difficulty having 6 member’s input while making music?

Hunter: I don’t think so, we’re all generally into the same stuff. It’s easier to get weirder ideas.    Ben: We’re all pretty connected. 

Do you two (Ben and Hunter) ever disagree on where to go vocally/lyrically or does it work best when you bounce your ideas off of each other?

Hunter: Not that I can think of, we’ll usually write in chunks and then go back and dissect/ split parts up.  Ben: Not really, sometimes we swap lyrics.  

Their first album, Untimening, was well received, but their most recent album, Entry: Dispersal, was beyond unique. 

Entry: Dispersal was different than Untimening, do you plan on leaning towards more of a drastic change with your next release?

Ben: We all decided to get pretty experimental, but not straying too far. 

Hunter: It’s definitely gonna be a lot weirder than anything we’ve released yet. 

Weird has turned out to be an amazing thing for Sleepsculptor. The band constantly works and writes, which explains why in seemingly less than 2 years, they have grown into a force to be reckoned with in the Pennsylvania metalcore scene. Entry: Dispersal was a fantastic album in every sense of the word, every song having the same vibe, but every one felt insanely unique. Every piece of music released by Sleepsculptor has its own personality and own breath of life, making them an absolute joy to listen to. It’s exciting to support them, and I cannot wait to see what they do in the future. 

Follow them on Instagram , you can listen to & buy their music on ITunes, Bandcamp, Spotify, and other streaming services

Interview + Photos courtesy of  Emily Sulkowski  –Instagram| Twitter

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Sleepsculptor | 8/24/18

 

 

Sleepsculptor| House show | Photos by Emily Sulkowsi

Emily – Facebook | Instagram

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BoyMeetsWorld & 7 Minutes In Heaven ** ON TOUR NOW **

boymeetsworld 7mih tour 2015

BoyMeetsWorld Fall Tour Dates:
Sept 22 | Cleveland, OH | Mahalls
Sept 23 | Rochester, NY | Water Street Music Hall
Sept 24 | Hamden, CT | The Space
Sept 25 | Wareham, MA | 3065 Live
Sept 26 | Nanuet, NY | Nanuet Arcade
Sept 28 | Stanhope, NJ | Stanhope House
Sept 29 | Philadelphia, PA | Voltage Lounge
Sept 30 | New York, NY | Slake ( just BoyMeetsWorld )
Oct 3 | Richmond, VA | Canal Club
Oct 4 | Atlanta, GA | Under The Couch
Oct 6 | Nashville, TN | Rocketown
Oct 7 | Indianapolis, IN | Emerson Theater