Freshman band together to bring metal to ONU

From left, freshmen Kyle Rzab, Jake Leatherwood, and Blake West formed their band Stars Fall Silent after coming to Olivet last fall. They found drummer Brandon Acosta, who is not an ONU student, and have been working to perfect their live show for an upcoming gig. If they can collectively sell 30 tickets, they will open for popular hardcore band Hawthorne Heights on April 2 in Steger, Ill.


By Aly Gibson

Olivet’s campus has a plethora of different genres of bands; jazz, worship, concert, and now … screamo.

Freshmen Jake Leatherwood, Blake West, and Kyle Rzab, along with their drummer Brandon Acosta, who does not attend ONU, make up the band Stars Fall Silent, and they hope to bring a new love for hardcore music to students.

“We started to piece together the band in October,” Leatherwood said.

West and Leatherwood met on the second day of the fall semester this year and crossed paths a month later.

Rzab had heard about Leatherwood from others and had been trying to get in contact with him, eventually joining up with the band after some time. Looking a bit closer would have proven to be a bit easier, however.

“He [Leatherwood] was sitting next to me in chapel the entire time,” Rzab said.

The name “Stars Fall Silent” came from the help of a friend, Leatherwood explains.

“It was just Stars Fall, but a friend thought of Fall Silent, and we just merged the two together,” he said.

After some changes made to band members and an unproductive audition process for a bassist, Acosta joined on the drums and SFS finally secured a solid line-up.  Next came the task of acquiring music, both covers and original pieces.

“We go off of what we listen to individually and as a band,” Rzab said.

West agreed, adding that they currently have “four and a half songs,” two of which are covers.

“One is from A Day to Remember and the other is a metal cover of a Ke$ha song,” Leatherwood added.

While the reward of being able to play for friends, family, and even new listeners comes with being a part of the band, West, Rzab, and Leatherwood say that being full-time students comes first, making it hard to find time for both activities, which mean a lot to them.

“We get around to practicing two to three times a week,” Rzab said, with Leatherwood adding that they book shows for the weekends.

They found the time in the beginning of March to start recording what will be their first demo, something they plan to release as soon. Rzab noted that he had to request to take a mid-term early just to make the session on time.

“My grades will show that I’m in a band,” West said.

The next venture for SFS will be a breakthrough performance with popular hardcore band Hawthorne Heights on Apr. 2 in Steger, Ill. While they hope to get signed and possibly make their band a full-time gig, they are currently aiming to get a seven-song set for the show.

“We have to sell 30 tickets in order to open for the band, so we’re hoping

we can find people who like the music and want to go,” Leatherwood said.

West summed up that while it can be hard to come across students on campus who like screamo or hardcore, he explained that the style requires skill and that more people should give it a chance.

“I hate when people bash this music,” he said. “It’s really raw and real.”

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