Every band has something to say; some artists do this through deep lyrics sung with gentle voices, and others shout it in your face with spit flying. The members of Philadelphia band Mohican, however, do this without ever opening their mouths.
Mohican, an instrumental post-rock band, makes up for its lack of vocals with a high-energy performance cast in an ambiance of effect pedals and creative riffs. The band’s instrumentals flow as a collective unit that draws the listener in for the long haul, with many of its songs being seven minutes or longer in length.
The band is currently working on its second release and is making summer tour plans. But before that, Mohican is committed to making its presence known in the local scene. Its next Philadelphia show is April 25 with Signal Hill at the North Star Bar.
Mohican’s members include Ray Beck on drums, Chris Markley on guitar, Aaron Agresta on bass and Danny Reguera on guitar.
THE TEMPLE NEWS: How did Mohican get started?
Chris Markley: We started in the beginning on 2012, but it was a gradual build up of us three [Markley, Beck and Agresta] playing for a while, and we knew Danny [Reguera] from Trophywife and we started talking to him. We were forming the band, and it just came together over time. But the end of 2011, beginning of 2012, is when we really started to gear down and do stuff.
Aaron Agresta: The three of us have been buddies for a long time playing music. Then we just started jamming [at Markley’s parent’s house], because we had all the equipment and we realized that it was cool. The chemistry was always there.
Danny Reguera: After my old band [Trophywife] broke up, I was looking to do a new project and Mohican was pretty much the perfect direction that I wanted to go in.
CM: It’s just cool that we’ve all played with different bands together before. We weren’t necessarily playing the things that we were totally into, so finally the three of us were able to branch out and do what we actually wanted to do in the first place.
TTN: What were some influences that directed the sound of Mohican?
CM: I think we all have slightly different interests and different musical tastes…When Mohican was started, it was intended to be an instrumental band, so we all looked toward instrumental bands that we listened to individually, like Explosions in the Sky and Russian Circles. Different post-rock bands were definitely a big influence, but I think like, [Agresta and I] were in a pop-punk band in high school, so having that somehow was an influence. Emo music and hardcore music and just everything. Lots of different things boiling down to what we’re naturally doing now. I don’t feel like we are ever saying we need to sound like this band or model ourselves after this band. We are trying to build something that’s kind of unique even in today’s day in age. We’re trying to be a band that has a lot of energy without having to say anything.
Ray Beck: As much as we’re an instrumental band, I think there’s going to be a lot of room to grow. As everything is evolving with everything, obviously you are going to be more influenced by things that are happening. It’s all about just trying to build.
TTN: What’s the writing style for Mohican?
RB: If either [Reguera, Markley or Agresta], any of these guys, have a riff idea, it just starts, and from there everybody just starts throwing in.
CM: The whole idea of the songs is that they usually start on one place and end in a totally different place. I want the songs to have a story to them without having words. It’s like creating a visual connection between the sounds and the visuals inside your mind. It makes a creative experience for the listener, because they have their own imagination that they can tack onto the music.
TTN: What are you guys working on right now?
CM: We just recorded two songs live [and] we’re trying to figure out what we want to do with them. Whether we want to do a split with someone or just a 7-inch or we’re thinking about even recording two more songs and going for another four-song EP. We have new music. We’re just waiting for the right opportunity to put it out there. We just don’t want to give it all at once. I don’t think it’s right when someone finds out about a band from his or her area and there are already three full-length albums out…I feel like it would be better to take it slow and just keep playing shows.
TTN: What has been the response from the audience?
CM: So far, we’ve had a really good response from the crowd and a lot of people will come up to us afterward and talk to us and compliment us. It feels really good. It hasn’t been a struggle in that sense. I feel like the strongest part of the band is our live show.
RB: Just to be able to play shows, because that’s what we really want to do. We really just want to play out and vibe off the energy of people.
TTN: What would you say the general theme or emotion is to your songs?
CM: I think it’s an unconscious emotion – things that we don’t even know we’re feeling, things that are going on in our personal lives that comes out when we are playing. People can make what they want to make out of it.
AA: We’re all struggling. I think every song we have is an extension of our angst, of our love…of our hardships and all of our triumphs – without the words.
CM: I’d just hope that our songs have an effect on people that forces them to open their minds a little bit.
Jared Whalen can be reached at email@example.com.