“We’ve always wanted to do nothing but play music,” says My Hero Zero’s Jason Olcese over an 8:45 a.m. Waffle Shop breakfast last Friday morning.
“We were all involved in our own projects and just found each other,” continues the frontman of the popular State College band in between sips from his coffee cup, talking about how the band came together.
“When you put it that way, it all sounds so magical,” says Mike Lee, the comedic relief, guitarist, bassist and vocalist for MHZ.
Chowing down on an assortment of hearty breakfast essentials and caffeinated beverages, the band — rounded out by drummer Noah Connolly and guitarist, bassist and vocalist Greg Folsom — talks about the day’s plans ahead, which include an on-air interview at popular radio station B94.5 and a regular gig at Café 210 West later that night.
After finishing their food, the three bandmates (Folsom wasn’t at breakfast), head down to the radio station. At 9:30 a.m., with acoustic guitars and a hand drum at the ready, Lee, Connolly and Olcese make their way into the studio. After a warm up and few words with host PJ Mullen, they belt out a cover of Gym Class Heroes feat. Adam Levine’s “Stereo Hearts.”
“We’re really excited to be here, the station has always been really good to us,” says Olcese before offering listeners a taste of the band’s unreleased, original single “Falling.”
At 10 a.m., still riding out the radio high, the band then shoots off to Café 210 West where they meet up with Folsom. Equipment is brought in for the evening’s gig.
Reconvening later that night, the group unpacks guitars, set up mics and completes a sound check as people file into the bar. When asked about their feelings toward their performance to come, calm and collected appearances are replaced with bright, illuminating expressions.
It’s now 10:30 p.m., and with a grab of the mic and a strum of a guitar, MHZ commands the attention of Café 210 West. The guys’ creative arrangements and toe-tapping mash-ups have a way of giving familiar songs a whole new sound.
“We go out of our way to take our music in a unique and creative direction,” Olcese said earlier, “whether it’s a spin on a classic or a creative mash-up.”
Photo by Samantha Pelaez