By Nicholas Jason Lopez
On Nov. 15, 2019, Southern N.H. Hard Rock band Afterimage released the official lyric video for new single, “Locust,” which premiered via YouTube.
Formed at Keene State College in Fall 2016, Afterimage blends influences from genres like classic rock, prog and metal.
Their lineup is Griffin Romprey, Casey Daron, Brandon Curcio, Jason Coburn and Andrew LeCuyer.
In 2018, they released an EP called ‘WEMF Sessions,’ which contained five radio broadcast where they recorded five original songs they had worked on since the group’s earliest days.
The band has developed a following around the New England area, as they’ve played notable venues such as the Worcester Palladium, The Middle East, Tupelo Music Hall and the Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
Currently, Afterimage are in the process of writing and recording new studio material and play shows almost weekly.
The Music Bugle recently had the chance to chat with Daron and Romprey about the group’s recent happenings.
Music Bugle – Could you explain how the song “Locust” came to be? Where did the idea come from?
Casey Daron – “Locust” started as a riff written by our guitar player Brandon Curcio, which he played for us at one of our practices. What’s interesting about it is that it’s in a super odd time signature, 11/8 for the nerds out there, so at first, it was pretty challenging to play. Together as a band, we came up with a few more riffs and set the chorus in a far more manageable time signature. Gotta be catchy, ya know? We like to keep the lyrics up for interpretation. However, I’ll say that the amount of hatred in the world right now influenced the song a lot.
Music Bugle – What’s the hardest part of blending together so many genres like you guys do?
Casey Daron – The hardest part is finding a happy medium between all the member’s interests. For the most part, it works out well. We all do our own thing, which creates an indistinct sound. I like to add a lot of heaviness to our sound, where Brandon likes to add more spacey vibes. On bass, I’ve taken over the role of a metal rhythm guitar in a sense, giving the song heaviness, while still allowing Brandon to have the freedom to create tones and textures over it.
Music Bugle – How would you compare your newest material to your earliest work?
Casey Daron – Our earliest material was okay, but overall, pretty bland. It was certainly more cookie-cutter material and it could easily be categorized into a specific genre. Now, I find a lot of our songs to be far more complex compared to before in terms of structure, key, and overall musicianship. I certainly couldn’t have played a song in 11/8 three years ago. There’s an added rawness to our sound now as well. Definitely a lot heavier than before.
Music Bugle – What has been your favorite show played as a group so far and why?
Casey Daron – We’ve had so many crazy shows in our time. I think overall, our favorites have to be the house parties we throw at Keene State College, because that’s where our core fan base is. We cram 60-70 people in a tiny basement, play our set, and watch these kids go absolutely insane. We have mosh pits at nearly every basement show we play. One time, I did accidentally break a kid’s nose with my bass. He was cool with it though. What’s cool about these shows is that you know the audience actually wants to be there. They could be out at the bar or another frat house if they wanted to, but instead they chose to see us. That’s really freaking cool to me.
Music Bugle – When can fans expect new music to come out? What are your future plans?
Casey Daron – We will have new music out before the Spring. At least that’s the goal. I think 2020 will be a year filled with releases and we’re super excited about it. There will be new merch, new online content and a large amount of memes. No more milk though. Griff got a letter from his doctor and it said if he drank any more milk, he’d die. We’d really like to get outside of New England if we can. The only thing stopping us right now is that we don’t have a van. Our goal is to play a bunch this Winter and Spring, save up the money we earn from shows and try to get a van by the summer. Once that happens, you can be sure that we’ll be heading to new places, hopefully close to you!
Music Bugle – Who are some of your musical influences and how do they shape how you guys sound?
Griffin Romprey – I think the members of our band love all sorts of different music, not really just sticking to rock for inspiration. Our drummer, Andy LeCuyer, loves jazz. Some might say he loves jazz a little too much, but who am I to judge? Then we have Brandon, who loves Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and The Grateful Dead’s ‘Shakedown Street.’ He always loves to throw bits and pieces of that more laid-back and psychedelic playing that can really send our own music into a different realm of expectation. The bass is probably the only part of our band that plays the part in terms of expectations for metal and hard rock. Casey loves Metallica and Rush, so what do you expect? Our keyboard player, Jason Coburn, likes mainstream pop-rock and we have found that sometimes our fusion of sounds and ideas can confuse and overwhelm him and he gets upset, but at the end of the day, he ends up enjoying it, I think? As a singer, I had to use my influences as an amalgamation of my overall voice. Given the context of what I want my lyrics and songs to accomplish, Maynard James Keenan of Tool resonated heavily with me. Other singers like Jeff Buckley, Connor Mason and Eddie Vedder have also given me direction and insight on what I enjoy about performing and what I like about my own voice, but it’s because of this fusion of sounds that this band has, that we sometimes get compared to other quirky and sonically “out there” bands like Tool, System of a Down and Rush. We like heavy music, but we have also found that people different versions of the word “heavy.” Then, Casey lays down the law and he gets a breakdown or two. It works.
Music Bugle – For those unfamiliar with the South New Hampshire/New England area, could you describe what the scene is like? What kind of people come out to the shows?
Griffin Romprey – The Southern New Hampshire scene is made up of people and bands who would do anything and everything to fight for their dreams. It’s a really tight-knit community and we all support each other to a level that makes it feel like one big interconnected family. That’s a nice feeling. The shows range from heavy “crowd killer” audiences, to really chill and relaxed people who just want to support their friend or family member’s band. Ya see what I did there? Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, people really don’t just casually come out to shows like other scenes. It’s too cold, people are too grumpy and everyone is too busy to wander from club-to-club like they used to do in the ’90s, so if someone is in the crowd, they belong to your band or another band on the bill, which sometimes feels like a draining and tiresome experience, as you can only make your friends come out to so many shows before they know every lyric, every scream, every moment in a set that gets the hairs up on the back of their neck, but nobody in this scene is doing it because it’s easy or expected to be handed to them or because they want to perform. They do this because they have to. This is a cool feeling in itself. We are all tired and cold and pissed off with our situations and it comes out in our music collectively and its a heavy, rugged, and brutal scene altogether.
Music Bugle – What is your most meaningful song or set of lyrics?
Griffin Romprey – Well, I’m the singer, so I can’t speak for my whole band as to what song is most meaningful to them. To be honest, I don’t even think some of the band knows what our songs are even about, which is fine ’cause it gives me the freedom to do what I want, but if I had to pick, it would be this two-part piece we wrote called “Kingdom Come/Thy Will be Done.” The first half is this blues-rock setup that builds into this Sabbath-like riff that kicks off the second part and I love it. Lyrically, it’s about a lot of different things, which all kind of collectively gather to form this feeling of betrayal and loss. The title has a religious context for hypocritical and ironic reasons, as the lyrics and the title are nearly opposite in terms of meaning and intention, which is kinda the point. It’s a song that gives me a chance to just let some of the anger out I guess, which is what really gave me the passion to be on the stage in the first place. At one point, I had to figure out and understand what all this even did for me and when I realized that I could scream and punch and kick at whatever was eating away at myself, I fell in love with it all, but there are so many songs that we have written that mean a lot to me and a close runner-up would be this progressive hard rock song we wrote called “Zeitgeist.” That’s more of my own personal view on the world and the way we run our systems of control. I’m really proud of those lyrics, but they are also coming out of my mouth. It’s all open to how you view them I suppose.
Music Bugle – Are you a fan of digital streaming services or do you prefer old-school CDs/lyric booklets?
Griffin Romprey – I mean that depends on the context of the music. I’ve come to learn that if you like something enough, you’ll go the extra mile for it, so I am a fan of CDs and physical copies of albums for the bands I really love, but then again, streaming works great for bands that I would have never heard of if not for their ease of access. On our small scale, the act of being listened to in 79 countries is amazing, that’s crazy. Whether you like it or not, that’s not something physical releases can do for small bands. What I hate about streaming is the push and promotion of the huge artists. Remember when Drake dropped ‘Scorpion’ and he was on the front of every playlist that Spotify had? Yeah, that’s not right. In fact, it’s bloated and stupid. Now, am I saying that I would hate to be in that position? No, not at all, but if you want to keep this whole “music” thing alive, you have to support those that are coming up. Not every musical talent in the future should have to have millions of dollars on deck to hand a streaming service to get their song on the front of their homepage. The market should be more open, but it isn’t and we have to crawl our way up as poor people should… right?
Music Bugle – What’s something the band is working to improve on?
Griffin Romprey – See, that’s another tricky question because that’s essentially asking us what our next step is. To that, I really don’t know 100 percent. We are playing out more across New England, trying to get those 20+ exposures per gig, but then again, we are also recording new material in hopes that we get some people with infinity exposures to pick us up on their record label and send us on our way, but we also know that we need some more home base fans before that will ever happen. I guess our main goals are building our brand, developing our live show/sound and recording/releasing singles ’til we gain enough traction to either independently or promotionally tour. Other than that, it’s an open book. Lots of changes will be coming our way soon enough with college ending and all, but that also feels like such a weight off our shoulders, as college is a 24-hour ordeal until the weekend. In the real world, I’ll be able to do what I want the second I clock out, so I honestly don’t know, but you bet in some way or another, we’ll make it work.