There’s definitely something to be said about a band that’s both self-sustaining and has a sense of dogged perseverance. In fact, there’s a whole story to tell about one of the few that meet the aforementioned traits, Denver Colorado’s own, Synthetic Elements. Although the punk-based fivesome, which played its first show in April 2001, has deftly maintained its strident, do-it-yourself mentality and attitude, its fourth album, “Trashed Out Paradise” is finally finding the band getting just a little help from its friends.
Originally hailing from the small farming and factory town of Fort Morgan, Colorado, the band consists of Todd McMullan – lead vocals and electric guitars, Kyle Hernandez – backup vocals and bass, Brett Carson – drums, Johnson (just Johnson) - trombone and percussion, and Mike Blecha – backup vocals and keyboard and acoustic guitar and trumpet (and anything else the band can think of). With an immediate music scene that was dominated by two styles – country and hip-hop, the only method of survival for the band was to take things on their own terms.
That meant spending its formidable years figuring everything out, from recording to touring to self-promotion and songwriting. Though they were just an hour outside of Denver, life out in the plains was decidedly remote from the big city.
Todd and Kyle, amateur competitive skaters, started the band as a reason to do something during the snowy wintry months. Skateboards were traded for guitars once the pair heard ska-punk acts like Mustard Plug, Goldfinger, and LessThan Jake which they heard on the soundtracks of the video games they played. They were quickly hooked and immediately put their future band plans into action.
“The first two years, we were really young,” recalls Todd. “We were 16 or 17 when we started. After a short while, we went on the road frequently for two and a half years straight, living in our van and trailer in Wal-Mart parking lots. It’s a tough life, but a remarkable experience.”
Doing it all indie was the only way Synthetic Elements could make their dreams of a full time band come to fruition. Realizing that the old cliché of being discovered by “that guy”, signing the huge record deal, going on MTV, and living the rock star life was an unrealistic business plan, the band became even more self sufficient by starting their own record label, management company, and booking/promotions company.
The label came to life as “Filthy Beast Records”. The label has worked well for the band and has had success in signing several other Denver area acts. The management company became “Sockout Entertainment” and has grown from humble beginnings to a fully capable logistics and business management, and has grown to include a fully capable recording studio. The booking company is “Kinnon Entertainment” which has exploded from a simple booking agency to booking for this band and many others, promotional activities both internet and “out in the world”, and a sound/lighting production company that is still rapidly expanding and growing.
But because of the bands commitment to touring, the act had a difficult time making a name for itself and generating a following in its own vicinity.
“We’d have big shows in places like Indiana, Louisiana, and Alabama,” Says Brett. “We could pack the house in other cities, but we couldn’t bring the crowds to the home venues.”
With the release of the band’s full length album, “Standing Still”, came some local radio support and more respect in the Denver music scene. Consequently, Synthetic Elements opted to increase its focus in the home area, eventually becoming one of the frontrunner bands in the Denver area.
For the latest album release, “Trashed Out Paradise”, the band chose to record at the world famous Blasting Room recording studio. As it turns out, the studio was in the bands back yard (Fort Collins, Colorado). The Blasting Room is owned and operated by Bill Stevenson of “Black Flag” fame and a big icon in the punk music scene.
The album was written and produced by Synthetic Elements with help and advice from Bill Stevenson and the crew at the Blasting Room. The intimidation factor of performing in that studio with a guy like Bill Stevenson listening and critiquing each take was intimidating to say the least. “It gave us a little bit of that extra kick, I’ve never played my trumpet as well as I did during that session,” says Mike.
Since the album was released, the band and company has produced two music videos. The first, “How Far”, was done in a three day shoot by a professional film crew and was posted to Youtube for free access by all. The second video was “The Fire”, also produced by a professional film crew in Denver, Colorado, was also release to the public through Youtube.
The bands success continues to grow and new opportunities come frequently. “It’s like going from a lemonade stand to a restaurant,” adds Todd, “because now, a lot more people are going to get to hear our music. And that’s just cool!”
Trashed Out Paradise-2009
Radio Play: How Far
Voted best local Colorado Song on KTCL 2009- They'll Never Understand
Radio Play: I Cant Believe
Modification of Energy(Acoustic)-2006
Self Titled EP-2004
Out of Order-2003
Straight From Skanktown-2001
Trashed Out Paradise Reviews
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“rampaging battalion of riffs” --The Westword, April 2009 “pulling in from all corners of the pu...“rampaging battalion of riffs”
--The Westword, April 2009
“pulling in from all corners of the punk rock scene combining all the elements together to create a cohesive, unique and captivating sound with songs that I won't soon forget”
--The Punk Site, 2009
"This album is intense and hard driven from the first note to the last drumbeat”
--The College Media Network, April 2009
“The mixture of skillful musicianship and a striking production with some first-rate songwriting make Trashed Out Paradise a darn decent CD”
Pure Grain Audio, April 2009
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“Synthetic Elements are one of the hardest working bands on the Colorado scene. They know what it ta...“Synthetic Elements are one of the hardest working bands on the Colorado scene. They know what it takes to make a sustainable long term career in this business, and are not fooled by overnight success. I love watching them build their brand over time, and see more and more people at their shows each time they play. They are the ultimate D.I.Y. band!”---Josh Goodman, Morning DJ/KTCL 93.3
“ …one of the best party bands ever!”
-Michael Floorwax, “The Masters” 103.5 The Fox (Clear Channel), Denver, CO
“ …a style of writing reminiscent of Less Than Jake when they were at their best”
- Brett Schwaner, New Orleans Punk Online Webzine & www.punknews.org
“ …have brought Ska back to life in Tallahassee.”
-Chilli Pepper, Gulf 104 (Cumulus Media), Tallahasee, FL
“In a land almost devoid of good Ska, SE melds just the right amount of kick you ass punk rock with bouncy, soulful Ska horns”
-Punk Rock Night, Indianapolis, IN
45-75 Minute Average Set, Mostly Originals
Can do 3hrs of Originals + Covers
PDF RiderSynthetic Elements Hospitality Rider
There are no upcoming dates at this time.