Native New Yorkers, Hey Battlefield, emerge on the scene with a stripped down sound, combining blues rock with a jazz foundation. Jason Rossi (Vocals/Guitar), Michael Scheideler (Drums), and Tyler Krupsky (Bass) came together in 2009 to form the band, and despite only a short time together, have created a distinctive sound. Hey Battlefield uses a less is more approach, relying on the people, rather than leaning heavy on the equipment. The raw pared down style evokes heavy emotions, which are accessible, and unadulterated.
Each member has had music in their lives from their respective beginnings. Rossi is a self-taught guitarist and pianist from Queens, and has been writing uncontrived songs since his childhood. Prior to Hey Battlefield, he played as a solo artist working with various hired hands.
Krupsky is a multi-instrumentalist from Albany, trained primarily in bass guitar. Managing a Bass shop in the East Village and working in production by trade, he was formerly a member of the New York State Jazz Band, and has shared the stage with many well known bands Glassjaw, and Filter, to name a few). Scheideler began his musical career as a trumpeter at the age of 7 in Queens, and moved over to jazz drums since. He trained at the City Music School of New York for 5 years, and has played drums all over the city since his teens.
In April 2009, Scheideler saw Rossi performing a solo gig at the Rockwood Music Hall, and the creative spark was lit. The two clicked immediately, and upon finding out Scheideler's mom was Rossi's 9th grade English teacher, they knew serendipity had smiled upon them. From there, they recruited Krupsky, and the three played their first show together only after two weeks of practice. Since, they have played at many major venues in New York City.
With such varied backgrounds of Jazz, Blues, Folk and Rock, its no surprise that the band has a unique sound. Like all musicians, the trios main influences often seep into their music, creating songs for amalgamated genres. Emulating from Tom Waits to Jaco Pastorius, to the early Rolling Stones, the band plays what they want to hear, playing what they feel.
In avoiding a cluttered stage, the band evinces a dedication to the music. A purity of sound, unfettered by effects pedals and electronics; simply the artists and a blank canvas. Though Rossi writes the lyrics, each member contributes equally to the final product of each song. The trio is diligent, and professional on and off the stage. As true musicians, they play out of necessity; music isn't a profession, its their way of life. Hey Battlefield is a band in love with its craft, and it shows.
Jason Rossi: lead vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica
Michael Scheideler: drums, trumpet
Tyler Krupsky: bass guitar
Discovery: Hey Battlefield
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Music "The song is everything," explains Jason Rossi, lead singer and songwriter behind blues a...
"The song is everything," explains Jason Rossi, lead singer and songwriter behind blues and country-inspired rock band Hey Battlefield. "The heart of the song is the lyrics more than anything else." Said songs feature Rossi's family, dreams, and conversations the writer had with others or himself; the lyrics materialize by his low and authentic voice, complemented by a subtle use of harmonica. One of the band's most recent songs, "Orlando," is about delicately saying, "goodnight."
Discretely dressed, tall and slender, the dark-haired Rossi is hesitant to stand out from his band: "Narcissism is not a source of motivation for me" he says when asked about his role as frontman. They formed the band two years ago, with jazz drummer Michael Scheideler and bassist Tyler Krupsky, but Rossi wrote his first song when he was 19. Having grown up in a working class neighborhood in Queens, New York, he learned to play rhythm guitar. "I bought a guitar for my brother for Christmas one year. He never really touched it, so I started playing with it," Rossi says. "I never took lessons, but learned by practicing on my own." He grew up working in bars, "just doing shitty jobs, you know? I had so many jobs: in retail stores, in a bowling alley, for a telephone headset company and so much more."
What he learned the hard way is the sadness in songs like Silent Treatment and Lonely Talking. The name of the band is emotive, he says: "There is a little bit of anger in it." He can work it out in his day job: "I am in construction. I am also a really good carpenter but the only thing I really care about is my music."
HEY BATTLEFIELD PLAY AT JOE'S PUB IN NEW YORK ON AUGUST 14.
Band of Outsiders
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Like a lot of up-and-coming rock acts, New York–based band Hey Battlefield is an example of great mu...Like a lot of up-and-coming rock acts, New York–based band Hey Battlefield is an example of great music made outside the grips of major-league record labels. Three masterful practitioners of various instruments and multiple genres, creating a seemingly endless stream of perfectly orchestrated original songs, and motivated by a mutual love of making and sharing music? It’s a rare combination that inevitably falls apart when zillion-dollar contracts and hawkish publicists get involved; yet it’s the precisely what should be maintained when they do. It’s real musicians making real music.
The band itself is still in its infancy. It was a just over one year ago that Jason Rossi—a veteran front man and solo acoustic performer possessing an almost preternatural songwriting ability and a voice that falls anywhere between that of Bob Dylan and Joe Strummer—first caught the ear of fellow Queens native Mike Scheidler, a lifelong multi-instrumentalist who’d honed his craft around the globe from New York to Japan. The pair began playing together in April 2009, finally completing the group in August with the addition bassist Tyler Krupsky—another instrumentalist with a taste for metal, who took his first tour bus road trip at age 15 and has since backed everyone from no-name opening acts to stadium sell-outs like Bon Jovi. “In the beginning, we were kind of just playing Jason’s tunes a little bit,” Scheidler admits. “But we’re at the point now where we’re all arranging songs. We’re all contributing.” The genre-melding result isn't easy to pin down—indie-Caribbean alterna-twang fusion-pop? Vampire Weekend does Tom Waits (or vice-versa)? “I don’t know what we sound like,” admits Rossi. “That’s the hardest question to answer." But it's the trio’s ability to play it, whatever it is, that can’t be debated.
Their offstage interactions are another cog in the well-oiled Hey Battlefield music machine—this boys' club is clearly having fun playing together right now. “In L.A., even if it was me and three other people [onstage], there was no enthusiasm, no spirit—though I’ve made the mistake of thinking otherwise a few times before,” Rossi remarks. “Hey Battlefield is really the first band I've been in that actually feels like a band. It’s cohesive. We hang out outside of rehearsal—I never did that with my other bands." Krupsky adds: "It's like a bad marriage—but with three people instead of just two."
Hey Battlefield isn't about to shun a record deal when it comes along, and a debut full-length release is already in the works. The band has every reason to be hopeful. "You know that Tom Petty documentary, Runnin' Down a Dream?" Rossi asks. "There's this part where he's talking about the Heartbreakers early on, and he says, 'It's like when you know you've got something really good that nobody knows about, but you know they're gonna know.' That's exactly what it is." Now it's just the trappings of success they'll need to keep a watchful eye on.
Hey Battlefield will be performing at The Studio at Webster Hall at the ReThinkPopMusic showcase on June 25, 2010
Hey Battlefield and Demon Beat at Pianos January 2010
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Its a well known music maxim: to have a great band, you must have a great drummer. The literal heart...Its a well known music maxim: to have a great band, you must have a great drummer. The literal heartbeat of the entire enterprise, the drummer can truly make or break ones sound. True, there are other ways to carve your name into the annals of rock and roll fame, but for budding artists, latching onto a talented drummer can be your ticket to success.
Hey Battlefield has heeded this advice and will surely reap the rewards. With percussive gusto, jazz-drummer Michael Scheideler delivers the tempo from behind the Beat Pulpit, launching the bands blues/rock sound. The combination of jazzy fills and nuanced flare accents lead singer Jason Rossi's lyrical style, and blends well with Tyler Krupskys driving bass lines. Hey Battlefield, though still new on the scene, should turn some heads.
In an era of music increasingly dominated by electronic sounds and effeminate lyricists, Hey Battlefield provides a sigh of relief for music purists. The three piece band, a staple of the music industry, cuts down the excess, providing the music, and more importantly, the heart behind the music. Rossi's singing style, reminiscent of a young Tom Waits, and even a little Dylan at times, is a welcomed departure from overly harmonized and auto-tuned whippersnappers.With a bit of polishing, the simplicity of the trio will carry a long way.
Hey Battlefield open for Richard Lloyd of Television at The Studio Webster Hall
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Try as it might, Richard Lloyd's show with Hey Battlefield last Thursday at the Studio at Webster Ha...Try as it might, Richard Lloyd's show with Hey Battlefield last Thursday at the Studio at Webster Hall wasn't the-larger-than-life punk tribute it hoped to be. Rock photo legend Bob Gruen was in attendance, I'm sure 'co-writer of I Slept with Joey Ramone' (as he was introduced in publicity material) scenester Legs McNeil was there too.
Opener Hey Battlefield played a set of indie-approved alt-country with mixed success to begin the night. Touches of Caribbean and doo-wop sounds blended with their generally rollicking approach. Sounding like a mix between Bob Dylan and Joe Strummer, albeit with more irony, singer/guitarist Jason Rossi was perfunctory with a detached charm, displaying just enough of it to avoid any potential eye-rolling. The music was largely held down by drummer Michael Scheideler though, who kept the band afloat with a moving pulse that unexpectedly ushered subtle fills into the air.
Indie Rock Review with Hey Battlefield
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1. Tell us about the band? Hey battlefield is pretty much a rock band. Jason has a real bluesy appr...1. Tell us about the band?
Hey battlefield is pretty much a rock band. Jason has a real bluesy approach. While Michael brings more of a jazz and rock attack. We don’t tailor the sound in any one way but I feel like we both give each other enough room to play our parts. We really try to focus on a guitar/vocals, drum, and bass lineup to keep it simple. We don’t believe in tons of effects, loops or what we would call noise. We try to keep it pure and simple with more subtle nuances that we hope come through in the songs.
2. Have you ever been fed up with playing music or with band members, why?
Being in a band is like any relationship. There are always issues about commitment and ego that are constantly popping up. Like being married but to 2 people instead of one!
3. What was your first concert experience? Do you remember how you felt once the concert was over?
Jane’s Addiction, I think it was at the Ritz, I was 14 and I was mesmerized, I needed to be up there!
4. Did you grow up wanting to play music, or when did the whole making albums thing come about and how?
I studied music from the time I was 7 with my grandfather who was a jazz trumpet player. Then I picked up the drums and guitar when I was around 11. It is something I have always done. Recording was a natural progression because it gives you the ability to control exactly how your sound is portrayed.
JR: I’ve been writing songs for as long as I can remember, and when I was very young I taught myself how to play the guitar and the piano. I don’t know how to read sheet music; I just play what sounds good to me, which gives me a lot of freedom to experiment. Being in the recording studio is always an education, I find it to be a hard process breaking down the songs like that into pieces, but its an important part of the journey, getting the music down and available for people to listen too.
5. What qualifies you guys to be in a band?
MS: I’m not sure that one can be qualified to be in a band. I think if you enjoy it or you NEED to do it then you do. That’s the only prerequisite as far as I’m concerned.
JR: Playing music isn’t really a choice for me; it’s just something that I have to do.
6. Do you have a favorite song you have ever written? Why?
They go in and out of favor all the time. Sometimes we love certain songs and later we will hate them and not play them for a while. It’s really about what kind of mood we are in I think.
7. What is your greatness weakness as a band?
This will sound cheesy but it might be that we take things very seriously. That has become a problem for Jason and I sometimes because we expect anyone we work with to have the same level of commitment. I think it can be hard for people when they come in to play with us though, feeling included can be an issue.
8. What qualities should a successful label or manager have?
They should be clever, beautiful and never take no for an answer (in a nice way) you can ask Maya our manager about that… she’s perfect for the job!
9. What’s the scariest thing that has ever happened to you in your life?
MS: I’ve had a few close calls. Probably surfing related for me.
JR: Being shot at one crazy night in Queens.
10. What’s the first thing you do when the band arrives in a new town while on tour?
Have a look around, put up flyers, find out where people are and promote the show if there’s time. Maybe see who else is playing or if there’s anything cool to check out. If we don’t have time, it’s straight to sound check and a beer.
11. Have you ever had an audience member give you the willies because they kept looking at you all weird?
There is this one person who shall remain nameless that shows up sometimes who gives us the creeps and acts like they are Jason’s best friends. Usually they take off after the beginning, which is also weird, they don’t always stay for the show…. a bit stalker vibe really…
12. Have you ever cried while listening to music? If so what were you listening too?
MS: Too many to count…. JR: Tom Waits gets me every time!
13. If you could re-record, or re-write any song of yours what would that song be?
All of them, recording are an ongoing process. I don’t think I ever listen to something we have done and think PERFECT! There are constantly changes happening in your head. It’s actually hard to settle in the end.
14. What’s the worst place you have ever played a show at, and why?
I think there are some terrible sound guys out there, wouldn’t blame it on the place. We’ve been pretty lucky.
15. In a perfect world how many albums would you have to sell to be happy?
As many as it took so that we could all be comfortable and felt like people really liked the music we made… couldn’t give a number. If we did this for accolades we would’ve quit years ago.
16. What do you guys have planned for the future?
Just really to keep playing and writing songs… more touring and playing more shows. That’s what we love to do.
17. What music do you listen to when you are having a bad day?
There’s actually a song that we do (Jason wrote it) that I listen to sometimes lately called “hell bent on you”, it’s actually very soothing to me. There are a couple though.
JR: Anything by The Pogues.
18. If you had your life to live over again, what one thing would you change?
I don’t believe in thinking that way… what would you change? If I lived thinking I wish I had or hadn’t I’d miss out on what was happening now. No regrets… what’s that line from the Butthole Surfers song? Its better to regret something you have done than something you haven’t done. And by the way….
The Dead Set
Wasn't There, Didn't Know
Water Tower Bombs
Stop the Start
There are no upcoming dates at this time.