Band of the Week: Shadow Division

Band of the Week: Shadow Division

MEET THE BAND: Michael Ridley (guitar), Max Espinosa (vocals, guitar), Kevin Hannah (drums) and Joe LaGuardia (bass)

IMPORTED FROM THE U.K.: Initially, Ridley started the group after transferring from the U.K. to Cleveland a couple years ago. The band existed in the U.K. but since Ridley owns the rights to the name, he decided to launch it in the States and used BandMix to recruit a new set of bandmates. He first found Espinosa and then Hannah. The two clicked and said they were both in. "You can tell they're on the same page when you hear us jam," says LaGuardia, who was one of nine bassists the band tried out. "I was the only bassist who showed up for the audition with proper equipment and a knowledge of how to play the instrument," says LaGuardia.

POUNDING IT OUT: The band cut the hard-driving single "Wake Up" with local producer Jim Stewart. For its new EP, it worked with Stewart and Michael Pappas. Stewart has helmed projects from many of Cleveland's best indie bands. "We wanted to see how we'd work together as a group, but you don't know what it's going to be like for an entire session," says LaGuardia when asked about recording the four-song EP. "We wanted to pound it out. We did 'Wake Up' in three days. We did the EP in four days. We crammed a lot in there. We could spend the last day going through everything and doing mixes and adding extra production. It was an experiment to see who we are as a band and see what each musician will bring to the table."

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: "I've Got Some Resolutions," the opening track on the new EP, features hushed vocals and cascading guitars as it alternates between moody, sparse segments and blasts of electric guitars. "When you listen to the songs coming out of us, you can tell they come from an eclectic group of people," says LaGuardia. "I love '90s alternative rock. I also listen to jazz and classical. I really like the Foo Fighters and Smashing Pumpkins. Michael is from the U.K, so he likes more of the New Wave and electronic music. Max is jazz-trained and Kevin loves hip-hop and soul and R&B. When you put all that in a room, all those influences come out. It's like putting those influences through a prism. And yet at the end of the day, we turn the amps up and love to get loud." LaGuardia says band members have already started writing songs for the next EP.


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Shadow Division performs with Trapt, Mossom and A Punchie's Pilot at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 19, at the Agora Ballroom.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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