Interview with VanRiss

During the Mayfest festival, I was able to ask singer/songwriter, VanRiss (Jonathan Van Risseghem), a few questions after his set.

How long have you been making music?

I made my first album, released it in 2009. Spent all 2008 writing and recording it. So, ten years I guess.

What made you decide you wanted to do music?

I still remember the first day when I was 8 years old and wrote my first song. I have always liked art of any kind and music just really, no pun intended, just struck a chord with me. From there on, that was my central passion in life. I’ve been doing it ever since. My first song was a really high quality christian-rap song, so I have come a long way from then.

Is this your first project that you actually released music from?

I had a band in high school. I wasn’t the singer, I was kinda writing the songs and letting someone else do it. He didn’t show up for studio session and out of angst, I just started singing on the songs and I went home and played it for some people. ‘I did this. Spite this guy,’ and people were like ‘I actually think you are pretty good, I think you should keep doing this.’ That was my segue from being a guitar player in a local band to writing and recording my own stuff, so it was an interesting process. Happy accident. 

You played a song that wasn’t on either of your already released albums. Are there plans to release it?

There are plans to release it this fall. It is called “Chandelier Tree.” There is this really cool tree near the Silver Lake/Los Angeles area that has a ton of chandelier trees in it, literally a chandelier tree. I was playing some shows in Los Angels and my wife and I had just had our newborn, she was four or five months old, and we had a little bit of time afterwards and it was our first sandwiched in little moment of time together for the first time in a few months of sleeplessness so I wrote a song about it.

Where can they find you?

All the links are on

The Odyssey Talks “Lately”

Shortly after celebrating their single, “Love You Back” reaching 50k streams, The Odyssey released their newest single, “Lately”. In a brief interview, the band’s Cobey Brown discussed the song.

When describing the song, Brown claimed it was “interpretable”. The song is supposed to be about liking someone but not having the confidence to go after them. However, when recording it, Brown began to change it slightly to have an alternate meaning.

“When I wrote it, it was about an experience I hadn’t had,” he explained. “As we recorded the song, I actually had it.”

Going through the actual experience made him want to incorporate the emotions he felt. So, a double meaning was added; instead of just simply telling a story about a girl, he tries to portray what people show the world versus what they feel inside.

When listening to the song, you can hear this.

The beginning introduces the problem. He feels his “confidence shaking” as he tries to get close to this girl. Yet, at the same time, the song describes the turmoil of emotions spinning inside while he acts like everything is fine on the outside.

Every moment of the song is a big one. The lyrics are powerful and relatable; the melody is catchy and fitting. This apparently was the plan; Brown shared his goal with me of making every fifteen seconds contain something memorable.

The point of doing that is so people can listen to the entirety of the song. Instead of listening for one line or one piece of instrumental or even for just the chorus, he wants people to enjoy every moment of the song.

With “Lately,” I would say he accomplished exactly that. The song is one to be played on repeat; you won’t be able to just listen to it once.

Listen to “Lately” on all music streaming sites and make sure to follow The Odyssey on all social media to keep up with upcoming events.

Ben Quad discuss ‘Star Wars’ and future plans

The band, Ben Quad, was nice enough to allow me to ask them just a few questions about how they got started, and the future of the band. Ben Quad consists of Jacob Rhinehart (Bass Guitar, Vocals), Edgar Viverous (Lead Guitar), Sam Wegrynski (Rhythm Guitar) and Isaac Young (Drums).

Where did the name “Ben Quad” come from?

We really wanted to play Norman Music Festival but we needed to come up with a name to put on the application. We thought Ben Quadinaros from Star Wars would be a good meme so we went with that. If you didn’t know, Ben Quadinaros was a character in Episode I whose podracer blew up before he could compete in the big race. Failing before you could even get started. It’s kind of a nice metaphor for our little crybaby band. After a few shows, we noticed people couldn’t remember or spell our name right so we just shortened it to Ben Quad.

How did you come together as a band and when did this happen?

Edgar responded to Jacob’s craigslist ad. He and Isaac had already been jamming together for a while. Jacob asked Sammy Boi to join after schedule things didn’t work out for our first bassist, Ben (no relation). We had our first practice as a solid band probably around December 2017 and played our first show in January 2018.

Where are your biggest influences?

Probably Three Days Grace, Shinedown, and Disturbed. A lot of people at our shows ask if we listen to Algernon Cadwallader, Marietta, Modern Baseball, or this weird thing called “midwestern emo”. Never heard of it.

What is your songwriting process?

Edgar usually writes a riff and the rest of the gang adds on to it at practice. Vocals get written last as a tradition at this point               .

What is your favorite song you all have made?

The first song we ever wrote, “Too bad that didn’t kill me,” has grown on us a lot. I think we’ve really made the song our own. We’ve been playing a new one that might take over as our favorite though. No title yet.

Any plans to release any new music soon?

The magic of Ben Quad is that we have absolutely no idea.

Where does this “rivalry” with CLIFFDIVER originate from?

I think we hurt their feelings once with a meme. They send us a jab (tickle at best) every once and a while so of course we have to respond with our sauce.

What are some things you are really into right now? (Movies, TV show, restaurants, anything)

Hella Magic the Gathering. As far as food goes, we’re just waiting til we play in OKC on 5/17, so we can eat at Lee’s Sandwiches.

Anything you want to add?

Follow us on all social media at @benquadok. Listen to our stuff on all streaming platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, Pornhub, etc.). Don’t listen to the new Cliffdiver record when it comes out. It’ll probably suck and not blow your mind. 

Hoarseman Talks “Annihilation”

We met with Quinton Hoagland of Hoarseman and the Heard, the Judges’ Choice Winner of Battle of the Bands, about his upcoming album, Annihilation (coming out May 10th), and the persona he’s created under the name Hoarseman.

Starting with the character Hoarseman, Hoagland explained that it spurned from a scrapped musical he had written. Apparently, Hoarseman was a narcissistic preacher who loves the sound of his own voice – so much that he becomes hoarse from speaking. “The Heard,” or the live band that played with him at Battle of the Bands on April 5th, is the congregation.

According to Hoagland, using Hoarseman as his stage name was a way to both separate himself from the seriousness of his music and to bring a more theatrical approach to the classic local band.

“Most bands on a local level,” Hoagland says, “put a bigger emphasis on music and not the showmanship of a lot of live bands that are big and out there.”

While he only had good things to say about his fellow local musicians, he does feel that putting more of an emphasis on the performance rather than just the music could only benefit the scene. So, he decided to do it himself.

Drawing from his musical background, he built up a character. Hoarseman is confident and bordering on narcissistic (much like the character he was based on); he puts on a show. Anyone who witnessed his performance at Battle of the Bands can attest to this. Wearing an all white suit (that he, unfortunately, did not wear to the interview – something about not wanting to clean it??) and moving with purpose, Hoarseman is an undeniable presence onstage.

However, as much as the character is used for the theatrical presence, it is very much a facade. Annihilation is the greatest indication for this.

The album is about the “annihilation” of everything political, environmental, and moral. It’s about the annihilation of his former, younger self. It’s an attempt to stick to his morals and hold onto love while everything around him is changing – it’s about eventually letting go.

The themes in this album are heavy – which explains why he feels the need to put up a facade to discuss them in his music.

“When it’s portrayed through a character, it becomes less about me and more about Hoarseman. So, it’s easier for me to say ‘I think everything’s going to shit’ without people being like, ‘Man, you must be depressed,'” he explains.

It probably doesn’t help that a lot of the music was written during the tail end of a long relationship. Many of the songs show the emotions experienced when facing the inevitable breakup, which adds a theme of deviating from love.

In fact, one of the songs, “She,” deals with love specifically. The point of the song is to discuss how love is the best and worst – and how love (to Hoagland) only exists in extremes.

“Millenial Whoop” is another song that stems from his breakup. The song, which sounds like a peppy “whoop” about living life to its fullest, has the underlying theme of a burned out relationship.

Despite Annihilation still being unreleased, Hoagland has already pretty much finished his next collection of songs. Dubbed “Notre Dame is Burning,” this one will contain a lot of religious turmoil.

Hoagland also has another project he is working on with a member of the Heard, Camilo Gonzalez, called Lookouts. Both Lookouts and Hoarseman and the Heard have a busy summer ahead of them; the former is expecting a late summer EP and the latter has several concerts lined up.

Make sure to check out Hoarseman on social media and music streaming sites. Annihilation will be released on Friday, May 10th, so be sure to listen.