Hiding in plain sight

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Local garage band hopes to make it big in Louisville battle Jan. 31

By Sharon Graves

The peace and serenity of an idyllic setting in Carroll County, with a beautiful lake, a large forest and a place for a bonfire, lately has been disturbed by the pounding of drums, wailing of electric guitars and “screamo” singing.

It is rehearsal time for the local heavy-metal band, Hiding It All, and band members Travis Rice (bass guitar), Doug Dempsey (lead guitar), Nathan Toeves (drums), Ryan Jackson (lead screamer/singer) and Jordan Edmonson (rhythm guitar) are making the walls of one Mound Hill Road home shake, rattle and roll.

The band regularly uses the basement for rehearsal.

“The band has improved a lot since they began a year ago,” said Ron Kohrmann, who shares the home with Lynn Cooper, Nathan’s mom.

Toeves said he thanks his dad, Ron, for helping the group. He credits Kohrmann with helping them get equipment, sell tickets to shows and – of course – practice almost daily in the basement.

The group is preparing for competition in a battle of the bands Jan. 31 at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville, Ky.

They are hoping for fame and fortune, and, according to Kohrmann,  have their eye on a red tour bus that is often parked out near Interstate 71 on State Hwy. 227.

“It’s a rush being on stage and performing,” Toeves said.

“This show will have up to 500 people and that will be our biggest crowd,” Dempsey said of the upcoming Louisville gig. The band hopes to get signed with a record company and an agent.

For anyone standing in the basement when the band ramps up their sound, hearing anything else is difficult. But upstairs, Kohrmann said there is one room where he and Cooper can actually hear their television. He said there’s no sleeping in the bedrooms above the section of the finished basement where the band plays.

Mimi, a friendly, overweight black-and-white cat, seems to agree about the loud sounds. When the amplifiers aren’t buzzing, she will wander through the band members’ feet but is nowhere to be found when the music is playing.

Rice, Dempsey and Toeves are all Carroll County high school seniors; newcomers Jackson and Edmondson are older and out of school. They have big dreams for a future that includes performing, touring, record deals, and of course, college in there somewhere – possibly to a recording school.

Kohrmann has taken his step-son Toeves and some of the band members to visit a recording school in Lexington, Ky., to get an idea of what it would be like. And it’s costly; the school costs close to $20,000 a year, and a graduate can expect to earn only about $10 per hour, Kohrmann said. So, the band is looking for other schools.

The band has morphed through several phases, but Rice, Dempsey and Toeves have remained constant.  Jackson and Edmondson both recently joined the group.

Toeves is full of energy with a huge smile on his face and his dark hair flying with the beat as he bangs out a rhythm on the drums.  Rice, Dempsey and Edmondson, all on guitar are more reserved right up until Jackson joins in with his screamo vocals.  With all five members in sync, things get a little crazy down in the basement.

Jackson said he came to the group with no vocal experience whatsoever but feels he has improved a lot in the eight months since signing on with Hiding It All.  He also is credited with writing most of the lyrics they perform.

“I wouldn’t necessarily call it singing,” Jackson said about his style.  It’s definitely heavy metal, and understanding the lyrics isn’t his top priority.

Screamo is a genre of music all it’s own and is a combination of heavy metal music with distorted screaming of the lyrics.  The music industry says screamo evolved from hardcore punk rock in the 1990’s, according to Wikipedia.com.

The group only does original compositions Toeves said.  Loud as it may be, the tunes are upbeat and from the first twang on the guitar strings, and no matter what your musical taste may be, it’s hard to keep your foot from tapping.

Dempsey and Edmondson begin new compositions with a concept and work out some basic notes and riffs.  Then Rice joins in as they work through problems in a new piece.  Jackson tackles the lyrics and Toeves finishes it off with an irresistible beat to tie it all together. Toeves said it usually takes three days to perfect a new song.  

“I just like it so much because of the energy and the emotions of the song,” Toeves said. “I personally wasn’t always into metal or rock. I used to listen to rap and then my dad introduced me to some new bands.”

 Bands such as Bring Me the Horizon and Under Oath [a christian scream band], are bands the group is influenced by.  “We also listen to some soft stuff,” Toeves said.  Rainy Day Parade and All Time Low are some of the softer music they listen to. Hiding It All isn’t a Christian scream band but they were quick to point out they aren’t a satanic band either.  The five band members said they listen to almost all genres of  music including country and acoustic.

One way the group promotes their music is through the internet.  MySpace.com opens up many doors for people that create music and Hiding It All is using the website to promote their shows, songs, T-shirts and CDs.  

“Not that many people would hear of us or come out to shows if it wasn’t for contacting them that way,” Edmonson said.  “It’s definitely a big aid in getting our music heard.”

The group has gotten some partial sponsor money from a clothing company, Toaster Brutal. They receive a discount for the clothes they purchase and the company gets promotion at shows in exchange.

Promoters use MySpace to find bands in a particular area for shows also, according to Edmondson.

The band members agree there is no specific meaning behind the name Hiding It All, but Toeves said that everyone has something to hide. He feels there is irony in the name because they put it out there through their music, and aren’t hiding anything.

The group competed in late September with more than 100 other bands and will be up against two bands from neighboring Trimble County, Unleaded and Wrote the Scripture, for which Edmondson also plays. He will be pulling double duty at Headliners during the finals.

The winner is determined by crowd response, so Hiding It All hopes all of their friends will show up to make lots of noise when they take the stage.  

Tickets for the event at Headliners are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Advance ticket sales determine the order the bands will perform, with more sales putting a band closer to the end.  Performing last is considered the best slot.  

For tickets, call Toeves at (502) 525-1914 or Jordan Edmonson at (502) 525-1841.    To hear their music visit their website at www.MySpace.com/HidingItAll.