To set this scene for what you are about to read, I have to start from the moment I knew The Day After would never be just another Indianapolis local band. About three to four years ago when the idea of the world shutting down was only a fear in the back of my mind and local shows on the weekends were a ritual. I was attending a house show in Muncie Indiana, where I watched every band play in a tight fit and poorly light basement of some college kids I had never met. This was one of few shows I got to attend in Muncie and it so happened to be the one that I can say confidently, changed my life. I had heard of the band The Day After prior but this would be the first time I saw how intimate the songs they played were. This would be the first moment since I entered the local music scene just a few short months before, that I felt like I was actually heard. The first moment in what I honestly could not tell you, that I felt I was not alone. As if someone was speaking directly to me, telling me, I would not feel this way forever. That my life was worth fighting for.
Ten years ago I was only eleven turning twelve and knew nothing about the world I like to call home now in the music scene. At that time in my life, I could have really used the music that The Day After created with The Year. I did not know what it was like to have a voice until I stepped into this scene and found not only bands like them but The Day After themselves, in that basement on what I would like to remember to be a rainy Friday, in Muncie. Ten years ago lead vocalist and founder as of 2008 Kevin Kirk, remembers writing The Year and feeling convinced for the first time that he, himself indeed had a voice. To associate this now with what I felt in that basement is so surreal because watching them play made me feel like I too, was not voiceless. I know now what this music means to me and how it changed my life when I was just shy of being twenty years old. It is truly beyond me how it would have been to feel this ten years ago. It is music like this that gives us a place to feel safe, heard and proves to us that what we feel truly matters.
Preparing for this piece I was informed that these songs and the chapter that created them would be coming to a close. I wanted to be open and honest about this band, what they did for me and how important The Year was and still is for this scene. In talks of their ten-year anniversary show for The Year on May 13th, 2022 at The Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, the band as a whole has stated this will most likely be an end to The Year and a new chapter is right around the corner. With that in mind, I asked the band two very candid questions.
What did The Year mean to you?
Collin Fiol, Bass and vocals, 2015: “I wasn't in the band at the time of the release, but they were some of my best friends even back then. One of my favorite photos is a candid shot of me and Kevin at the release show for The Year having a real nice long hug as soon as their set ended. Playing these songs with these guys has been an absolute blast, and I wish I was in the band sooner so I could have played them more.”
Jacob Rangel, Guitar, 2009: “It was a huge turning point in my life. A lot of great times with a lot of really tough times mentally and emotionally. Writing and playing these songs gave me a sense of purpose. People are attached to the music more than I could have imagined.”
Kevin Kirk, Vocalist, Founding member as of 2008: “The Year was the first time I truly poured my heart into a vision that was completely my own. Coming off one of the worst years of my life (depressed, dropping out of college, defeated in just about every way), writing songs purely for myself in the hopes that I could establish and prove my own self-worth, was simultaneously an immense struggle and surprisingly natural experience. In the years since, I’d like to think I’ve become a far better songwriter, producer, and all-around musician, but The Year was truly the first time I felt convinced that I had a voice worth making heard. To my genuine surprise, some people connected with the music in the exact way I had hoped, and that legacy, however, limited it may be, will always mean the world to me. Beyond that, these songs will always be fun as hell to play in a live setting with friends and strangers alike.”
Daniel Herring, Drummer since 2010: “The Year was one of the first albums that I was a part of. When Kevin and I started writing the first couple songs in his basement, I knew we had something great. The music we wrote had a way to connect with the local scene at the time which helped us grow into the band we are today.”
How do you feel about the closing of this chapter?
Collin: “These songs mean a lot to me, but I'm extremely excited about the new stuff we are about to show everyone. It's very different. And honestly, it's just time to move forward. We love these old songs, but we're likely only going to break them out for very special occasions going forward. It's a new beginning, and I hope everyone is still along for the ride because I can confidently say that there is a song on the new record that is my new favorite TDA song.”
Jacob: “It feels really good to move forward and start playing music that is just as emotional, but even more relevant to today. The year will always mean a lot to me. But this new stuff is a step forward.”
Kevin: “The release of The Year feels like a lifetime ago. So many great and terrible things have happened in my life (our lives) since then. We’ve traveled to places I would’ve never been otherwise, and met people I value immensely in the process. I have no delusions of grandeur (we’re no rockstars), but I value those moments of connectedness and intimate synergy while performing music so much, be it to 5 people or 500. That said, I let the setbacks we’ve experienced get in the way of the creative process, and eventually, we just fell back on playing these same songs time and time again. It’s time for a fresh start; a new chapter. The problems in my life that inspired The Year feel like a distant memory, and we have new, more relevant things to say through our music. I want to keep pushing myself and to do that, I think it’s time to leave The Year in the 20-teens and release new music to once again prove to myself that I have a voice.”
Daniel: “It's bittersweet. It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years since we dropped The Year. We got to play and see many bands that we loved and travel to many different cities that I never thought I would see. This isn't the end though, we look forward to seeing where this next album will take us and seeing how this music will connect with our fans today.”
This band is the representation of keeping your friends close and creating a purpose for everyone else in the room too. The Day After have been waiting for a long time to once again put their heart and head on the line. This album, this band, what they stand for, and what they have given me in the worst year of my own life will help me move forward now, more than it ever has. Trying to figure myself out and trying to find purpose once again in my own sense of being. This is what music is about. As guitarist Jacob Rangel stated, people attached themselves to these songs. I have never been to a TDA show where it did not get rowdy and where no one was yelling these words right back. This band created a sense of community that I still for the life of me can not find again anywhere else. Creating that ten years ago and being able to say it not only stuck but it grew, is something not a lot of local bands in any area can say.
The Day After is heavily beloved here in Indy and always will be. The Year heavily influenced a lot of us to seek out more of what made/makes us feel alive. It created this open door to finding ourselves even when things simultaneously just hit the fan. The Year proves to be a story of crashing into a whirlwind of emotions when we have no idea of where we are going in life and sets the tone to fight for whatever it is that is left of us, even if it doesn't feel like there is much left to fight for. This album will always, to me, represent a strong sense of humanness and reality of what it is like to live a life in your head and never give yourself enough credit. It is no wonder that when I was almost twenty years old, this band and their music touched me so effortlessly.
To close, I think what TDA did with these songs for ten years was worth more than what even they could have ever hoped and dreamed for. They are indeed rockstars. It was a huge turning point for all of their lives and for so many lives surrounding them. This music did what it was supposed to do for ten whole years, for them and all of us who have listened and showed up to every show. We will have these songs and these memories forever. As cheesy as it sounds, anyone who has ever loved these songs and the band who wrote and played them, can only assume that this next chapter is exactly what they meant when they said, “the best is yet to come.”
I look forward to capturing this show on May 13th, 2022 in Indianapolis at The Hoosier Dome and you can buy your tickets here: https://wl.seetickets.us/event/The-Day-After-10-Years-Of-The-Year/474811?afflky=HoosierDome&fbclid=IwAR3AwZJFAvwYYS3Cxc9TD6J9Taq1tmG0AGm47JYzxqKVrF4OzhRCEokU5Yk
To stay up to date with The Day After what they are doing and working on, you can connect with them below
Written and Constructed by: Cass Martin for Black Serpent Press
Photos Provided by Mya Tolliver and taken of The Day After on 7/10/2022 - find Mya on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/mya.png/?hl=en