Math and Music: What We Call Victory

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Hailing from Thurmont, Maryland, What We Call Victory is a rock/metal/progressive type band, formed at the end of 2008. Starting in a small storage shed, the band has made several lineup changes since its formation; current members are Daryl Hahn, guitar, Steven Hanes, vocals, Dillon Baird, drums, Stefan Sandman, bass, and Brandon Grimes, guitar.  

What We Call Victory (WWCV) started off as Dawn of Desolation before changing their name in 2009.  Bassist, Stefan Sandman explained the band felt they needed a more accessible name as they were garnering momentum in the local music scene. He felt that their music was easily enjoyed by cross genres, so packaging it with a new name would increase support.  

The band’s style has been described as progressive death metal with the ability to throw out traditional music theory rules to get the audience grooving.  The band insists that at the core of their music lies a concoction of heavy metal and rock, but also using influences from Stevie Wonder.  The guys have begun to pride themselves on claiming experimental and progressive labels as well.  

“There are so many right and wrong ingredients thrown in there for our enjoyment.  As soon as we started using those elements, we became much happier with the results,” quotes Sandman.

Hanes, Baird, Sandman and Grimes are all working on college degrees while managing to stay consistent with WWCV.  While Baird, Sandman and Grimes are taking classes at Frederick Community College, Hanes, a senior at UMBC studying mathematics, lives an hour away during the school year. However, the band has learned to cope with not being able to see each other at all times.  Hanes does most of the lyrical writing and song titles (using his math degree) while the instrumentalist work on songs in batches.  Each instrumentalist can cross over to each other’s usual element, making the collaborative process useful.  Frequently, one member’s idea will be used by another member [in a song], and the band explains they enjoy seeing their ideas used by somebody else.

WWCV has toured the southern part of the US once but plans on doing more tours as time goes.  They did all of the booking, contacting and organizing themselves and said they learned a lot by doing everything on their own.  They’ve also been busy in the studio writing and recording for their new CD, which is to be released later this year and is currently untitled.  It will feature one or two older songs rewritten but will be 90 percent new material.

The band, having sought out the best instrumentalist teachers available in Frederick, has changed not only their sound, but their attitude toward music over the past year.

When asked for their advice to other college students, WWCV called on something they had to tackle and learn as a band themselves, “let your instrument be a vessel for yourideas. It'll make playing, singing, screaming, and writing music, as well as lyrics so much truer. Some of my favorite singers and players have weak voices and don't hide it. Let it be!” Sandman said.

Sophomore > Visual Communications and Psychology > Penn State University

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