An Enlightened Musical Experience Is No Myth

CL HARMON

Discovering something new and different is usually an interesting or at least an enlightening experience. Doing this and realizing that you like it, well that is just is cool.  It’s like tasting an unknown chocolate in a picked over box Russell Stovers’ candy and being pleasantly surprised. Tulsa area band ModernMyth was just such a morsel in an array of the metaphorical box of musicians in the Tulsa area.

Having a sit-down interview before a recent show in Tulsa, I was drawn into an unexpected dynamic. Fired up to hear stories about their methods of creating music and the philosophies behind them, I was instead exposed to a sense of brotherhood where unity was the central focus.  All in their early thirties, the members are Aaron Harris singing vocals, Johnny Digges on guitar, Elliot Hett on bass, Matt Walker on guitar and Jake White on drums.  To my surprise, each member spoke about the other members and their contributions to the band.  The appreciation for the other member’s talents and the elements each brings to the music was refreshing in a business not usually known for such courtesy and loyalty.

Modern Myth playing at the Vanguard in Tulsa.

Photos By Chad J. Clark.

Perhaps, part of this mentality stems from the fact that each is a self-taught musician. Therefore they share a natural love for just music and the discipline required to become intimately engaged in its creation. The members all agree as well that they are drawn to others who share a “passion” for music. To break this down, they do all share some similar tastes in music such as the Deftones and much of the music which came out of the nineties. But they also have varied tastes as well which their fellow members embrace and invite into the music they are creating and playing.

“We are a 100 percent feel band,” Digges said. So when new ideas are brought in, the musicians bring them to the forefront and experiment to see if they are all feeling it as something worthy to pursue further.  Harris explained that they explore all music options. This allows them to evolve and grow in the music and in their friendships with each other.

The band has been together for six years. Harris, Digges, and White played together in the band The Dawn Armada for five years before forming ModernMyth. That band released one album and then played the release show with Walker’s band at the time, Hail the Blessed Hour, as the opening band.  As fate would have it, The Dawn Armada broke up immediately following the release, but the three kept playing together as friends without a band name.  A short time later, a few members of Walker’s band quit, and he asked the former members of The Dawn Armada to fill in for them. Friendships formed followed by the creation of ModernMyth.

Digges explained that the band began looking for a new unique sound which they achieved in part through the use of seven-string guitars.  Both of the former bands had played heavier metal music and with their former bands but decided to go more melodic with ModernMyth. They found that by using the heavier equipment to formulate a more mellow music, they created something that doesn’t quite fit into a specific genre. White calls it close to heavy classic rock, but not in the manner known as acid rock in the 70s. Walker says, that to him, it’s a classic heavy metal sound with a twist of alternative.

They all agree it’s a “very Def Tone vibe,” but yet altogether something different found out in the no man’s land of post Grunge and the expanding land of Progressive music.

“We definitely don’t turn our noses up in the air to any music. We love all types of music,” Walker said. With each member having diverse tastes in music ranging from heavy metal to smooth jazz to Indie Rock to even Pink Floyd, they can create without the limits of prejudicial opinions against any genre. Digges explained that the moments during practice when all of the different elements from the instruments and the imaginations of the individuals playing them come together in a chaotic rhythm to form a spark is the band’s favorite aspect. Although they do enjoy performing and recording, those moments of true creation are what drives them. As with their creation of music, they also operate on an enlightened level personally as well through respect and humility, according to all the members.

“If you ask any of them which is more important, our music or our friendship, we will take our friendship every time,” Digges said. All of the other members chimed in as well in agreement with this statement. They consider themselves brothers. And as all brothers, they don’t always agree. However, part of that enlightened status they have achieved and the mutual respect they share provides them with the insight to keep egos out of the creation process. Without egos to get in the way, there is an opportunity to create something new and different that can’t even be classified in a specific genre. ModernMyth has created a modern sound one could say.

“There is something almost spiritual about what we do within the chemistry we share. They are moments in time encapsulated into something real that cannot be analyzed or faked.” Walker said. This chemistry produced over 30 songs, ten which are due out this summer on their new album.

“We want to stay friends and play music. That is what is most important to me,” White said about where the members see themselves in the future. As expected, his fellow members agreed. This is in line with their enlightened philosophy. It goes without saying that there must be a level of camaraderie between members of any band with longevity. But for ModernMyth, they take it to a level where what is truly important in life trumps what appears lacking in so many other aspects of the arts. Perhaps this is why they can create unique and powerfully melodic music that may never find its way into a genre. They are definitely a surprising and flavorful taste within a box of assorted of treats that is as unique as it is fulfilling.

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