Reach 454
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Reach 454
HOME TOWN: New York City, NY
Rene Mata (vocals)
Richie Cipriano (guitars)
Danny Martinez (bass)
John Kamoosi (drums)

Nothing good ever comes easy. But in the case of New York's Reach 454 the trial by fire made them better and stronger. The quartet was founded in 1996 by former Sick of It All bassist Richie Cipriano, who gave up the bass for a six-string and the hardcore sound for something more mainstream. He recruited singer Rene Mata, bassist Dan Martinez, and drummer John Kamoosi (formerly of Day in a Life). The band toiled in the New York City club scene for nearly six years, making friends and playing shows with Papa Roach, Cypress Hill, The Used, Adema, System of a Down... just before each band went on to get their big break. "It seemed every time we'd play with a band, like, two seconds later they'd get signed or become huge," laughs Cipriano. "We were like, 'What are we doing wrong?'" But Reach 454 just kept slugging it out, believing that "all we needed was just one person in the record business to see us and believe in us and want to promote us," the guitarist says.` They weren't about to give up though. They'd been through worse, but if they weren't such great friends, they would have broken up over the difficulties. Since they had each other and they had their music, they kept on truckin'. Bassist Dan Martinez was the bands (then known as Reach) biggest fan, videotaping all of their shows and learning all of the songs. He was rewarded when he was asked to join the band, his second show with Reach 454 was in front of 3000 kids at the Warped Tour. And it wasn't all misery: Helmet's Page Hamilton played and sang on the bands demo, and before they were signed they got a lot of support from NYC stalwart station K-Rock. Lots of singers write about how miserable life can be. Few have lived through the kind of horrors that Reach 454 singer Rene Mata has. His band's self-titled debut is an autobiography set to electrifyingly low-end riffs, sung with power, rage, and regret. It's not navel-gazing; it's a trip to hell and back. Take the song "6 YRS." It's about being sober for six years, as its title implies, but its roots are heavier than the bone-crushing riffs that accompany the lyrics. "I was a heroin addict; I got hooked on drugs at 17," Mata says. "Part of the lyrics are, 'My father said we will fight, won't let you die, son.' And my dad really said that to me; I ODed and they thought I was dead. It was a miracle that I lived through the night, and my dad was telling me that he wasn't going to let me die. It's me telling my family that I'm sorry that I put them through all of that and that I'll never be that way again. I won't let myself fall." Despite his experiences, the good-natured singer has nothing but a positive attitude about has past. This posture colors the record-the hooks soar without being preachy. And though his life is unique, he's able to translate his past pain into something that everybody can relate (and rock out) to. Check out opening track and first single "New Scar." With a verse built on tribal drums and a wide-open, thudding riff and a chorus of "You'll never see what I've been through/I won't be like you," "New Scar" rages against the past and while Mata defiantly and confidently faces whatever challenge comes next in life. His and the band's positive attitude were rewarded when the person who believed in them finally came calling. That person turned out to be fellow New Yorker, Lava Records President Jason Flom, who called Mata at nine a.m. the Monday morning following a private showcase secured by the bands new management team Stefano DiBenedetto and Nino DiBenedetto of Cosa Nostra Management. Flom told Mata that he had to sign them. After struggling for so long, when Mata called Cipriano at his graphic design job to tell him the great news, the guitarist didn't believe him. Mata had to conference call Flom for Cipriano to hear it for himself. "We were passed on by every label," Mata says. "So we developed a don't-give-a-fuck attitude. It helped us persevere through being told no five million times. Now we know what a great opportunity we have, and we want to come out swinging, because we have something to prove." They started swinging right away. Less than a month after the three-way call with Flom, the band was in a Los Angeles studio with producer Jay Baumgardner (Papa Roach, Alien Ant Farm). The band hadn't even signed all of their official paperwork with Lava when they'd begun talking to Baumgardner and booked studio time. "When it rains it pours," says Cipriano. "And it definitely poured that day." Baumgardner helped them sharpen and focus their songs. Cipriano's hardcore history translates into forceful, fuzzed-out riffs and the don't-give-a-fuck attitude allows Mata to sing with an intensity not found in most of his peers. "I think I sang for a month straight," laughs Mata. "Everything I ever wanted to say came out on this record. Every song is true. It's a very personal record for all of us. I really lived all those lyrics. It's a little weird to me that my personal life story is going to be on sale at Best Buy or Tower Records." He better get used to it, because his life story is set to music with choruses that will appeal to the masses and hard parts will make the kids go crazy in the pit. Reach 454 has the heaviness of Bad Brains, Helmet, and Led Zeppelin, with shades of the artiness of Jane's Addiction and The Cure. The quartet's sound is immediately familiar, but stands out in the way that the slamming choruses aren't lightweight and the riff-heavy songs maintain a melody, sharing a sensibility with contemporaries such as the Deftones, P.O.D., Staind, and Papa Roach. Speaking of Papa Roach, that band's Jacoby Shaddix guests on "Come Apart." (Additionally, Charlie Clouser of Nine Inch Nails did all of the album's programming.) Shaddix is a long-time friend of the band, going so far as to champion them in front of a sold-out show in NYC's Hammerstein Ballroom. "Halfway through the set, he stopped the show and put a spotlight on me," says Mata. "He told the crowd that our band ruled and we were great. It was bugged out... He's a real guy." Through it all, Mata and the boys are friendly and upbeat. That's what's given them the courage and strength to persevere, and that's why they'll succeed on their own terms. "Most bands wouldn't have made it through all the struggling we did. And we're that much more grateful to live out our dreams and play our music. Now we're going to keep working and tour our asses off!"