:: The Audition :: The Marquis Theater :: February 6 ::
By Tiffany Childs
The Audition, as a whole, is three years older than they were the last time they released an album. And you only need to give Champion, set to be released at the end of January, a quick listen to hear the difference. With an entirely different vibe than Controversy Loves Company, The Audition’s latest release is a leap forward into maturity for the Chicago-based quintet.
Vocalist Danny Stevens and drummer Ryan O’Connor recently sat down with The Marquee and Stevens said, “We have been touring a lot and seeing new stuff all the time, so this album is inspired by the world, really.” Another part of the record’s inspiration is, perhaps surprisingly, Justin Timberlake. Stevens told The Marquee that he is a big fan of the big soul and R&B sounds. Coming from a band that is often labeled as punk or alternative, that lends an interesting sexual quality to their music.
Champion sees The Audition — lead guitarist Seth Johnson, guitarist Timmy Klepek, and bassist Joe Lussa, as well as Stevens and O’Connor — leaving behind the fast, punky sound they had in abundance on the last album and replacing it with a more “groovy, dancey sound,” according to Stevens. O’Connor said the album is “a big change of pace with a lot more soul.”
Reportedly, the crowds like the direction the band is going. On tour, the band has been testing out some of the new material and Stevens told The Marquee, “The audience has loved the new songs. It’s really a good feeling that our fans like our new stuff even though it’s different from what they are familiar with.”
But, this is a band that may not be overly concerned if the audience didn’t react well to the new songs. “We write music that we like to listen to. It’s just what we’ve always done and hope to always do,” Stevens said. That’s a pretty gutsy statement for a band that was going into the studio to record their second album, a process whose infamous result in the music world is often known as “the sophomore slump.”
However, The Audition didn’t even think about it twice. “We really didn’t have the time to think about it,” Stevens said. “It all happened so quickly. But, we did go with the same producer, John Naclerio (My Chemical Romance, Senses Fail, Brand New), because we wanted to be totally comfortable and not have to deal with any weird vibes. This was a big record to us because there was a lot of anticipation.” And it seemed the idea worked, because the album’s name Champion is a reflection of the band’s confidence about what they managed to produce in those recording sessions.
But despite all of the changes, Stevens said that the core Audition sound still prevails. “Our sound is still essentially the same rock sound,” he said. The difference is in the melodies and lyrics that are a sign of a group that is growing up. O’Connor added, “On this record we wanted to try and take the things that make us The Audition and make them better. We made the rock parts harder, the dance parts ‘dancier,’ and the hooks catchier.”
Based on the continuous touring of the band, it seems they are quite successful at keeping their old fans entertained while providing something for newcomers as well. Playing all over the world in recent years, The Audition has plenty of practice giving concert-goers what they want. According to Stevens, that means a live show by The Audition is nothing but “pure energy and crazy stunts.” Another big part of what the group likes to do live is get the audience involved. “We like to have a lot of crowd participation,” Stevens said. “It just makes the show so much more fun for everyone.”
Stevens told The Marquee of The Audition’s latest release, “I’ve never been so excited about anything in my life.”
:: The Audition :: The Marquis Theater ::
:: February 6 ::
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