While some musicians perform locally, others branch out, traveling to different states in order to do what they love–perform. For one KSC student, driving to Boston is just one thing he does for his band. Senior music major Mark McCarthy is a member of Fordham Road, a band based out of Boston, Massachusetts.
The band’s other members, drummer Tom Shubsda and lead vocals Kristian Veech, attend college at Berklee College of Music, and are both third-year students.
Shubsda and Veech, who lived in the same residence hall their first year, started the band over a year ago.
“Tom had formed a band called ‘From Dawn to Dusk’ with a few other friends and they needed a keyboard player, so he asked me to play some keys for them, which I did. The remnants of that band kind of became Fordham Road,” said Veech.
With creating a new band came the task of finding a new name, something that’s not always easy. Fordham Road’s inspiration came from a coincidence.
“Berklee College of Music actually has a practice facility on Fordham Road…that we practice at… we noticed that nobody had taken the name ‘Fordham Road,’ but we did not decide to name it Fordham Road until I made the connection that one of my best friends in Syracuse lives on Fordham Road in Syracuse, New York,” Shubsda said.
It was McCarthy’s sister, Amanda, who introduced McCarthy to Shubsda. About two years ago, Amanda met Shubsda at a gig. The two eventually went to a show together in Syracuse, New York, where McCarthy tagged along.
In the summer of 2016, McCarthy officially joined the progressive-rock band. While Shubsda and Veech’s influence come from a number of progressive rock bands, McCarthy himself draws inspiration from jazz.
“Their biggest influences are Rush, Genesis, Yes, Kansas, Boston…I kind of draw more from a jazz perspective,” said McCarthy.
“We all have the vision of taking progressive music, but making it accessible, so that people who don’t have that background can enjoy the music.”
They also take inspiration from contemporary artists, such as Neutral Milk Hotel and Ed Sheeran, as noted by Veech.
Earlier this month, on Feb. 7, Fordham Road’s first extended play, or EP, was released, according to their website. The EP is titled, “The Gates of Heaven,” and is based off of an event in Shubsda’s life.
“It’s about our drummer’s f[irst year] roommate who died last year and the lyrical content is about that road to recovery from that loss…,” said McCarthy.
Shubsda also commented and said, “The EP release is kind of a personal thing for me,” noting that he and his first-year roommate were best friends.
“A couple months after that happened, I got the idea to… write about it and so Kristian and I talked about it and we came up with an EP that dealt with what it’s like to go through that type of experience.”
The band decided that they weren’t going to just collect all the profits for themselves. Instead, they came up with an alternative plan.
“…that’s where the charity comes in, Hope for the Day. It’s a charity aimed at suicide prevention and mental health awareness. And we’ve been donating 60 percent of all our profits to that charity,” said McCarthy.
According to the charity’s website, “Hope For The Day (HFTD) focuses on suicide prevention and mental health education through self-expression platforms to achieve outreach, education and prevention,” with their motto being “It’s ok not to be ok.”
During their EP release show, Fordham Road raised over $400 for the charity.
“It was one of my favorite shows that I’ve ever played,” said Shubsda.
In the future, Shubsda said he hopes to expand their playing region. “I just kind of see us expanding,” he said. “We’re looking to extend out to play in Ohio, Pennsylvania… and then from there I’m going to start looking at festivals and colleges and just kind of more places where we can play more of our original music.”
Fordham Road’s EP can be can be found on Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes. They also plan on releasing a new album within the next few months.
Alexandria Saurman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org