The Varsity

Members: Chris Aumen, vocals and rhythm guitar; Luke Mummert, drums; Chase Steele, lead guitar

Who we talked to: Mummert, 21

How did the band get started? It started out pretty much in (Bermudian Springs) High School. Me and the singer Chris were in, like, a bunch of different bands together, like, playing a bunch of different genres. A lot of the bands just came and went. Last winter, we decided to start up something that we wanted to, like, put all of our effort into. We did, and we recorded a six-song CD. From there, our guitarist Chase heard the CD and wanted to join up. Then, we started playing shows together . . . and started writing a new CD. Since we have a new member, our sound changed and we do, like, really crazy guitar solos and stuff. We started recording at Pin-Up recording studio with Kory Gable in Lancaster . . . this summer. The CDs just got pressed, and we actually just got them in the mail the other day, so they're going to be released (Dec. 21). Then, in January, the whole thing is going to be released on iTunes.

What was it like to hold the CD for the first time? It's definitely, like, a payoff. The writing for it starts . . . way in advance. Just driving back and forth to the studio every day . . . takes so long. When you're done recording, you have to hear all the mixes the producer does. It's just so many steps (including) the album artwork and all the promotional stuff. When people get to hear (the CD) for the first time, it's a huge payoff.

Describe your sound and style. It's definitely a lot more fun. The scene right now is, like, screaming and hardcore stuff and everything. We're more of a pop-rock band. (With) all of our songs, we made sure the choruses are, like, super-catchy and easy to sing to. On top of that . . . Chase is amazing at guitar, so we like to put guitar solos in everything.

How do you guys go about writing songs? All of us write. Wherever we are, we just, like, make a quick recording. From there, we bring the demos to the band so we can all hear it. From there, everyone kind of throws their two cents in . . . to get it sounding finalized. The ideas for the songs all pretty much come from I guess experience. We just write about mainly girls. (Laughs)

What is the title of the new CD? The CD's called "Play for Keeps." We actually got that title from a song that was going to be on the CD, but it got cut. The whole, like, message of the CD is pretty much just about the age that we're at right now. It's about having fun with your friends and all that kind of stuff. At the same time, it's like stepping into adulthood and not knowing where to go. As a band, we're trying to take . . . it to the next level. It's our first time being in a band where we're touring . . . and trying to get on record labels.

Where are you guys playing? Pretty much all over Pennsylvania. We're currently booking a tour for this coming spring. That's probably going to be just kind of like an East Coast tour. (We'll play) Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey (and) Maryland.

Are you guys planning a CD release party at any point? The physical CD is being released (Dec. 21). It's going to be out, but it's not like we're having a listening party or anything. We did pre-ordering ahead of time, so people who pre-ordered them are going to get them. From there, we're going to have to order more CDs, and we'll have a listening party. We don't have an official date for that. It's probably going to be when it goes worldwide through iTunes and all the digital stuff.

Are you excited to reach more people? Definitely. We've never done (a digital release). This band's a first for a lot of things. We've never gone as far with any band we've been in before. It's definitely new and exciting. We're not used to people, like, from far away messaging us and saying they want to know where they can get the music.

What groups inspire you? We take our inspiration pretty much from any band . . . whether they're local or just starting. Watching bands . . . from the level that we're on right now . . . get signed . . . definitely inspires (us). It makes (us) realize that we can do it, too. Our friend . . . is in this band called Farewell Flight, and they're just getting signed. It's cool to watch people you know take the right steps and make it happen.

Are you thinking about making any music videos for the CD? We don't have any official dates yet, but we're planning one right now for our first song. It's called "Girl Like That." We have a bunch of photographers and videographers lined up for that. It's definitely our . . . most fun (song). If you could take all the elements of the band and put (them) into one song that would be it. It just sums us up really well.



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