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SoundCheck: Who Needs Genre When You Can Have It All With Down Periscope?

Jessica Balisle

Springfield band Down Periscope will be on Studio Live Friday, January 10, 2020 on KSMU from noon to 1 pm. The band will perform at Studio Live Social Hour that same evening at Tie & Timber Beer Co. from 6-8 pm.

For the last two years, Down Periscope has been throwing the idea of music genres out the window.

“That’s the thing with genre for us – it’s not necessarily a thing,” said Theron Chick, vocalist and guitarist in the band.

“We like a lot, so we play it all,” said lead guitarist Zach Lucas.

“We’re all very different musicians,” said Chick.

Also in the band are Sterling Cashwell on bass and drummer Matt, who just goes by Matt. When you listen to Down Periscope, you’re immediately hit with a wide range of influences.

The band has been busy songwriting in Dallas with a producer. Chick says the Dallas scene has found its way into their vibe.

“The music culture there, from the last time we went there, is really rubbing off on us,” said Chick.

“You can go from one bar to the next and it can be two different genres,” said Chick.

“Jazz one place, then rap at the other,” said Matt.

“There’s three bars in a row. One was R&B, one was rap and then one was country,” said Lucas.

“I do like pop, and these guys are cringing when I say that, but I also like to write my lyrics more folky. I like more story-based lyrics. So yeah, I’ll have something completely worked out and I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s going to be like this,’ and then I have a punk player bassist over here, you know, and I got – same with you man, I mean, Matt, you’re kind of a punk player. You’ve got a pretty diverse rock background. And we get that going and then we got Mr. Led Zeppelin Metal Head over here,” said Chick.

Down Periscope’s work in Dallas will result in something new for fans.

“We’ve had some subtle changes to different songs, working with this fellow in Dallas. We’ve changed a few things on a few,” said Matt.

“Add production. There’s going to be a lot more added production. Our sound’s going to shift. But I think we will still be Down Periscope, but our sound’s going to shift,” said Chick.

“We got a couple good opportunities coming our way [this] year. It should be a pretty big year for us. We’ve taken the last couple of months off to refine ourselves,” said Matt.

“Regroup. Get some songs that we have, so a little bit of rewriting them, try to make them better,” said Cashwell.

As the band works its way through these changes, they still recognize what motivates them.

“We just want to play music for a living,” said Cashwell.

“Have fun,” said Matt.

“We all agree that it’s a passion of ours and if we’re able to do it, then we don’t mind putting in a little bit of extra work to get us there,” said Chick.

Jessica Gray Balisle, a Springfield native, grew up listening to KSMU. When she's not wrangling operations and compliance issues, she co-hosts live music show Studio Live and produces arts and culture stories. Jessica plays bass in local band the Hook Knives. She and her husband Todd live with their two cats, Ellie and Jean-Ralphio, and way too many house plants.
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