From the hallways of Queens high schools to some of the City’s most popular venues, the punk- and metal-inspired band Single Red Cent has developed their home-grown, high-energy sound over years of practice and performance.
Vocalist Oscar Arias, a Bellerose native, and guitarist James Pagano, who grew up in Flushing, met at Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside, and played in a series of bands until meeting drummer Eri Kurshan in 2010.
“[James and I] know each other for so long, and when we got the drummer, it just kind of clicked,” Arias said. “We’re not that serious – I’m kind of a goofball and so is the drummer, a little bit, so we have a lot of fun even just hanging out.”
In Single Red Cent’s early days, Arias said, “we were kind of all over the place.” The group worked to hone and meld their sound, ultimately shifting genres slightly.
“I think we started off a little more alternative sounding, and then as we’re progressing, it’s getting a little harder and faster and bluesier,” he explained.
The band continues to progress, never completely abandoning the songwriting process.
“We have songs that are still years old that we’re still doing little tweaks to,” Arias said. “A song is never 100 percent finished for us, just because everyone’s kind of perfecting in their own little way.”
According to Arias, the three band members bring a diverse set of musical influences to the songwriting process. Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello and AC/DC are all important to him and to James, while he and Kurshan are “both big Metallica and Queens of the Stone Age fans,” he said.
On stage, the band members play conversationally, sometimes in call-and-response, demonstrating comfort with their instruments and a variety of beats and melodies.
Thematically, their songs deal largely with culture and social issues, often with humor and witty lyrics.
As a musician, Arias said he hopes to express “freedom, being who you are, the tension that arises from what you want and what’s expected, recognizing BS without getting too bogged down by it.”
“If I had to some it up in one word: live!” he added.
The band’s passion for life comes through in their strong and dynamic performance style.
“The songs are written that way so we just play them with a lot of energy,” Arias said. “Beer helps. But really, playing onstage is a huge adrenaline rush and we try to get that across.”
With one demo already released, Arias said the band is looking to record again in the future. To hear Single Red Cent live this spring, music fans can stop by the Grand Victory in Brooklyn on April 14.
More information about the band is available at singleredcent.com.