Behind the Beat: Local Heroes

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Erik Wallis photo

Hometown pride has always been an inspirational force for Sakara. Featuring members Joe Rogers (bass), Cody Bryden (electric guitar), Dan O’Brien (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Mike Bilodeau (drums), the band grew up watching Valley acts like Staind, Shadows Fall, and Killswitch Engage. Now having just secured its own record deal, the Agawam-based quartet appears poised to join such area stars on stages across the country.

“We have just signed a record contract with Pavement Entertainment after being discovered by the bass player of the band Soil,” the group says. “Our debut album will be released via Sony distribution in the U.S. and via RFK distribution in Europe. We are currently getting ready to get really busy, release our first single to the radio and hopefully be touring within a few months.”

Not a bad burst of life for a band whose initial idea for a name was inspired by the Egyptian city of the dead.

The group says, “We originally wanted to be called Sakkara, but we found out there was a record label and lots of other musical companies called Sakkara. Sakkara is the city of the dead in Egypt. So we decided to go with Sakara, a type of drum used in tribal settings.”

Though its members have played in other local groups like Nosho, Of the Earth and Rotten Apple, among others, Sakara itself wasn’t formed until Bryden answered a Craigslist ad for music gear posted by Rogers. Now co-owners and operators of MAS Studios in Agawam, the pair also records Sakara’s song ideas, a process which the band admits is time-consuming.

“Someone will come in with a riff, maybe half of a song, and Joe and Cody will record the ideas into Pro Tools,” the group says. “From there we will start to come up with a basic structure and then work it out until it sounds good. Then we will bring it to Chris and Dan and sometimes jam on it and record the jam. It’s usually not a quick process, but we usually work on multiple songs at once. A few songs have just been written 100 percent by Joe or 100 percent by Cody. But usually it’s a lengthy band process.”

Until its new record drops, Sakara’s fans will have to be content with the group’s previously released material. Channeling the angst of grunge as well as the alternative metal of acts like Tool and Incubus, the band’s latest album, Simulation Theory, is filled with songs described as “aggressive rock with a diverse sound.” But according to Rogers, Sakara is constantly evolving, and future tracks may well show signs of the band’s progression.

“When we first started out, we were playing a very heavy style of music,” he says. “As time went on, we started to blend our styles a little more. After we switched to our current singer, we started to focus more on songwriting and leaving more room for vocal melodies.”•

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