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February 13, 2015 | by Jonathan Diener

My musical upbringing started out in direct correlation to whatever was on the radio and whoever my parents were listening to when they drove us around as kids. 

When we were nine and ten years old, my brother and I were introduced to punk rock by one of our older cousins. Our sonic palette began to form as we got older, began playing instruments and eventually started a touring band. We were the teenagers in a band playing music that all of our friends a decade older than us grew up loving. The more we would tour, the more our taste would expand. As we got older, we would notice the opening bands who started out sounding like Blink-182 became the new metalcore bands and now a lot of them sound like Title Fight. What is interesting is watching which bands are influencing this same age group over the years. I’m 26 years old now, but have friends anywhere from five years younger than me to twenty years my senior. Title Fight’s new album Hyperview is a great conversation piece to explain how different generations think when it comes to new music.

When I was a teenager, I was most connected to the music that I felt like I somehow discovered. It was my little secret. In eighth grade I vividly remember giving one of my friends a burned copy of The Starting Line’s first EP and told her not to share it with anyone because I didn’t want them to get big. Was that a stubborn mindset? Of course. Does it make sense? Somehow it did. I wanted to be unique and stick out by wearing the band shirt no one recognized, but I could instantly connect with someone who felt the same way if we crossed paths. As I got older I listened to what I felt was more diverse music without necessarily acknowledging what influenced it. I didn’t know Lifetime was a big influence on early Saves The Day albums, because I got into them during the release of their pinnacle album, Stay What You Are. My friends in their early 20s had Fall Out Boy and Yellowcard to transition them into pop punk when I had Green Day and The Offspring. These younger friends were introduced to Title Fight as a brand new entity that was groundbreaking and innovative, but when I heard them I instantly compared them to an upbeat Small Brown Bike, which is still really cool. The band is slowing down with each album, getting more reverb on their guitars and nearly phasing out the yelling vocals completely. They are sonically traveling back in time while their fan base continues to expand.

As someone in my mid-20s, I’m very aware that music is cyclical. The new pop punk scene is exploding, as well as the ‘90s grunge throwback, including bands like Superheaven and Balance And Composure. It’s very cool to witness new music getting closer to the stuff I grew up loving, but at times I find myself comparing and discounting bands because of it. I’ve been in several situations where I had to show an obvious influence of a band to one of my younger friends to prove a point. I don’t think comparing one thing to another necessarily ruins the experience, it just helps you gain some insight. When I hear genre pioneers, I see why some of the bands I like sound the way they do, but it doesn’t mean I have to love the first version of it. As I grew out of fast skate punk, I was more into emotional music that felt urgent. As the members of Title Fight aged, their music slowed down and focused more on the feel and less of what would evoke crowd reaction. Upbeat, angry music is the perfect solution for teenage angst. You just want to push people, run around and release all of your negative energy. Speaking from personal experience, I’m more into standing in the back and letting the whole experience soak in. I don’t want to keep my hands up to catch stage divers, I just want to watch the band. It’s a different kind of experience. I think the band feels the same way. Not saying that upbeat music is immature, just saying over time our joints start to ache and we have to go home at a decent hour so we can get enough sleep before work. Right?

Speaking of older, achey people, some of my friends are in their late 30s and early 40s. If they were part of the punk rock community when they were teenagers, it completely pre-dated when “punk broke” with bands like The Offspring, Green Day and Blink 182. Sure, if you’re talking about The Sex Pistols, Ramones and The Clash, they had mainstream success, but bands like Minor Threat, Operation Ivy and Black Flag weren’t selling out arenas. Having these friends really puts things into perspective when I’m talking about the music scene I grew up in. Usually the first words out of their mouth when I show them a new band is some kind of comparison, which I’m guilty of as well, but they have a deeper meaning behind it. The bands they grew up with were the bands that influenced the bands I liked, which influence new bands coming out today. Music has been recycled for years, but it is weird thinking about my friends knowing the bands who were the people starting genres. Of course none of them knowingly do this, it just happens and eventually gets labeled so we can digest it. After hearing the hype about the new Title Fight album, my friends made a point to brush it off as another ’90s-influenced shoegaze album. Without being familiar with the music scene they came from and the influence they have over people, it’s the perfect evolution of an artist. Fans or record labels didn’t shape this band, the band shaped themselves. They could have continued to do the same record over and over and didn’t. What’s most exciting is knowing people wanting to start their first bands will have Hyperview as a gateway drug into the last few decades of interesting, underground music.

Coming from all walks of life, the way we digest music is entirely different based on everything from age to personal experience. Whether we’re wide-eyed newcomers, comparing a band to something we’ve already heard or really analyzing every second of it, we at least have something to say about it. It’s inspiring witnessing a band like Title Fight, at such a young age, set the bar for so many bands. Hyperview has already had an amazing press campaign because everyone is talking about it. Whether they’re changing the game or just playing it, I think it’s safe to say we have a new industry standard on our hands.

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