Flashback Forward
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Flashback Forward

State College, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

State College, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock

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May
19
Flashback Forward @ Alphabet Lounge

Manhattan, New York, USA

Manhattan, New York, USA

Apr
16
Flashback Forward @ The Phyrst

State College, PA, Pennsylvania, USA

State College, PA, Pennsylvania, USA

Mar
31
Flashback Forward @ Penn State University HUB-Robeson Center

University Park, Pennsylvania, USA

University Park, Pennsylvania, USA

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Music

Press


SITR: Give us some background on the band. How did you meet each other and start making music?

FF: Well Aida (lead guitar) and Elliot (drums and general destruction) actually met on a Facebook group and decided to jam together with one of Tyler’s (vocals and keys) friends, Dan. My friend then invited me to start jamming and the four of us became a pretty solid unit until Dan, our previous bassist, decided to leave because he wanted to play a different style of music. Then we asked our friend Zach (bass) if he wanted to come and play bass guitar for our band and because he is super smart he accepted the offer.

And there, in that magical moment, a band was formed.

SITR: How did you decide which direction to take the music?
FF: Haha, well quite frankly the direction found us, we just started jamming and it we naturally played a more alternative rock style and so we grew off of our instincts.

We create our music in this place we call the Batcave (none of us is really too sure why it’s called that). But, yeah, in the Batcave there’s usually a lot of noise and then out of that come some really beautiful things. It’s organized chaos and a lot of hard work. Figuring out our musical direction is something that we fight over from track to track because no two are really the same. Oh and then there’s usually a fair amount yelling and punching and then the music comes out the other end.

SITR: Any significance behind the name?
FF: Any significance behind the question? Who knows? If we remember right it’s an acronym so secret that none of us knows the meaning behind every letter. We tried to piece it together once but that almost broke up the band so we decided that, like politics, it should never be brought up again.
I think at one point or another we all though it meant something else, then we wrote it down, and then we lost that piece of paper.

Let’s settle by saying that we think that Flashback Forward is an episode from ‘Lost’ that we really like. Or it’s this phenomenon that happens when you play a board game and get trapped in a jungle until someone rolls the dice again. Oh, wait, that was Jumanji….

Next question??

SITR: What are the main inspirations for your music?
FF: Coldplay, U2, The Killers, Britney Spears and the whole Justin Bieber catalog. Oh, and the Beatles, who were these really cool dudes from England.

SITR: You guys gave a great performance at the PSU Songwriters Club THON Benefit Show! How did you get involved with the club?

FF: Thank you!!!! Yeah, it was a lot of fun, and it sounds super generic but THON is an amazing cause and we like that we were able to contribute to it. Tyler knew Kyle Ennis (who is part of the executive board for the club) from being in te same classes and we all roam in similar circles and the next thing you know Kyle invites us to play after watching a show at the Break Zone.

SITR: What can you tell us about your upcoming show at The Dark Horse on Feb 15th?

FF: It should be a fun show. We’ve got Topher Stephenson, who is really pretty awesome (go stalk his YouTube) kicking things off at 10 and we’ll be on right around 11. We’re playing a couple covers in addition to a few originals, and we’re toying with the possibilities of a few mash-ups, so we guess you’ll have to come see for yourself.

SITR: Can we expect any other big things from Flashback Forward for 2012?

FF: Unless one of us gets pregnant, it’s going to be the EP, and a couple shows in the Big Apple that we’re lining up as well as a few shows in State College. We love performing. We’ve already had the chance, the blessing really, to record at the Engine Room as well as with individual producer/mixers all of whom have been extremely talented. It’s been amazing to be go and record at the same place as The Killers and G Unit and really be able to push the boundaries on your limits as a band.

Our Facebook page is the place to go. We announce everything that’s upcoming on facebook.com/flashbackforwardand, yes, this is a shameless plug.

SITR: What do you think of the PSU Music Scene?
FF: It’s growing, and changing, and for the most part it’s like a Hydra. For each problem you tackle, two more pop up, and changing this culture of constantly listening to covers is not easy because it is familiar. You can listen to any cover band and as long as they aren’t horrendous they’re fun to watch just because you can sing along. When the music isn’t familiar to you it is a lot harder to get the same immediate satisfaction but there is a different satisfaction that comes from discovering a new band you like and that is what we hope the music scene will transform into.

We want to be able to play for people open to falling in love with new music and that’s the direction we hope things are moving in.

SITR: What advice can you give to other students trying to do music and school at the same time?
FF: It’s all about enjoying it. If you enjoy the music you are playing and writing it is super easy to make time to practice and the more you practice the better your sound and music will turn out, so find a group of people who like to play the same style of music and then just let nature take it’s course.

We’d say keep at it and try to keep it balanced. It’s a steep learning curve and there are a lot of moving parts. We’re fortunate to have the friends we have because they’ve been right there with us. And the audiences we’re seeing are growing in size bit by bit which is awesome. Each show we see new faces and that only makes us want to keep doing what we do. I mean, if you have family and friends who push you forward, embrace that and write amazing music.

If you don’t have that support, embrace it either way, and write amazing music. - State in the Real (Stating the Real


Student rockers Flashback Forward are tired of the same old, same old in State College. That’s why the band is trying to invigorate the local music scene with its own brand of hard rock, something members of the band say is missing here.

Guitarist Aida Mekonnen (junior - health policy and administration) said she finds the cover band culture of State College constraining to the creative atmosphere, while the variety of original bands is limited.

“I feel like there’s a lot of ska here, a lot of Dave Matthews Band fans, a lot of sort of blink-182 wannabes,” she said.

“There are a lot of talented people here, but we play a different style altogether than any band I’ve heard here,” keyboardist and lead vocalist Tyler Ringland (junior - chemical engineering) said. “We rock a stage. That’s what we do.”

They have only released two singles so far, both of which can be heard and downloaded from their website. The first, “Surrender,” is fairly close to a psychedelic rock song. It opens with a jaunty, semi-syncopated guitar rhythm that kicks off each bar with a triplet. This is quickly joined by soft synth chords sneaking in underneath, and the bass dropping in and settling into its line. Meanwhile, a swinging xylophone rhythm reinforces the original guitar riff with a straight rock drumbeat offering a stark contrast. Ringland’s vocals have an almost Chris Martin quality about them when they first come in. But that changes as soon as the chorus hits.

In the chorus, all of the instrumentation becomes suddenly sedate as Mekonnen’s voice harmonizes Ringland’s. The two vocalists croon out the song’s title after a sharp, isolated breath. It’s here that the song takes on a more psychedelic personality. After an instrumental bridge that includes a xylophone feature, some heavy cymbals and really cool guitar effects, the song hits the chorus once more before ending on some ambience and white noise.

Their other single, “XIX,” is very much a straightforward hard rock piece. It’s driven by a militaristic snare drum that breaks into a standard rock beat utilizing the full set during the chorus. A simple guitar line also breaks down into more powerful chords in the chorus. The vocals are very different from the soft tone taken in “Surrender,” taking a brighter approach that sounds akin to pop rock of the 90s.

The varied style exhibited by these two songs is a product of the many different tastes in music the four band members have. For example, while Ringland lists John Mayer and Michael Buble as major influences, bassist Zach Johnson (junior - materials science) prefers classic and progressive rock bands like The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Tool. Drummer Elliot Frost (junior -mathematics) lists State Radio, The Strokes and The Guess Who as influences, and Mekonnen said she is most influenced by acts as diverse as U2, Joy Division and David Bowie.

Their process for writing music is one they say is unorganized, but works. Mekonnen does most of the initial writing. Then she brings “a couple of chords with some lyrics” to Ringland for the pair to play repeatedly to flesh out. Then, Ringland works on fitting additional lyrics. Next, they bring the song to Johnson and Frost. These two play through it, and then give and receive feedback until the song is complete.

“The worst thing ever is when we think a song has the potential to be good, and it’s not done yet but we hold onto it like it’s the best thing ever,” Mekonnen said. “Then there’s that day when you just realize, ‘This is it; it’s the end of the road.’ ” One example is a guitar riff they refer to as simply “Catchy, Catchy.”

“It’s just this guitar riff that’s really catchy and we can’t do anything with it,” Ringland said. “It never really developed.”

After recording several songs, including their first two singles, with some School of Audio Engineering seniors in New York City (where Mekonnen is originally from) the band members said their next goal is to compile those recordings into an EP to release. They also plan to book shows downtown.

“The main thing is - you know how bars are downtown - they all want cover bands, which is why it’s tough,” said Raj Suresh, a recent graduate who helps manage the band. The frustration with the local cover band culture is something that was echoed by the band members.

“I just think we’re obviously going to be better at playing our own songs,” Mekonnen said. “And playing to an audience that is open to falling in love with new music is better than playing to an audience that just wants to hear ‘Wonderwall.’ ” - Blue Robot


Discography

Both of Flashback Forward's released singles "Nineteen" and "Surrender" have been played on multiple stations such as the Fish Bowl Radio Network in Texas and Underground Wave in upstate PA. Very soon are they releasing their EP "The Origins".

Photos

Bio

Flashback Forward is a band based out of State College, PA. With their first EP planned for release in March, FF has been invited to record in NYC at the Engine Room, where The Killers, Dispatch, State Radio, and all of G Unit have recorded multi platinum hits.

Their first two singles, "Surrender" and "Nineteen, both available on Youtube, iTunes, Rhapsody, Google Music (and a whole bunch of others) have received favorable praise and local media attention.

Getting their break after being heard on the NYC subway sounds more cliche than being had at hello (actually.... scratch that). But since then, they've landed several gigs at popular venues downtown, and around PA.

FF has their eyes locked on performing where they record, in the Big Apple, and are looking to be signed.

With sounds earning descriptions of psychadelic rock to 90's pop, it is hard to label this group's music; but then again, what good are labels?