On an ordinary night, the opening band warms the crowd up for the main event, but there is nothing ordinary about California band Heartist. In fact, I find it difficult to find a genre of music that accurately describes their unique sound. The group, formed in 2011 with Bryce Beckley (vocals), Tim Koch (guitar), Robby DeVito (guitar), Evan Ranallo (bass) and Matt Marquez (drums), has toured with Killswitch Engage, blessthefall, and Silverstein.
As a relatively new band, Beckley finds connecting with fans is all about being yourself. He said, “I don’t try to put off some weird persona, like I’m super professional or unapproachable. I’m just me.” Indeed, Beckley’s powerful performances and confident manner belies the sweet, sensitive boy-next-door that he really is.
Known for an eclectic blend of elements from all genres of music, Heartist makes the most of their musical talent, resulting in an irresistible mix of songs that keeps listeners engaged. On their debut EP Nothing You Didn’t Deserve, raw emotion comes through in the lyrics from the song “The Answer”: “My heart’s not yours to break/I’ve let you go/I found the answer was hiding inside me,” a forceful passage about our own ability to overcome love lost. Beckley’s expansive vocal range continues to captivate listeners by his heartfelt plea in lyrics from “Where Did I Go Wrong”: “But if tomorrow brings a better way/then why is there today?” Beckley explains, “I believe in keeping things from past relationships, making sure you always have a reminder.” Our feelings provide a connection to the memories and significant events that shape our lives.
The collective vision for Heartist is to make rock music with emotion. But you will not find whiney, emo lyrics here. They purposely recorded their first songs with a transitional element, somewhere between heavy rock and hardcore. There are some well-placed breakdowns and screaming, but Beckley is adamant that Heartist is not a metalcore band. This is what makes it so hard to categorize their music, because at times, it is all genres. In the end, it does not really matter what classification Heartist is given. I love the original compositions, the catchy choruses, and the lyrics that get stuck in my head for days.
Beckley’s commanding stage presence – paired with exacting technical guitar riffs, a strong bass line, and innovative drum fills – demonstrates genuine musicianship in the authentic sound they are known for. Heartist may be there to warm up for the headlining act, but instead the audience is at a fever-pitch after their set. Signed to Roadrunner Records, they are working on their first full-length album, due out this Summer. In the meantime, you can see Heartist on “The Come Alive Tour” with Our Last Night and Set It Off where they will be introducing fans to their own brand of passionate hard rock music.