Thursday, July 14, 2016
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Five Elements obviously has the right element for longevity.
The Youngstown band has been fusing rock, reggae and rap for 10 years, becoming a fixture at area festivals in the process. Next up is the Revive Music and Arts Festival at B&O Station this Saturday.
But while 5 E’s has played a lot of shows in the past decade, it has only recently gotten around to releasing its first full-length album (the band does have two EPs under its belt).
For reasons mainly out of their control, the band got in a situation where the recording process took a lot longer than they had hoped.
But the tight-knit act – they’re all friends who went to Chaney High School together – rolled with the flow.
The new release, “Enter the Zao,” is peppered with video game-sounding remixes of previously released songs.
The band liked them so much they made video gaming a theme of the album and blended in those snippets in an organic way.
Band member Jim Logan explained how it happened.
“Our friend Larry Serb, who did the recording, took a few songs off our previous CDs and did little Nintendo-style remixes,” said Logan (vocals, turntables). “He did it on his own, but when we heard them we really liked them and wanted to figure out a way to incorporate them into the album. We all grew up playing video games, and [the remixes] are Easter eggs for those who might pick up on it from our previous albums.”
The video game theme forms the structure of “Zao.” It begins with the sound of a video game package being opened and the overriding premise is that there is a new guitarist trying to enter the band, but first he has to complete a series of battles.
As one might expect of a band that has been together for a decade, 5 E’s has a lot of material. The band will head back to the studio this fall to record another album.
“We’re sitting on more songs than we know what to do with,” said Logan, explaining that their personal lives has a lot to do with it.
“For years, we played a lot of shows, so we didn’t have as much time to write,” he said. “After 10 years though, some of the guys have kids, so we book shows less frequently, and we have more time to create.”
The other members of the band are Josh Warnock (vocals, guitars), Dan Newsome (guitar), Nick Barbush (vocals), Kevin Gallite (bass) and Tony Parent (drums).
While Logan describes “Zao” as sounding like a later-year Beastie Boys album, the new album will go further.
“Being friends and family for so long, we’ve gotten really comfortable with being ourselves and doing what we feel comfortable with,” he said. “[The upcoming album] will be weird and fun stuff. It’s going to be like a Bloodhound Gang album. A more ridiculous Beastie Boys. It will still have the reggae influence – that has universal appeal. But there will be some heavy, fun, rappy songs.”