Envy On The Coast aren’t here to prove anything. They’re not looking for the nod from Rolling Stone, the good to go signal from all the radio stations, or your mother’s approval. Their music isn’t about getting four stars, two thumbs up, or the highly coveted “A+” from reviewers. Envy On The Coast are a demonstration of what four musicians coming together as one band can accomplish – and damn, does it sound good. The Long Island natives that fill the band’s lineup – lead singer and guitarist Ryan Hunter, lead guitarist and vocalist Brian Byrne, guitarist, keyboardist, and vocalist Sal Bossio, and bassist Jeremy Velardi – had known each other since their early teenage years, but first came together as Envy On The Coast in 2004.
Having already established a reputation and garnered anticipation for their first full-length after the release of a highly praised five-song EP in 2006, Envy On The Coast came out with the eclectic and unpredictable debut, Lucy Gray, in August 2007. The album reached No. 11 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart and sent the group off on a bout of touring supporting the likes of Circa Survive, Taking Back Sunday, Anberlin and Angels and Airwaves. They also earned slots on the first Pac Sun tour, Australia’s Soundwave Festival, and the U.K.’s Give It a Name festival all in the first half of 2008 as they continued to tour heavily throughout the United States and abroad over the next 2 years.
As the members of Envy On The Coast evaluated their travels in the States and started exploring their roles in the band, a new sound and newfound confidence emerged. Out of these developments came Envy On The Coast’s sophomore album, Lowcountry.
The 12-track album, which Alternative Press tagged as one of “The Most Anticipated Albums of 2009,” was recorded at Red Bull Studios in Santa Monica and produced by Sean Beavan (Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails). Beavan was the only choice as producer, according to Hunter, after he described Envy On The Coast’s demos for Lowcountry as coming from a Southern fried funk band from Hell.
It doesn’t get more accurate than that. With Lowcountry, Envy On The Coast have captured the spirit of Americana and corroded its layers with their own gritty coat of alternative and industrial sounds. They still retain the melodic sensibility prominent on their past releases, but the adolescent search for their places as musicians – and the uncertainty that came with it – are gone.
“Even when we played one of the new songs off the record live on our last tour for the first time, I remember just looking around on the stage and thinking, ‘This is a different band,’” Hunter recalled. “Even though it’s the same people on stage, playing something off of Lowcountry just gave everyone this attitude of ‘Truthfully, I don’t care what any of you think out there because we are confident and stoked on this. This is what we do, this is what we’re about, and this is what keeps us going.’”
“Everything was so beautiful and we honestly had such a deep connection that those two months were seriously the best two months I’ve had playing in a band, and I’ve been playing music with some of these dudes since I was 13 years old,” Velardi said in describing the recording of Lowcountry. “The timing and the confidence was just on.”
“It took us this long – the three, four years that we’ve been a band –just to write the types of songs that we want to write,” noted Bossio.
Envy On The Coast have come to understand what being a band really is to its fullest extent, and the results speak for themselves. It’s something a lot of other groups out there could take a lesson in.
“I think last record was like an NBA record, and this record is like an NHL record,” Hunter added in.