Interview By Kelley O’Death | Photos by Corrine Cummings
Formed in 2012 by “three aimless college roommates”—vocalist and guitarist Jason Wright, vocalist and bassist Mike Jacobs, and drummer Tyler Rzemek—Buffalo, New York’s On The Cinder say they set out to “create a project that was loud, fast, and different from other bands in the modern punk landscape.” They sought to combine “the aggression of skate punk, the technicality of melodic hardcore, and the drunken chant-along melody of orgcore,” and they continue to push themselves to further their musical complexity while finding their voice as a band.
Self-described as “road-dogs from the start,” On The Cinder traverse the U.S. and Canada on a regular basis—with plans to “return to the Great White North and New England” this fall—but they recently took some downtime to shoot a video for “Soap Box,” a blistering track from their 2016 debut LP, The Fight Against Ourselves.
While the song’s lyrics furiously indict a society gone mad, the video—well, it’s silly as fuck.
“We started with an idea for Tyler to kidnap us,” Wright explains. “Tyler always sits in the back and never gets a microphone, so it’s only natural for him to want to exact his revenge. We got together with our video crew and knocked out a few—maybe more than a few—drinks at the bar. Pretty soon, there were invisible swords, bananas, and novelty oversized champagne bottles in the storyboard. They assured us they knew what they were doing, and we had no choice but to believe them.”
Viewers will be grateful they were believed, as this behind-the-scenes dream team provided the perfect counterbalance to On The Cinder’s angry, incisive lyrics.
“Aside from the aforementioned brainstorming session at the bar, the production crew and masterminds—Brendan Flake, Joe Leising, and Tom Etu—wrote up a storyboard and brought us to a sketchy basement underneath a liquor store to start filming,” Wright shares. “We wanted to do a more lighthearted video this go-around, because we generally play pretty serious music, but if you hang out with us, we are really pretty silly guys. We released our last video, ‘Queen of Wands’ about a year ago, and it had a pretty serious tone, so this was a nice change of pace.”
While The Fight Against Ourselves remains a powerful barnburner of a record, On The Cinder are gearing up to grace their fans with their sophomore album very soon.
“Our goal is to have the new record out during the fall,” Wright says. “It’s much more personal than the last album, and we got an opportunity to dive into some deeper topics. We think our sound is maturing, and we definitely have a better understanding of our identity as a band and our sound. We are working with Susanna Vaupen again, who did the artwork on our last two releases. She’s a super talented artist, and we can’t sing her praises enough.”
There’s still a long, hot stretch of summer ahead before the new LP is released, but the band are using that time to perfect their forthcoming batch of tunes.
“We did some demos a few months ago, and we’re really excited about how the album is starting to sound,” Wright says. “We’ll be releasing a single ahead of the album, but we’re still putting the finishing touches on it, so we’d like to see what it sounds like as a whole piece before we pull the trigger.”
In the meantime, you can find On The Cinder where they feel most at home: on the road.
“Most of our shows will be in the Northeast for the summer,” Wright notes. “We’ll be doing a Canadian tour through Ontario and Quebec in early September and, then, gearing up for the release soon after. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are always good ways to keep up on the shenanigans in between.”
“I also keep busy engineering at Flower House Studios while I’m home,” he adds, “so if anyone out there is looking for recording, mixing, [or] mastering work, I’m always excited to work on new projects.” Those in need of some top-notch audio wizardry can reach out to Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BONUS: A Selection of On The Cinder’s Favorite Music Videos!
Jason Wright: I really like “Reservoir” by Pup. It’s intense and kind of ridiculous at the same time.
Mike Jacobs: “Drag My Body” by Hot Water Music is one of my favorites. It’s simple and tells a meaningful story with great imagery and a cool twist end.
Tyler Rzemek: “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore” by The Menzingers. It’s a really good song with a really goofy video. It features Jason Voorhees, and I’m a really big horror movie fan.