August 15th, 2017
The Verge and I are piled up onto a couch in one of Exit/In’s back rooms, which is lined on one side with a mirror, and my voice recorder is on the table in the middle of us. The first thing I notice about them as a group is how comfortable they are with each other; Nick has purposefully knocked Rachael’s water bottle over at least four times since I walked into the venue and there is always something to laugh about. The second thing I notice is how comfortable they make me feel. I talk easily to them, which is surprising since I have only seen them once before in May. But just like during that performance, their energy is infectious and they continue to draw my interest.
This is The Verge:
Rachael Horner – lead vocals and Harry Potter buff
Nick Lampers – lead guitar and definitely not a hipster
Jake Lunn – bass player and newlywed
Bobby Newman – guitar, vocals, and pizza whore
Garrett Mcneil – drums and new guy
They are playing Nashville Undiscovered that night, and I ask if they feel “undiscovered.” It’s a quick and unanimous yes. They consider themselves part of the punk scene of Nashville that doesn’t get enough attention, and that means they are still under the radar. But they want people to know that they’re a serious band whose only goal is to make it work by doing what they love. Their current lineup is less than a year old, but Garrett tells me he feels confident about the group. Everyone laughs, since he joined in April.
“It feels more like a family than it has ever felt to me,” Bobby, one of the original members, admits. “And that’s something to appreciate, and it’s a very important thing…that’s where good music comes from.” And I can see that with them and their music. They’re a group that genuinely enjoys being around each other, which is part of what makes the magic happen.
“The Verge pulls their inspiration from a variety of artists. Ask any individual member some of their biggest influences, and the answers can range from the Dead Kennedys to Beyonce,” is part of their description on Facebook. It doesn’t make songwriting difficult, though, because everyone brings something else to the band. There are moments of tension, but they always compromise and do what’s best for the band. “Everyone has their say,” Jake says, and if anyone disagrees, they stay quiet about it.
Rachael believes what she brings to the band is that she is a stage performer, since she was a musical theater major, and unlike most contemporary lead singers, she makes a lot of eye contact and embodies her lyrics. She quotes her “riot grrl-esque” and “do no harm, take no shit” personality as part of the charm.
The hardest part about being in the band for her is being the only girl, but the real universal struggle is that they all have to balance their day job with making music and performing.
I ask them where they’d like to play as a band, but their dream venues stretch far and wide. “We’ll play anywhere as long as the crowd wants to see us,” they all agree. “Philly!” Garrett exclaims, then elaborates that he would have loved to play the Michael Jordan House, which was owned by Modern Baseball and is now shut down. Whiskey A Go Go and Chain Reaction in California are two venues that they’d like to play at, but their dream is to move to Seattle and play there. Jake went there for his honeymoon, and the rad gum-picture of their card was taken near Pike Place.
Nick jumps into a small rant about the Pike Place Roast and Starbucks, revealing the coffee shop as his day job. Then they all agree: playing Exit/In is a big deal. They have played exclusively in Tennessee, but Exit/In is “the holy land for rock and roll in Nashville” and playing there, even as an acoustic set, makes them feel like they’ve made it. The walls of bands who have played before both exhilarates them and makes them nervous. This is when they begin to reminisce the bands they’ve seen on Exit/In’s stage; Nick and Jake saw Four Year Strong there and they both share their crowd surfing and stage diving experiences. All around, they’re grateful for the opportunity.
Speaking of opportunities, they tell me about their recording session with Dark Horse Institute in June. They were voted for by a small class and got the opportunity to spend a week under the direction of Steve Lamm, a Grammy-winning producer. Everyone praises something else about the experience – from seeing Chad Gilbert to the cookies at the shop to the sheer experience of spending all day back to back recording their new music. They intended the songs to be a demo for other labels, but it turned into a serious project that they are going to release themselves, a mix of all new acoustic and electric songs. (To introduce the record to fans, they hosted a pizza bowling party that weekend to film a music video for “Bluto,” one of the new songs. Keep your eye out!)
At this point, we hear the first act performing through the wall, and collectively want to go support the other musicians. The Verge absolutely kills their performance, switching out Jake, Bobby, and Garrett so no one is left out of the night. Every song sounds just as good acoustically as it does electric, and I’m surprised how much I’ve memorized in a short time.
I can genuinely say that I have not been so interested in watching a band progress as I am with The Verge. They have every quality that I think makes a band worth being invested in. If you want to check them out, go to Facebook or their website!