Every year, Ernie Ball hosts a Battle of the Bands contest to give up and coming bands a chance to play the Ernie Ball Stage of their local stop of the Vans Warped Tour. This year, 65 bands — all different and unique in their own way — are battling it out to perform when the tour hits the Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton on July 9.
The Weekender spoke to some of the area’s competing bands, and here’s what they had to say. To vote for your favorite, visit warped.battleofthebands.com.
Genre: Melodic hardcore
W: What made you decide to enter the Battle of the Bands?
A: For the opportunity to play Warped in front of all those people and all of those bands. Individually, we all go every year.
W: What kind of exposure do you feel this will bring to your band?
A: The chance to play a show of this size is incredible. It will definitely give the people who haven’t heard of us the chance to see us. We love making new fans and meeting new people.
Cause of Affliction
Genre: Hard rock
W: Have you ever participated in an event like this before?
CoA: No, this is the first year we have signed up for this particular event. We are always wanting to try new things and expand our fan base. So many bands have started their professional career playing on Warped Tour.
W: What has the feedback from fans been like?
CoA: Our fans are very loyal to us and we to them. They are constantly asking people to vote, listen, and share.
W: This isn’t the first time you’ve entered the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands. Last year Graces Downfall even won the contest. What made you enter again?
GD: We started entering the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands in 2011. They run contests for all different festivals and events for Uproar Festival, Warped Tour, Rock on the Range, Welcome to Rockville, and SXSW. It’s a great way to get national exposure, if you ask me. It includes fan participation, which gets them excited to support you.
W: What kind of exposure did it bring to the band last year, and what do you think it will bring this year?
GD: This year’s will bring another round of support from our great fans again. Last year was a great experience. It helps you get great exposure to mass amounts of different people. A lot of teens go to Warped Tour, and they’re the ones out there looking for something new to say, “I knew them before you did,” or “Check these guys out!”
W: Why did you decide to enter this contest?
MF: We decided to enter the Battle of the Bands because, first and foremost, of our love, passion, and drive for music — not just playing but listening and sharing music as well. Warped Tour was and is one of the tours that we were drawn to when we were younger because we related so much to what was going on. It’s a different mix of incredible music.
W: What do you feel winning would bring Minus Fields?
MF: If we are blessed enough to have the opportunity to win, we really feel it would get us a huge step closer to accomplishing the goal of connecting with more and more people for whom the sun rises and sets with music.
Genre: Organic jam
W: Why did you enter this contest?
M: We have a great message we want to get out there to people. We’ve never done this before, but we want to get our music out there and help people realize that underground music is alive and kickin’.
W: What’s the next step for the band if you win?
M: If we win, we will put the money towards a better live performance. We’d be able to put on a great show and have some tricks up our sleeve. Recording software is also on our list.
Praise the Sinner
W: Why have you decided to be a part of the Battle of the Bands?
PtS: It’s a great opportunity for a band like us to be heard by a ton of people at once. What better way to do that than at the Vans Warped Tour?
W: Since this is your first time entering something like this, what do you feel the outcome will bring?
PtS: If anything, we just hope to show that NEPA has local metal bands that are just as good as the ones you would find in the big cities. We hope to proudly represent the exploding NEPA metal scene.
The Red Barons
Genre: Rock/alternative/punk/junk rock
W: Why did the band enter this contest?
RB: We saw it as a way to get our name out there. We want as many people as possible to hear our music. Until recently, we didn’t have decent recordings, and now that we do, we’re working on spreading our music to as big an audience as we can. We hope this competition will at least bring some people to our website and Facebook. From there, hopefully they’ll listen to our songs.
W: Why did Silhouette Lies enter the Battle of the Bands?
SL: We decided to enter in the Battle of the Bands in the hopes of getting to play our hometown Warped Tour date, like any other band. We feel that with the style of music we play, we fit right into the Warped Tour crowd of bands — somewhere between punk, metal, rock, and alternative — at least the way we remember the Tour. It’s grown to include different genres over the past few years, but at heart, Warped Tour was founded on a punk rock ethic. Even if the music has changed, the sense of community and one for all, all for one is still there.
W: Have you entered anything like this before?
SL: We have entered the Battle of the Bands in years past. The format has changed over time. We once played an actual Battle of the Bands for Warped Tour, rather than relying solely on online voting; however, that is the path things are taking these days. A band has to have as much presence online as they do on stage.
Genre: Pop punk/rock/power pop
W: Have you ever entered a contest like this before?
SR: No, we have not, but we’re stoked to be a part of it!
W: What do you hope this will bring for the band?
SR: We are hoping it will bring out our name in the scene. The contest actually helped us build a following. A lot of fans discovered us through the BOTB website.
Without a Martyr
W: Tell us about the Battle of the Bands.
WaM: We decided to enter the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands to get a bit more insight on how much our fan base has grown since last summer and to get the chance to perform at Warped Tour, which is a longtime dream of all the members.
W: Is this year the first year you’re entered this contest?
WaM: We entered ourselves last year, but we didn’t do nearly as good as we are this year, so it is pretty cool to see our fan base has grown and became stronger, which is helping us do a lot better.