From album releases to regional competitions, this spring has been a busy one for the musicians of Windham High School. The WHS Key club, a group formed to give students an opportunity to make a difference in the community, celebrated the WHS music scene by hosting a battle of the bands on May 16th.
Air Away, a self-described alternative metal band featuring WHS juniors Kaleb Eddy, Zach DeFosse, and Zack Bailey, beat the other three bands that competed. Guitarist DeFosse and drummer Eddy have been playing together for several years, but the battle of the bands was their first show with a new lineup that included Bailey on bass, Portland local Shannon Hiatus singing, and a recently added second guitarist. Eddy said the band treated the battle like a practice performance and was surprised to win.
Air Away is an Internet success story, as Eddy got in touch with Hiatus through a Facebook page focused on Maine youth punk music. “(She) commented on a post that she wanted to jam with some people,” Eddy said. “I messaged her before anyone else did. A bunch of people were messaging her so I had to lay it out to convince her to come here.”
Eddy and his band mates convinced her by outlining he and DeFosse’s vision for the band, whose influences include Rise Against and Story of the Year. DeFosse said the mission of the band is to show “a perspective on the world that people don’t normally see or that people tend to ignore. We try to make people aware and open their eyes.” Defosse said the band writes about topics like “violence, corruption and environmental destruction,” in hopes of raising awareness that can lead to positive changes.
“We don’t write anything that doesn’t have some kind of motive,” DeFosse said.
On top of using Facebook to find a singer, the band also uses it to balance its members’ busy schedules, which are filled with sports, jobs, Portland Youth Symphony, and lots of AP classes. “Our singer works a lot,” Bailey said. “We have a Facebook group where we see who’s free when and try to find a time that works for everyone.”
Fortunately, the end of the school year will mean a lot more free time for the band. Air Away will work on recording an album to release either this or next year, and their solidified lineup will allow them to book more shows and continue spreading their message.
“There’s not a single band in the area I know that has the same vision,” Eddy said. “It’s something we hope more bands will do in the future.”
Air Away will perform at Summerfest on June 25 at Windham High School.