Asylus: OC Band on the Rise
The first time Highwire Daze Online encountered Asylus, they were a band in transition opening up a sold out show for The Word Alive at The Glass House in Pomona. Bassist Tyler Casanova found himself in the lead vocalist spot after the departure of their former front man, and this would be the debut of the next chapter for this up-and-coming Orange County collective. Their recently unveiled EP Dear Old Friend features both vocalists, and between their impassioned songs and live shows, Asylus is gaining a good deal of attention within the OC and beyond. We caught up with four out of five members outside of the Chain Reaction just prior to their explosive set to find out more about this exciting band on the rise. Read on…
Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Asylus.
Tyler: My name is Tyler Casanova and I’m the lead vocalist in the band.
Nicholas: My name is Nicholas Miller and I play bass and sing in the band.
Erick: My name is Erick Pastrana and I play guitar.
Jordan: I am Jordan Demasco and I play guitar and do vocals also.
You’re based out here, Orange County.
All: Yes, right down the street actually. Literally right down the street.
What is your music scene like out here and how do you guys fit in?
Jordan: I feel like we have a strong sense of community with the music scene down here. It feels like everybody knows everybody in a sense. I feel like the way our music ties in the scene, we all have a general message that we like to get across. I know that the bands that we’re good friends with, we all like to preach that – that you’re going to go through things in life that are going to be difficult and strenuous and will take a toll on you. But at the end of the day, there is a way to get through it. You do have the willpower to get through things. I feel like that’s what brings the music scene closer together, that a lot of bands in this scene have that message and we fully support that.
You just released an EP, it’s called Dear Old Friend – is there overall story or concept behind the title?
Tyler: Jordan actually came up with the concept of the EP. It portrays a man who goes through all this turmoil and internal destruction and essentially tries to find his way through all of that. But before getting through all of that, he has to look inside himself and see where he’s at in his life. Once he realizes what he can do to make things better, it’s already too late. The internal destruction has already taken over and the turmoil has already gotten too far to where he can no longer save himself and he ends up in the state that he started at and wanted to get out of. It’s too late. You notice things too late and things are going to be how they are because you acted upon it too late. It’s also a departing from our former vocalist, Naz, he departed with the band shortly before the first time you guys saw us at The Word Alive show, at The Glass House, which allowed me to step into his spot and for Nicholas to take my former spot of playing bass and singing for the band. So it’s an ode to him, kind of saying goodbye to an old friend but it can also be taken as saying goodbye to any friend for that matter, anybody who you no longer have contact with.
Select two songs you’re going to play tonight and tell me what inspired the lyrics.
Tyler: “Call to Resolve” and “Endeavors.” Those are going to be the first two song that we play tonight. They tie in with – “Call to Resolve” is addressing who the person is you’re talking to and explaining to them – you’re not sure if they’re sure of what they’ve done, but you’re going to tell them what they’ve done. Endeavors leads in to – this is your last chance to tell me what you think you’ve done or your last chance to make amends. Staying faithful to a friendship or being faithful to anything and having that carry on throughout your relationship with the person, and seeing how much they’ve hurt you and others around you, and how you can’t go back to having that same kind of connection that you’re used to because of what they’ve done and how bad it’s affected everybody. They are right next to each other and they do lead into each other pretty well.
What can one expect from your live show tonight?
Jordan: You’re gonna expect a lot of energy. You’re going to see a lot of controlled chaos, is what I like to call it. We do like to give it our all with every show that we play, but we also like to connect with our fans. We see people at our shows constantly, a lot of returning people. We see them up in the front singing the words and that’s one of the best parts about playing your music live. You can see the impact it has on your fanbase and how the show itself is a release, in a way. We like people to release that energy whether it’s good or bad and get it all out. We like to display that kind of energy when we play live.
Tyler, what was it like doing lead vocals for the first time at The Word Alive show of all places?
Tyler: It was one of the scariest moments of my life. [laughs] I was more than up for the challenge. I didn’t want to disappoint my bandmates and I didn’t want to disappoint the people who were going to be there and obviously a whole bunch of people had no idea who we were. I didn’t want to come out and just, try to be half assed about it. I wanted to give it my all. We rehearsed a lot before that and we had to teach Nick a lot as well. We had to teach him the transition between singing and playing and having to know when the right time it is to come up and sing. We were all really nervous. The amount of preparation that went into it helped us have a really good performance that night. I think it was one of the best shows we’ve ever played, once the adrenaline kicked in I feel like all the nerves just went away and it became about having fun and spreading our message to all the people that were there. I think a lot of them understood what we were trying to say.
If Asylus could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Erick: I think Asylus would be great – it’s a band that’s still around, I really dig them, it’s Parkway Drive. I think we share a very similar fan base and it would really open a lot of opportunities for the band to be able to outreach to their crowd because, I mean, who doesn’t like playing for a crowd that they’ve never ever seen before? It’s really nice to go out there and see a hundred fresh new faces and them be stoked on the music. I think it’d be a really really cool show to be able to show up for. And it’d be cool if it was in Australia.
Nicholas: I don’t know. A part of me wants to say a real heavy band but I think the best opportunity to learn from another band, to actually get the full experience of it would probably be A Day To Remember. They’ve tried to mix things in and I feel like we try and mix our own influences in and make our own unique sound. So, to see how they handle the journey of how they’ve created their own little niche in the music scene and how people go out to see specifically where they are now. I would love to see how they handle it, what their personalities are like and what it took to get to that point. It’d be good to pick their brains, oh, this is how your groom ourselves as a band and be OK with what you sound like and how you make your own unique thing. I’d love to play a show with them. And that ball he does, that hamster ball. I’d love to do that.
Jordan: It’s a definitely no brainer. Anyone who is relatively close to me knows that Silverstein would easily be the band I would want to open for. They not only fit our genre but they have by far been the biggest inspiration for me writing music or even getting into music. They were the first heavy band I ever listened to. I’m so glad that they’re still around too. Honestly, to be able to open for a band like that, that has such a big impact on the screamo “scene” has been phenomenal. It’d be an honor to open for a band like that. In Australia.
Tyler: I feel like Asylus would be really privileged to open for a band that’s no longer around called Underoath. If you’ve been following Asylus from the beginning, Asylus is a continuation of an old band called I Take This Oath, which is a knockoff name to Underoath. But they basically had a lot of the same ideals and same approach in how they wanted to portray their music. Where it would make sense for a band to play with the people who inspired us to come out and perform and spread the message that we want to spread- in Australia. Seriously, Underoath would be amazing. They connect with their fanbase really well. They still do, even with their current projects that they have. They’d be – they’re really good role models for anyone who’s trying to break into the music scene. They’re a good band to look at and be like, that’s a band I’d like to be like. Or that’s a band that I’d like to play with, they look like good people and good musicians.
What’s up next for you guys? What are you doing this summer? Australia perhaps?
Tyler: On June 26th we have another show here with The Word Alive. Again. So we’ll be back here then and other locals as well. TBD, we don’t know who they are yet but we know that we’re one of them. It’s gonna be fun to play with them again and hopefully bring more people that we meet at this show tonight and get to connect with whoever gets to come out to that show as well.
Asylus is: Tyler Casanova (Vocals), Nicholas Miller (Vocals/Bass), Jordan Damasco (Guitar), Erick Pastrana (Guitar). Mel Torres (Drums)
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)\
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