Metal kids with metal hair
The reality of breaking into the music business is very apparent to Youngstown State University accounting major Frankie Propst.
“A lot of people are like, ‘What?’ when I say I’m an accounting major,” Propst said, clad in a leather jacket and a Bullet for My Valentine shirt.
As a 13-year-old, Propst formed a band with his friend, Bobby Spencer.
“Frankie and I have had the same mindset since we met each other and started playing music together. It just makes it that much easier to be that close with your other band members,” Spencer said.
Spencer said he and Propst have been able to grow together as musicians and as friends.
“Being around other musicians definitely helps you grow,” he said.
After hitting many ruts, Propst and Spencer were introduced to the two final pieces of their puzzle: drummer Michael Bradac and guitarist Tony Jenkins.
Now, after two years with a solidified band lineup, Among The Fallen signed to CB Entertainment on Feb. 1.
“Since we’ve gotten Mike and Tony, we’ve progressed a lot,” Propst said. “It’s been a long, long journey — especially for me and Bobby.”
After going through bassists, drummers and a name change, it’s been refreshing for the four to focus on the music.
“I had been playing guitar for a few years before the guys asked me to play bass for them. When I had heard the songs they had already wrote before joining the band, I just knew instantly that the opportunity to play bass for them was the right decision,” Jenkins said.
Propst said the music is the focal point for Among the Fallen. As the band’s primary writer, Propst looks to his bandmates to make the songs stronger.
With metal, it’s difficult to construct guitar riffs and drum beats around lyrics, so the lyrical content comes last when composing a song, he said.
“What I do is I count the syllables for each line, and I write the lyrics to fit that,” Propst said.
Propst said he wants the music, rather than the lyrics, to connect most to the audience.
“I want the lyrics to match the flow of the music. I’m not going to be singing about flowers if it’s a heavy guitar part,” Propst said.
During a song off the band’s 2012 EP, “The World Dies,” the musical content of the song speaks for the theme, while the lyrics back up the idea.
This song is the favorite among all four band members. It’s essentially about the world dying due to pollution and humanity’s apathy.
“It starts out hectic, and in the middle, it slows down, and it feels nice,” Propst said. “Then, the music builds up, and it comes to a point where, lyrically, we’re saying how we can’t keep going.”
Bradac said it took a while to write.
“We wanted something that perfectly and accurately depicted us as a band,” Bradac said.
The song is an eight-minute roller coaster of emotions.
The band agrees that recording “The World Dies” was an experience unlike any other.
“Recording in the studio was like living a dream. We were able to design, create and produce our own story, explained with each and every song we created,” Jenkins said.
They slept in a garage in the middle of February to avoid traveling an hour a day to record. Surviving on lunchmeat and ramen noodles, the band took time to focus on the music.
“It’s a very tedious work environment. There’s a lot of stop and go, a lot of doing things over until it’s absolutely flawless,” Bradac said.
Although they had to rough it, the band members agree it was an enjoyable experience.
“Just being in a studio and hearing your music grow one step at a time all the way to the final mixing is an amazing feeling,” Spencer said.
Now with a management company to back them up and an EP under their belt, the band shows no signs of slowing down.
“We don’t have any signs of stopping. Metal, specifically, there is not a lot of hype in this area. It’s difficult and not ease of success,” Propst said.