Amity Fest II raises awareness, funds for Voice For The Innocent

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 at 7:45 PM
Amity Fest II raises awareness, funds for Voice For The Innocent by Livia Homerski
Contributed Photo

Amity Fest II, a music festival run by an Edinboro University student, was held at Basement Transmissions in Erie, Pennsylvania on Jan. 27. In partnership with Amity Threads and the A Voice For the Innocent organization, Amity Fest was a benefit concert for survivors of sexual harassment and assault. The event was organized by Edinboro’s Braden Docherty, the current talent buyer for Basement Transmissions. 

“I feel that music is a very powerful tool in making change happen. I always want music to have more meaning, and using it to raise awareness and help out people who really need it is what it’s all about,” he said. 

In the wake of the #MeToo movement and the sexual harassment allegations brought forth against members of popular rock acts Brand New, Front Porch Step and PWR BTTM, among others, the event’s timing was no mistake. 

And as more attention is brought to this issue, Jamie Sivrais, founder of A Voice For the Innocent, uses his organization to help victims lead the conversation and to create a support network. Keep your eyes out for the full interview with him in the next issue of The Spectator to learn more about their beginnings and what they do. 

You’ll find several of the Amity Fest II artists interviewed below. We discussed different influences, upcoming releases, and what musicians can do to combat the issue of sexual harassment in the scene.

Archway Interview

Archway is one of many bands that played at Amity Fest II at Basement Transmissions in Erie, PA on January 27th. The festival was a pop punk and alternative music benefit concert that raised awareness for survivors of sexual abuse and assault. I spoke with guitarist Isaac Bicko about the music of Greenville’s Archway.

Q: How long have you been a band?

 As far as a consistent lineup, it kind of varies, but it’s been pretty consistent for the past three years. Tommy, Shane and Josh formed Archway in Greenville in 2012, so it’s been around for a while. I just recently started playing with them again, but I started in 2015 though.

Q: As Archway currently exists, what have you guys recorded together?

 We recorded My Heart, A Home and that was released in 2015.

Q: I heard you guys play a new song earlier, so when could we expect a new album?

Oh gosh, we have some stuff recorded, so I’d say summer or fall-ish.

Q: Has the music matured over the years?

Yeah, I think it’s just matured because we’re all kind of growing up. Lyrically and as far as the music goes, it’s just evolved a lot.

Q: What are some influences and inspirations behind your music?

It started off as just straight up pop-punk, and now it’s [the music] taking on different elements of hardcore, alternative, and ambient stuff. We have definite influence from bands like Transit, Hot Water Music, Comeback Kid, and Citizen.

Belmont Inverview

Chicago natives Belmont cruised up to Basement Transmissions in Erie, Pennsylvania last weekend to play for Amity Fest II, a show benefitting survivors of sexual abuse and assault. I spoke with drummer Brian Lada and guitarist/back up vocalist Sam Patt about writing music and playing at Amity Fest.

Q: I saw you guys released 2 songs last year, any new releases in the works?

Brian: Yes, we’re looking at releasing an album with ten new songs in June.

Q: What’s your approach to writing music?

Sam: Brian, our drummer does the majority of the writing, and then everyone chips in. But we start off a lot of times with a riff and then we just go from there.

Q: How did you find out about this event?

Sam: We’re friends with Mallory Run and got hooked up with the promoter. We’re happy to be here.

Q: What’s your favorite song to play live?

Sam: Overstepping. The crowd gets the most hyped.

Q: What can bands do to help combat the issue of sexual harassment in the scene?

Sam: Be vigilant and call out people who need to be called out. Most importantly, listen to the victims. Pay attention to their stories and the people who do these things and be able to identify those types of personalities. Once you find them, call them out. 

CityCop Interview

I continue the interview series of bands playing Amity Fest II at Basement Transmissions on January 27th, with Max Adams, guitarist for CityCop. CityCop is from Akron, Ohio and is a screamo/indie/acoustic band. We discussed their music and experiences in the indie-alternative music scene.

Q: For your album, “The Same Stories That Never Get Old,” the description in Bandcamp says the album was recorded in 2015, fell into a black hole, and reemerged on July 21, 2017. How did this come to happen?

We just had a lot of issues with our label. We were originally going to put it out on this label called Broken World Media, but it started falling apart and kind of evaporated underneath us. We really didn’t have any options, just trying to shop this album around until our friend in Akron, Ohio, Nick Muffet. He has this small label he just started called “Small Mammal Records.” I just talked to him and was like “Hey dude, will you put this record out for us? I just want to get it out, it’s like three years old!” He really didn’t have money to spend for this thing, so he ended up putting his personal money into it and just put it out. He’s a great dude.

Q: How long have you been a band?

8 years, but going on 9 later this year.

Q: Any new releases in the works?

Yeah! We’re working on something right now that we are going to go record in March.

Q: What are some influences behind the music?

I know for me and him, (gestures to drummer Cody Mikesell) The Fall of Troy. When we first started this band, it was just me and the singer and we wanted to be like Iron & Wine or something, but we just got really into this screamo band called Age Sixteen. And they were really good friends with Pianos Become the Teeth before they blew up. Just old screamo like Page 99 and all them. We joked about doing acoustic breakdowns, but then were like, “oh we actually want to do this.”

Q: How do you make that transition of playing music that is kind of a joke into something more serious?

We had songs that were jokes, but then actually turned into songs somehow. We didn’t take ourselves super seriously, so when we were young, we just put out everything we wrote, which included jokes and serious stuff, which is like straight up indie. We just kinda threw a bunch of sh*t at the wall and whatever stuck, we went with.

Q: On a more serious note, what can bands do to help combat the issue of sexual harassment in the scene?

You see a lot of bands that will play showcases like this and not take them seriously, which really sucks. You can always tell the people that take it seriously, but on a band level, I just think checking other bands more and just being like ‘Dude, don’t be a d*ck. Don’t just play shows for a PR move’ can help stop that behavior. 

Eternal Boy Interview

Another interview from behind the scenes of Amity Fest II, I spoke with bassist Joe Harbulak of Eternal Boy. Amity Fest II took place on January 27th at Basement Transmission in Erie, PA. Although he had never played in Erie, he was familiar with Edinboro’s now defunct “The Hangout.” We talked about about what has changed since then for Eternal Boy and what hasn’t.

Q: Where are you from?

Pittsburgh. Da Burgh. B-U-R-G-H.

Q: What are some influences and inspirations behind your music?

Drive-Thru Records, ex-girlfriends, and nostalgia. Anything with summer nights, windows down, jamming to Blink, and toilet-papering trees.

Q: How long have you been a band?

I’ve been playing with Richie since 2006 and joined officially in 2013. We changed from being called the Space Pimps to Eternal Boy last year.

Q: So why the name change?

It was a little juvenile. There were new members in the band, two thirds of the band had changed and it was kind of like a reset. We’re a three piece and then two of the three members were replaced.

Q: As your lineup and name has changed, how has your music changed as well, if at all?

I’d say a bit. With new members, there will be a different formula for writing, but the inspiration has always been the same.

Q: Can you tell me about your writing process?

Richie will be on the toilet and come up with some chorus, something like that and bring it to rehearsal and then we’ll kind of mess around with it. It depends on the song. Sometimes we’ll write a whole entire song and it’s like “okay guys, this is how we’re gonna do it” and then other times, I’ll write a lick or chorus and then we’ll take it and go from there. 

This interview series will contiunue in next weeks issue of The Spectator. Livia Homerski is the arts editor for The Spectator and can be reached at

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