For fans of: Hands Like Houses, Crown The Empire, Sleeping With Sirens, The Color Morale
Exclusive review by Zachary Ince. – Grab hands and walk with Corrington Wheeler on the “search for knowledge” with their debut EP Traveling East.
Released in October 2015, Corrington Wheeler’s debut EP is inspired by the band’s frontman, Corrington’s new found revelations. Hailing from Houston, Texas, Corrington states, “Traveling East is related to freemasonry…I had come to realize that I needed to Travel East, to search for knowledge, to seek the light.”
Led by surging vocals and pulsating lead guitar and bass rhythms, the three-track EP is youthful and energetic. The music hits you hard and fast, because of this, it could be easy for the listener to miss the content of the lyrics. That however, would do the listener a great disservice as one the band’s most endearing attributes are their deep and bold lyrics. The lyrics transcend the song from just another post hardcore record to something much more. Traveling East sparks introspective thinking and questioning your own morals and beliefs.
Though the lyrics are intended to cause deep thought, they blend seamlessly with the band’s bold melodies which are catchy enough to remain stuck in your head for hours on hours. The EPs’ intro, “Sociological Structural Functionalism” explodes with aggressive drums and head banging guitar riffs immediately grasping the listener’s attention. Corrington’s vocals break through the chaotic yet orchestrated sounds, adding a layer of breathing room. The smoke clears and standing in front of you is a man challenging you to simply dig deeper. A personal highlight of Traveling East is the final song, “Skorkas Witchery” featuring backing vocalist, Maico. This song stands out immediately as Corrington Wheeler strips down to his most vulnerable state. His vocals dance behind the acoustic guitar work, warm and somber yet haunting. The song is about the Wheeler’s house being haunted as a child, which compliments the eeriness of the harmonies. Clocking in at four minutes and thirty-two seconds, the song sweeps you into a dream-like state and ends with the singer, with help from the backing vocals Maico, repeating “I wont run, I wont run, none of this is real” dropping you softly back into reality. Traveling East serves as a teaser for the band’s upcoming album, Seeking Light which is slated to release this January 2017. “Our new album contains songs that describe each of the lessons I learned while traveling the world, while I was seeking the light,” States Corrington. Fans will have to wait until then for new music, but as for now their latest EP is available for both stream and download on the band’s website. Traveling East, is a solid introduction to Corrington Wheeler’s image and sound. It’s clear that they want to be known for more then just “sounding great”, they also want you to understand rather than just listen. It’s admirable, however there is a thin line between having a vision and having a gimmick. A line they will have to toe moving forward.
– Zachary Ince.
Q & A
[Zachary Ince : SBN // Corrington Wheeler : CW]
SBN: Tell me more about the origins of the band, How did you all come together?
CW: I originally started as just myself and releasing my music online while I traveled the world and was in the United States Air Force. When my 6 year contract as a Meteorologist was complete, I got out of the armed forces and decided to pursue music full-time. Over the course of this year, I’ve managed to network around Houston and find exceptionally talented musicians that support my vision and now we’ve come together to create something truly amazing. We have quite a bit of diversity within our group as well; I just moved to Texas from Japan; our drummer Johnny Mallas, his family is from Greece; our lead guitarist John Sengul, his family is from Turkey; our rhythm guitarist Bryan Hanks, his family is from Spain; and our bassist Rob Olson is pure-blooded all American. We have great chemistry, everyone’s extremely talented, and we’re all educated and/or entrepreneurs which helps on the business side.
SBN: You are based out of Houston,Texas; How does being from Houston Influence your music and image?
CW: It really doesn’t influence us much because the popular genres here are punk and metal. We just do our own thing and luckily Post-Hardcore lands pretty close. Honestly, the Houston music scene is vastly better than Austin right now, it’s on the rise for sure. Want indie and folk music? Go to Austin. Want Rock, Metal, and Punk? Come on out to Houston!
SBN: What are some artists that you are influenced and inspired by?
CW: Our influences are Before Their Eyes, Issues, Crown The Empire, and Pierce The Veil. My personal inspirations are Sleeping With Sirens, Jo Dee Messina, Fair To Midland, and Deaf Havana.
SBN: With your debut EP “Traveling East” released and your album “Seeking Light” on the way in January, it seems you are ready to introduce yourself to the world. What do you want fans to take away from your music?
CW: The biggest take away from our music is our philosophies. They don’t necessarily have to agree with us, but I want our audience to sit down and think, analyze their life and actions. We’re considered the Lil’ Wayne of the Post-Hardcore industry because of our flashiness and exotic cars. My response? Good. Look at the amazing things I’m showing you, do you want them? If so, go get them and formulate a strategy, make a plan. All our philosophies are available to read on our website.
SBN: What was the most important lesson you learned while working on the soon to be released “Seeking Light”?
The most important lesson I learned was when writing “Your Erroneous Evil” that will feature Rory Rodriguez of Day Seeker. The song basically describes how greed is overgeneralized and most people within our society consider it to be evil, but greed is the primitive root to all other emotions and drives within our daily lives. We love because it pleases us, we please others because it gives us fulfillment which is selfish, we are sad when someone close passes away because they are no longer there for us. It is not wrong to be greedy about love, about caring, to be greedy for the greater good in your life, because no one cares about you more than you. The most common and recognized form of greed is when someone damages and hurts others when striving to help only themselves, but greed doesn’t have to be that drastic. After finishing the entire album and looking back to recognize all my successes and failures, I realized all the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in all existence is worthless if not applied daily.
SBN: Could you elaborate more on the title of both your debut EP and Album, What is the significance in each?
CW: Traveling East is considered masonic terminology, when you travel East in search of light and knowledge. The EP was the initial point in which I realized I needed to seek wisdom and apply it to my life. Seeking Light is the next album, referring to the lessons learned during my travels while I was searching for knowledge, seeking the light. The new album will also be riddled with Angelic/Enochian Esoteric clues.
SBN: The final song on “Traveling East” EP, “Skorkas Witchery”, has an interesting story behind it, could you tell us more about the Song’s meaning and your inspiration when writing the song? It seems to be a very personal song, do you find it difficult to be so personal in your music?
CW: I grew up in a house that could be considered haunted, but that doesn’t quite give it justice; I believed it to be cursed or possessed. The song shows my thought process when I was a child, trying to make sense of the unnatural phenomena that was happening around me every day. I tried to reason with myself, I tried to reason with the invisible being, but all attempts failed and things only got worse as time progressed. The reason I seek Esoteric knowledge is to help those who are dealing with the same problems that I had, no family or child should ever have to endure anything of this sort. I have plenty of stories from my childhood house that would make me look crazy to some or make the hair raise on the back of the neck to others. Writing this song was very troubling to me, since I had to recall the events and take myself back to the house in my mind, for better inspiration. I’m glad I went through this and can share my experiences because music SHOULD be personal, otherwise how else are your supporters and audience supposed to connect with you?
SBN: As far as lyrical content, your music is very dense. There seems to be a real focus on writing songs about self reflection, having knowledge of self, and seeking knowledge beyond what you see and or are told. Why do you think it is important for your music to convey these messages?
CW: I realize that some people are turned away from my material because it might be considered intimidating, there are even other artists who put constant pressure on me to simplify my lyrical content; but I won’t. My niche is that I have a message to convey and I want to captivate those who wish to learn or who are intellectually intrigued, there’s no sense in teaching those who are not interested or do not want to learn. Not to be cliche, but I want to impact people. I don’t care about spreading a positive message, that’s not my goal. I am spreading MY message, because what I’m saying is important to me and if others take the time to listen, then they may be able to open their minds to worlds previously unknown to them. Our listeners care about improving their daily lives, they care about themselves more than before, they thirst for knowledge and in that way, we share the same desires. Music is one of the largest scale ways to spread ideas and touch people’s lives, which is why our music focuses on jam-packing our songs to the brim with philosophical content. One of the greatest rewards we can get is when a fan comes up to us after a show and tells us how much they loved reading our philosophies on our website or that they love our lyrics and then proceed to explain how it changed their life. I want to be that catalyst.
SBN: What is your opinion on today’s Post-Hardcore scene, where do you think you fit in?
CW: Today’s Post-Hardcore scene is changing rapidly, just as the rest of the music industry is. Many of our competitors and fellow musicians such as Pierce The Veil, Crown The Empire, Issues, Dance Gavin Dance, & Sleeping With Sirens are having to constantly adapt as the demands change. I think we’re in a pretty good position to enter the industry right now because jumping on the train before it changes again, which will give us plenty of time to adapt before the next big sound or style change. We stand out from others because of our ritzy style and deep multimedia content pertaining to philosophy, metaphysics, & Esoteric values.
SBN: When it’s all said and done, what do you think fans will remember you for? What are your aspirations for your legacy?
CW: I think they’re going to remember me for the fun person I am, but also for the deeper side and trying to make a connection with as many people as possible. My main aspiration is to pick up the Esoteric torch that David Bowie has left behind and continue on doing his work. When I reach the end, I will regret not a single thing. You have to live your life to the fullest, don’t just exist. All my attainments, achievements, and my body will crumble into dust upon death, so I wish to leave behind a name that will not be so easily forgotten and slow the process of fading away, of being forgotten; to become something more than human in this life before I venture onto the next.
Stream Corrington Wheeler’s Traveling East EP below: