cleveland avenue
[Photo by: Alex Zarek]

Cleveland Avenue are the unsigned Midwestern pop-punkers who you definitely need to keep an eye on and deserve more recognition in the alternative music community.

Ready to share a new era of their ensemble, they’re exclusively premiering their brand-new video “Untaken” with Alternative Press. The visual shows how the band are growing into themselves and gaining the cohesion and maturity they’ve been working toward.

Read more: 40 new artists you need to hear in March

Starting in 2017, the Chicago-based quartet—DeFonte Berry (vocals), Adam Gay (drums), Kevin Muldowney (guitar/backup vocals) and Maude Stout (bass/backup vocals)—have become a rising group in the area. Inspired by New Found Glory, Real Friends, blink-182 and the like, they’re cementing themselves as an act to watch with their 2019 EP, True Love Is Not Just A Pizza Tattoo. Songs such as “Stu Macher Is Shaggy Rogers” encompass an old-school pop-punk sense of humor reminiscent of Fall Out Boy‘s nonsensical, hilarious song titles.

Check out the band’s new video and emotional song below. They also provided some insight on the story behind the track, the band’s growth and their favorite ways to keep in touch with fans during these strange times.

What experiences, if any, helped shape your lyrics? What does this song explore, and what message do you hope listeners take away?
DEFONTE BERRY: My lyrics are often inspired by my relationships. I’ve been in some that turned south and became a lot of arguing back and forth. When I say, “I can’t take it/My heart is breaking,” I’m talking about having trouble coping with breaking off something I sunk so much time into. It can feel like you’re drowning in stress and your partner’s problems as well as your own. I think the video really shows that.
What does your writing process look like? How have you developed this creative process as a band from your first release in 2018 to now?
ADAM GAY: In the beginning, maybe one or two members would write songs on their own and then share them with the rest of the band, but we’ve evolved into a more collaborative writing style. Lately, someone will come up with a lyric, melody, riff or some other singular idea, and then we’re able to build around that as a group.
How did the video all come together? What was the most surprising aspect of filming this music video?
BERRY/GAY: We really wanted to show off a more mature side of the band. The song deals with a fairly serious topic, but that doesn’t mean that the video feels sad or lifeless. It still shows us at our best and most unique, and I think people will really gravitate toward that. The most surprising thing about the video was probably just how much fun it was to shoot. It was super exciting to present the band in such a professional-looking way, and Alex [Zarek] was a massive part of that. He put the whole shoot together and made it look incredible. We never could’ve imagined seeing ourselves in a video like that until we actually saw it.
How have you been staying in touch with fans and new listeners during this time? What’s been the most exciting thing about being a growing punk band during this time, and what’s been the most challenging part?
BERRY: Social media has been a huge part of allowing us to stay in contact with our fans and let them know that we’re still working during this time. We’ve recently done live Q&As on Instagram and did an acoustic session for Indie Bathroom Sessions. We’ve also seen a fair amount of success through TikTok, which is so awesome.
What are you most looking forward to when it’s safe to play live music again? What can we expect and look forward to from Cleveland Avenue in 2021?
BERRY: We really miss being able to meet and talk to our fans in person. Live shows were a great way to show how we’re always growing and finding new ways to stand out as a band, and we’ll be ready to start doing it again as soon as we can. As for what you can expect from us as a band in 2021, we have more music coming, and it’s straight heat.