What Happens Next: 10 Musicians who reinvented their sound

March 17, 2014
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We are truly sorry if you never experienced Geoff Rickly’s indefatigabledisplays fronting the mighty post-hardcore unit Thursday. While Rickly is worthy of being canonized by various emo, screamo and post-hardcore scenes, he’s always been ready for the next thing. Over the last few years, he’s explored chrome-melting grindcore (United Nations), changed the emotional weight of acoustic sets (check out his free downloads over at http://geoffrickly.com), worked with noise-rock projects (Strangelight) and purportedly dabbled in electronics-based rock. He doesn’t listen to just one thing, which is why you shouldn’t, either.


Josh Newton has always been on the scene with stints slinging bass for From Autumn To Ashes, Shiner Reggie And The Full Effect and Every Time I Die. Newton stepped out of many listeners’ comfort zones to create some spiky post-punk menace with Fall Out Boy’s Joe Trohman in the project With Knives, resulting in a noise that’s closer to the Birthday Party than a keg party. He’s also teamed up with Season To Risk frontman Steve Tulipana for a new project, Sie Lieben Maschinen, that’s an amalgam of jagged post-punk, old-school elements of ’70s glam and ’80s goth.


At the ripe old age of 18, Ariel Rechtshaid was under a major-label contract during his time fronting the Hippos, a band of SoCal ska-pop hopefuls who shared stages with bands like No Doubt, Reel Big Fish and the Aquabats, but were still too clever to reach Smash Mouth status. In the early ’00s, he acquired indie-hipster points playing bass in and producing the chiming guitar-pop outfit Foreign Born. These days, Rechtshaid has no need for affirmation from Warped Tour Nation or Planet Pitchfork: He’s an in-demand producer whose résumé includes recordings by decidedly non-scene players as No Doubt, Sky Ferreira, Usher, Haim and Charlie XCX.


People thought Chris Carrabba—aka Dashboard Confessional—was either fearless or insane, singing his acoustic heart-on-sleeve songs in front of audiences who wanted to bust each others’ heads open in the mosh pit. In the ensuing years, Carrabba became known as much more than just a scene fixture, enjoying gold and platinum record status and radio airplay. These days, he’s manning the starboard of Twin Forks, the folk quartet he convened in his Boca Raton, Florida, hometown, who owe more to American folk icons Pete Seeger and Oscar Brand than anything Carrabba’s ever done previously.


Christian metalcore mavericks Underoath hit upon a winning formula on their 2004 album They’re Only Chasing Safety, by utilizing the clean vocal talents of drummer Aaron Gillespie and recognized scream king Spencer Chamberlain. The band pulled back on much of the clean, melodic vocal attributes on subsequent releases beginning with 2006’s Define The Great Line. When the band adjourned in 2013, Chamberlain wanted to continue to make aggressive but more streamlined rock music, frequently citing Foo Fighters’ combination of memorable songs and tempered energy. “Rock And Roll Is Dead And So Am I,” the debut track from his new vehicle Sleepwave, finds Chambertlain singing cleaner and exploring a greater dynamic range in his songwriting, sounding more reminiscent to Alternative Nation™ stalwarts like Smashing Pumpkins and Filter than any of the pretenders aping his storied metalcore past.


Talk about reinvention: Sonny Moore used to stir up the faithful in his role fronting screamo wunderkinds From First To Last. When he departed from FFTL in 2006, he formed a band mixing tribal rhythms with the screamo he forged his reputation with, releasing an EP, Gypsyhook in 2009. But during those years spent playing aggressive rock music, Moore had always experimented with beats, loops and sequencers on his laptop during his downtime. That proficiency sealed his fate as dubstep/EDM producer/personality Skrillex. He not only left the restraint of band life behind, he’s issued seven releases in less than five years, won six Grammy Awards and has earned upwards of $16 million. He’s never had the inclination to look back toward the scene since, allegedly turning down what was purported to be “huge money” to appear as Skrillex on Warped Tour. alt

Written by Jason Pettigrew