Written By: Amanda Poznyakov
The Jersey based Alternative/Post-Hardcore group, Serious Matters, are quickly making themselves known in the music scene. From releasing their new record, to touring, to playing back to back shows, Serious Matters has become unstoppable. It is hard to find a band that genuinely writes from the heart as well as personal experiences that speaks to music listeners on a variety of levels. Serious Matters makes music that is relatable to an audience of different ages and personalities. No matter who you are, you definitely want to add this band to your playlist.
How did the band start?
Kenny: “Back in December of 2015, I made a Hail Mary attempt and messaged Criss to see if he wanted to write. Me and him were in a band prior when I was 16. We kind of lost touch for about 3 years. And then here we are over 2 years later.”
Criss: “Yeah that week we just wrote out our first EP right there. Got a few things together, played a few shows, and it was just like that.”
Kenny: “Matt originally was the bass player. He came after the lineup change. He ended up being the singer and the frontman. Dariyan joined us in February of last year after another lineup change. Brandon is going to be filling in on bass.”
How did you come up with the name, Serious Matters?
Kenny: “At the time we were looking for a name and we had another person in mind. We had another member who we were trying to write with and it just didn’t work out. I just texted Criss and I was like ‘Whatever…onto more serious matters’ and Criss was like, ‘That’s it! That’s the name!’ And that’s how the name stuck with us.”
What inspired Through It All and how is it different from music you have written in the past?
Kenny: “I guess a lot of the inspiration came from the idea that we’ve been through a lot of different things between lineup changes and mental breakdowns. I have one at least every month. It was a lot of stress building up. Then Manic Kat got involved and endorsements got involved. Things kind of became real, really quickly.”
Criss: “They started taking their own shape and form. At one point in time we were like, this isn’t just us anymore. This is so much more. But we had already gone through so much already that the evolution was bound to happen regardless.”
Matt: “And you guys started this in 2015. Just the amount they have done in the first couple of months of being a band, was a lot more than I think any local band can do.”
Kenny: “Matt was our first ‘fan’ fan. He was the first one to learn the words and sing them back.”
Criss: “Before he was in the band, he was just a fan. He was always at our shows and in the front.”
Kenny: “We were so excited to have him in the band. But yeah, this record is basically like a reflection on the last year between going through I think 3 lineup changes.”
Criss: “It’s almost like an audio diary of what we’ve been doing and just like an emotions that has been molding themselves together as we have been moving forward. Obviously stress comes in both negative and positive and all of it together kind of just created a ball and we put it into a CD.”
Who contributes to writing the music?
Kenny: “Normally it starts with guitar riffs. Criss will come to me or I go to Criss. We structure it out. Then we’ll pass it off to Matt for bass and then it goes to Dariyan. Then the lyrics just kind of happen at the end of whatever the product is.”
Matt: “Since I’m the singer now, none of us are lyricists or vocalists. Writing all of these lyrics and stuff was just a new experience for all of us.”
Kenny: “This record is very honest and if you know us, you can probably tell who wrote which lyrics.”
So that’s leading up to my next question, where do those lyrics come from?
Matt: “The first track Patterns is about negative things in your life. Drug addictions, moods, just different things. When Kenny came to me with the lyrics, I applied it towards myself. I have mood swings, I struggle with emotions and overthinking. I kind of made this song about patterns with either bad habits, drug addiction, or patterns with your emotions. Just patterns with different toxins in your life.”
Criss: “Colors was definitely from experiences that I have been going through in the last few months. Different things going on around me, family members and things. Just kind of made me reflect on everything. Put myself in their shoes to see what is going on and how they feel. It came out very naturally. When I took time to look back, I kind of word vomited and now it’s usable. It was very real, very in the moment.”
Kenny: “I wrote Chasing Sunlight. I struggle with an anxiety disorder. So I tend to be very reclusive. Even some days with the band, I just don’t want to leave my room or whatever. I had a day over the summer where I went out to eat with my girlfriend at the time. We were on a nice deck and it was overlooking the water. The line ‘The sunlight reflecting off your eyes’ came to me. I kind of just sat on that. And by the time I got home I guess I went through a panic attack and I started writing. Then it was a reflection from when the band started. We were about a year and a half in at the point. I kind of looked back at the child that I was to what I became. And how life isn’t as bad as I always see it. I’m very pessimistic and to me every thing is wrong and bad.”
Matt: “Through It All is loosely based off that scene from Spongebob when they go deliver the Krusty Krab pizza. Basically it’s about everything we have been through as a band. Whether it would be lineup changes or shit in our lives happening. Basically just dealing with adversity in life as a band. Just kind of overcoming everything….just to deliver that pizza.”
What makes you smile the most?
Kenny: “I’ve been told that I smile the most when I play a show.”
Brandon: “Performing, being in the studio, if I’m doing something with music, I’m in a good mood.”
Matt: “Just kind of being with people I enjoy hanging out with.”
Criss: “Guitars make me genuinely smile.”
Dariyan: “ The cheesiest thing I am going to say is thinking back to my wedding day. It felt like my life was actually going right.”
If you could describe your music in one word using a food, what would it be?
Dariyan: “When you go to chipotle, you can kind of just like throw stuff together. Everybody has a completely different palette and it’s kind of just bundled up into this beautiful burrito.”
Brandon: “A burrito is the kind of thing that you can put whatever you want on to coincide with the mix of musical influences you get when you mix where the five of us come individually. And then to also reflect on the intense Taco Bell and Chipotle obsession the band has. It is more relevant than it may seem.”
What advice would you give your 13 year old self?
Kenny: “Shit is about to get wild. Enjoy the innocence.”
Criss: “At 13, go see a therapist now. That would have helped if I knew that then.”
Matt: “I would say none of this shit really matters. At that age, I was bullied and I was afraid of other people. That all went away when High School started. So, do what you want to do and don’t be afraid of anything.”
Dariyan: “My advice to 13 year old me would be, it’s going to be a wild ride. Keep doing what you’re doing but do it 100 times better than anyone else. I also got teased because I wasn’t like the other kids in band class. Those kids started band at 4th grade, and I started at 7th grade.”
Brandon: “Don’t listen to what others say and just go for it. Whether it was about playing music or auditions or just getting into the high school I wanted, people weren’t supportive and at times I let it get to me and opportunities passed. Now, I’ve accomplished so much that I was always told I never would, including making it into a band and touring.”
You can catch Serious Matters at any of their upcoming shows or follow them on their social media for band updates!