There are few popular bands in the music industry today that seek to create music for the proverbial “right reasons.” For many aspiring acts, just as much thought is put into the band’s attire as is utilized in the creation of its music. The Embassy is a rock band at its very core and through the members’ back-to-basics approach to rock & roll, they are working to bring the emphasis of the industry back to the music.
The Embassy’s homegrown approach to rock won the band the opening slot for The Academy Is. and Copeland on April 16 in Kendall Hall. The Embassy’s infectious guitar hooks, poignant lyrics and stage presence were enough to convince the judges at the College Union Board’s (CUB) Battle of the Bands of the group’s abilities and potential.
According to seniors Matt Morone, guitarist/vocalist, and Andrew Ferencevych, bassist, The Embassy draws inspiration from a wide gamut of bands and musicians ranging from Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters to The Beatles and the Beach Boys.
Morone and Ferencevych attended high school together and in the process discovered the grunge acts characteristic of the 1990s “five years too late.” These bands included Nirvana and Pearl Jam, both of which would inspire Morone and Ferencevych to write music together. It would be a few years until the missing components of the band, alumni Jason George, drummer/vocalist, and Mike Rabasca, guitarist/vocalist, would be found at the College in Spring 2005.
According to Ferencevych, each member of The Embassy takes a refined approach to his instrument, creating the band’s original sound. The distinct musical styles of The Embassy’s members emphasize each individual’s importance in the band. The rock grit of Morone’s voice and his captivating lyrics are complemented by Rabasca’s searing leads, Ferencevych’s complex bass lines and George’s forceful drumming. “If someone else were playing in our band, who knows what we would sound like,” Ferencevych said.
Aside from the canonical bands of rock, both Morone and Ferencevych acknowledge the influence of more recent groups. The melodic guitar riffs popularized by bands such as Thursday, Midtown and Taking Back Sunday can be heard in The Embassy’s songs.
“It would be impossible for (their influence) not to rub off in some way,” Morone said.
“We both went through our Warped Tour years,” Ferencevych said in reference to the annual music festival characterized by emo, pop-punk, screamo and hardcore bands.
The Embassy’s members, however, have certainly taken their diverse influences and created a sound that is original. “There are (the bands) who write the blueprints and the (bands) that follow them,” Morone said. The Embassy is an act that will not confine itself to a trend, a look or a scene.
According to Morone, the band had a simple goal in mind while writing and recording the songs for the most recent record. Before the recording process began, Morone said, “I don’t care if what we record is absolute shit, as long as we like it when it’s over.”
The Embassy’s most recent release, “A Culmination of our Efforts,” showcases the band’s talent and determined approach to songwriting.
It was this same determination that nearly got Morone thrown out of a recording studio by an engineer while working on the record. “I’m like Brian Wilson in the studio,” he joked, referring to the front man of the Beach Boys who was notoriously neurotic about the recording process.
Thematically, “A Culmination of our Efforts” is accessible to all 20-somethings. “Turn This Car Around” tells a story about “counting time in exit signs” in the dog days of the boredom-ridden New Jersey summer. The lyrics of “Two Martyrs” recount the last dying breaths of a relationship gone wrong: “That’s the thing with martyrs, more than one defeats the purpose.” Other tracks, such as “More Important Things,” showcase the need for change to escape the monotony of day-to-day living.
According to Morone, The Embassy faces plenty of challenges. He said that a band in the New Jersey rock scene is confronted by many difficulties, including the state’s “over-saturation” of bands and dishonest promoters. Any start-up band must struggle through putting together shows in VFW halls and teen centers across the state, stomaching the not-so-glamorous side of rock & roll.
The Embassy, however, is confronted with a truly golden opportunity: opening for two well-known acts at a professional venue. With raw energy, musicianship and determination, the members of The Embassy will rise to the occasion and continue to entertain audiences everywhere they play.