Words: Miljan Milekić
If the band gains so much momentum after only two released songs, there’s gotta be something there. And there is. Even ‘though Be Well are fronted by Brian McTernan, a powerhouse in the hardcore scene, and feature members of Bane, Converge, Darkest Hour, and Fairweather, they are much more than another new band from familiar faces. Even in their early days, they bring a very special vibe, energy, and sound. We teamed with Brian to discuss their music, reasons for getting together, and the next steps. Check it below.
I have to admit that this band took me by surprise a little bit, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, especially on this side of the pond. How did the band got together, and more importantly, why?
Brian: I had really missed playing music. Mike [Schleibaum] and I had been talking about doing a new band together for a long time. When Aaron [Dalbec] moved from Boston down to Maryland, we sent him some of the rough ideas, and he loved them. Shane [Johnson] and Peter [Tsouras] had played in bands with Mike, and I had produced records for all of their bands, so it all just worked and felt right. We all love playing music and being together, and that’s the main motivator for doing the band.
All of you are heavily included in a bunch of other projects and bands. How is it working for you so far, and how do you all find the balance in juggling all those different things?
Brian: I imagine that it will get more complicated as time goes on, but so far it hasn’t been an issue. Everyone is supportive of the other projects we all have going on. All of us have kids, and that is probably harder to juggle than our other musical endeavors.
You released your first music a couple of months ago, and I’ve seen quite a bit of hype around it. And it’s definitely not solely because of the names of the bands you and the other guys are or were in. Did you expect such a positive reaction in such a short time?
Brian: It’s been amazing! We are all so touched by the response we have received. I think that the fact that we have all been involved in music for so long helped with people wanting to check it out initially, but we have received really personal feedback about the music and lyrics that definitely goes far beyond that.
For these two songs, you teamed up with Equal Vision Records. However, a couple of months ago, I’ve read an interview where you said you have more recorded music. Are those the signs you might have an album on the way?
Brian: Yes! We are finishing a full length now. These two songs will be on it along with nine others. It will be out sometime this year. Equal Vision has been a huge part of all of our lives for decades, and it’s amazing to be working on this project together.
I know it’s only two songs, but apart from your own previous works, I feel like Be Well also incorporates some of the elements of the bands you’ve produced. Do you think that working with so many different artists has helped you to develop more as an artist and embrace even more different influences?
Brian: Not consciously, but it’s impossible to work with so many amazing bands over the years without them changing the way I hear and create. On the flip side, it’s quite possible that you can hear a tiny bit of my influence in their records as well. (laughs)
You have been a part of the scene for almost three decades. What’s the main driving force that keeps you going forward for so long, in so many different roles?
Brian: It’s all I know. Music has been the most important thing in my life since I can remember. It was the first thing I ever loved, and it’s been the only way that I have ever known how to express myself. Through music, I have met the most incredibly wonderful people and have had a lifetime of support and friendship.
As someone who was in a position to look at the underground scene from more than just one angle over the years, how do you see it today?
Brian: I think this is a really great time in music. There are a ton of awesome new young bands that are pushing the envelope creatively, and a bunch of older bands that are still playing their hearts out.
Be Well had the chance to play a few shows so far, including some with guys from Boysetsfire, Comeback Kid, and H20. Can you tell me more about the crowd reactions? Are you happy with the feedback you’ve had so far?
Brian: The shows have been great! The response has been awesome, and we have had a bunch of people that have traveled to multiple shows. We can’t wait to play now that there is some music out for people to hear.
You have a show with Hot Water Music coming up in February, but how about Europe? Can we expect you on these shores anytime soon?
Brian: I literally can’t wait for those shows. Hot Water Music are one of my favorite bands of all time, and some of the best people I have ever met. We all really want to tour Europe. We have a ton of friends over there, and really hope that we can come to play there soon.