It's not every day that a Christian acoustic duo evolves into a five piece melodic hardcore band. Since the band was established, The Difference have demolished your average hardcore stereotypes. They’re not going to act like tough guys and purposefully kick your ass in the pit, solely write songs about being br00tal, nor are they going to adhere to abandoning clean vocals in their music for the sole purpose of being considered hardcore. Instead, they are more preoccupied with love and the intent to somehow make a change as their drive to make music and how they treat one another.
“Why set limitations on genres? It takes away from the creativity aspect of writing…Hardcore was originally based off community, brotherhood and to treat each other with respect. We try to incorporate that again in our own way,” says guitarist, Jordan Damasco.
The project began when childhood friends, drummer Nicholas Miller and vocalist Sean Todd, had an overwhelming urge to create music back in 2012. The band name was decided on after the first suggestion from Miller, and since then, it is what the group is all about – finding the difference.
After gathering more members through social media and the local L.A./O.C. scene, guitarists Jordan Damasco and Shaun Eozzo and bassist Gene Ramirez, they decided to seriously pursue heavier sounding music. It was then Todd realized they were doing something substantial and decided to come home from college. The group played their first show together at Diego’s in Santa Ana on Christmas of 2014 and wrote their latest single, “In Peace Is,” spontaneously as a whole.
Despite the fact that The Difference started off with strong Christian roots tied to their music, the same ideologies have stuck with the band since adopting members whom are non-Christian. What was once built around God’s love is simply just love.
“Love yourself, love the person around you. You make the difference in your life and everyone’s life around you whether you know it or not,” Todd says.
What may have made some musicians shy away from wanting to affiliate themselves with a Christian hardcore band similar to August Burns Red or The Devil Wears Prada, made incoming members feel at ease and accepted for who they are. Because of that acceptance, the five are able to coexist.
Although the band has released other works with previous members, the current lineup released their first EP What the Heart Needs August 2015. With each member coming from a different background in music, the band has allowed everyone to take a step outside their comfort zone and reach the sound they have now. They take great inspiration from local bands including Dayseeker, A Shark Among Us, Lords & Wolves, and The Giver.
Their motto is that there is always room for improvement. Before each set, Damasco tapes his phone onto the wall to record how they’re playing. He has a play through of all sets they’ve performed over the last year. Because of this, the band can watch what they’re doing and make any changes they feel are necessary.
While beliefs and musical endeavors may not be an issue, The Difference has had their fair share of struggles as a local band. With a strong distaste for pay to play venues, members of The Difference warn newer bands to know their worth and to not get off on the wrong foot by falling into that pit. And we’re not talking about the mosh pit.
The Difference discuss the issue of how most local bands don’t make a profit playing shows and in their case, lose money while touring to do what they’re most passionate about. Contrary to popular belief, buying tickets does not support bands – only venues and promoters. The money that they are able to make goes to their projects, not pockets.
“It doesn’t make sense to anybody who doesn’t do this because they don’t know what it’s like to write music or to touch someone emotionally,” Ramirez says.
Eozzo gives upcoming bands a quick rundown of keys to success – respect your band mates, respect your fans, know your worth, keep open communication with bands mates to always improve and especially, make friends with other bands.
“We just want people to enjoy themselves and feel that connection with us… We talk about getting rid of the hate that’s all going on around. We just want everybody to, no pun intended, find that common ground. All this discrimination, all this hate, all this violence is super unnecessary and we should just love each other and get along. The world’s a crazy place already, why escalate that any further?” Damasco says.
“We’re not in this for fame,” Todd concludes.
The Difference will be playing their next show at Clash City Station in Riverside on Oct. 21 for $5. Their new EP Common Ground will be out for release on Nov. 11.