By MAGGIE WURST
For 21st Century Media
A year into their musical career, the members of the self-proclaimed melodic/hardcore band Armory Infirmary are gearing up for a nationwide tour and the release of their second EP. While travelling to the music festival iMatterFest in Elmira, N.Y., vocalist Jonathan Crossland (22), guitarist Tanner Detweiler (22), bassist Gill Gonzalez (18), and drummer Matt Gausel (21) spoke about their beginnings, musical inspirations, and what the future holds for the Indian Valley-based band:
How did the members of Armory Infirmary come together?
Jonathan Crossland: [Our guitarist] Tanner has been playing guitar for a while, and he was playing in his worship band [on drums], but he decided he wanted to play guitar. He knew Gill from school and other bands, and [I met Tanner] on Facebook through a mutual friend and so did Matt.
How has the year progressed for Armory Infirmary? Where did you start, and where are you at now?
JC: I think it’s crazy. I think I can speak for everyone by saying this year has just been nuts. I remember playing one of our first shows, and now we are talking to you in a beautiful van travelling to New York to play a big competition. It’s unbelievable how kids interact with us, too. At our shows, I don’t even have to do much because the kids sing louder than I do sometimes. It’s been a crazy blessing to see how Armory Infirmary was and is now.
How does the band decide on the set list?
JC: We pray about it. We sit down and think about the emotion of the set, the emotion of the songs, and how the set will flow music-wise. Right now, we have a set list that we are going to do on tour and it goes from heavier, harder-hitting songs and ends with more melodic, chill, uplifting songs.
How do you prepare individually for a performance?
Gill Gonzalez: I warm up my fingers and I stretch. I get ahold of my phone or headphones and listen to something that pumps me up.
Matt Gausel: I just get loose and try to chill out because you don’t want to have too much adrenaline as a drummer keeping time. I listen to really girly music and it makes me really calm and I hope for the best.
Tanner Detweiler: For me, playing is all emotion. I use playing live as therapy. I let a lot of energy out and it makes me feel better. Preparing for me is just sitting and clearing my head and focusing on what is going on in my life at the time and I use that as [inspiration].
JC: I definitely pray a lot. For me, playing music is very spiritual. The main reason I go out and try to kill it and go crazy is because it’s everything to me. It’s my therapy, it’s my worship, and it’s a way to get all of the negative energy out.
How would you describe your fan base?
JC: Tanner said it. We don’t consider them fans. Family [describes] the kids that come to watch our shows where we are singing loud, but they are singing just as loud back at us.
What styles of music and musicians inspire you?
GG: I’ve been playing violin since I was a kid, so weirdly enough I get a lot of influence from classical music. Classical music [enables me to] go back in time. Lately, I’ve been listening to jazz because I think it’s cool to go back and listen to the roots of where music is now.
MG: Adam Gray from the band Texas in July has had a huge impact on me. Just watching him and a lot of other big metal bands drum really inspires me. I see the professionalism they display and I want to [be the same way] when I play drums.
TD: The bands I listen to [come into play unconsciously] when I try to write something.
JC: A bunch of vocalists inspire me. One guy in particular is Chad Ruhlig [from the band For the Fallen Dreams]. I remember going to one of my first metal shows and I had no idea who the band was, but that was it for me, I was hooked. I wanted to sound like that guy and I wanted to incorporate his vocal patterns in my songs.
Which of your band’s songs holds the most meaning for you?
JC: For me, it’s “Keeper.” It’s everything to me. It’s my day to day life of waking up and questioning what I’m really doing with my life and where I’m going. Also, [it’s about] seeing how real the God I believe in is in my life and going out of his way to show me.
GG: I’d have to say “Departed” because there was a point in my life where I had really bad anxiety and I was afraid of everything. That song is about letting go and not letting anything like that control you. It reminds me that I shouldn’t let anxiety take control of my life.
MG: Lyrically, my favorite is “Rest.” The first time I heard it, I was learning the song so I didn’t really listen to the lyrics, but when I actually learned what it was about, the whole song changed completely for me and the song made me feel something.
TD: For me, it’s “Rest.” There’s a lot that could be said about that song. The song was written to help me try and move on from the passing of my mom. She died from cancer a couple years ago, and it really messed with me. It’s a song that on certain nights, [when I’m playing it], I completely loose it.
Armory Infirmary will setting out on a countrywide tour starting July 4, however, if you hope to catch them before then, they will be playing at Planet Trog in Whitehall on June 14 and the American Legion Post 308 in Willow Grove on June 19. Their first EP, “Rest,” is available on ITunes and Bandcamp. For more information regarding their shows and music, visit www.facebook.com/ArmoryInfirmary.