The University of Dayton McGinnis Center is filled with the booming sound of drums and guitars as Half the Animal prepares for their set later in the night. The Campus Activities Board members that are present for the soundcheck are scattered about the room, bobbing their heads and giving praise to the band hailing from Los Angeles, California.
In between soundcheck and showtime, I snuck over to Art Street Studio A to have a chat with the guys before they hit the stage at UD's second annual FlyerFly Music Festival. Members Chase Johnson, Nick Gross, and Dan Graham welcomed me into the room as if I were apart of the crew, letting jokes and laughs fly free before the interview began -- and a few times during the interview as well.
Half the Animal is a pop-alternative group that Gross and Johnson restarted. They were previously a part of the band Open Air Stereo for what Gross recalls to be eight years out of Laguna Beach. Once the guys started hitting the studio again, though, they changed their sound and let the creativity flow. But with the fresh start, came the need for a new name. "There's two different ways that we see it," Johnson tells me. "I think that using -- you know we all have animal instincts, and not in a negative, like, bad way. But the animal instincts where you are constantly going out for the best things creatively. It's using your power animal."
The band originally started with Nick and Chase. The two met in catechism class and purposely got kicked out to talk about music and decided to create a band together. From the moment they started creating music, they knew they would be friends forever. Regular jobs were not in the cards. Australia native Dan joined the band eight months prior to the Dayton show, while Evan has been with Chase and Nick since their days in Open Air Stereo.
When it comes to the music, the band draws inspiration from love and life. "We kind of take it from everywhere," Chase explains. "We aren't a band that focuses our inspiration on one thing. It's all over the board, you know?"
If you want a chance to see Half the Animal live, you're in luck. "We hope to be going everywhere," Gross says enthusiastically. By using multiple different platforms, the band is working to make a global impact. They also plan to open tours this fall for bands that they unfortunately could not say at the moment. "In the future we hope to open for One Republic, Maroon 5, Imagine Dragons..." To name a few of the many artists that the guys listed off for me when I asked who they dream to tour with.
And what can we expect next from Half the Animal's music? "EP number two is already in the works," informs Gross excitedly. "We have a couple different producers, and we're trying to mesh it all into what it's going to be. We're really excited about that." The second EP has a tentative release either in August or September. The band has also started a show called "Animal Life" that will be released on their social media as a way for fans to get an inside look into their life. "It's a more personal look into what we've been doing for the past six months. You can see what kind of wine we drink to what kind of candy bars we like; if we like cookies or if we don't like cookies... but everybody loves cookies," Chase jokes. A remix of their first single Babylon will also be available on April 14.
Shapes is out now on Strz Records!