by Lauren Rosier
“Philly is the best music scene in America,” a prominent music industry professional said last weekend at the 2016 Launch Music Conference and Festival. And it really is. Philadelphia’s number one alternative radio station, Radio 104.5, kicks off their annual summer Block Parties tomorrow with bands Modern Colour, Kaleo, Run River North, Nothing But Thieves, and X Ambassadors.
If you were lucky enough to score a ticket to this show, you’ll want to get there early. Philly’s own rock ‘n roll band, Modern Colour, kicks off this year’s festivities and I guarantee they’re going to rock your faces off! The opening slot for this band is probably their biggest show to-date, lead vocalist/guitarist, Stephan Sirochman, reveals to me.
“It’s so crazy because this year we did a lot of shows, touring around, and studio time. We did CMJ. [She] called us the day that Kaleo signed on and said ‘I can’t imagine any other band opening for Kaleo other than you guys.’ This is real; this is our biggest show as a band. We can’t wait to get up on that stage,” Sirochman explains.
The beginning of Modern Colour dates back about five years ago. Drummer Tom Weir and bassist Chris Boyle went to school together at Penn State and had always played music. They started playing in a few more serious bands together. Eventually, the two musicians ended up moving to Philadelphia.
Sirochman says that the birth of Modern Colour was completely by chance. “I was walking down the street, heard music coming out of a house, and they asked if I wanted to meet the music. From there we started jamming and Modern Colour was born.”
Modern Colour’s sound isn’t like other bands — they have a sound that incorporates different musical influences. For example, Weir is of Scottish descent, so he listens a good bit of Celtic music. Boyle is into every genre. Sirochman grew up listening to local, non-commercial radio station, WXPN, and its programs, Funky Friday and, The Blues Show that airs on Saturday nights.
From all of those unique influences, the band was able to create a cohesive sound that represents themselves. While those are the band’s individual influences, psychedelic rock star, Jimi Hendrix, and modern rock band, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sirochman says, are two of the their major influences as a group.
The four-piece has been making music together for about 5 years now as a DIY band. The music industry is so competitive and DIY bands in today’s music industry can really either be successful or unsuccessful.
“Being a DIY band, it’s had its ups and downs, where we’re getting booked for shows, to being broke,” Sirochman explains. “Connecting to people is the one thing that has always brought us back to music. Even if we’re not together as a band, when people walk up to you and recognize you, people have connected to us.”
In early 2013, the band experienced a huge success. They launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to help fund the next record exceeding their goal in raising over $10,000. “We wouldn’t be a band if it wasn’t for the Kickstarter. People saw it as trying to raise money to do an album. It showed us that people cared, it was very rewarding, gratifying,” Sirochman admits.
So now the four-piece rock band is about take the biggest stage they’ve played to-date opening 2016’s first Radio 104.5 Block Party, and it’s going to be an epic show. After that, the guys plan to start touring again. “We have some pretty cool stuff happening, some shows we can’t talk about yet. If we’re not touring, we’re in the studio. We’re not trying put out a full album because everyone’s attention span is three seconds. We’re focused on that next single. Through the course of this year, we’re probably going to release eight to nine singles,” Sirochman reveals.
The guys are always working on new material and doing a lot of rehearsing. Going into the studio “you always think you have a sound ready, but then a week before, you have something different,” he says. “We’re riff based. We take influences from The Black Keys as well. [If we have] the riff, a good melody, and some catchy lyrics, you find your sound through different things. Everything we do is well rehearsed. It’s always going over things, new things, and trying to learn.”
This is a band that has been continuing to put everything they have into their music to get to this point in their career. The opportunity to open a Radio 104.5 Block Party is a big deal and they’re beyond thrilled to take the stage on Sunday.
“[There’s going to be] lots of energy. We believe in our live performance more than anything else. When you’re in the studio, it’s what you’re tracking and recording, and you don’t have that energy. The energy we try to bring to this, it’s 110% every time. We always have our energy,” Sirochman guarantees.