Hydra: A monstrous six-headed mythical sea serpent sharing a single body
Hydra Melody: A six-member pop rock band with six separate musical instincts, fueling a single cohesive sound.
A lyric from one of Hydra Melody’s newest songs, “This Road” perfectly sums up where, at the average age of 23, the band members have found themselves on an accelerating musical journey. "We've been up and down this road so many times before, but every time we go down this road, it gets more beautiful”.
Since first forging a path in middle school pop-punk and experimental jazz incarnations, Hydra Melody has claimed a distinctive musical place that, while offering the familiarity of mainstream pop rock, is truly and uniquely theirs. Big sing-along catchy choruses, dynamic stage shows with subtle progressive and Latin underpinnings have attracted an enthusiastic fan base that stretches across the country. With three EPs, Day of the Dukes and Maybe One Day, and a Self-Titled behind them, the eclectic South Texas sextet is indeed, finding the road before them more beautiful all the time.
Since their late teens, Hydra Melody has chalked up half a dozen US tours, traveling together in a cramped seven passenger Ford Explorer. Without the help of a stage crew or roadie, and pulling their equipment an old beat up trailer, they’ve remained committed to the road. “We complain, yet we’re so willing to be uncomfortable for 5-6 weeks at a time, because there’s nothing like it,” says Jordan. “Traveling, playing music you love, with people you love and meeting new people everyday has definitely been a great experience.”
Performing at crowded house parties in Chicago, the Launch Music Festival in Allentown, in clubs and concert halls across Texas, or at The Viper Room on the Sunset Strip, the satisfaction of fans joining in on the infectious “Run, run, run” chorus of, “You’re What I do On The Weekend” or swaying to the irresistibly downtempo of “The Weather” drives Hydra Melody.
With a positive message urging listeners to think for themselves, trust their own minds, and embrace their lives with all its complexities, plus a couple of songs of love and heartbreak, Hydra Melody succinctly offers relatable lyrics over deceptively complex arrangements. The focused writing, ongoing tours, and independent releases are paying off. Hydra Melody’s memorable melodic strands, heartfelt lyrics, sophisticated arrangements and powerful presentation are catching the ears of fans and critics alike.
Often compared to bands such as Minus The Bear, Kings of Leon, Taking Back Sunday, and Incubus, it’s easy to envision the members of Hydra Melody soon leaving their day jobs behind and ascending to headliner status in the near future!
Jordan Berlanga - Vocals/Guitar
Jason Harari - Bass/Vocals
Justin Berlanga - Keyboard/Vocals
Matt Gomez - Drums
Manny Prince - Congas/Percussion
Taylor Ferguson - Lead Guitar
Day Of The Dukes EP (2008)
Maybe One Day EP (2009)
Self-Titled Album (2011)
Heads of the Hydra
[+ Show ]
Helotes rock band Hydra Melody began in 2001 as an after-school jam session for Stinson Middle Schoo...Helotes rock band Hydra Melody began in 2001 as an after-school jam session for Stinson Middle School students Robert Pompa and Jordan Berlanga. Initially, eighth-grader Pompa played guitar and seventh-grader Berlanga played drums, but Berlanga, though he considered the guitar a “hobby” he “learned through finding tabs on the internet” soon came out from behind the kit.
“Once [Berlanga] hopped on guitar,” Pompa recalls, “he started singing and pretty much took over.”
The duo added a new drummer and a bassist and began playing pop-punk under the name Ready to Fail.
“I already had all these songs I’d written,” Berlanga explains of his switch to frontman, “so I thought let’s try this.”
Lineup and directional changes in ensuing years prompted a name change, and as Hydra Melody they’ve released two truncated albums — 2008’s six-song Day of the Dukes and last year’s three-track Maybe One Day — and plan to drop a full-length in either the summer or fall of 2010. Songs like “You’re What I Do on the Weekends” stretch the pop-punk frame with more involved instrumentals and abstract lyrics, and though it’s hard to differentiate between their voices, Pompa and Berlanga are swapping vocal duty. “Day of the Dukes is mostly me singing,” Berlanga says. “But on the Maybe One Day EP and the stuff we’re doing now, it’s more evenly split.”
After a January 17 show at White Rabbit, Hydra Melody will head to Southern California, where they’ve scheduled a handful of gigs, including a show at Hollywood’s famous Viper Room.
We talked to Pompa and Berlanga about evolving as a band and their conflicted feelings about the Mars Volta.
How did Ready to Fail become Hydra Melody?
JB: We added a keyboard player [Justin Berlanga] and new bass player [Bobby Hass] to Ready to Fail … and it wasn’t really pop-punk anymore. The keyboard added a different element that we really wanted to use, so we decided that name wasn’t really suitable at that point. It was kind of a dumb name to begin with.
Did people begin comparing you to the Mars Volta after you added a conga player [Manny Prince]?
RP: Even more so.
JB: We were already hearing that, but people really started comparing it then, and I think that kind of gave us the initiative to really go in a different direction.
I get the feeling you’re getting tired of that comparison.
RP: They would say that, and you listen to our songs and it doesn’t really sound like the Mars Volta —
JB: Well not anymore, yeah, but some of our earlier stuff that we don’t have up on MySpace … the Mars Volta was a huge influence, so it kind of came across that way, but I think we were really just trying to find ourselves at that point. We knew we didn’t want to play pop-punk anymore, and the music we were writing definitely wasn’t pop-punk anymore. I think it was really more a time period when we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do … learning the instruments more. We had just been playing power chords and little silly leads. We were trying to challenge ourselves.
What would you classify yourselves as now, if you had to?
JB: Man, I’d like just to say it’s rock. It’s just rock ’n’ roll, ’cause —
RP: I’d say progressive, progressive rock. … Our music progresses a lot. It goes from one style to another, but it’s still us. I’d just feel it’s necessary to call us that because it does progress.
JB: We all like a lot of different genres of music, and it all shows, I think, within the collaboration. So there’s a lot of different styles going on, and to us it’s something new. We’re trying to create something new, that at least we haven’t heard before. •
Launch Music Conference
[+ Show ]
Interview -Hydra Melody @ Launch Music Conference by steph on Apr.17, 2010, under Daily Fix We tal...Interview -Hydra Melody @ Launch Music Conference
by steph on Apr.17, 2010, under Daily Fix
We talked with Jordan from Hydra Melody to get their take on coming to Lancaster, PA all the way from San Antonio, TX to play the Launch Music Conference and to learn more about this rising band. They said their manger, Chad Richardson from CPR Artist Management, found out about Launch online and once they knew they were playing the conference, they went ahead and booked shows around it. This is their 1st time touring the east coast. They’ve spent time in the south and on the West Coast, where they played in one of their favorite venues thus far, The Viper Room. But really want to tour the east coast more frequent. They currently have an untitled EP available with four tracks and have planed to start recording their full lenght album this September. They hope 2 months prior to recording they can tour back through the east coast for a 2nd time. This trip, they played shows in Tennessee and made there way to PA where earlier this week & played a show at the Crock Rock in Allentown.
This 6 piece band has been playing music together for 5 years. Jordan, vox and guitar, and Justin, vox and keys, are brothers. They been studding music since they were 5 & 6 years old. When we spoke to them earlier this week while they we traveling on the road from Tennessee to Allentown, we asked them what type bands are they listening to right now? “Well right now we are listening to As Tall As lions, like actually have the CD in the player right now. We just turned it down to talk to you. I also really like MS Doom,” says Jordan. With the struggles right now that bands find to be able to continuously tour, we asked them if they would rather find major label success or would they rather find a solid indie label? He said they are pretty much open to anything that can help spread the word about them and market them. He said he feels anyone can tell you their band is great, but as a band, you really need someone else to be doing that for you. “You need that one degree of separation”, says Jordan. We asked him how he felt about bands that were making music but only looking toward licensing and not playing live shows or touring. “Good Luck to them” Says Jordan. He feels everyone plays their part and creates music for what ever reason is important to them. “I play music because I love music and I love to travel and meet people, seeing the country. But everyone has their niche and everyone has to eat.” Jordan said they’ve paving their own way and have gone thought struggles. Now they draw 200+ kids at shows in San Antonio and in cites like Chicago because the band has a great sense of work ethic and they are all working toward the same goal. Becasue they are playing a show on Record Story Day, we asked them what they thought about a lot of younger kids getting back into vinyl and if they ever plan to release something on vinyl. “Yea, we’ve already considered putting something on vinyl,” said Jordan. They might even consider putting their full length that they’re recording in September on vinyl. Based on our visits to record stores in Lancaster this week, that’s probably not a bad idea.
Hydra Melody is
Vocals/Guitar – Jordan Berlanga
Vocals/Guitar – Robert Pompa
Drums – Mateo Gomez
Bass – Bobby Hass
Keys/Vocals – Justin Berlanga
They play tonight as part of the Launch Music Conference @ Marion Court Room – 7:00PM
Progressing with San Antonio's Hydra Melody
[+ Show ]
So, how did Hydra Melody form? Justin: Basically, there was a band [in middle school] called Read...So, how did Hydra Melody form?
Justin: Basically, there was a band [in middle school] called Ready to Fail around for a couple of years, which mainly consisted of my brother Jordan and the guitar player, Robert. They'd been going for a while, had a bunch of lineup changes. I joined the band probably six years ago. It was at that point we started writing really really different music and found a lineup that we really liked. We decided to take a year and a half off from playing shows and all that stuff, and pretty much wrote a bunch of music and formed the band we are now. We've been doing it for four or five years.
How would you describe the band's sound?
Justin: I would definitely describe us as just rock music. We play what we feel. We do have a lot of Latin influences. Growing up in South Texas, it's kind of hard not to have Latin influences. I grew up playing classical music. There's so much different stuff in there. I wouldn't even know where to begin to classify it. People compare us to a lot of bands that I go listen to; I'm like "How do you even get that from this?" I guess if I had to pick a genre, it would be "eclectic rock." Just rock with a lot of different stuff to it.
That seems to be like the state of music now. It just seems like a lot of music out there now isn't just one genre anymore. Just like a hybrid of all kinds of genres.
Justin: I know; I love it. I like to call it "anti-genre." I think the worst thing you can do for your band is to say, "Oh, we're a punk band" or "We're a ska band," if we're going to stick to making this kind of music. Nothing against punk or ska; that's what I grew up with. I think it's just a shame, and you might limit yourself musically when there's a whole world out there. You can delve into. So to the original question, the anti-genre. That's what we are.
Hydra Melody is from Helotes, just outside of San Antonio. How would you compare the Austin scene with the San Antonio music scene?
Justin: I love Austin. I used to live in Austin. I definitely say San Antonio has a tighter scene, has a better scene because... This is the way I figure it, okay? If you live in Austin, chances are you go to school in Austin. So you have a new cast of characters every four years coming in and out of Austin so you can't really build a solid scene there. I've played shows [in San Antonio] for kids that I've known 10 or 12 years that have been around our shows, going to shows and stuff. So I'd say that the scene in San Antonio definitely goes a lot deeper than the scene in Austin.
You guys just recently finished a West Coast tour. How did that go?
Justin: It was really cool. We played some really good shows. We made some really cool friends. Experienced some good things. The weather was horrible, but overall I say it was a success.
Was it cold?
Justin: It was really cold. We hit a snowstorm in southern Arizona. What the hell is that about? We saw snow from El Paso, like all the way, like 100 miles into Texas. Like fucking snow all over the ground! It looked like a fucking Arctic tundra or some shit. A lot of dust storms. Like blinding dust storms. We were hitting winds so bad that they were literally knocking 18-wheelers on their ass like on the side of the highway and stuff.
Where were you driving when that happened?
Justin: Well, we were driving in the really hard winds, but I think we missed those gusts that did that because it was probably about 10 miles after the winds kinda calmed down. We were driving and saw these 18 wheelers just flipped over. It was like right getting into California where those Santa Anna winds get real bad.
Are you currently working on a full-length album?
Justin: Yes, we are in the writing process right now. We're also in the process of trying to figure out where we want to do it and what route we want to go. We've been working with some producers on pretty much everything we've put out as The Hydra Melody. One of them is my cousin. His name's Anthony and another guy, Mack Damon, here in San Antonio. They're just awesome producers. We really like working with them, so we're kind of debating on whether to work with them right now or whether to try something different.
I know you're in the writing process of this album, but how would you compare the new material to your last albums?
Justin: I would almost compare "Maybe One Day" as even like a continuation of "Day of the Dukes," which was an album we did right before that. They could be an A-and-B type thing if you ask me. I think, in the past, all of our songs have really had a different feel to them from song to song. I think that even accentuates more with this new album. I think you're going to get something different out of every song. Like we said genre-wise, we might move from one to another, like really quick. And I think you can expect a lot more vocally going on as far as from the other members: myself and Robert. Maybe even Bobby. Bobby's kind of stepping himself up right now showing that he's got some want.
Why did the band choose the name Hydra Melody?
Justin: This is how it got started: our guitar player, Robert, was reading some kind of medieval dictionary or something like that, and ran across the word "hydra" and delved into it. It's this multi-headed sea serpent from mythological times that would just go around like wrecking ships and fucking shit up, basically. We kind of related our music like that because, back then, we were in a real experimental, almost a jam-band, type phase. It was basically five or six people soloing over each other, all at the same time. So we related it to a hydra of melodies so it became The Hydra Melody.
That fits you pretty well.
Justin: Thank you. I appreciate that.
What else is in the future for Hydra Melody?
Justin: I can only hope good things. I guess there's no way of really knowing what's in the future. As far as our plans, it's definitely to stick on the road, but we're going back up the Midwest in April. Probably late April, early May, so we'll get to go visit some friends in Chicago. We'll get to go hit up Buffalo, which both of those I would call our home away from home. So I think from April on to the rest of the year, we'll probably be doing a lot of touring and trying to get that full-length recorded sometime in between. We just have a lot of work to be doing right now, really.
Episode 13 - Podcast
We did a online pod cast when we were on a west coast tour. It was lots of fun!
Night After Night
[+ Show ]
Hydra Melody, Westbound Departure, Northern Lights, Bear Foot, Dance Like Robots at Ten Eleven Hydra...Hydra Melody, Westbound Departure, Northern Lights, Bear Foot, Dance Like Robots at Ten Eleven Hydra Melody, working with the “Maybe One Day” CD, has a cool S.A. rock sound that brings together influences including Latin rhythms and jazz strains.
Smooth sounds from Hydra Melody
Live Performance on Great Day SA
San Antonio Music Awards
[+ Show ]
Hydra Melody was recipient of 2 San Antonio Music Awards for 2011, Band of the Year and Indie Band o...Hydra Melody was recipient of 2 San Antonio Music Awards for 2011, Band of the Year and Indie Band of the Year.
Hydra Melody rocks out live!
Doing press for Rocklobster Fest w/ Minus The Bear
Hydra Melody in studio
Doing press for Rocklobster Fest w/ Minus The Bear
Hydra Melody on MTVu
Hydra Melody was featured on the MTVu site in October 2012
Hydra Melody on Pop Vulture Magazine
Featured in Pop Vulture Magazine in October 2012
Hydra Melody on Pop Vulture Magazine
Featured in Pop Vulture Magazine in October 2012
Everyone We Know
All To Yourself
You're What I Do On The Weekends
Pros and Cons Of Self-Liberation
There are no upcoming dates at this time.