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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
BY LILLIAN SKYE NOBLE | St. Petersburg Collegiate High
This band wants to be on your mind, like, well, a friendly reminder. They say their goal is to inspire listeners with their music, which they describe as leaning toward alternative rock. Recently tb-two* talked to three of A Friendly Reminder’s members, bassist Robert Galiardo and guitarists Jairus Hodges and Austin Consigny, about their band’s inspiration and musical style:
Where did you meet and how did you decide to become a band?
Robert: Jairus, Stephen and I have known each other for almost nine years. Stephen and I met Jairus through Calvary Chapel and eventually we became best friends. Austin showed up at Calvary around two years ago. We all had an interest in music. One night Austin and Jairus were hanging out and decided to write a song. They asked Stephen and (me) to play with them. It turns out we were decently good, in our opinion. Thus was the beginning of A Friendly Reminder.
Austin: I already knew Jairus a little bit from our time attending the same middle school … he was a grade older than me. He and I eventually became very good friends when I started attending the church and decided that we should start making music together (being we both had a love for it). I met Robert, our bassist, through Jairus, who he was already very good friends with. I found out that he played bass and that his older brother Stephen, our drummer, was an awesome drummer and guitar player. We all instantly became very connected with each other through the middle and high school youth groups at Calvary. We also had an amazing female vocalist named Bliss in the band for a while, but she recently had to move away to Nashville.
Are you all close friends?
Robert: We have all been best friends for as long as we can remember.
Austin: Absolutely! We all hang out with each other on a weekly basis.
Jairus: As close as a circus ride.
Talk about A Friendly Reminder’s musical style.
Robert: (Our) music style leans more toward alternative rock, although at times we will throw in a different genre of music, just to spice things up a bit.
Jairus: We write inspired by (and) play with the joyful, insane energy of the Holy Spirit of the living God.
Austin: The name A Friendly Reminder means that we, as God’s sons and daughters, have the job of making Christ known to the world. We want the music that we produce to be “a friendly reminder” to the world that there is a God who loves each and every one of us and wants to have a relationship with us all. Some of our songs are more drawn back and acoustic-y. Other songs lean on more of the heavier side. The style will usually depend on the message within the song.
You just played at Feather Sound Community Church. Talk about that event.
Austin: The show went great! It was a smaller show, but sometimes those are the most fun. We were able to play with our good friends, a band called Oliver and Company (also SPC students), and our new friends, a band called Captive from the Palm Harbor area. The crowd was great and we were able to feel a lot of the excitement from the crowd.
Do you have plans for more shows?
Robert: We are in the process of writing new music to put out a record. So we are not playing many shows as of right now. But every now and again one will pop up.
Jairus: Yeah, got some plans to play at Orpheum eventually.
What’s your songwriting process like?
Robert: I find music to be a language that everyone speaks. Everyone can enjoy it, even if they may not agree with the meaning behind the song. As a band we like to write about things in our own lives that have happened such as, God, struggles, experiences and happiness. Either writing the lyrics first, or just jamming and eventually putting words to it. Sometimes one of us will write a song and bring it to the band, or at times we will sit down as a band and write a song from scratch.
Jairus: We like a lot of different kinds of music, and I think that flows into our songwriting.
Austin: Jesus is our biggest inspiration, hands down. Some of our biggest influences include bands such as Switchfoot, Relient K, the Almost, Abel, Copeland, Anberlin and Needtobreathe. Music will usually come first when we are writing songs, and the lyrics will be written either after each part of the song is done with or after the entire song structure is finished. Our lyrics usually express our feelings about God, us reflecting our love for him/his love for us, and what he has been showing us lately in our lives.
What’s next with recording?
Austin: We have a small, four-song EP that was recorded on GarageBand. This EP can be purchased from any of the members or at any of our shows. We are working on songs to eventually record on a (full-length) album once we have raised enough money. The next step after writing is starting a Kickstarter page to raise money for the album.
Check out A Friendly Reminder’s Facebook page for information about upcoming shows. Also, listen to their music at ReverbNation.com/Austinconsigny and on YouTube.com/MrAFriendlyReminder.