The hard rocking quintet; Screaming For Silence has become a hot commodity in their local Cornhusker metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska; packing clubs, securing consistent radio play as well as prime stage slots with national touring acts throughout the area.
This unique outfit consisting of Zeb Christensen (vocals), Danny Irwin (guitar/vocals), Casey Newsom (guitar), Matt Tatroe (drums) and Randy Ziska (bass), have now set their sights on national dominance as their single “Separate” from their recently recorded EP Relentless, makes its way to the Sirrus XM Octane satellite rock station as well as other outlets across the active rock airways.
Rock Revolt had the opportunity to chat with founding members Zeb, Danny and Casey prior to their show at The Phoenix Lounge in Harrisburg, South Dakota and got the scoop on how the band went from a few college friends jamming in the dorms to a mega power rock outfit that specializes in killer hooks and monster breakdowns and appears to be on the verge of rock stardom.
Interview with Zeb, Danny and Casey:
Rick/RR: Thank you for hanging out here at The Phoenix Lounge where you are scheduled to tear the place up later tonight! For new fans getting their first chance to check out S4S, give us the introduction to the band that has already taken its hometown of Omaha, Nebraska and surrounding area by storm.
Danny/S4S: Absolutely, cool man! We started eight years ago and actually Casey, Zeb and I started while we were in college. We started in a tiny dorm room just jamming on acoustic guitars. The first night we just hung out and wrote a song. To make a long story short, we finished out college and decided we really wanted to do this and make it serious. We moved to Omaha (Nebraska) together, started playing shows consistently and started playing our own original material. Within the last few years here we’ve focused on recording and moving it up another level. Now we’re out on the road touring and supporting our Relentless EP we just released in September.
Rick/RR: That is great stuff. Speaking of great stuff, let’s talk about that killer 4-song EP you call Relentless.
Zeb/S4S: For the EP, we worked with Justin McCain of Emphatic who helped produce our first single “Separate.” We also worked with a producer named Jim Homan at Screen Door Studios, who produced the old Emphatic, helped us produce the rest of the EP in Omaha.
Rick/RR: Talk about your relationship with Emphatic. Fellow Omaha rock buds?
Zeb/S4S: Yeah, we’re good friends with those guys. They’ve helped us out a lot. Justin (Homan) showed a liking to us after we played a show with them at a place called Club Roxberry. He really helped us out a lot and got us on a lot of shows with them.
Rick/RR: How about advice?
Danny/S4S: Yeah, a little bit here and there I guess. We are good friends with them, so more so just in passing or other random conversations about that stuff whether it is tips or pointers might get brought up.
Zeb/S4S: It’s just been kind of nice as they’ve been around a little longer before us so we got to see how they did things, going through the ringers and to where they are at now. We just kind of followed suite and found our own niche and our own way to do things as well.
Rick/RR: The single you mentioned; “Separate” has taken off on local rock radio as well as multiple other Midwest stations. The song is a high-energy, up-tempo and in your face rocker that serves as a great way to introduce the band. Is the next step to broaden out to national markets with the song?
Casey/S4S: Right now or main goal is to get airplay on Sirrus/XM Octane as it is heard all across the country. Just basically take this radio campaign and send it to stations that are obviously fit for our style of music and see where it goes from there. (Call 1-888-3octane and request “Separate”)
Zeb/S4S: I think after that just touring along with it has gone a long way too. The one thing we found out when we hit the road in October to support the new EP is we’ve been able to pick up new fans all across the country and little by little we are starting to get some steam rolling as well as getting our brand and name out there.
Casey/S4S: That’s right, as much exposure as possible!
Rick/RR: You also shot a video for the song which was produced by Wrongly Accused Productions in Association with Miguel Cedillo Media.
Zeb/S4 S: It’s a buddy of ours from Omaha named Jonathon Goodro. Once the single started to get local airplay and a buzz, he came to us with an idea and theme for the video. He really took it under his own thing and we just kind of let him run with it. It was at an art shop/museum/gallery in downtown Omaha. He just basically told us to show up and we did our thing and about a week later he told us he had a final for us to review. We checked it out and liked it. I think it has over 17,000 YouTube views now. That’s a great start, but I’d like to see it at 117,000 views real soon! (Laughs)
Rick/RR: The buzz you’ve talked about actually afforded you the opportunity to play main stage for Rock Fest in Council Bluffs, Iowa alongside My Darkest Days, Escape The Fate, Hollywood Undead and Seether to name a few. Talk about that experience playing in front of that type of large crowd and with those bands.
Casey/S4S: It was awesome! We had to be there at around 10 a.m. in the morning to get ready. What was kind of funny (at least now) is we had ordered the “Separate” singles for that show and they hadn’t come in yet and we are in the rig with the trailer literally leaving and the Fed Ex truck finally shows up and delivers the CDs as we are taking off! (Laughs) We were freaking out, but now is the funniest thing.
Zeb/S4S: (Laughs) that was really just the start of how the day was going to go for us. It was a sign that this was going to be the best f***king day ever!
Casey/S4S: So here we are with our little van and trailer and we are pulling up at Rock Fest and there is just tour bus after tour bus lined up. We pull our shit up in there and the whole experience for the entire day was just unbelievable.
Danny/S4S: Sophia John (Program Director) from 89.7 The River helps us out a lot and has really been there for us as far as shows. That helped us out with that and getting us on the radio. She is a good person to have on your side. A huge thank you to her! Rock Fest was a hell of an experience, some 16,000 people. That outdoor amphitheater setting was really a magnificent sight to walk out in front of a sea of people on that huge stage. It is what it is and you don’t want to leave after you play that last song!
Casey/S4S: It seemed like it went so fast, I barely remember being on stage! (Laughs)
Zeb/S4S: And by that time of the show, “Separate” had enough buzz and seeing the people sing along and the response to that was surreal. We could get used to doing that every day in a heartbeat! (Laughs)
Rick/RR: How about any other big shows that stand out?
Casey/S4S: We played the Mid America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa with Hollywood Undead with about 7,000 people at that place. Every show we play regardless of size, we make sure we get to the merch table and talk to every single person who wants to come up and talk to us.
Rick/RR: You put your stamp on the 80’s hit “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddy Money which made its way to the EP. Talk about the song and how you chose it as a song to record in S4S style.
Casey/S4S: We used to do “Sweet Dreams” by Mason, so basically it’s a cover of a cover. I was messing around on the computer and watched the video and I heard the guitar and started to put together the guitar parts and piecing it together. I went to the guys and said, “Dudes, I’ve got the perfect cover for us that would be awesome.” I started playing it and had the idea of doing the breakdown in the middle of it. We played it once at practice together and looked at each other and it was a yes.
Zeb/S4S: We actually rushed to play it. Usually we practice a song a ton before we’d add it to our set, but not with this. I remember, we were playing at The Waiting Room with Emphatic and we played it live and that is exactly what Sophia at The River told us. She was like, “that Eddy Money cover is awesome.” That is really what I think that got her to kind of start to follow us and see where we would go. She was the one that helped push us to record it as well as the fans that had seen it live.
Watch S4S performing “Take Me Home Tonight” at Rock Fest:
Rick/RR: That song like pretty much all the others on Relentless contains just a killer break down as well as song acoustic or pause stops if you will that really seem to emphasize certain parts of the songs as well as really putting your own stamp on each one. I really dig that and how you pull that off whether it is natural or structured as such.
Danny/S4S: Thanks man, that is awesome and we love to hear that. A lot of that just comes natural. It also showcases the tightness of the group and gives uniqueness to the sound. Whenever someone asks us what genre we are, I have to give them three as there really isn’t just one that we exactly sound like.
Casey/S4S: A lot of that is just natural. We are little bit of a break down influenced band. What catches my ear is the stops and pauses in music where it goes from dead sound back to completely in your face. It also helps to catch people’s attention.
Rick/RR: Are there influences that you draw that unique three genre sound from?
Danny/S4S: Casey and I come from just such opposite guitar backgrounds.
Danny/S4S: I listen to stuff with a little punk, ska and bands like AFI, Sublime, Nirvana and one of my favorites of all-time; Alice in Chains. When we play Casey will come up with a riff and I will put something on top and it just works.
Casey/S4S: Exactly and the chemistry between us musically is something I can’t even explain. I feel very fortunate to have four other band members I feel like we are brothers, best friends without being blood.
Rick/RR: Zeb, how about you as a vocalist?
Zeb/S4S: Man, I just normally run off of these guys. (Laughs) I’m influenced a little on the heavier side. When Dan adds his singing I think that really brings a cool melody and really ties it all together. I think we bring in some diversity as well; having two different singing styles and Casey does harmony.
Zeb/S4S: It’s ROCKIN! ALY is such a kickass band and when you throw in some of the other national bands with some buzz going and we are right behind them, so it’s going awesome!
Rick/RR: With your sound and recording ability at the level of any of the national recording bands out there right now. What do you think it will take for S4S to get a deal to get to that elusive “next level”?
Zeb/S4S: Hopefully it is right on the path we are going. Get out there and play as many shows as possible. Just trying to get as much exposure as we can to anywhere in the nation really.
Rick/RR: Thank you for the great chat. Now get on stage and tear it up!
~ Rick Lindner – Journalist, RockRevolt™Magazine
~ Live Pictures by Rick Lindner