THE DAILY STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH

Band finds member and is discovered online

Larissa Gula | May 17, 2011    

August Ruins

The Smiling Moose (1306 E. Carson St.)

Saturday, 7:30 p.m.;… August Ruins

The Smiling Moose (1306 E. Carson St.)

Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; 21+

$5

412-431-4668

Pitt senior Kory Caldarelli didn’t know that joining a band through a Craigslist ad would eventually land him a contract with a major record company.

This year the punk band August Ruins, composed of members Caldarelli, Eric Sebula, Reggie Little and Butchy Sebula, signed a contract with From The Depths Entertainment in summer 2010, an indie label located in Reading, Pa. Vocalist and guitarist Eric Sebula is a Pitt junior and drummer Caldarelli is a fifth-year Pitt senior, double majoring in anthropology and music. The band is now preparing to go on its first tour and will play at the Smiling Moose on Saturday.

Caldarelli joined when the group was in the midst of change. The band developed a sound different from their previously screamo metal vice, changed its name and line-up, then set out to find a new member — Caldarelli.

Caldarelli found the band’s ad on Craigslist and learned that all of its members were from Irwin, Pa., his original hometown. He joined the band in 2008. From the beginning, August Ruins was different from the other groups he performed with, he said.

“We did intend to go somewhere,” Caldarelli said. “We had the same goal in mind. We were all in bands before that weren’t too serious. So from the beginning, we wanted to be dedicated to this.”

One year later in 2009, the newly named August Ruins released an EP album titled The Ghost and the Gasoline. The band worked on songwriting and constantly looked for venues to play, hoping the hard work would pay off.

It did, when From The Depths Entertainment found recordings of August Ruins’ music,  despite the group never having contacted the label. It’s typical for the company’s employees to search for sounds online and contact bands they like, according to band manager Mike Bohn of From The Depths Entertainment.

“We go out and find the artists rather than just letting them come to us,” Bohn said. “August Ruins had that sound that we couldn’t really ignore. They’re bringing back catchy punk-metal that can be played on the radio.”

Once he was convinced that the band’s sound was perfect for the company, Bohn got in contact with August Ruins. The company invited the band to meet in Philadelphia, but the two parties mostly conferenced by way of phone calls because the band was not able to travel across the state.

“We met with Mike and he liked us. Everything just kind of moved forward from there,” Caldarelli said.

And according to Eric Sebula, everything moved quickly.

“We recorded. We recorded again,” he said. “We had an indie record deal in three months. Now we have a major label consideration. I’m not sure how this all happened. I’m not going to complain.”

August Ruins currently has an independent promotional label with its record company giving the band extra help and money to work on the legwork for the band.

“Right now, they do everything I can’t stand doing,” Sebula said. “They do management. They promote us. They call venues. They literally speak for us. They do things that would take us weeks to do in days.”

Producers also helped the band tweak its sound even more, helping it create more and more of a punk vibe that moves away from its metal roots.

“It’s more like a mutual understanding,” Bohn said when describing the relationship between the company and the band. “We don’t interfere with their direction, and they understand they need to work hard … And their hard work is paying off. They were a featured artist and were on a Billboard chart for a while.”

The band now has even more time to work on its music as it prepares to tour over the summer. When the group isn’t together, Sebula often composes at the small recording studio in his house.

The band tweaks it when the members come together, but Sebula writes a majority of the first draft and e-mails copies of it to his fellow band players. He feels their songs have some intelligence and an opinion without becoming too political.

“It’s underground punk rock,” Sebula explained. “It has a message, even if it’s hard to pin down.”

The band is intent on touring and writing a full-length album while the band members have the time in the midst of school and work, Sebula said.

“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” Caldarelli said.

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