A lack of local venues saw indie rockers The 5:55 cut their musical teeth by playing gigs in dark basements of fraternity houses while at college in Virginia. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as word of the quartet’s engaging rock sound quickly spread and they found themselves heading out to play colleges as far away as Pennsylvania and Alabama.
And the band has gone from strength to strength post-college, when the quartet of Collin Steves (vocals), Kevin Goldman (lead guitar), Max Biskup (bass) and Ryan Steves (drums) moved back to their hometown near Washington D.C. They released their debut EP last year and are consistently churning out catchy, upbeat rock tunes that’ll be stuck in your head for hours.
The most recent taste of this is delicious latest single Paint It Gold, which was released at the end of March. It opens up with funky guitars and a lick that mirrors the eventual chorus tune.
Collin’s engaging vocals come in over a light riff, then explode into a big catchy singalong chorus “Oh no paint it gold, Hand it out or we won’t let go, Oh no dead end road, Here too young for the debt we owe, Oh no all for show, Silver lining’s way too old, Oh no paint it gold, Hand it out or we won’t let go.”
A second chorus gives way to a cool guitar solo, which feeds straight into a big blast of the chorus then the funky guitars bring this infectious track to a close. Check it out below:
Another song we’re loving the sound of is Slow Down, from last year’s debut self-titled EP. The track offers a more bluesy, groovy feel while retaining the band’s ability to write catchy hooks and melodies.
It opens up with light, high-pitched vocals, then drums kick in for a verse of almost spoken vocals with flurries of little guitar licks. The opening vocals return in a more upbeat, infectious chorus of “Slow down, Where you got to go, Oh draggin’ ain’t my way, I need to find my soul, Never in the moment gotta, Slow down, things I ought to know, Oh elected my delay, I need to find my soul.”
A second chorus gives way to a funky little guitar solo that drops into more of the spoken vocals “Yeah I think that I mastered the motion, Gettin’ lost and I’m stuck in the notion that I’m right and the answers are all the same, Here I am at the edge but I won’t stop, Light it up, rippin’ shots, now I got too far to walk and all my friends took my keys away.” That feeds into light vocals that build up to a final chorus. Check it out in the awesome video depicting the worst kids’ birthday party ever below:
We had a chat with singer and songwriter Collin to find out more. Read on below…
GR: Who are The 5:55?
CS: “We’re from northern Virginia, about 30 miles away from Washington D.C. We all grew up in the same small town of Warrenton, VA playing in bands together. Sororities and fraternities asked me to perform at some events when I was at Virginia Tech. The other guys in the band were right down the road at Radford University, so I asked if they wanted to perform with me. We were always jamming and hanging out anyways so it was super natural.
“Word spread about our performance that other fraternities and sororities wanted us to perform at their events too. It quickly got to the point where we were playing other colleges in Virginia and then colleges in other states.”
GR: You just released Paint It Gold. What should people be expecting from the song?
CS: “The song has an old-school rock n’ roll feel to it. It’s a little dark, but it has a chorus that hopefully gets stuck in your head and a badass guitar solo. Classic rock was a huge inspiration for this song, but we tried to spice it up a little with the verse melody.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
CS: “We’re a rock band at the core because we have the drums going crazy and distorted guitar, but we’re heavily influenced by other genres so we try to bring in different melodic elements as much as possible.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
CS: “So many different things influence me to write a song. It could be a movie, coffee, alcohol, after a run, hanging out with friends, or when I’m experiencing something new for the first time.
“So that reaction makes me feel a certain way and that causes a melody to form in my head. I have zero control over it. I then record a voice memo and decide if I want to make that melody into a song. I try to write about the mistakes I’ve made in life, because that topic seems to be endless!”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
CS: “That’s an impossible question to narrow down haha especially since we all listen to different music. Bands like U2, Nirvana, Green Day, and Avenged Sevenfold are probably at the top but I’m most likely forgetting a band or two.”
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020?
CS: “We have two singles that we’ll release soon and we’re in the middle of recording an album of 10 songs as we speak.”