We all want to listen to music we can relate to. And while it’s all about the songs, it’s much more relatable to hear the story of your life coming from a basement-playing artist than from a major-labeled musician with a bunch of platinum albums. Inner Outlines get you because they are the same as you. This and the unstoppable power of their sound is what’s truly captivating and inspiring about them. And what made them the winners of the Best Rock Song of February 2019 and a $1000 prize.
photo: Holstein Studios
From Taco Shop To Sold-Out Shows
The Jacksonville, IL band came all the way through the aspiring artists’ experience. They started in 2014 with open mic nights in local bars of Carrollton and Jerseyville, IL and had their first full-band show at a taco shop. Step by step with these small and sometimes charity events the band began to win the audience over, which led to the new opportunities and therefore — new venues. After a gig in St. Louis Inner Outlines were looking forward to four shows in November, having no idea that a tragic event, that will change their lives forever is upon them. The reality collapsed on November 5th when their dear friend and bass player Billie Smith passed away.
The band still managed to perform the planned gigs, leaving the bass position empty in Billie’s honor. Up to now the whole existence of the band is driven by the memory of him. Even the name “Inner Outlines” was created by Smith. And though it wasn’t voted by acclamation, it stuck up as a part of his legacy.
photo: Holstein Studios
When the band began coming to terms with their loss, they started looking for a new bass player. For a short time, Doug Range was filling that role — guitarist Andrew Range’s brother. But after him taking a new job, the searches resumed. Eventually, they brought two new members to the band, transforming it into the quintet. Currently, Inner Outlines consist of Matt Hall on the vocals, Andrew Range and Dylan McCormick on guitars, Cody Walker on drums, and Caleb Elmore on bass. Now, this professional outfit performs sold-out shows, while remaining a group of your average humble guys that once played in the taco shop.
The Speakers Of The Relatable Truth
In five years Inner Outlines managed to release an EP and two full-length albums. Their classic alt-rock/pop-punk sound is often compared to Fallout Boy, though the band itself like to state, that they are “not following in anyone’s footsteps but rather seeking what their Heroes sought.”
Their music carries the best of the pop-punk traditions: it’s loud, it’s powerful, it’s emotional. But more than that — it’s relatable. As Matt Hall once said in their interview for Impose Magazine, “all the songs were written about what we would have wanted to be explained when we were younger.” They sing about the things everybody goes through once in a while. And sometimes they spell out the feelings you didn’t know how to define.
For example, after the release of “Feel Nothing”, the band got huge feedback. “This song has gotten the most radio play out of all the songs, the biggest response, even bigger than I thought it would get.” — Matt told. “There have been bunches of people who say they feel that exact same way. Now I’m able to find my own personal connection with the people that want to chant those words right back at us and fully believe in those. ”
In a way, Inner Outlines are becoming the heroes for the younger generation. The heroes they wish they had in their teenage days. And they use every bit of the opportunity to share their experience. Not only through their music, but in everyday communication and social media. They like to reach out to their audience via Facebook, advocating some essential but straightforward life truths.
“Once in a while, a little pressure is good for your life. You buckle down and push through to get the things done that are required of you for your future.” — They explain. “The truth is, you can not have something from nothing. Nothing has never created something.”
And though these words can seem obvious, sometimes you need to be reminded of them to carry on. Their messages perform the role of a heavenly sign you need today. “There was always something there, maybe you just never saw it until it got big enough for you to believe it.” — they keep on sharing their wisdom.
“It is truly a matter of perspective, and we can tell you that from the very first moment all of us picked up our first instrument and played our first wonky note, there was something there. A passion, A love, A Fire to reach for something more. It has always been there, and here we are now on the verge of releasing yet another piece of art that we created as a group.” And they know what they’re talking about. Because this passion for all others brought them where they are now. “Just remember, if you show up and let your passion fuel you, the greatness that is inside of you will be released for the world around you to see.”
Do What You Love And Love What You Do
There is no secret to their success. It’s all about good old hard work. Inner Outlines truly take their music with all seriousness. It’s not a hobby or a way to gain fame, it’s a work of their lives. “We all have our issues, we touched on that, but we’re all here trying to live the dream and treat this as our job.” — says guitarist Andrew Range. “This is our job, we take it 100 percent seriously, and we want to make sure other people are not only inspired by our music but respect what we are doing as a legitimate form of employment. I want to see a community, a country, a world that backs that kind of forward-thinking.”
These words should become a new manifest for every aspiring musician. All this time, Inner Outlines were trying to prove that nothing is impossible. Finally, they have become the ultimate example of this statement. And that’s the genuine prize they deserve.