NeverWake is a leading metal band that has roots in the Pittsburgh music scene. First formed in 2010 they have crafted a sound that is dark, melodic, and a twisting road of metal mixed with enough rock to keep it in a world of its own. They have shared the stage with members of Disturbed, Slipknot, Korn, and Nonpoint, just to name a few, and can be found at many national shows during a year. My most memorable experience with this band was the Neverwake Sleepwalker Ball, an event they plan on doing annually that benefits their hometown by giving proceeds to Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital. You can easily find most of this on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/neverwakemusic/ or website http://www.neverwakemusic.com/. I’m here to give you a unique, inside view of their world and their music, which will make you go back and relisten to the songs you love and see them in a different way.
I have NeverWake on several playlists, subscribe to their YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj9meW3QjeLUVL3FG9bFTYgl) , and mix their Pandora channel in with my regular listening. I also have the pleasure of knowing them as well as their manager, Dino Giovannone of Atomic Cowboy Productions. I have seen the antics of their guitarist, Justin Sanford, at dinner parties and watched his family grow. Vocalist Johnny DiCarlo has always been the sweet guy with a trademark shock of white hair, teasing and joking in a quiet, down to earth manner at shows. Writing this article was my privilege because, though NeverWake is becoming a giant name and outgrew the ‘local band’ moniker some time ago, they haven’t lost touch with where they started and have many friends in local scenes. They took the opportunity to feature some of those friends in the video for “Suffocate”, set to be released February 13th, 2018. Dan GTX, of GTX Meida, was called upon for video work that Johnny directed and edited, while the various demons were played by area musicians; Jerry Mulligan of Winter’s Decent (Jealousy), Julia Balzano of Spinning Jenny (Anxiety/Depression), Brian Meeks of Resistance 13 (Betrayal), and Dan “Dutch” Lawrence of The Gossamer Project (Time). Look these bands up and you’ll find they are from all over, different genres, and various levels in the industry but they are all great bands who believe in supporting their music scene and their friends, just like the members of NeverWake.
Why do the demons have names and what’s with a time demon? These are demons each of them battle. The time demon belongs to Justin. His beautiful family, day to day job, his music, it adds up to three full time jobs and time is something he’s constantly battling. Each demon represented in the video is something they have had to fight against, something that has held them back, something they work constantly to overcome. An unfortunate side effect of many of these demons is that, in an industry of starving businessmen, musicians must quietly battle their issues and stay on top of deadlines… but Johnny doesn’t want to be silent anymore. He wants to let people know that he understands and lives daily with the demons that keep him from doing things he loves and needs to be doing. A recent, very dark time, of depression even postponed the release of this video. On top of the day-to-day stress of life and work he has a constant fight to stay afloat in a world of instant access social media, deadlines, and depression is a monster that tries to get in his way. The songs that he writes are reflections of his anxiety and depression and his personal anthems that help to fight against the worst days. Each member of NeverWake agrees that when fans come to them and tell them how much the songs have meant to them personally, that is the greatest compliment and keeps them driven.
Refusing to be held back NeverWake marches forward by continuing with plans to get back into the studio this year and looking at upcoming tour dates. They use the darkness as a jumping off point, creating music that has a deep meaning to themselves and their fans. They refuse to be broken pieces, instead knitting themselves together with melodies and screams of triumph and pain to burst from the depths so many of us have sunk into – bursting towards the light and bringing everyone they can with them. Their fans are known as SleepWalkers and they entrance those who hear them and connect with the deeper meanings of their lyrics and dark harmonies. They are warriors of their craft and overcome their enemies within.
“Suffocate” isn’t just a music video or a song, it’s the way NeverWake wants to bring hope to the people who feel that they’re alone in their darkness. They are four men who deal with the same situations as you or I, but they are using their music as an escape from the darkness. They are putting all of themselves into what they do and refusing to suffocate. The lyrics and symbolism in the video reach out to others who are on the verge of giving up and offer hope from those who are battling right along with you. Find them, reach out to them, know that you aren’t alone, and escape into the dream with NeverWake.
For more information on NeverWake you can find them featured on our associate sites:
Chimera Magazine (Interview) – http://thechimeramagazine.com/2017/12/04/neverwake-living-dreams-able-give-back
PA Local Bands (Featured Artist of the Month) – https://www.palocalbands.com/
Like the photos from the article? Photo credit goes to our own Jana Lee Macheca. Find more on:
Chimera Magazine (Sleepwalker Ball) – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.366324837124732.1073742056.243498566074027&type=1&l=69f1946ba5
First Angel’s Images (with Bumblefoot at the Hard Rock Cafe/Complete set) – https://firstangel.smugmug.com/NeverWake