Band of the Week: Years Before

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MEET THE BAND: Kyle Clemenz (drums), Anthony Dargaj (guitar), Ian Ver (vocals, guitar), Joshua Jansen (bass)

AN OLD SCHOOL APPROACH: The band came together in July of last year as Ver and Dargaj, both of whom used to play in the local post-hardcore act Between Home and Serenity, recorded a few cover tunes together. "We had done a Pennywise song and a Millencolin song," says Dargaj. "We started talking about doing a project like this that would play music that sounded like those bands. That's where it started. We just continued to write songs. We've always written songs together on and off for fun. While we were working on the songs, we posted something online and Josh [Jansen] reached out to see if we needed a bassist and we brought him into the project."

PART OF A THRIVING LOCAL SCENE: Dargaj and Co. have played in local hardcore and post-punk bands for years now. Dargaj says the local scene appears to be thriving. "There's an indie scene, a punk scene, a metal scene and a rock scene," he says. "It seems like everyone is doing well. And there are things like Brite Winter and Ingenuity and Spring Fling, which was just at the Agora. It's a good scene."

MADE IN THE 216: The band recorded its new EP with Nine Shrines guitarist Evan McKeever. The band shares a practice space with him and could regularly demo tunes. "It took a lot longer to release the finished product because he was busier with other records, but he'd fit us in when he could." Since McKeever is currently on tour until mid-June, the band has taken a hiatus from recording but hopes to record with him again when he's back in June. "He does really good work," says Dargaj. The group recently signed to UK label Engineer Records, which will distribute its EP overseas.


WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: The album opener, "Start the Fire," features meaty guitar riffs and possesses a sharp sense of melody. "Live Forever" comes off as a soaring summer anthem with its call-and-response vocals. "'Live Forever' is about a day in the life when we used to hang out before we started playing bands," he says. "We would hang out all day and drink at night. It's like a summer night. Most of the songs are about Cleveland." The band plans to release its next EP by July and have a new EP or new album out every quarter.

WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Years Before performs with Foreverandnever, Frances & The Foundation and Sorry Mom at 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 28, at the Foundry in Lakewood and with the Promise Hero, Stella Park and Dead Ringer at 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 17, at the Grog Shop.

About The Author

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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