New bands are constantly popping up with social media platforms like Bandcamp and Facebook as a way to market their image and music. For many it doesn't go far except for a couple demos, EPs and DIY shows. Other bands, particularly in the Orange Country ska scene, however, have the upper hand to potentially thrive in a niche of the competitive music scene.
Hooray for Our Side, who nicked their moniker off of Jeff Bridges' lines in TRON, were fortunate enough to have been involved in the OC ska scene long before they formed their band to reap the scene's benefits.
After multiple lineup changes, performing for over several years and finally getting a horn section, the band decided they wanted to put something out professionally. The ska-punk quintet consisting of Evan Wohrman (lead vocals), Katon Guinen (lead guitar/backing vocals), Branden Herron (tuba/sousaphone), Kevin Heydman (bass), Drew Pedersen (trombone), Keith Roberts (drums), and Corey Simmons (trombone/backing vocals).
The band reached out to longtime friend and musician Vincent Walker of Suburban Legends who had expressed previous interest in production work and agreed to produce their EP.
Five months later, Walker helped H4OS put out their first official five-track EP. A month later, the band kicked off Tazy Phyllipz first Ska Parade Lounge at the Slidebar in Fullerton and used the gig as their first CD release show. Walker later produced the band's first LP, Overture, which came out in December of 2015.
“I can't really say there's many scenes where you're friends with all the bands you grew up listening to—it's kind of a unique situation where we can be that close with these bands that influenced us,” Evan Wohrman said. “It definitely helps when you're trying to get your own band started too because you get that help.”
Other members of local ska acts like Suburban Legends' Brian Robertson, Starpool's TBone Willy and Chase Long Beach's Karen Roberts also helped give the band an extra push to keep truckin' forward by doing guest spots on the EP and sharing their music experience.
“It can definitely be an uphill battle, since ska hasn't necessarily been a genre that people have gravitated to in recent years,” Wohrman said. “But the nice part about that is both the big and small bands in the scene all tend to know each other and help each other out.”
While Wohrman admits H4OS would have had a better shot in 1997, they don't necessarily see their ska influence as a hindrance, even if it means following through with the typical weird, OC ska style of synchronized head-bobbing, ridiculousness and stupid jokes. It IS Orange County ska after all. Above all, the band's main focus is making good music, whether it means performing to a crowd of five or 500.
Hooray For Our Side performs tonight at the Tiki Bar with Sambamore and Bear Brass at 8 p.m. $7. For full info, click here.