In a year plagued with remanufactured music, it seems to be difficult for the intelligent music listener to find just the right band. The forward-thinking minds behind Bear vs. Shark seem to be the perfect band for the sensible music fan.
With an array of genre-bending songs, these Michigan natives seem to be focused on more than just asymmetrical hair cuts and tight jeans.
Comprised of Marc Paffi (vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist), Derek Kiesgen (guitarist and bassist), Mike Muldoon (guitarist, bassist and keyboardist), Josh Gaviglio (guitarist, bassist and vocalist) and Ashley Horak (drummer), this group of multi-instrumentalists take their music to the next level by mixing post-hardcore rock with howling screams that Frank Black of the Pixies would fall in love with.
BVS took their music into the studio with producer Matt Ellard (Motorhead and Converge) to produce the eclectic sounds of Terrorhawk, the latest record from the band. Coming from the progressive melody-driven sounds of their debut record (Right Now You’re in the Best of Hands …), Terrorhawk is filled with songs that push the group’s experimentation to a spatial level.
“We were in Boston for a month during a blizzard when we recorded [Terrorhawk],” Paffi said. “We are proud of it; it was a better experience than our last record. It was a new experience for us; we had a short period of time to write this record because of the label but it came out great.”
Though Terrorhawk is a collection of songs that expose the bands many inspirations and aspirations, it’s more than a recording that makes BVS such a unique band. How many band’s have members that tend to switch instruments during a live performance?
“We try to write a set list down that doesn’t require a lot of switching. Maybe like three switches or so, it’s still like we are trying to figure it all out,” Paffi said. “It’s a changing process, like everyone wants to play guitar … so no one wants to get stuck with guitar except for Derek. He is a phenomenal bass player; I think he is the only one that wants to write the bass parts of the songs.”
As a means to perfect their craft, the group has endured a rigorous touring schedule that has put them on the Warped Tour, Skate and Surf Festival, SXSW and their current tour, “Dudes Storm,” with bands such as Fall of Troy, Fear Before the March of Flames and Since by Man.
BVS’s dedication to their music is only amplified by Paffi’s gut-wrenching, amazingly honest lyrics that spill out onto the canvas and package of their latest album.
Choosing not to take the normal route of computer graphics, typed lyrics and self-gratifying pictures, BVS utilizes Paffi’s talent as a painter to express the overall meaning of the lyrics and the band.
Though the group does not play the typical radio-friendly music of today, they prove their positions in the scene by breaking down all musical barriers and setting a pathway for bands looking to move forward in the realm of alternative music.
“You see bands all playing the same type of music, pretending to be upset,” Paffi said. “‘Hey how’s it going? This song is about killing yourself.'”
Songs about “killing yourself” is certainly not the recipe for success for BVS. Instead, they choose to stay true to themselves and their music.
And though they’re not selling out huge stadiums, BVS is definitely setting a standard in the alternative music world of today.
Solomon Sofolawe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.