ARTICLE BRADLEY STERN
PHOTOGRAPHY MATTHEW WILLIAMS
STYLIST DJUNA BEL
WITH SHOUT-ALONG CHORUSES AND A STADIUM-SIZE SOUND, THREE L.A. BROTHERS CAUGHT THE ATTENTION OF POWER MANAGER TROY CARTER. NOW, AS THEY PREP A BOLD NEW EP, THEY’RE GETTING READY TO CATCH FIRE
The Ceremonies just want to make you feel.
Growing up under the same roof in Los Angeles, Matthew, Mark, and Michael Cook found themselves immersed in sound. “Music was always flowing between rooms,” they explain. “We just liked to sing together, so we decided to develop that.”
After recording a few demos, the trio formally came together last year with the help of producer Danny Garibay. The collaboration paid off: the Ceremonies caught the ear of industry titan Troy Carter (the manager behind Lady Gaga), who signed the band to his management company, Atom Factory.
Drawn in part from ’80s new wave and post-punk, the group’s sound is a genre-blurring blend of rock, as evidenced by their debut single, “Land of Gathering.” The bold number is a conflagration of pounding drums and live-wire energy all but missing from radio today, armed with anthemic harmonies and a distinctly otherworldly sensibility. “We don’t want to limit our music or be represented by any sort of one-dimensional feeling,” they insist. “We don’t want to be the type of band that only plays happy music.”
Their accompanying visuals—a mélange of sleek, stylized black-and-white moodiness—create a similarly mysterious feel. “We like the concept of engaging the imagination,” they say. “People have to apply the colors themselves.”
The band is now putting the finishing touches on a “strongly conceptual” EP, as well as its debut LP, which they promise will provide more than just music: “It’s more of an all-around sensory experience, as opposed to just a collection of songs.”
As for their name, the trio was leafing through their favorite poems and novels for inspiration and repeatedly came across the word “ceremonies.” “We knew it meant a communal gathering, where people come together to embrace a spectrum of emotion—from the sadness of a funeral to the happiness of a wedding.” It’s that same inclusive, tradition-building concept that drives their upcoming album. “The primary influence for this record has been nostalgia,” Michael says. “As long as people can relate somehow, that’s all that matters to me.”
Grooming David Cox for Kevin.Murphy Hair (Celestine Agency) Digital technician Ben Cope Photo assistant Cameron DeMarco Stylist assistant Sara Paulsen Special thanks Troy Carter