Macor fights the ’emo’ label

Every generation has bred a musical subculture. The 80s gave us the era of the anti-establishment punks. The 90s jammed garage rock and grunge down our throats. Somewhere near the end of the 90s, soft-rock endured a dramatic facelift that produced bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Texas Is The Reason, the forefathers of our own generation’s “emo.”

As the century turned, emo and punk underwent an unholy matrimony and gave birth to the “scenester” era. Somehow, in the span of 10 years, “emo” went from being about poignant guitars and moving vocal harmonies to being about an annoying fashion trend, complete with white-studded belts and jeans that made people question your gender more than your image.

Kyle Macor, sophomore chemistry major, is sick of this trend.

Macor is the lead singer and bassist for The Afterdance, a Jackson-based rock quintet that could be labeled “emo” after a quick, uninvolved listen. Macor employs pleading vocals and a tactful tone of voice in his music. These elements are reminiscent of some of Chris Carraba’s (lead singer of Dashboard Confessional) finer moments. You know, before he left Further Seems Forever and effectively threw his own career into a pit of very whiny quicksand. But that’s another rant for another time.

Macor, who also performs solo under the name Claridge, would like nothing more than to separate himself from the self-deprecating horde of Pete Wentz worshippers that have risen up in recent years and slandered the genre.

“I’m not ‘that kid in a band.’ I don’t start to hate my favorite band when they blow up,” Macor said. “Some kids get way too involved in ‘the scene.’ They think that it’s the be-all and end-all.”

Both Macor’s solo work and his collaborations with The Afterdance can be easily, and at times correctly, linked with the word “emo.” The soft-spoken vocalist became very animated when the “E-word” was associated with his music.

“We’re pop-rock. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory term. ‘Emo’ has become such an insult; it’s almost a slur. I don’t even want to hear that word,” Macor explained. “I don’t have that powerful song that means so much to me; that’s just not me.”

Macor has been playing guitar and singing for five years now. He and the rest of his band are alumni of a popular New Jersey band called Aberdeen.

Before taking center stage for The Afterdance, Macor graced the Convention Center in Asbury Park with Aberdeen at the 2003 Skate and Surf festival.

“I’ve been playing mostly solo sets lately, but there’s nothing like playing with the band. You can’t generate that kind of energy without a full group,” Macor said. “It’s hard to really capture a crowd when you’re solo.”

Despite his preference for performing in a group, Macor has been coerced into the role of singer/songwriter since the beginning of the Fall semester.

“I haven’t done that much with the band since school started. My drummer and rhythm guitarist moved to Connecticut (to attend) Quinnipiac University,” he said. “We haven’t practiced much lately so I’ve been going solo.”

With The Afterdance on hiatus, Macor will continue to make his own style of music through his solo project, Claridge. You can decide for yourself whether or not Macor’s music can be called emo, but there’s no denying the fact that he’s far from “that kid in a band.”