Hello, my name is Brandon and I am the vocalist and one half of guitars in Sea of Storms. We are a band from Richmond, Virginia and we like to jokingly refer to our sound as “post pop punk” but really I have no idea what we are. We just released our second record, Saddest Faction, earlier this year, so check it out on your favorite streaming platform and feel free to email us and tell us what you think we sound like. The records listed below are three that helped inform my songwriting and in no way reflect the views of the whole band.
Deftones – Around the Fur
In 1997, I was 14 years old, skateboarding endlessly and lashing out musically as my parents marriage came to an end. I had grown up on my mother’s pop music, like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Amy Grant with the occasional sprinkling of Tom Petty, the Cars and Billy Idol from my father’s collection, then struck out on my own obsessively listening to Green Day, Offspring and other more punk-tinged newly mainstream bands. As our family fractured I turned towards bands like Marilyn Manson, Korn and Deftones.
I had consumed Deftones’ first album, Adrenaline, so completely that I had scoured the newly born internet for lyrics and transcribed them in notebooks countless times and had used up an embarrassing amount of printer ink on print outs of band photos and logos which adorned everything from my school folders to the walls of my bedroom. When Around the Fur came out, I was waiting at the front door of our local music shop, Waxie Maxie’s eager to buy what I was sure would be the greatest record of all time.
It’s kind of funny because all these years later, most of the music I was obsessed with at that time has fallen out of rotation. Bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit only come on when I’m trying to terrorize my friends, and while I still have a soft spot for bands like Marilyn Manson and White Zombie, I almost never put them on. Deftones, however, has remained a constant in my life, and while most people will point to their next album, White Pony, as the pivotal moment in their career, this one has remained my favorite for 22 years. There’s no denying the power of the opening song “My Own Summer (Shove It)”, and situated neatly in center of the album sits Deftones’ arguably best song, “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)”. The second to last song “Headup” is a blistering riff-heavy monster of a song featuring Max Cavalera of Sepultura (I made my first email address shortly after this album came out and named it in honor of this song). I still can’t just listen to one song, and I still play it all the way through til the end where the secret song “Damone” pops up just past the 32 minute mark.
V/A – Punk Uprisings Vol. 2
Around the same time as I was enraptured in Deftones’ most recent release, this compilation came out. It would be almost a year before I finally picked it up, as I had not only recently rediscovered punk but the myriad cheap compilations that were being released by every punk label in existence.
As I exhausted all of the Fat Wreck Chords comps that were out at the time I started buying CDs with bands I didn’t recognize, and at some point along the way I found this one, a 39-song ode to the punk, hardcore and other DIY bands along the east coast, and I was blown away. In addition to opening my eyes to bands that I still very much love, the CD book also had mailing addresses for every band included. Out came the envelopes and pen and paper, and out went pleas for stickers and patches and catalogs to bands like Lifetime, Discount, Atom and his Package, Kill the Man Who Questions, Plan A Project, the Boils and so many more. I wrote until my hands hurt, and then I waited. Gradually my mailbox filled up with letters from most of the bands with information about upcoming shows in my area, and new decorations for my backpack and clothes. This comp changed the whole trajectory of my life, not just the musical interests I had. I honestly believe that had I not picked up this record, I might have never pursued music, become interested in DIY ethos or even moved to Richmond.
Lifetime – Jersey’s Best Dancers
This feels like a fitting end to this trilogy of musical milestones, the third installment of albums that came out in 1997 (though I wouldn’t discover it until the following year).
The town I grew up in is called Warrenton, and it is about the furthest away point that you can get from Washington, D.C. without leaving what is referred to as Northern Virginia. My later teen years were spent going to and playing shows all over the D.C. area, but when you’re 14 years old, can’t yet drive a car and the internet is more of a concept than an actual functioning tool, my home town felt like an island, and music was my escape.
Having recently picked up the Punk Uprisings Volume 2 compilation, I had become obsessed with the song “Young, Loud and Scotty” by Lifetime. The post hardcore sound they had shaped was so melodic and catchy, the lyrics were tender and full of feelings of lost love and bereft of all the macho bullshit that proliferated the hardcore scene at the time. I was hooked, but I only had the one song. Using the mailing address in the liner notes of the comp, I sent off a letter expressing my love of their band and awaited a response.
On a trip to D.C. I picked up a magazine at a record store and upon returning home spent an hour reading it front to back. About halfway through I found a blurb about a new band called Kid Dynamite that had risen from the ashes of the recently disbanded Lifetime. I was crushed. The next day my letter reappeared in our mailbox with a “return to sender” stamp. Shortly thereafter, I happened upon a copy of this record and every single song was a revelation. I clearly wasn’t the only person who felt this way as so many bands emulated their musical style in the coming years, bands I loved like Saves the Day and Fairweather and so many more.
I still listen to this and their other records fairly frequently, they are still the only band that I have gotten a tattoo of, and I even played in a Lifetime cover band called Wifetime for several years. The songs on these records are near and dear to my heart and I’m so thankful that they found me when they did. I’m a better person because of this band.
Sea of Storms is a pop punk band from Richmond, Virginia, USA. Check out their album “Saddest Faction” below.