Under The Den was formed in the autumn of 2017 as a collaborative effort of four people trying to make good music in Upstate New York.
Madison Lewis, the group’s lead vocalist, hails from Orange County, CA. A voice all her own, she pours her soul into live performances. Benjamin “Ideas” Zoleski plays guitar and keys, and is a music major from Berklee, while Ben brings a great range to the guitar and vocals along with an amazing positive energy and stage presence. The rhythm section is comprised of identical twin brothers John Nowak on bass and drummer Jason Nowak. Both musicians have a long musical history in the 518 and abroad, playing in successful bands on indie and major labels.
Under The Den is not a genre-specific band. They play derivatives of the same type of music. Songs they write utilize rock, punk, Latin, reggae, 90’s house, drum n bass, heavy metal, and many other styles to create unique musical perspectives behind the catchy vocal hooks and carefully crafted harmonies. One thing is for sure, they are a LIVE band. Recordings are great, but the energy this band creates and gives out during a live performance is palpable.
Exuding a dimensional soundscape that grasps you in from the moment this song begins, the recently released single “On The Run,” plays into classic rock tenors, while indulging fans in an early 2000’s vibe. We love the nostalgia that drips from the compelling bass riff that gets latched into our head when this track touches down. It brings us into a familiarity that we seek out when developing a relationship with a band, and a song for that matter. There are various components in the musicality that make this jaunty instrumentation sparkle from an array of angles.
Between the perfectly paced rhythm, opulent guitar chords, and glistening keys, this foundation strengthens the smoldering vocals that lay upon the musical arrangement as the storytelling narrative is intensified through carefully crafted lyrics. “On The Run,” delivers a tale that reflects on a woman fleeing domestic abuse by killing the man who had put her through the wringer. Now, On The Run, we follow her journey as she battles with the thought of being caught for the act, but her path leads you to an unsuspected ending.
The way that Under The Den brings life to the words they sprawl across their artistic canvas is truly remarkable. We envision the imagery so vividly, that we may as well have a screenplay running through our minds. Embark on the adventure of a lifetime with these rockers; we guarantee you won’t regret it.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Under The Den. The immaculate imagery that you have us fixated on in “On The Run,” is outstanding What inspired you to come up with such a vivid plotline? Is this based on a true story?
John: Thank you for having us! We are very excited to be part of the Buzz Music fam. I will leave it to Madison to explain the plotline.
Madison: It’s not based on a true story, I suppose, for my part, I found some inspiration within, “She Got Arrested,” by The Interrupters, but it all starts with what the boys create, just by being them and playing together. When I heard what Jay, John, and Ben had come up with, the lyrics came very naturally. This girl was running, and no one was going to stop her, she was living on her own terms. That's the story the song needed, but it is also a call to arms for my fellow women. Live, now.
Jason: For this song, my brother John and I came up with the basic feel, and Ben and Madison felt right away what kind of song this was, what the groove was. We have written a lot of material through 2020 with everything slowing down, and this song came together in a very fluid sort of way. It was very natural and the song is fun, even though the story is sort of gritty.
Ben: This is more of a Madi question. But ditto what everyone else said.
How do you compare the songwriting style of “On The Run,” to other songs found in your music catalog? Does this fit your typical outline?
Ben: I think we try to write in different styles that will push us all as musicians and songwriters while staying true to ourselves. On The Run was a song that, like others in our catalog, started with a musical idea. One of us will usually bring an idea to the table, which the others will start adding parts too, and eventually, a song is born. However, the real additions come when we go into the studio and can add in the extra layers, like in On the Run. It's important to fill up the sound to get that "wall" of sound we seek to bring to our audience. Once the music is created, Madison will really take the music and make it into a song and story.
Madison: Our approach to songwriting is pretty relaxed, the boys start with something and then I just listen and hear what I hear, and we go from there at our own pace.
Jason: I wouldn't say there is a typical outline to our creating and writing, but it's like making a cake, or magic. Sometimes a spontaneous riff during a break at practice will progress into something that could be a song, and other times, like for this song, there was a finalized idea as to what the song would feel like. With the idea in mind, it was easy to shape it into what you hear.
The way that you all work together is an experience in itself! At what point do you all know a song is complete? How does that process work?
Madison: Sometimes a song never feels complete, but you know when it feels right, and I like to think the four of us work well enough together to know what is right for the song.
Ben: This may be hard to explain, but the song just kind of naturally comes to completion in our rehearsals. We never really sit down and say, "okay, this song is done" but we workshop it until there is a certain feeling of "completion". We will add, workshop, and take away until what we have in rehearsal is what we would want to play out live in front of people.
John: We just flag the jars, hard. The result is something amazing. Seeing what a song becomes during the process is always one of the best parts of playing music to me, and we are very happy with this tune.
Jason: I love writing songs with this group of people. With that being said, that is one of the hardest things in art, to know when something should be finished, because often complete is never obtainable. Complete is ideal, but we are lucky that we can understand when a song is a song it should be.
As a band, what is the main message you wish to send out through your music?
Madison: For me, it’s acceptance - of yourself, of others, of the circumstances at hand, whatever the case; no matter how difficult, just find a way to embrace it.
Jason: Just try and find what you love and BE it. Be good, don't worry about labels and division, come together. We want people to have fun at our shows, to enjoy live music. Dance, go crazy, just live it up. Music is fun, life isn't always, but rock should always be a blast.
Ben: The main message I think we try to send is, we want people to enjoy music and not have to worry about labels as to the music's genre. We all have different tastes and influences when it comes to music, but at the end of the day, we just love music, and we want to share that love. We try to put our passion into the songs on the album and our live shows, making sure that every time the audience hears one of our songs, they can feel some connection to it. Whether it be the lyrics or the music, we want every time someone listens to Under the Den to be an experience.
John: We just hope that other people can possibly relate to our passion, and to the fun we have at our shows and that this positivity gets carried out beyond the show.
What's next for Under The Den?
Ben: We are in the process of producing and releasing music that we have been working on in our downtime away from live shows. Understandably, with venues shut down, we didn't have many opportunities to get out there and share our music with people, but with things opening up, we are aiming to get out there and share our music with more people. Hopefully, not just shows in our local area, but we want to bring the Under the Den experience across the country!
Jason: We hope to continue the positive momentum and be playing shows steadily in the future. We are also working on our next full-length album, along with a music video for On The Run for late summer. We have a lot of fun stuff (boutique vinyl?!) and projects coming along now as well, so the future should be fun!!
Madison: Just super pumped for life and whatever happens, me and the boys will keep playing!
John: Dworld Dwomination