By: Clare Collins
Until Sunrise aims to get people onto the dance floor by performing covers of Top 40 songs and 90’s hits.
The members of the group, previously dubbed That 90’s Band, include Scott Wasik on lead vocals and guitar; Gerard Demarco, lead vocals and piano; Carl Hesser, bass guitar; Allen Van Wert, lead guitar; and Randy Elmy, drums. They recently went On the Record to discuss the band’s sound, struggles and goals.
Q: How did Until Sunrise get started?
Wasik: When we were initially That 90’s Band, we thought it was a great idea, being that there were no ’90s cover bands and we all grew up during that decade.
Q: Why did you change your name from That 90’s Band?
Wasik: With the talent each member has and an endless possibility of songs to be learned, we realized we were really limiting ourselves. Over the past two years or so, a lot of the songs we learned weren’t from the ’90s, so it became misleading with the name.
Q: How did you get involved in music?
Hesser: My parents got me into music early on. Back in the ’80s, my dad had a big stereo system and lots of vinyl records. When my sister and I were young, we would always put on records to sing and dance to them. I’ve been into music ever since.
Q: What does it mean for you to play in NEPA? How has NEPA affected your music?
Hesser: It means a ton for me to play in NEPA. Back when I was 21, I would go out and see all these super talented bands killing it at all the big venues in NEPA. I always wanted to be in bands like that. It took many, many years, but I think I did it with this one. NEPA has affected me musically because there is so much talent here. I felt if I wanted to be anybody in the NEPA music scene, I’d better put the work in and make myself the best I can be. Also, the people of NEPA who go out to see bands are very music-savvy. They know talent and know music and won’t settle for sub-par entertainment, so I doubly had to make sure I put on the best show I can.
Q: What do you hope audiences experience at your shows?
Hesser: I hope at every show at least one person goes home thinking, “This was the most fun I have ever had.”
Q: Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
Hesser: In high school, watching Metallica’s James Hetfield and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, I learned that when you’re on stage, you’re not just a guy in a band, you’re a performer to be watched, so put on a performance. Also, many bands from the nu-metal phase in the early 2000s showed me how to let myself go and let the energy of a song be demonstrated through my movements on stage. Lastly, observing Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and his interaction with fans at his performances has taught me that a crowd isn’t just a nebulous “thing”; it’s people. Make eye contact with them. Smile at them. Sing along with them. Point at them so they know you’re singing along with them and that you’re sharing a moment with them. Give them something they can’t get from just listening to a song on the radio.
Q: What is your favorite part about being a musician?
Hesser: Seeing people in the crowd having a blast and knowing you’re helping them have the night of their lives. You can’t beat that.
Q: What do you remember about your first time playing together?
Hesser: My thought was “Wow, these are the most talented group of guys I have ever jammed with. I’d better make sure I know my stuff.”
Q: What does a typical show look and sound like?
Wasik: At this point, we are fortunate enough to draw really well, so we typically have a great crowd and great fans. We invite people up on stage and encourage lots of dancing. As for the sound, we play everything from Bon Jovi to Bruno Mars, and we strive to make it sound as close to the album as possible.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the near future?
Wasik: The sky is the limit with this group. Always playing new places in new cities and meeting new people and growing is our main goal.