Music is not a nine-to-five job. For bands, like Ohio pop/punk quartet Saints for Sailors, it can be a constant struggle to balance what you have to do with what you want to do. For Jacob Workman (lead vocals/guitar), Darren Luoma (drums), Tim Rutan (lead guitar/vocals) and Tim White (bass), it all boils down to creating songs that you can listen to repeatedly and find something new each time. Workman explains, “Putting so much time into the writing process is key, especially with how we’re writing now. I don’t like when the structure of a song stays the same throughout the entire song.” The music is never repetitive because the tempo and mood changes in each song keep the listener engaged. Workman never gets tired of playing Saints for Sailors songs, because they feel new each time he plays them.
The little things count. It is essential for artists to find support and recognize it when it is presented. In high school, Workman found solace in choir. It was the one class he looked forward to because he found a sense of belonging and the freedom to be creative. August Burns Red vocalist Jake Luhrs has consistently offered encouragement to Workman, providing the inspiration to stay focused on making music. However, there will always be someone to point out the pitfalls of a career in music. Lyrics from the song “Twenty Years” declare, “The last 20 years/Have brought me here/And never once/Was My path/left unclear/Set aside beliefs/You tried to feed to me/This is my trail/Where you thought I’d fail.” Artists are often discouraged from following their dream, but this song is a lyrical protest that also validates the decision to be a musician.
You never stop learning. Luoma does not expect to master the art of drum beats, because he believes there will always be more to learn. He said, “I’m always listening to and learning different styles of drumming and incorporating it into my own style.” Luoma is relatively new to drums but has shown a talent far beyond his experience. His timing is impeccable, the fills are original, and his passion is undeniable.
Keep your eye on the future. Rutan wants Saints for Sailors to be successful, but knows that it is best to take one step at a time. He stated, “Of course I’d love for SFS to be a full-time touring band, but I want to be sure we’re ready for it.” He went on to say that he would enjoy more traditional hardcore and alternative hip-hop collaborations in music. The openness with which other genres are embraced by the band leads to innovations in their own music. Lyrics from the song “Pull You Down” say, “It’s about time we dressed for the weather/While the weather still keeps us warm/And face fear with our eyes wide open/To finally know we can let it all go” and conjure up an image of preparing for the future.
Saints for Sailors is one of the hardest working bands I have seen this year. They support Relay for Life and have performed at their charity events twice. They spent hours greeting concert goers at Warped Tour with free music to break up the monotony of waiting in long lines. Their stage show enchanted the audience, leaving them laughing and clapping well after the set ended. Workman, a top-notch lyricist, has the unique ability to be part of the audience. He may be singing and playing guitar on the stage in front of you, but he is also the guy jumping beside you. This kind of connection leads me to believe that Saints for Sailors is on the right track. The band is currently immersed in writing and recording their next EP which will be released next year. They plan to continue performing at local and regional shows while they prepare for future tours outside of Ohio. While I wait for the new music, I will be humming along to Who You Are Now while I do my homework.