The Hometown Rock Crown was held at The Loft in Lansing on Feb. 12. Six bands competed for $1,000, studio time and airplay with 97.5 FM. The battle was intense, but only one could walk away with the crown. Unfortunately that was not Syndicate. The local band from Davison took third place, leaving with an extra $200 in their pockets.
Sure, the Hometown Rock Crown would have been a nice addition to their list of accomplishments, but an interview with the band following the concert proved they weren’t simply in it to win; they were there about the music. Their passion and love for a crowded hall was made quite clear to this journalist.
The band includes Eric Quimby, lead singer and guitar; Pat Jenkinson, lead guitar and backup vocal; Chris Keller, bass guitar and rap artist; Brandon Mansell, keyboardist; and Jake Rathbun, drums.
Syndicate formed in Davison, Michigan, just 45 minutes outside of Flint. While they are relatively knew and have been performing for a few months they have a large group of followers from their hometown and then some. With 1,500 Facebook friends and counting, the band is spreading their sound from the small suburban town.
They’ve been performing all over the state, most recently the Machine Shop in the 810.
Though the Hometown Rock Crown was a loss for them, the interviews afterward may prove to be beneficial. Read this journalist’s interview with a band dubbed as “third place” who can easily take first place when trying to win your hearts.
Read on for the full interview with the guys.
Mo Hnatiuk: “So tell me, why the name ‘Syndicate’?
Quimby: “Let the music speak for itself. Everyone will say they have the best music out there. What Syndicate has is something relatable. We’re not afraid to be mainstream and we’re not aftraid to try different things, too.”
Quimby: “Chris, be quiet. Syndicate. We wanted something identifiable. It had a good connotation to us. Dictionary-wise it can be taken two ways, but for us, syndicate means the act of coming together for a common goal. It is the idea of what a band is. It’s important that we show that with every performance.”
MH: “That’s really cool, but what’s with ‘595?'”
Keller: (laughs) It’s what the name was supposed to be!
MH: I have to hear this.
Keller: “Five dollars and ninety-five cents. That’s the price you pay for the buffet at Empire Wok- the best Chinese place ever.”
Mansell: “Syndicate is what Eric wanted, and Chris really wanted 595. So, we all went bowling and if Chris got a higher score the name was his choice and if Eric won then he got it. Chris won, but it still became Syndicate.”
MH: “That’s definitely a story. How did you guys form?”
Keller: “We met by fate.” (the group laughs) Really though, Eric had just come back from California, and one day he, Mansell, and I started jamming in his basement and decided that we definitely had a good thing in our midst.”
Quimby: “Jake told me once in high school that if I ever needed a drummer he was my guy, so I took him up on that offer. Pat came with Jake, which was the best two for one deal we’ve ever gotten.”
MH: “Right on. So, I hate to do this, but who do you guys sound like?”
Keller, Mansell, Rathbun, Jenkinson: “Matchbox 20!”
Rathbun: “Eric loves Matchbox 20.”
Quimby: “I can’t deny it, but we have different sounds, too! Maroon 5. John Mayer. We’ve even been told we sound like The Fray-sans piano.”
Mansell: All of our songs sound pretty different. “The Breakdown” has a sort of Creedance Clearwater Revival-ish twang to it. “Hypnotize” is kind of a funky, 70s rock vibe- only more updated.”
Jenkinson: ““Back to Yesterday” is the one that sounds most like John Mayer. Maybe John Mayer mixed with Coldplay. It’s anthemic rock, anthem rock, stadium rock, written for large audiences. Like U2!”
Mansell: “Slow It Down” is our rock, love song.
Keller: We have a pop rock song called “Crazy Tonight.” It’s a party song without saying party.”
Quimby: “Party and love are words we avoid.”
Keller: “And if you think all of our songs sound the same you are a liar. Eric changes the word to every song every time we perform.” (group laughs)
MH: “What makes you guys better than all of the other bands out there?”
Rathbun: “We have Eric.”
Mansell: “We don’t think we’re better. A lot of groups in music right now- when they get together it’s for different reasons. The money. We do it because we have fun.”
MH: “Honestly, no one wants it for the fame?”
Quimby: “Fame. It would be nice, right? But not just because everyone knows you or because you’re making lots of money. It’s because I would get to play music every single day for the rest of my life. It’s all I want. It’s all we want.”
MH: “How do you feel about the outcome of the Hometown Rock Crown?”
Mansell: “So what. We didn’t win, but it was the opportunity to play in front of a crowd.”
Quimby: “Those nights you realize how important your friends and your fans are. You’re only as good as your fan base.”
Jenkinson: “Our fans definitely won that first round for us.”
Quimby: “Our fans win everything for us.”
Keller: “Including our hearts.”
MH: “Tell me why everyone should listen to you.”
Rathbun: “Just listen!”
Jenkinson: ““We’re not like other bands where you sit down and wonder why they’re playing.”
Mansell: “We’re never the same. We switch up the ways we play songs. Our recordings sound different than how we play it.”
Keller: “We just jam. We’re all friends. We have a good time making some good sounds. It’s a genre, everyone likes. We’re identifiable.”
Quimby: “Let the music speak for itself. Everyone will say they have the best music out there. We have something relatable. We’re not afraid to be mainstream and we’re not aftraid to try different things, too.”
Sound like your kind of band? You haven’t missed your chance, East Lansing! Syndicate is back at the Loft! The lineup includes Roll Over Radio, 10 to Impact, Syndicate, and The Outer Vibe(the Hometown Rock Crown winner of last year.) Tickets are only $5!
Syndicate at The Loft
By Mo Hnatiuk