The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world






For those who haven’t heard of you before, tell us a little about the history of the band. How did you get together? What got you to where you are today?


AFTER began when singer Jose Freitas moved from Portugal to Los Angeles by way of Boston; shortly after arriving, he met drummer Brian Santner while attending Los Angeles Music Academy.


They dropped out and moved to Santa Ana to start a band, and after releasing a full length record with indie label Skullr Records decided to take the project to Los Angeles. Numerous lineup changes later, including the departure of founding member Brian Santner, the lineup was solidified with Matthew Denis on bass and Brian Sumwalt on drums; we recently released a new EP, "Edges of the World", as well as a video for our rendition of the Doors classic, "Riders on the Storm".


We've been fortunate to have had a positive critical reception to the new material, and we have a great team of people behind us as well; we also happen to have the best fans in Los Angeles, which always makes for a very enjoyable live experience.


And how would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard you?


We're a rock power trio with musical leanings toward to the 70's and 90's with a modern and occasionally progressive edge; people have compared us to everything from Incubus to Nine Inch Nails, so we honestly have no idea what we actually sound like.


We just write what we like.


What is the local scene like in LA for rock at the moment? Whenever I get over there the scene seems really diverse (not necessarily a bad thing) and there doesn’t seem to be too much of a focus like there used to be. Am I just getting a glimpse of the real scene?


Well it's definitely not as focused as it used to be, particularly on the strip as the industry has shifted towards a more pop/electronic oriented sound, but there are still a lot of solid rock acts based in LA; there are just so many musicians and bands in Los Angeles that often it takes a while to find the hang that you're looking for.


We're lucky enough to play shows at great venues with friends of ours on a regular basis, which is certainly an opportunity you won't find in every city.


The latest EP ‘Edges of the World’ had some great songs on there, were you happy with how it ended up overall and most importantly when will we be getting to hear more?


Glad to hear you enjoyed it, we were really happy with the final product as well; our producer Barrett Yeretsian definitely brought out a new level of clarity and presence in our sound.


As far as new material goes, let's just say your ears will definitely have something to dance with later this year.



We loved the title track particularly – so much going on there. For a four track though the EP was pretty diverse, where are you heading stylistically with your new material?


That's one of our favorites as well, particularly the bridge; it's definitely one of the most organically inspired sections on the album.


For our next release we are headed in a slightly heavier direction, with an even greater attention to detail in the instrumentation and songwriting; essentially, we've turned everything up to eleven.


We can hear a number of influences on the EP, but as a band who would you say your main influences are at the moment?


Recently we've been listening to a lot of heavier, more modern bands like Dub Trio, Karnivool, Skyharbor, and Periphery; that definitely has had an influence on our latest batch of tunes.


The cover of LA’s greatest band - The Doors’ ‘Riders on the Storm’ certainly won my respect – a pretty brave move to cover such a huge band, but you managed to put so much of your own sound in there. Were you happy with how it came off, and are there any other covers you are looking at giving the AFTER treatment?


Thank you very much! The way we look at it, redoing a classic song in the exact same way is kind of redundant, as there is no way to possibly top the original version. That being said, a great song will always be a great song no matter what the style, and we thought people would enjoy a fresh take on it, especially considering how applicable the lyrical content is to the current times.


We've been playing with a few renditions of other songs, but we probably won't be including them on this year’s release; we'll keep them under wraps for now, stay tuned next year.


I missed your June show in LA due to a bout of illness and catching up with some friends in Vegas, how did the show go and what do you have coming up?


That was our video release show for "Riders on the Storm" at the Viper Room, and it was honestly one of the best shows we've played so far; the video went over really well, and the crowd that night was amazing.


We have a few great shows coming up in LA at the Foundation Room at House of Blues and Down n Out, and we're also planning on another bigger show for the release of our next single in the coming months; we're constantly playing live, both in Los Angeles and the surrounding cities, and before the year is out we'll likely be venturing out of state as well.






Who or what was it that started you on the road to becoming musicians in the first place?


Our stories are all remarkably different:


Jose's dad is an orchestra conductor and immersed him in music since birth; in his teens he heard Van Halen and Queen and his life forever changed.


Matthew always enjoyed music, his first records were the Mission Impossible and Men in Black soundtracks, but he didn't play any instruments before joining a friend’s punk rock/ska band near there the end of high school; after spending most of his first year of college teaching himself his favorite bass lines instead of attending classes, he dropped out to attend music school.


Brian unfortunately isn't here at the moment, but he's just the drummer, so his story is kind of irrelevant; after all, he’s bound to spontaneously combust at any moment.


What are you listening to at the moment?


Right this second? The 'Make Yourself' album by Incubus.


What is the next step for the band? Getting a new CD out there and getting more exposure locally? Or are there bigger plans?


The way the industry works today, bands really have to be doing everything all of the time; we're constantly writing, playing live, building our online buzz, and looking for touring opportunities. We'll probably be playing out of state again by spring at the latest, and we'll definitely have a new release out before then.


How hard are you finding it in today’s climate to get heard?


It's good to see the ability to record and release music accessible to more people nowadays. It's a much more globalized industry now, so you do pay a certain price for the high competition, but at least you know a much bigger portion of the world has access to your work.


It's just really just a matter of continuing to push yourselves and progress, as musicians and as a band; if you build it, they will come.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given so far?


That the best kept secret of every successful band is that they simply never stopped making music; don’t break up.


Tell us about what we could expect if we come to see ‘AFTER’ live?


An incredibly physical and dynamic show; live music should be a cathartic experience, and we will force you to have a good time with us if we have to!


Any funny stories from the road that we could actually print?


The craziest story involving the current lineup is probably having the van break down at a gig in San Luis Obispo, 5 hours north of Los Angeles, the night before our video release show at the Viper Room.
Fortunately we happened to find a mechanic who was not only working on Sunday, but also happened to be working on a car which had the same part as the one that failed on our van! The other car wasn’t scheduled to be picked up for another few days, so the mechanic was able to order a duplicate part for the car and use the original part to fix the van, otherwise we would have never made the down beat of our set.


That’s honestly the only story that’s really tame enough for print anyway.


Anyone you would particularly like to mention who have helped you along the way?


Definitely have to thank Steve Skullr and Skullr records for all of the support over the years, as well as our manager and executive producer Don Hamister for allowing us the continued freedom to do what we do.


Where can people check out your music and keep in touch with the band?


We just had a new website designed by our great friend Mark Doty, which can be found at ; it has links to our BandCamp site where you can download "Edges of the World" in full CD quality for free, as well as our Facebook page.


If you could have been involved in the making of any single piece of music at any point in time what would it have been?


Matthew’s vote goes to Bohemian Rhapsody, and Jose says Vespers by Rachmaninov. Brian probably agrees with us.


What is the meaning of life?


Didn't Monty Python already cover this?





By Mark Diggins