Tunes of the Town: In Your Memory | The American Word

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An American University student-run magazine since 1999


Tunes of the Town: In Your Memory


By
Mary Hamula | 2/16/14 10:07pm


(Photo Credits: Mea Stanford/The American Word)

Tunes of the Town“ is an interview series with local bands and musicians conducted by Mary Hamula. Fill out the contact form below with any questions or interview suggestions.

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In Your Memory is a DC based rock band. They are made up of Omar Veras on vocals, Alex Scott and Shawn Dake on guitar, Troy Humphrey on bass and Jonathan Shepherd on drums. Omar and Jonathan sat down with The American Word to discuss the band’s journey and where they’re headed.

Why did you pick your band name?

Omar: We changed it two years ago, I was the last member to join. They used to be called Great Ape Escape or something and I thought it didn’t really match what we were playing. And I asked them if they would consider changing their name and they were really open to it. Our guitarist was the one who came up with the name In Your Memory and the way he pitched it was a whole sob story but the way we spun it was that we wanted our music to stick in your memory.

How did you form?

Omar: Jonathan and Alex have been in bands since high school and they just kept bouncing members to members to members. I guess they met some guy who wanted to be their manager and he kind of introduced them to members. And I guess he brought in Troy and a guitarist not knowing that John and Alex had played with that guitarist before and gave him the boot, and they ended up giving him the boot again. Then 8-10 months later they met me, I hadn’t played rock in the while but we ended up merging together.

Jonathan: Myself and Alex met up when I was like 16, he was friends with my cousin in high school and I just went to one of their sessions and he got kicked out of a band so he decided to start his own. I went to play with him and we clicked and we’ve been playing together ever since. We found Troy in Craiglist. This so-called manager guy was trying to set us up with other musicians and it just kind of worked. It was awesome and it just kind of worked.

Omar: And before Troy joined he was playing steel drums in a reggae band with his father, and this was his first rock band.

What genre of music would you describe your band to be? 

Omar: We like to label it as a blend of hard rock meets punk rock in a way. The music playing has like a hard rock with some pop or pop punk influences in it. But when i sing I don’t have a metal or pop punk influence because I don’t scream or anything like that. We added some punk influences just to play with the punk bands in D.C. because we know them on a personal level.

Jonathan: I’ve been playing music way too long to care about a specific genre, I just love playing music. I was fine with hard rock when we decided to do that.

Omar: The only thing I hate about hard rock is there’s a lot of metal bands who call themselves hard rock to play better venues.

Do you write your own music and what inspires you?

Omar: Yes. For me personally, real life scenarios. At least that’s what I write the lyrics around. I write about mistakes that I made in life, sometimes their mistakes. In one of our songs, I got a DUI like five years ago and I wrote about that but everyone seems to think I wrote it about a girl.

Who or what would you say has the greatest influence on your musical style?

Jonathan: For me, I listen to a lot of metal so I’ll say that has a big influence on me. Also Coheed and Cambria, Four Year Strong has a big influence. Periphery also because they’re from around here.

Omar: For me letlive. is a big influence because I love those dudes. I guess you could say Memphis May Fire, We Came as Romans in terms of the guitar. In terms of vocals Jeremy Mckinnon of A Day to Remember, Cory Taylor, the vocalist of Slipknot and Stone Sour, Jason from letlive, Matty Mullins from Memphis May Fire. I’m a sucker for Dave Grohl too. Those five are the biggest for me.

What’s your favorite part about being in a band?

Omar: Touring.

Jonathan: Touring me too, I love traveling.

Omar: We always look for excuses to go touring. Not to say we hate our day jobs, we do that every day. This summer we did four different tours, and we had an issue with our practice space so we didn’t get to practice before so we didn’t rehearse for 7-8 months. We did four two week tours.

What do you guys think about the DMV scene?

Omar: i think it’s really really awkward. There’s like a nest, like a circle. Not really like an inner circle but a lot of the bands know each other even if their genres don’t mesh. Virginia has a horrible scene unless you down to Richmond. So the outskirts of Virigina, a lot of the bands from there come in here to play. Same with Maryland, they even come to D.C. or Baltimore. The D.C. portion of it, there’s a lot of small venues that give small bands a chance so that’s good but the scene isn’t really where it needs to be. The scene doesn’t mesh well to a certain extent. We need more diversity, in a way.

Jonathan: I just feel like there’s still barriers there between the bands.

Omar: Out of all the bands, the ones from D.C., we’re the only full minority band. Duo, from A Place in Time went to high school with me, and we never knew each other and we finally realized that they’re from Columbia and they have a good scene over there.

Omar: I guess our running our routine or set. We don’t spend us much time going through our songs because everyone pretty much knows them by heart. It’s mostly just us running through our sets making sure it’s full. That’s kind of why we’re adding a new member because that way he can play guitar and I can do the whole awkward small talk thing on stage. Our jobs don’t make it easy to schedule practice.

Where is your favorite place to play in DC?

Jonathan: That’d be a mixed answer between the four of us.

Omar: Small venues are always funner because the bars are cheaper, more people come out. Bigger shows there’s always these time structures and limits.

Jonathan: For me probably the Velvet Lounge.

Omar: The Otto Bar is my favorite but it’s in Maryland.

Jonathan: Their stage is awesome.

What is the strangest venue or gig you have ever played?

Jonathan: The venue at that kid’s house when you had poison ivy.

Omar: I hated every show we played when I had poison ivy.

Jonathan: That was really awkward, it was just these kids standing around.

Omar: It was just this kid with this big ass house with a huge field and he heard our music and kept emailing us and wanting us to play. Our bass player had to be at work at 1 and the festival started at 11 so we played really early. There were probably like 35 bands playing.

Jonathan: There were just a few kids there that were just really awkward. I was expecting something a little bit more professional and we ended up playing on the grass and we were in the middle of nowhere.

Omar: The way they made it seem was that they were going really professional and it was just poor management on their part.

If you could play a show with any band, who would it be?

Omar: I love Thrice, they’re one of my favorite bands. I would love to play with them. I would love to play with letlive again, because the way we play now is entirely different then how we played then.

Jonathan: I’d definitely say Coheed, also Periphery. I also wouldn’t mind playing with August Burns Red.

Omar: Four Year Strong for both of us as well.

Is there anything else you would like to share (i.e. merchandise, tours, new releases)?

Omar: We are currently in the process of finishing a video for our song called Struggle. We’re gonna go back into the studio once we get the fifth member. Alex and I are trying to go midwest California to Canada. So we’re working out contracts and routes on where to go. We’re going to do the first tour end of January, beginning of February and then we’re gonna go back out over Spring Back. We’re doing merch now that will hopefully be done for that tour.

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