New York-based The Haunting‘s dedication to doing things their own way is embodied by their intriguing fusion of post-hardcore meets trap rock meets dubstep meets pop.
The quartet of Tom Opiela (vocals), Craig Belesi Jr. (guitar), Colin Scarpino (bass) and John Von Braunsburg (drums) are keen to impress their individuality at every opportunity. As Tom explains: “The thing I love about this band is we write what WE want. We’ve all been in plenty of bands before this where you have to be ‘sellable’ or write music that fits a certain sound… not The Haunting. When we’re writing a new song I always ask myself: ‘You’re gonna be singing this song the rest of your life, do you love it?’ I love having that control, and stand by every song we’ve ever put out!”
While John adds: “We’ve been doing things our way and it’s been amazing. A lot of bands say ‘We write for ourselves,’ or ‘We’re not trying to be famous,’ but few mean it. A lot of bands, whether they realise it or not, will write with the hope to be appealing to an audience. We all came to a point where we just wanted to write the music we want to. With a new single every month, we get a platform to change as often as we like, while still being true to ourselves. Sometimes it’s an Alternative-style track (10-56a), and sometimes it’s a Post-Hardcore Dubstep mesh (Boogie Knights).”
Latest track S.O.S. exemplifies the diversity of their music, opening up with synthy noises under a poppy verse then a chorus supported by big guitar chords that dive into huge low-tuned notes and stabs of synth. Check it out in the video. While previous single 3 A.M. DM offers much of the same, a laid-back verse that gradually builds towards a chorus supported by stabbing low-tuned guitars and a flickering synth line.
While there’s a more prominent electro feel to Boogie Knights, which opens up with fast-paced poppy vocals over a low synth line, kicks into life with more intense vocals and stabbing low-tuned guitars and dubstep chaos in the background.
Their sound is pretty diverse, and it’s pretty clear why when they talk us through their shared musical influences. Tom tells us he first found music through The Used then bands like Paramore, Taking Back Sunday and Linkin Park, as well as pop artists like Lady Gaga and Rhianna. Craig’s musical interests change on a weekly basis, but he and John share a love for the intense sounds of Scarlxrd, and John is currently going through a UK grime phase while listening to Japanese artists like Ling Toshite Sigure and StarRo. Obviously.
But the subjects that inspire their music are almost as varied. As Craig tells us: “We’re big on having a fun theme throughout, but our newest single is about suicide and working through those intense feelings. It’s a bit of a departure from what we normally discuss, but it’s something that affected all of us in The Haunting, so it grew organically.”
And Tom adds: “I don’t even understand my creative process. I call it ‘ska datting,’ and basically, I mumble random sounds or words to make a melody. Once I’ve got a melody I love then I put words to it. It’s hard to explain, and a different experience every time but that’s what I love about it. It’s always different.”
While John has taken the creative process to pretty extreme lengths, as he tells us: “I’ve completely taken over the second bedroom in my apartment, much to the chagrin of my wife, and turned it into a studio. I lock myself in there with my guitars, synths and a bottle of whiskey and just plug away until I have nothing left. A lot of writing days for me consist of full 10-12 hours straight of dedicated writing from scratch to get whatever I can out. From there, I’ll send them to the guys and we’ll help shape the songs into what you hear as a final product.”
The Haunting are releasing a new single every month this year, so keep your eyes out for regular new material. They’re also keen to bring their show to the UK, particularly Tom who’s never even been on an aeroplane before, and party with the Brits.
As John tells us: “We’ve all been in the music scene for a while, and it gets incredibly competitive. We’re not trying to outshine or outdo anyone, we just want to enjoy every moment and make as many friends as we can. For me, meeting people in bands who come off as all about themselves and trying to hurt other artists to make themselves look better always crushes me. Not because they’re bad people or anything harsh like that, just that we’re all fortunate to get to do what we do, and it can be taken away at any moment, so I just want us to come together to raise each other and the music scene as a whole up.”