By Andrew Moore
Formerly known as Reality Stricken, Delaware Valley rockers The Escape’s recent transformation is a wee more involved than the aforementioned name change. “We felt tied down to our old name,” says lead singer Steve Angello. “We switched managing companies, went through hundreds of names, and we finally got it right.” The reason behind The Escape’s recent monicker modification becomes clear as Angello mentions how “music is an escape from life for everyone, not just performers.” But it’s also, he says, “An escape from old tendencies and a major step in the new direction we’re heading.” The Escape is the name that ended the foursome’s search and these Norristown boys couldn’t be happier.
The band’s most recent E.P, Signal Fire, was produced by Jersey-based studio man Chris Badami. Released this past August, Angello recognizes Signal Fire as the act’s “best work.” Badami has worked with Philadelphia’s own The Starting Line and the John Popper of Blues Traveler fame. Angello describes the experience with Badami as “amazing” as he talks about the “truly natural” recording process. “We met Chris and, for me at least, it was love at first sight. We experimented with new ideas, techniques, and as a band we just felt more excited to record.” Signal Fire was the band’s last release under the name Reality Stricken and will also be the first release under their new name. “Those recordings are the new direction we’re headed in as a band,” he says, “and almost like a turning point for our sound.”
The quartet’s website has many different media interactions for fans to view. Their MySpace page allows web wave catchers to view each member’s personal page, offers different vlogs from past tours, and a rare look inside the recording studio. Angello tells me the band is going to be using more technology to keep in touch with their fans. “We love our fans and want them to know us more personally,” he says. The Escape plan to post weekly vlogs on their website. Angello says the vlogs will give both fans and newcomers a chance to become more personable with the band as well as receive news about The Escape’s most recent activities.
Ask Steve about their approach to writing, as most groups have their own unique way of piecing together songs. He says the band spends a lot of time in each others’ company – after all, they grew up together – and cites that as a great tool for songwriting. “During our practice sessions, we sometimes become very frustrated,” he says. “Either with each other or the fact that we’re stuck on something. But I believe the frustration brings the best out of us.”
Two of the four band members have played together virtually their entire lives and the other two members came from other local acts. Combining different personalities like this could sometimes be a huge problem with the process of writing. Angello acknowledges this fact, explaining how Stu Olsen, the band’s guitarist, and he approach writing lyrics. “Stu will sometimes have a verse or chorus already written, or I will,” he says. “It’s funny because usually when we hear each other’s ideas, we have the same thought about where to take the song.”
The Escape have a big month of April planned. They’ll be performing in Allentown on the 16th for the Croc Rock Warped Tour Battle of the Bands, then on the 18th for a matinee show at the Trocadero in Philly. Other bands hitting the Troc that afternoon include Honor Bright, Glory Days, Opening Day, and Gennero. “The Troc is a major step for us. It’s a great Philadelphia venue,” Angello says. “We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity, and plus it’s kinda cool.”
It’s easy to hear the optimism and excitement in Angello’s voice when speaking about the band’s future. Signal Fire is Angello’s personal favorite recording from the band and he’s looking forward to the re-release. “It is our biggest release and we want Signal Fire to be a part of The Escape, not just Reality Stricken,” he says. “The release will be the first step as we move more into The Escape.” The band is currently working on putting together a two-disc retrospect on their history and evolution. “The two-disc set will feature the history of Reality Stricken and how we evolved into The Escape,” Angello says, his tone becoming more enthusiastic. A performance at The Troc, a new transformation, their best work fresh out of the studio, and as I feel Angello’s smile from ear-to-ear through the phone, he lets out, “The future can’t come soon enough.”