Travels benefit On My Honor's evolving sound

The pop-punk troopers of On My Honor are, from left, Jordan Garner, Lucas Sams, Drew Justice, David Fear and Trey MeHaffey.

The pop-punk troopers of On My Honor are, from left, Jordan Garner, Lucas Sams, Drew Justice, David Fear and Trey MeHaffey.

— For four years, On My Honor has been a champion of all-ages shows and toured the country more than most local adult acts. The group, whose membership now runs from ages 18 to 25, has grown musically as it maintains its commitment to younger fans and to frequent live shows.

Since the release of the band's debut full-length album "The Good, the Bad and Getting By," On My Honor has hit its stride, picking up new members Jordan Garner (guitar) and Trey MeHaffey (drums) to allow for a broader range of sounds. While holding true to its pop-punk roots, the group is able to pull off the genre in less predictable ways than its contemporaries.

On My Honor asserts that its next release, anticipated for this spring, will surpass any of its previous work, and the single "Who Wet My Mogwai?" currently on local radio verifies the legitimacy of such claims.

"The band's sound has evolved based on a few things," guitarist Lucas Sams says. "The members we've picked up are a lot more well-rounded and that's helped us branch out a lot. We've been through a lot trying to keep this band together, and I think that's definitely made the songs more personal and that's had an effect. Like any band, the longer you're together the more mature and focused your music gets, and I think that's definitely shaped where we're going musically as well."

"Currently, we're writing and recording a lot of demos for an EP that we're hoping to have out this spring," adds vocalist Drew Justice. "I think it's undeniable that our sound has evolved since 'The Good, the Bad and Getting By.' Every member of the band has improved a great deal. Lyrically, I'm reaching a little deeper than before, addressing some inhibitions in writing that I never even realized I had. Everyone's pushing their own limits, and what we're finding is something I'm incredibly proud of."

While many bands shy away from large-scale touring for economic reasons, On My Honor has adjusted to life on the road and is able to travel efficiently with minimal preparation. The band has applied a similar low maintenance approach to recording its upcoming EP.

"With the way the economy is, everyone's trying to save money and we're no different," says Sams. "We've never done a record in such a spread out way, so I'm looking forward to hearing how it's all going to come together. We've toured mostly on our own since (the last release). We never wanted to be a band that just tries to hop on other bands' tours."

"I almost feel like we're less prepared every time we go out," Justice picks up. "Where I used to spend a week and a half preparing, now it's not uncommon for me to pick one pair of jeans to last four weeks the night before we leave and print off confirmation e-mails and addresses on the morning of. You sort of learn that there are no 'normal' expectations in terms of shows, and I think less things stress us out or surprise us now."

On My Honor performs at 7 p.m. today at The Valarium.

"This show is the same weekend that we used to host shows at The Ritz Theater in Clinton, so it's kind of like an anniversary show for us," explains Justice. "It's one day away from being exactly four years since our first show. There are a few giveaways and such happening for the earlier arrivals.

"We've had a ton of support for the show from Valarium, 90.3 and 94.3, and it's awesome to see so many different forces coming together to support locals and the all-ages movement. We've always felt really blessed to have the hometown backing that we do, and this has been a great embodiment of that love and support. We seriously can't thank everyone enough."

n WALSHING MACHINE: This weekend The Pilot Light hosts back-to-back Brandon Biondo projects. Tonight Walsh joins Eshka Paper and Rumblytums, and Saturday night Cool Runnings takes the stage with Smith Westerns and Yuck. Both shows are slated for 10 p.m.

n LUCKY STARS: Wednesday The Square Room's Sound Off competition continues. Round 5 offers a showdown between The Gentleman Conspiracy, Madre, Lions, Davis Mitchell and Rally. This round features a Madonna theme, meaning one song from each band's set must be a Madonna cover. Doors open at 7 p.m. with music starting at 8, and admission is $5.

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