The Upset Victory isn’t just the name of one of Cincinnati’s most successful independent bands, but to Stephen Campbell (guitar), Frank Hammonds (guitar/vocals), Eric Vice (bass), Jason Dill (vocals), and Aaron Roy (drums) it is a way of life. As they describe it, “It has come to represent their journey as a band as well as any personal battles we face.”
It has been ten years since their formation and in that time it’s been an adventure filled with personal growth, overcoming their biggest challenges and a constant stream of music along the way. In our exclusive interview, The Upset Victory discuss their plans to record their first full-length album ever, the struggles bands from Cincinnati go through to get noticed and considerably more.
Joe: How would you describe your sound?
The Upset Victory: This is a question we get asked frequently and it never gets easier. As musicians, I don’t think any artist wants to necessarily classify themselves and fit a mold. However, on paper I’d say The Upset Victory is an alternative band with rock and pop leanings. On the flipside, I’d like to think with all of our various influences and experiences as individual musicians, we span a huge array of genres (everything from Motown to metal) and hopefully that comes out in our overall approach.
Joe: You’ve been going strong for 10 years and what has been the most challenging thing about working together? What has been the most rewarding?
The Upset Victory: The biggest challenge has been balancing everything. I think when you commit to this craft there’s a big balancing act you have to do when it comes to outside relationships, etc. Thankfully we’ve been fairly good at that – knock on wood. The most rewarding thing has been the evolution of our band. I think every release has been different and had a unique vibe on many levels. It’s rewarding to see that evolution appear in the form of a new recording. I think it keeps fans and us on our toes – all the while allowing the music to remain interesting and fresh.
Joe: With your music having been featured on television shows and headlining multiple festivals; what’s the one thing you haven’t done that you hope to achieve?
The Upset Victory: Believe it or not, up until now we hadn’t recorded a full-length record. I think when we were getting our start we were more concerned with a concentrated batch of really great songs in short bursts – a steady stream of new music all the time – sometimes twice a year. However, the one milestone we really wanted to conquer this year was to put out a full-length album – a collection of 10 songs we worked really hard on. We’re happy to say that in 2016 we’ll be releasing this album. We also did it with the help of our fans, friends, family, and supporters by way of fan funding. They helped us lay a great financial foundation to get the project off the ground and then we collectively as a band filled in any other financial gaps along the way: artwork, travel/recording expenses, duplication, marketing, etc. It was truly amazing and rewarding. It was a different approach to releasing new music too. No outside ties just the music, our supporters, and us. In fact, we debut a new single very, very soon!
Joe: What do you believe needs to occur for the Cincinnati rock scene to get more attention than it currently does? Are there any acts you from Cincinnati you’d recommend checking out?
The Upset Victory: It’s funny you say that because I feel Cincinnati is a great music scene on a lot of levels and definitely deserves a lot more attention. I think there are some great music publications such as City Beat and outlets like CincyMusic that help local artists. And, radio stations such as The Project, WNKU, and 96ROCK to name a few are fantastic. Bunbury Music Festival has been a huge asset to the community and local venues like The Woodward Theater, The Madison Theater, MOTR, Southgate House and Bogart’s have been integral to new and established acts. The OTR district of our city is booming and we’re excited to see what else comes out this year. In fact, The National, Walk The Moon, and Foxy Shazam are just a few great Cincinnati native bands. If you ever come to Cincy, we recommend checking out all the aforementioned. I’m sure we forget some folks but there’s so many awesome things to list!
Joe: What have you learned about yourself in the years since your inception?
The Upset Victory: I think we’ve really tested our limits on a lot of levels both musically and personally. We’ve pushed ourselves – long nights, relentless hours, long journeys, and the list goes on. And, each time we’ve persevered and gained new insight along the way. I think you’d be surprised how far you can go if you just push yourself to achieve your goals.
Joe: What inspires you both musically and personally and are they different now versus when you first began?
The Upset Victory: I think we inspire one another as a band collectively. Whatever strikes us in a certain moment could be the catalyst for the next song idea. Friends, family, and the world at large inspire us.
Joe: How has your approach to music and your creative process changed since 2006?
The Upset Victory: I think the approach to songwriting is a lot more stripped down. It’s typically one to two acoustic guitars and Jason singing atop. Then once a basic framework is built, we collectively come together as a band to finish the song off. We tried a new approach in the studio this time around. We had the basic framework for all the songs, but completed a song in its entirety each day as opposed to recording all the drums first, then bass, then guitars, vocals, and other production. It allowed us to hone in on one song a day and place all of our creative energy into that one idea.
Joe: What has been the most memorable interaction you’ve ever had with your fans?
The Upset Victory: Seeing our fans reactions to new music live is extremely rewarding. Engaging with the crowd during and after the show is always great. If you can provide inspiration or happiness to even a few people by way of your music, then we’ve achieved our goals.
Joe: What is currently in the pipeline as far as new content and future plans?
The Upset Victory: Brand new music is debuting this year as they released their new single ‘Don’t Give Up The Night’ and a full-length album dropping at some point during the year. From there we’ll be playing more shows and conquering 2016.