Video Credit: TheNewClassicVEVO Official YouTube Channel
If you ask the guys of alt-rock band The New Classic what they sound like, they might say their music is “a cross between Fergie and Jesus.” Though they are joking – they’re far from Fergalicious and they’re not turning water into wine – they have found something uniquely their own.
The New Classic are a relatively new development – the band formed in March of this year. Vocalist Matt Graham and guitarist Alfonzo “Fonz” Montiel, who are both 21, met in high school. “I sort of serenaded him at lunch one day with an acoustic guitar and ever since then, he and I have been pretty much buddies,” Matt says.
Pretty much buddies, but not always band mates. It wasn’t until the idea of The New Classic came around last year, that the guys decided to join forces.
Before all of their current members were all on board, Matt and Fonz took it upon themselves to get this band on its feet. They started by preparing three demo songs and then following a popular alt-rock tour, and doing face-to-face promotion. “We followed the Spring Fever tour and did a whole bunch of promotion work. We would go through the lines doing promotional stuff, and then a night when everyone got out, we would be playing acoustic outside,” says Matt.
It was passion, not so much confidence, that got them there, Fonz remembers, “The first day we went out there I was like ‘oh dude, nobody’s going to like it, and [Matt] was like ‘nah dude, go in positive’ and I was like ‘alright’.” With a positive attitude, and their original songs, the guys found their stride. “The first night we played, there were – its going to sound insane – but there were just so many people crowding around. And I was just like, really? This is way too crazy,” says Fonz.
After they saw the feedback on their sound firsthand, Matt and Fonz started looking for the rest of their band. With Matt on vocals, and Fonz on guitar, they still needed a drummer and another guitarist to round out their sound.
By posting on Facebook, Matt found Jim Borquez, a 26-year-old guitarist from Arizona. Through Jim, they found their drummer in 28-year-old Vic Chan who was working at a local guitar shop, and had just finished with alt-rock, Phoenix based group My Girl Friday.
Before long, they were rehearsing, writing, and developing a sound. All of the guys have different tastes in music, but have found that they can all agree on bands like The Foo Fighters and Jimmy Eat World.
Their sound (aside from being Fergalicious), Matt says, “Its like, if you want to have a good time and jam out – that’s how I feel about it at least. Just an upbeat, fun, rock band.”
Their energy and enthusiasm attracted the attention of friend Andy Bell of Anchor Management. Matt says “We talked to him and he was talking about what he can do for us and all that. And instantly we liked where his head was going.” Fonz chimes in “Basically, when we got with Andy, it was like we were speed dating, and we really liked where it was going. So we were like ‘here, you can have my number. Take me out for a drink some time.’ And its been going well ever since.”
Based on everything that Andy has been able to do for the guys, they are planning for a long-term relationship.
From promotion, to recording, the guys feel like they have gotten much farther with his help than they could have on their own. Between March and August, The New Classic has gone from brainchild to band, and in the process has been able to write, edit and record their music.
Through Andy, the guys were able to work with Cory Payne from Maryland-based band, The Dangerous Summer. “About the middle of July, Cory Payne from The Dangerous Summer came out to Tuscon and worked with us. Worked us hard for like a week. Just like, picking apart, and rewriting every song,” says Matt, who adds that having that outside perspective really helped the songs.
Cody, Matt says, was surprised when he met with the guys, at just how put together a lot of the songs already were. Their initial song writing process, which they all agree can be sort of chaotic, starts with a concept. “Most of the time someone comes with an idea and then the rest of us just hammering it out until we are happy with it,” Matt says.
Working with Cory prepared them for the recording process with Paul Leavitt at Valencia Recording Studio in Baltimore, MD. Paul, who is responsible for popular punk/alt-rock albums like So Wrong It’s Right by All Time Low, and Reach For The Sun by The Dangerous Summer.
Once they rap up recording, the guys are planning on releasing the record and trying to get on the road relatively quickly. “We definitely want to release it pretty soon. We aren’t exactly sure when. There’s been some talk about some tours. We’ve been throwing around some ideas. We want to get at least one run in, before the end of this year” says Matt.
But they don’t want to rush anything. Their primary focus for now is to make a kickass record.
** A version of this story was published in the October 2013 issue of Naked Magazine