By Marah J. Morrison
Hardships in life has allowed Frank Toncar, a Youngstown State University music major and an entrepreneurship minor, to create new music under the name of “Avalanche.” His new EP will be available on April 26.
Toncar said he has always loved music and it was his favorite class in elementary school. He said when one of his friends brought over the album “International Superhits!” by Green Day when he was 12, the music obsession began.
“I got a guitar and started learning new songs,” he said. “From then on, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Toncar said on a personal level, what truly speaks to him is when he creates music and is exposed to others’ singing his work back to him while performing at a show. He said when his music has an impact on others, it is special to him.
“Live performances are a lot of fun,” he said. “You get a lot of reaction from the crowd going back and forth.”
Toncar said he began working on “Avalanche” in May of last year, and it details a lot of experiences he has had over the course of that time period.
“I had been playing with some bands where I wasn’t involved in the writing,” he said. “I was itching to have an output of my own.”
When he was speaking with his grandmother at the time, Toncar mentioned to her that it was almost five years since his dad passed away. He said this made her freeze up and was hard for her to realize it had been that long.
“She ended up passing away later that month and it sort of sparked the first tune,” he said. “I was so overcome with all of this emotion and had to let it out. I had been sort of in a creative block up until then.”
Toncar said his new music knocked down the creative block wall he was facing, and after he wrote the first song, he decided to keep writing and kept pursuing the new project.
“It was a very eventful fall and winter for me,” he said. “I had some new jobs. I moved to North Carolina for a couple months. I had a bad breakup. A lot of these experiences all sort of manifested through the music that I was writing.”
Toncar said his new music helped him get through all of the difficult things he was facing in his life. He said when it comes to creating new music and new ideas, the process is kind of random.
“My music is generally written when I’m overcome with some sort of emotion or something has happened,” he said. “Something sparked this feeling, and sometimes it starts with a musical idea, sometimes it starts with a lyrical idea.”
Toncar said most of the time, he will have an idea for what he wants to write or what feelings he wants to express, and he will write down words or phrases and see how they relate to one another.
“It’s been a lot of fun because I played almost all of the instruments myself and did all of the recording and production stuff,” he said. “I was also able to use this record as my senior project for [my] recording degree.”
Toncar said he enjoys collaborating with his friends and has allowed them to play instruments that he cannot play on the new EP. He said it gets repetitive at times when he is working alone.
“I really liked the collaborative efforts, but I also really liked the feeling of being able to do a lot of [it] myself,” he said.
Toncar said he decided to put together a band for the Federal Frenzy this year to get a more live aspect, and he wants to push the record further than having it just be a studio production.
Hobie Butcher, a YSU alumnus, said Toncar is one of the most creative, driven and musically talented people that he knows. He said he can play multiple instruments extremely well, and seems to make everyone he plays with a better musician.
“He constantly inspires me as a musician and he’s one of my favorite people to play with,” he said.
Butcher said he and Toncar will be performing together this summer at Cedar Point. He also said he is featured playing the drums on the last track of the EP, titled “Anxiety.”
The band members for the Federal Frenzy performance will include David Labra, Justin Randall, Matt Jackson, Eric Finkelstein and Butcher. The EP “Avalanche” will be available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Tidal and Bandcamp.