Party Guru Press

Interview: Get to Know the Pop-Punk Band, Home By 11

Interview: Get to Know the Pop-Punk Band, Home By 11

Kierstin Rounsefell

October 11th, 2020

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Home By 11 is an amazing pop-punk band based in Denver, Colorado. They are made up of a group of five close friends: Josh Cherry (vocals), Jared Hamrick (guitar), Lee Marino (bass), Kory Bob Caya (guitar), and Josh Brown (drums).

This captivating group has been together for about a year and a half, and their debut show was in January of 2019. Since then, Home By 11 has come an extremely long way! In addition to playing shows in both Denver and Fort Collins, they’ve also released a few singles along the way. You might recognize their songs “Drop The Act”, “Battlegrounds”, and “Work Smarter, Play Harder”.

This week, Jesse Haswell from Party Guru Press got the chance to interview two members of Home By 11. During this Zoom interview, Home By 11 talked about how they got started as a band, what they’ve been up to this summer, and what’s coming up for them as a group. To learn more about this fun, kind-hearted group, keep reading!

Jesse Haswell (Party Guru Press): If you could state your name and how you got into playing music, that would be a great place to start.

Jared Hamrick (Home By 11): Go ahead, Lee. You can go first.

Lee Marino (Home By 11): Okay. My name is Lee and I started playing music when I was fifteen. I went to my girlfriend, if you can call it that, I think I was in seventh grade or something. But, we’d do a youth group where I met some kids that were like, “we’re forming a band”, and none of us played. Well, they played some instruments, sort of, not well, but they made me the “singer” of the band ‘cause I couldn’t play anything. When the bassist of “the band” moved away, he gave me his bass guitars saying, “you should keep playing with these guys” and I’ve been playing bass ever since then.

Jesse: Wow, that’s a story and a half.

Lee: It’s weird, that’s how I got into it, man. And, at first, it was like a joke, like we kind of said we were a group, but we really weren’t ‘cause we couldn’t play anything. But I guess you’ve got to start somewhere and that’s how I started. I started playing bass because the bassist left and I was forced to. At first, I hated it ‘cause I was like, “I’ve got to learn how to play something? I thought I was just in this to be cool, what happened?” But you’re like, a seventh-grader, so I started playing Blink 182 songs after school and stuff like that, trying to figure it all out.

Jesse: That is awesome, that has to be the most unique story I’ve ever heard.

Lee: Really?

Jesse: Yeah!

Lee: I got forced into it, Jesse. I didn’t even have a choice. *All laughing.*

Jesse: “I didn’t want this, but it’s me.

Lee: They made me do it, man.

Jared: Alright, so, my name’s Jared and I actually kind of got forced to play music as well, but it was by my parents. They, I can’t really say “forced”, but they wanted me to learn piano and stuff, like classical kinds of music and everything. So…I started playing piano whenever I was about five and that went on until about eleven or so. And then, I actually played bass.

Jared: Bass was the first string instrument I picked up and a buddy of mine, a really good friend of mine, still good friends today, we started third grade together and we’ve been best friends since, but he made a bet with me, kind of, sort of, that I couldn’t be better at a six-string guitar, a regular standard guitar, than he was, and I was a little cocky and I picked it up and honestly, it was almost like, it turned into like this thing where I would just get home from school and I would like, just, four hours, straight. Just play and play and play, like nothing stopped. My older brother ended up getting an actual, really good, it was a Jackson Kelly, really good guitar and pretty good amp, and I mean, I pretty much snagged that from him the second day he had it, and I just never looked back. But yeah, so I’ve been playing guitar for about fifteen years now, or so.

Jesse: Wow.

Jared: Yeah, pretty steadily, yeah, fifteen years. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. That’s how I got started. My parents, thanks mom and dad. Appreciate it.

Lee: Is it weird that none of us went willingly, Jesse? Is that weird?

Jesse: That is a first. Every other band I’ve interviewed so far, mostly Fort Collins bands, they’re all like, “yeah, I started playing instruments when I was five years old, you know, I’ve always wanted to do this”, and then you guys come along and you’re like, “yeah, my friends forced me into it, my parents forced me into it, now here we are”. That is actually quite incredible. So, since they aren’t here, you guys have five members in your band, correct?

Lee and Jared nod.

Jesse: Could you tell me a little bit about how you met them and how they got involved?

Jared: Um, sure. So, actually, it started with the rhythm guitars, Kory Caya??, it started with him and I and an old vocalist that we had. We all met on Craiglist, believe it or not. And then Kory actually got a hold of Lee off of Craiglist, I believe, as well and pulled him to a practice, pretty much forced him to go, if I remember correctly. And then we were jamming for a while with an old drummer and an old vocalist and, um, things didn’t work out and we ended up picking up Josh Brown, our current drummer, and then we also picked up Josh Cherry, our current vocalist, and it has been smooth sailing ever since, pretty much. 

Jesse: That is incredible. So, I know you just touched on it a little bit, but could you expand on how the band got started? What date?

Jared: Oh, jeez. The date? Oh, man. Okay, so Home By 11 got started probably like a year and a half ago, Lee? Right?

Lee: Yeah, that sounds about right. 

Jared: Yeah. 

Lee: With kind of the current members. We had a few people that we were jamming with but kind of once we formed our current entity and moved forward and got songs and the concept and kind of the product, if you will, what we have now, I would say it’s been probably a year and a half. Obviously, through COVID, it’s made things interesting with like, time is kind of in a vacuum right now. You know, when it comes to the music scene. It’s been difficult for us to play with venues still being closed and guidelines in place and stuff like that. But I would say yeah, it’s been about a year and a half or so with our current setup.

Jesse: Alright, well that’s interesting that you mentioned COVID because my next question was what were you guys, what was the direction your band was taking before COVID hit? I know you had that show back in January that I saw you guys at with Bluprint and The Timberline. And, I know you had a show shortly after in Denver. Was that a CD release party that you guys were having out there?

Jared: Yeah, it was um, what was the…

Lee: Your Own Medicine? I believe it was their EP release, and…

Jared: Sold out Marquis show.

Lee: Yeah, it was crazy. It was really awkward timing. It was a sold out show that was on the thirteenth? It was like two days before lockdown happened. We didn’t know lockdown was happening, but it was that weekend before, I think they announced the lockdown on the following Wednesday, the twenty-fifth of March?

Lee: It was the weekend before that, but it was a sold-out show at the Marquis and they wanted us to play, actually, because there was talk of the lockdown and stuff like this, but the show was like a day away and it was still on and actually, the bands made a choice for the safety of the band members and the fans and everyone going, the bands actually made the choice to cancel the show, or postpone the show, but I believe the Marquis, they’re still not having live events ‘cause they’re in Denver, but there’s a chance that show may get rescheduled hopefully at some point.

Jared: Who knows. Next year. March? Who knows. 

Lee: Yeah, it was awkward timing ‘cause we were all set to play and it was literally all the way up until the day of, we were kind of like “we’re doing this, we’re doing this. Are we doing this? We’re doing this,” kind of thing and the day of, all the bands got together and kind of decided that. We were talking on messenger and social media and stuff and we kind of made the executive decision together that we knew what we were dealing with, and it wasn’t the best idea.

Jared: Right.

Jesse: So, from that show, I know you had that show scheduled, did you have any other shows scheduled this year before you knew that, well before COVID hit? What was your plan for this year?

Jared: So I believe we did have another show in April lined up as well. And then, we were going to go to the studio in May and then unfortunately, COVID came and we were still able to go to the studio in May, so we were still able to produce our current single. We have some other stuff we’re working on. It’s a secret. And then, in July, we were able to record our music video that’s out now for “Work Smarter, Play Harder”.

Jesse: I saw that.

Jared: Yeah, and COVID’s really put the brakes on live events, obviously, and everything like that, but we’ve been trying, obviously, alternative ways. We’ve been really trying to hound social media, trying to figure that piece out. It’s kind of a crazy thing, but definitely the music videos, we’re planning on going back to the studio again, hopefully soon, hopefully within the next couple of months, maybe next year, but hopefully within the next couple of months. We’re just crossing our fingers that next year, shows come back by, like, summer or even like autumn sometime. You know, fall shows are still just as fun, but it’s been lonely, man.

Jesse: Oh yeah, definitely. Well it’s interesting that you mentioned that you’ve been trying to find inspiration and continue to work on stuff through COVID because that’s my next question. You had a plan, you had at least one show, you had the studio. How did everything change once COVID hit? Obviously, you couldn’t do those shows anymore, but how were you guys feeling once it hit?

Jared: Do you want to take this one?

Lee: At first, we didn’t know how long it was going to last or if it was going to be a couple weeks. We weren’t sure. On top of that, we didn’t know, is it safe for us to practice together? Some of our members have families. Some of our members have friends that work in the medical field. Some of our members are in contact with other people who work and stuff like this. We didn’t know, can we even get together? Can we even practice? The stay-at-home order in March, we didn’t practice at all. We were kind of waiting for things to happen. We can still work on music and send each other stuff, but for us, the main way we operate is out of the room. You know, we go into the room, work on stuff, we hammer it out, the next day we do it all again.

Lee: So, it kind of changed the dynamic and it was definitely something that we had to get used to. Our strategy right now, we had all sorts of tentative stuff lined up, like Jared was saying. We didn’t have anything like the sold-out show that was booked and ready to go, but we had a lot of tentative things in April and May and June that all fell through, of course. But, our strategy, I think, since then has been to write music ‘cause we can’t perform music right now, or if we can it’s a limited capacity. One thing we can do is have more material, have more content, have more songs, have more music. So, currently we’re working on another EP, we’re working on more music, more songs so that we have more new stuff to come out with when we do get that chance back to play for all the fans and stuff like that. 

Jesse: Well, that’s awesome. Have you guys done any livestream shows since everything kind of shut down?

Jared: No, actually we haven’t. It’s always been on our radar, however, COVID impacted some of us financially whenever it hit, some of the band members. We were able to have the money to go to the studio in May, but, unfortunately, it’s just those types of events can be kind of expensive and we don’t have, personally, the equipment really to put on a production like that. It’s always been on the radar, though.

Jared: I still would love to do something like that, but the music video was the closest thing we could probably get to something like that. And I think, with the music video we did kind of like, a live show setting and everything like that so hopefully that brought some time of remembrance to some people of what it’s like being at a show.

Jesse: Sure, definitely. Well I do want to talk a little bit about that music video. Not having known you guys for very long, even after the show at Hodi’s earlier this year, did you guys produce that video before COVID hit or was it more something that came after?

Jared: So we shot that video at the Soiled Dove in July, middle of July, and I believe we had the final cut by the middle of August, if I’m right. Right, Lee?

*Lee nods.*

Jared: Yeah. And then we released it at the end of August. 

Lee: That sounds about right, yeah.

Jared: Kyle from Digital Myle, he’s the one who produced the entire music video for us. Great guy, huge shoutout. He’s a great guy, he does amazing work for local bands in Denver and I cannot give him a bigger round of applause. He blew our socks off with that thing and got it back to us so quickly.

Lee: Easy to work with, awesome guy.

Jesse: That’s a pretty impressive turnaround for a music video from shoot to release. So, how were you guys feeling about that? I know there had to be some sort of anxiety going into the music video.

Jared: So the music video itself, it was just the band members, Kyle, one other guy, his aid basically, he had two photographers come out to help us out, Rudy Meadows and Lexi Hane, and then there was the Soiled Dove sound guy and their light guy, and they were up in the booth in the back. It was a private event, pretty much for all of us. It was basically like, if you’re not feeling sick and you don’t have a temperature, no real symptoms, come on down and help us out. Personally, it wasn’t too nerve wracking for me. Again, it wasn’t that many people, it was a private shoot. 

Jesse: Well, it sounds like a lot of fun and the music video definitely came out looking really professionally done and I was really impressed with it and really enjoyed watching it.

Lee: Thank you!

Jared: Yeah, thank you very much Jesse.

Lee: I’m glad you liked it.

Jesse: I definitely want to touch on something that you mentioned earlier. It sounds like you have some new material coming out, some of it’s pretty secret, do you want to mention anything about that? Give little hints or anything of that nature?

Lee: I got it, Jared. I got it. I got it. I think what we’re going for is some of kind of the new school pop punk feel. We’re kind of focusing more on some of the new, more modern riffs and stuff like that that are super catchy, super interesting and kind of rhythmically different than what people are used to hearing. It adds a lot of depth to the music and a lot of the parts are really intricate, really cool, and really catchy. And that’s kind of the direction we’re moving in. Kind of more towards what we did in the last single, but I’d say even more of a focus on it. ‘Cause I think what it does is when you have guitar work like that, the song is a little more interesting to the listener and stuff like that. Jared, what do you got? What can you tell Jesse about what we’re working on?

Jared: Alright, so, Jesse, like we said we’re moving in a more modern, pop punk tone. Our older stuff is more in a vein of, I would say early 2000s kind of pop punk, kind of fast, kind of drivey and everything like that, and we’re more running into this more groovy kind of pop punk I feel like, more stuff that people can dance to and everything like that. It’s just going to be, I think, it’s going to be the best stuff Home By 11’s come out with so far, by leagues. So be prepared, everyone. 

Jesse: Do you guys have an anticipated release date for that EP that you’re working on? You know, just something in the ballpark? I don’t want to back you guys into a corner by any means, but you know, just, something?

Lee: Yeah, I think we want to record maybe, December?

Jared: Yeah.

Lee: That’ll give us a couple months, like maybe we spend October, November, trying to hammer out four or five songs and then we get into the studio sometime in December. And then, we would be set up kind of for the following year, probably to release like January. We could either release all of it at once or we could release like one song in January/February, and then another song in March or April and then, you know, another song in May or June kind of thing. So, I think that’s kind of our tentative plans. For the next two months, try to write that music and get it solid.

Lee: We already have a lot of great ideas that are really cool that we can’t wait to share with everybody. I think we’re getting more comfortable as a band writing together, and we’re getting more comfortable kind of establishing our style, or establishing our formula or our method of writing. We’re getting more on the same page like-minded-ness of “yeah, that’s what we want” or “that’s what sounds good, that’s what we’re going for”. When we have that, I think your best stuff starts to come out and we’re kind of in that stage as a band right now, so it’s really exciting. Yeah, I think that’s our tentative plan. October, November, work on this stuff and then hopefully record it in December, and then release it the following 2021.

Jesse: That is incredible. I’m super excited to hear some of that new stuff once you have it. I do like to try and keep these interviews short, so my final question is what else would you like your fans, potential readers, to know about your band?

Lee: Tell ‘em, Jared! You go, then I’ll go.

Jared: Okay. So, actually, most recently, we are now a four-piece.

Jesse: Really?

Jared: Yes. Our rhythm guitarist, Kory, he is moving to Florida. You know, Kory’s a great guy and we love him to death and we wish him the very, very best. So, potential readers, if you’re possibly a guitarist and you’re pretty good, shoot us a message and we’ll try to hook it up. I guess that’s the big thing on mine. Lee, if you have anything else you want our potential fans, our potential readers to know about us?

Lee: I would say that we’re all just a bunch of dorks.

Jared: Pretty much.

Lee: We don’t take ourselves too seriously, we love to have fun, and when we’re at our best, we’re playing music ‘cause we love it and because it’s a blast to do. We hope that when you listen to our songs, you feel a little bit of that. And don’t forget to have fun, no matter what you’re doing. Don’t forget to have fun. I think that’s something we stand for, that’s something that’s in all of our music and in everything we do. We’re just a bunch of dorks that like to play music and like to have a good time, like to have fun. We hope you feel that when you listen to our stuff too.

Jesse: Well, thank you so much for joining me tonight guys. It was awesome to finally be able to kind of meet you in person, as much as really is possible right now.

Party Guru Productions wants to send a huge thank you to Lee and Jared from Home By 11 for taking the time to chat with us! We also want to give Kory a proper send off and wish him the best of luck on his upcoming move to Florida.

To keep up with all things Home By 11, click the links below!

Photos by Jesse Haswell

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