Local Noise: Alamance

“I like to think of being on a ship called ‘Rock.’ We’ve always been on the ship, we’ve just had different ways to fix the leaks, used different materials, etc.,” says Josh Sorhagen, in trying to describe the sound of Alamance. “I’m not quite sure how to categorize the type of action we are involved in right now, but I can say that we’ve abandoned thinking about how to get off the ship or how to fix the ship in one fell swoop. It’s all about understanding the processive and organistic way of music. Sorry if that didn’t provide a clear description, but any clear description would undermine the process itself, because it’s not clear and it is always changing, and its boundaries merge with the boundaries of others.”

Josh handles the vocals for the band and is joined by Matt Pryor on guitar, Joe Prendergast on bass, Ethan Podgurski on guitar, and TJ Horner on drums. After going through numerous combinations of musicians, Josh and Matt finally came across Joe online, and TJ actually found them. Ethan knew them from high school, and when he heard they needed a guitarist jumped in.

The group’s new album, Collateral, was produced by Robby Freeman, whose credits include Gym Class Heroes and Cobra Starship. The music is hard-hitting, aggressive rock, but a little more sophisticated than you might normally find in modern rock releases. There’s a southern blues undertone, with lyrics reminiscent of Rage Against The Machine or Buckcherry. Their driving sound enabled them to be tabbed for the Warped Tour, which brought them to a widespread audience.

Influences include the aforementioned Rage Against The Machine, as well as somewhat similar artists, either musically or lyrically, such as Protest The Hero, Enter Shikari, AC/DC, Shinedown, Bob Dylan, Immortal, and Incubus, but also range to John Denver, Eminem, and Neil Young. “Either Matty or myself will almost always come up with a riff,” explains Josh. “The entire song then gets built around that riff. Once we have the riff, we feel it out as to where it sounds like it makes sense to us in the song—intro, chorus, bridge, etc. Usually Matty and/or I get the structure to the song down and then bring it to the band. All we bring, however, is the structure; no other solidified parts. Once the band steps in, it starts taking on its own form. Lyrics are usually last.”

Josh cites the songs “It’s Between May” and “The Way” as particular favorites. “’May’ is a more general, politically aware song, more grounded in what’s actually happening in the world right now,” he says. “‘The Way’ is more metaphorical and philosophical, addressing the dangers of living in a modern world with or without a code of conduct.”

The name of the group actually stemmed from an incident that occurred while on tour. “We got into a car accident on Alamance Road in Alamance County, NC, while we were on The Vans Warped Tour,” Josh recalls. “We needed a new name and something about Alamance was appealing, so we jumped on it.”

The tour also yielded one of the more amusing occurrences in the band’s memory. “How about the whole band jumping out at a convenience store in the middle of Ohio on the Warped Tour, and everybody got back in,” laughs Josh. “Well, almost everybody. The rear-view mirror revealed our drummer running after the van down the exit ramp!”

Even with their future very much ahead of them, Alamance has accomplished something most bands never get the chance to see. They have already had a piece of their history in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. The CBGB display featured a urinal from the bathroom of the legendary venue. Adorned with band stickers, by sheer accident the one on top came from the group. “At least ours was on top!” exclaims Josh.

While most bands just want the fame and fortune that come with success in the world of entertainment, Josh sees the group as a way to reach a lot of people in a serious way. “The only goal I have is to use music as an outlet to express messages that I feel need to be heard by others,” he says. “In a world where mass media becomes more and more controlled by a few by the day, I’m doing everything I can to get the message out underground. Media has crippled Paine’s Common Sense. They’ve got such a hold on everyone. Professionally, the same thing. Wake people up!”

You can get more information about the band, and find out about upcoming shows at alamancemusic.com, and facebook.com/alamancemusic.