FIVES was formed in Baltimore, MD by lead vocalist Marc Cashin and keyboardist Matthew White and went through several line-up changes before finally coming together with current members Nate Lanzino, Billy Toti, and Max Rosenstein in 2015. The band’s sound is a combination of acoustic based rock and indie pop.
In June 2013, FIVES released its first independent EP, titled A Brief History. The album was recorded mostly live at Grammy award winning Bias Studios in Springfield, VA. In the spring of 2015 FIVES performed a standing room only showcase in Austin Texas during the SXSW Film & Music Festival. In addition, FIVES has opened for national touring acts such as O-Town and The Vespers.
FIVES new EP called Heart & Thunder was released on August 5th. Skope Magazine describes the album as “a perfect collection of jams.”
They’ve got a show this Sunday, March 19 in Baltimore, MD at the Metro Gallery at 7pm!
Follow FIVES Online Here:
Learn more about FIVES in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So, now that 2016 is over, what are some words you would use to describe the year for you? What were some of the highlights for the band? What are you most excited about for 2017?
2016 was a really big year for FIVES. We spent the first seven months of the year evolving the sound of the band. We tried a new approach to song writing and recording – working with producers and writing as a group. The process was exhausting, full of smiles, tears, arguments, compromises, excitement and late nights. The highlight of the year had to be our EP release show. We had an amazing turnout, and invited a couple of our favorite bands to play with us. It really helped make a year’s worth of hard work feel worth it! We are excited to get out and play the new material for people this year. I think we have more shows planned in the first 4 months of 2017 than we played in all of last year! So hopefully we will see some of you out on the road.
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall some of your earliest musical memories?
Marc: Being a musician has been the only consistent goal I’ve had. From my earliest memories, through high school and into college, all I wanted to do was play music. I can remember being young and playing a tennis racquet pretending it was a guitar. We always had music on around the house and someone was always singing. It was almost predetermined that I’d be a musician.
Matt: When I was really little, maybe 7 or 8 years old, my family got a piano. I can remember sitting down and trying to figure out how to play simple melodies and I think my mom noticed my interest and signed me up for piano lessons. I went on to study percussion in high school and started my first band when I was 15. I studied Music Composition at Indiana University and started writing jingles for radio. I played in 5 different bands before starting FIVES with Marc, and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.
Nate: I’ve always had music in my life. Both of my parents are singers and had me listening to everything (eclectic jazz, blues, rock, gospel…) since I can remember. Listening to Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love was the first truly impactful moment I can recall. It just took me to a whole other place I’d never been.
Billy: Yes. I’ve always loved music ever since I can remember. My parents started me out on guitar but I was persistent that I wanted to be a drummer. They finally gave in and realized I was natural at the instrument shortly after I began. I remember playing my middle school talent show and being the only rock band there. We definitely blew everyone out of the water. I don’t think people expected it.
Max: I picked up a guitar around the age of 8 and I knew I wanted to make music for the rest of my life. Some of my earliest musical memories are playing guitar for my class in elementary school and then joining my first real band when I was about 12. I really enjoyed the times we had as kids just playing music for pure enjoyment.
Can you talk about how this band first came together? How did you come up with your band name? Was it difficult to settle on one name that described your music?
Matt: I first met Marc when I auditioned for another band that he fronted in college. That project didn’t last very long, but Marc and I set out to start what is now FIVES. The lineup changed a few times over 6 years, until we found the right mix of personality and musicianship. Nate, Billy and most recently Max have become an integral part of the band.
We took a very democratic approach to naming the band. Everyone got to submit a bunch of names into a hat, and we randomly drew 3 from the 15 or so options. Then we voted on the final 3 … and we became FIVES.
Marc: In the beginning, the band started as a fun part-time project so we didn’t give much thought to the meaning of the name, its potential longevity or if it even represented our music in some way. But it could have been much worse!! I remember some options like Mourning Would, and Chimp Overboard ….
How do you think your sound has changed since your first released independent EP, “A Brief History”?
Matt: So yea, that was a BIG shift for us last year! “A Brief History” included songs that were originally written mostly by Marc going back almost 10 years for some songs. The songs and the sound of that album were very much of their time, sort of late 90’s acoustic alternative. We recorded everything live, no synths, no drum machines – very organic sounding.
Marc: In preparation for the new EP, Matt and I talked about a general direction for the music. We shared a lot of our favorite new music and artists that we thought were doing something interesting. We wanted to make music that had a broad appeal and sounded fresh. We set out to find a producer that could help us translate our vision. We ended up working with a pair of guys at SongBuilder Studios just outside of Baltimore. This was a first for me and painful in some ways because I was giving up something that was normally very personal … writing, playing and singing in ways that seemed really foreign. Letting go of control while recording the album wasn’t easy. I was used to writing alone, but working with the guys and a team of producers really forced me to control my doubts and fears. While the process was frustrating to me, the end result feels really good now. It’s hard for me to even picture us playing some of our older songs.
Matt: Our sound today is a mixture of a lot of different influences. I hate to categorize anyone’s music but it is a bit pop, a bit rock, a bit indie, and I think that makes us stand out in some ways. Our newer music is challenging to play live, and requires a fair amount of technical sophistication on stage – synths, and computers and effects, etc.
At the end of August, you released your latest collection of music called “Heart & Thunder.” Can you talk about how this EP came together and what the inspiration was for these songs?
The words heart and thunder represent the good and bad parts of relationships. All of the songs on the EP are about love, but they aren’t necessarily “love songs”. We tried to capture the emotions of real relationships, which aren’t all happy all the time. Lyrically and tonally we wanted to show the ups and downs, like the excitement of sharing that first moment of eye contact and falling in love, and the fear of unrequited love and commitment. The last song on the EP, “You Go On” for example, is about the struggle to find love at the same time and finding ways to carry your committment alone until the time is right.
Where can fans see you play next? Do you have plans to tour a lot this year? Where has been your favorite show so far? What made it so special?
Marc: We have a bunch of shows coming up on the east coast. You can check out a complete list at http://www.fivesband.com/#tour . But one show you don’t want to miss is March 19th in Baltimore!! We are playing with another terrific band called Airpark (formerly of Apache Relay) at our favorite home town venue The Metro Gallery. There are still a few tickets available: http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1418895/tfly?utm_medium=api&utm_medium=459899 , so come out and say hi!
We are setting up some additional tour dates hopefully in the south and midwest for later in the year, so be sure to check out our website for updates.
Matt: My favorite show with FIVES was probably down in Austin at SXSW a couple years ago. There is something really special about that event and the musical camaraderie. There are thousands of musicians and people from all over the world all mixing together under a common love of music. It was a grueling road trip, and a ton of work for 30 minutes on stage, but its one of those things you just never forget.
What musicians continue to inspire your music? Is there anyone that you would all love to work with one day?
Marc: I’m inspired by song writers who write lyrics that allow space for me to feel like I could be the “main character”; when there is just enough left up to the imagination that you can insert yourself and it makes sense. I think Chris Martin is excellent at that but I also love Brandon Flowers, Matt Healy, and Marcus Mumford as well.
Matt: There is SO much good music out there, its always hard for me to just name a few, but this week I’ve been really focused on Bad Suns, COIN, Gallant (who should have won a Grammy!) and a band called Flor. I’d love to write a song with Bruno Mars someday – that guy is amazing.
Nate: Easily Radiohead.
Billy: I take inspiration from a lot of different musicians. Currently, I’m a big fan of The 1975. They’re not only amazing live, but I really appreciate the fact that they became popular on their own accord. They didn’t try to sound like what was popular at the time. They’re trendsetters and didn’t care. They were even turned down by countless labels at their start, but they persisted and never fell into the trap of the status quo. I respect artists that do their own thing and are confident enough to see success in their own right. I’m kind of weird in that I can’t tell you of a specific drummer that inspires my playing. I would say I know a good one when I see one. I think I appreciate the drummers that play with feel and dynamics. Whenever I see a drummer that inspires me I take a trick from them and throw it into my own bag.
Max: Lots of musicians continue to inspire me – Paul McCartney, Levon Helm, Lowell George, Rick Danko. And some more modern musicians like the guys in Vulfpeck and Dr.dog. I think my life would be complete if I could work with Paul McCartney.
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you all like to unwind from it all?
Marc: I love riding my Triumph Bonneville Motorcycle, watching hockey, going out to eat, and catching up on some of my favorite TV shows. I’m also a firefighter in Baltimore City, MD so I get to spend a few days every month at the firehouse doing a lot of cool stuff. That’s really a great outlet for me.
Max: When I’m not performing or working in the studio, I follow sports, specifically the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles. But the music really never stops!
Nate: I go see more music! Lol Love some good bourbon, yoga and hikes.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Marc: I hope that when people hear our songs, they can feel excepted and understood by us. We try to write songs that speak to a vast array of human emotions, but we always come back to love and hope and life. We want people to know that they’re not the only one going through a particular experience. Chances are we’ve gone through something similar and we probably have a song about it.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about your music or the band?
Thanks for chatting with us and sharing our story with your readers! We released a video for the title track of our EP Heart & Thunder a little while ago. You can give it a look on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/fives and stay tuned for a new video for the song Lovers In Lullaby in a week or so!