By Sean Armstrong | Staff Writer
A Life Well Lived, is a local pop-punk band that formed here at Duquesne University. The band consists of Alex Martin, Ben McConahy, Damian Cabrera and Zack Leya. They have been working on their debut EP titled “While You Move Forward…” with New Galaxy Records set to release by March. The Duke caught up with the band to get some of their history and thoughts on the upcoming album.
Q: How did your band start?
A: Ben McConahy: “So, one day in the summer I was working at Duquesne’s campus and I met Alex Martin at our friend Mark’s house. We were just hanging out and I had a Warped Tour shirt on. We talked about said Warped Tour shirt for awhile. Then he asked me if I like pop-punk music and I said yes, so from then on, he asked me if I wanted to start again; 10 seconds later, I said yes. We went to my house a couple times and practiced just on the South Side.”
Alex Martin: “We met at a friend’s house and then we just kinda picked the name Between You and Me. Then we got ourselves a female singer named Autumn, but she went to school up in Boston, so we knew that was only going to be short-term. We also had a drummer and a bassist that was short-term as well until the school year started. Then we picked up Zack Leya and Damian Cabrera, our buddy Cal hopped on Bass. We rolled with that our first semester, and that’s how we really got started.
Q: Is there a specific group or artist you model yourselves off of?
A: Alex Martin: “I think it’s really important that we get a big difference in, like, style because I know we all have different musical backgrounds; I think we all have something different to bring to the table.”
Q: So if someone has never heard your music how would you describe it?
A: Ben McConahy: “It’s aggressive, it’s real — I mean we write about real stuff. It’s high energy, I would say.”
Q: When writing your songs, is there anything you strive for?
A: Alex Martin: “ I think one thing, I particularly want to do when I’m writing is just to get out the words that I think people need to hear. It’s ok to not be ok, really push the meanings of friendship and like… a lot of girl stuff.”
Damian Cabrera: “I fell like this EP in terms of content wise is just each one of individually finding ourselves and putting it out there on some kind of recording. People can either identify with it and relate to it, or just love listening to it and empathize with it.
Q: For our interest readers, do you play anywhere in the area?
A: Zack Leya: “We play at a place called Black Forge Coffee House the most. We’re not by any means the house band, but we just happen to get a bunch of gigs there. We have two lined up actually, as it is.”
Q: From what I understand, you guys changed your name fairly recently; what is up with that?
A: Alex Martin: “So, when we started the band many moons ago, we went by the name of Between You and Me and then probably in like Mid-October, we already started recording the EP, we had a lot of our songs written… We found out there was an Australian pop-punk band with the same exact name, and so we decided we had to change our name. After a lot of hard decision making, we went through Twitter polls, and we used none of those. We came up with A Life Well Lived.”
Ben McConahy: “We actually came up with A Life Well Lived after going through a ton of name ideas, we decided on one of our favorite shows; it’s called “Rick and Morty.” We like a certain episode that gets pretty profound where the two main characters, Rick and Morty, play an arcade game where starting over life from birth and proceeding through life and getting to the very end and dying. Then, waking up and it turns out you’re in a video game and you’re back to normal life at the original age you were at. To sum it up, the name comes from the name of a video game in a TV show called “Rick and Morty,” the game is called ‘Roy, A Life Well Lived.’”
The band does not yet have a precise release date for their album, but said it should be available sometime before March. Their debut single, “3 AM” is available on SoundCloud and the band’s YouTube channel, A Life Well Lived Band. The band also maintains a Twitter account, @alwlbandpa, where they announce performances and other news.