A Story Told, comprised of vocalist Alex Chaney, guitarists Josh Allen and Jason Lieser, bassist Zach Holley, and drummer Casey Hardman, are an emotionally-forward and irresistibly-catchy, five-piece outfit that are pioneering their way through the West Virginia scene. Trailblazing their way through the Appalachians, they kicked off their career with their full-length debut album, “Keep Watch” in 2016. The 10-track effort struts along the intersection of pop and rock with songs like “All of You” and “Cold Blooded” showcasing their enthralling rock melodies, while “Weather” spotlighted their pop disposition. The album has gained over 1.5 million streams on Spotify to date. Check out their just released LP “Good Looks”.
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Mehnaz Ladha: Kicking it off with your hometown of Charleston, West Virginia, what really stands out and makes it special to you? Where would you send a first-time visitor to get a real sense of the surrounding area?
Josh Allen: I think Charleston has a little bit of everything to be honest. You’ve got the city life, but you also have easy access to outdoor activities that anybody could ever want. Whether it’s hiking or rafting, it’s all there. It’s the best of both worlds. There’s also a lot of good food in downtown Charleston. I would refer first-time visitors to a place called Pies & Pints or a place called Black Sheep. They’re all local food spots, and I would send them there to get their stomachs full.
ML: What was your first, real exposure to music? How did you get inspired to create your own and eventually pursue it as a career?
JA: I definitely think the early days of MTV being on the television were my first exposure to music. I just thought it was so cool that someone could pick up a guitar and perform it on such a huge scale. I always thought that was cool. It got me inspired to pick up my own guitar and start a band myself. Sometimes it may not have seemed realistic to pursue it as a career, but it was always a passion of mine and I know a passion for the others in the band. We have been working toward it ever since.
ML: To create music, and traveling to promote it, must be such a feeling. What’s the most impactful and meaningful part you cherish about it?
JA: It’s being able to get on the road. With the Internet these days, you have people all over the country and all over the world listening to your music. It’s so cool to finally get to those places and meet those people who are listening hundreds of miles away from where you’re from. It’s awesome to connect, get to know them and where their from. We meet people we wouldn’t meet if it weren’t for music.
JA: I think for sure. You get to see different parts of the world and see what’s going on there. It’s definitely an inspiration to visit these cities when we’re writing music. We get these experiences, bring them back home and reflect on them through our music.
ML: You’re just released your LP “Good Looks” October 13th. What was your overall vision or goal for the EP? Describe your excitement to play it live for your fans?
JA: It was important to us to hit on some of the social issues that are occurring in our world right now. Everyone right now is feeling the pressure of everything going on. It was kind of our form of getting our thoughts out through music.
The live stream is probably one of our favorite parts about being in a band. Obviously, you’re cooped up in a studio for two-to-three months writing a record. It’s refreshing to finally step on a stage and perform these songs live. There’s a connection with a live performance that’s sometimes missed with a recording, so that’s why it’s one of our favorite parts. You get to establish the connection in real life.
ML: What’s been your favorite city to visit so far?
JA: We really love Chicago. Chicago is a fun place to visit and perform in. We always love going to Nashville. It’s obviously known for its music. To be a small part of that is a wonderful experience.
ML: Do you do a lot of personal travel apart from the band?
JA: When we find the time to. We all love taking vacations, but to be honest, the band takes up most of our free time so we use the band as our vacation.
ML: What’s one, stark difference between traveling as a band versus personal traveling?
JA: It’s not as much pressure as traveling with a band. The purpose of touring is to put on a live performance, so there is a lot that comes with that. Whereas, when you’re traveling for leisure, it’s way more low-key and laid back.
ML: One of our core objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling, not only to influence people to see and appreciate our beautiful world, but to also minimize cross-cultural divides. What effect does traveling, specifically surrounding music, have on humans in this regard? How has it broadened your perspective of the world?
JA: We’re from a small town in West Virginia, so our exposure to different cultures is not as much as someone from Chicago, Los Angeles or New York City. But, I definitely think that getting to different places and being able to immerse yourself into a whole different culture than where you’re from is important to grow as a person. Travel is a crucial thing for humans to experience in order to grow as people.
ML: When searching for a personal getaway, are you looking for a serene beach or after a more active, adventurous getaway? Why?
JA: Definitely for me, a serene beach. When you think of a vacation, you think of going to the beach and being able to relax by the ocean.
ML: What’s your favorite place that you have been to recently?
JA: We’ve been traveling a lot with the band, but to be honest, I just love Chicago especially during the summer. You’ve got the urban and the city life. But, you also got the lake with the same atmosphere of a beach.
ML: Lastly, what do the next couple of months have in store for you and the band?
JA: As we talked about, our new LP “Good Looks” just came out on October 13th, and we actually hit the road that day. We’re going to be going out for 10 days with a band called 7 Minutes to Heavenf. We’re hitting most of the Northeast and a little bit of the Midwest on that run. Then we’ll be on the road for pretty much all of 2018.