Rockin' The Region

Rockin’ the Region with Kicking Sunrise

Courtesy of Dave Hoffenberg


A new band is making its Killington debut this weekend: Kicking Sunrise will play the Wobbly Barn on March 18 and 19. They are very excited to share their music with everyone here. The band is: Joe Murphy, Rockin the Region DJ Dave Hoffenberglead vocals/rhythm guitar; Ryan Hornibrook, bass/backing vocals/rapper; Matthew Bosco, lead guitar/backing vocals; and Mark Altamuro, drums. They hail from Washington Township, N.J. and all are
in their early twenties. I had the pleasure of speaking with Murphy, who told me what the band is all about.

I always like to find out how a band came up with its name and Kicking Sunrise owes theirs to Bosco’s brother Luke. Murphy said that he’s a really creative, talented artist who was thinking about names to go along with what the band is all about, which is partying and music with a positive message. Luke said, “Kick it to Sunrise,” and they eventually got that to Kicking Sunrise. Murphy said that goes perfect because they party all night and don’t want the night to end.

The band formed in 2013 after Murphy and Hornibrook released a YouTube video of them covering Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie.” Murphy says, “We got some really good feedback on it and I realized that we should not mess around anymore, and play music, start writing songs and form a band.” This is Murphy’s second official band. He was in a band called April May when he was 15 and also had some solo projects.

Murphy says a Kicking Sunrise show is very high energy and you’ll hear covers, but also some of their originals. He says, “What we try and do to stand out from the rest of the bands is to treat each cover song like it’s our own. We get into it and we pull our emotions into these songs to feel these songs and really perform them like they’re our own, to sell the crowd. It’s hard to get people’s attention when they’re hearing the same songs over and over. These good cover songs that are on the radio are background noise, eventually. To grab new fans we really put our heart and soul into these cover songs.”

You’ll hear the popular songs and recognize them right away, but Kicking Sunrise tries to put their own spin on them. Murphy says, “People always say that we have a distinct sound with my vocals and Ryan’s vocals. We want people to be able to sing along so we keep it close to the original, but it depends on the song. Our main focus is always our original songs and our new album … ‘Here’s to the Sunrise.’ We have some new and exciting stuff in the near future coming up … like videos and hopefully a tour soon. We’ve had some great feedback with it and a couple minor success stories with the single.”

The band’s title song, “Here’s to the Sunrise” was featured on TBS for baseball coverage and TNT for a PGA tournament. The guys were really excited about that. This is their first album and it’s a collaborative effort. Everyone writes their part of the song. Murphy and Hornibrook bounce back and forth with ideas and get their creative juices flowing.

The band relocated to California for 10 months while they wrote the album. They wanted to get some new inspiration. Murphy says, “We were out there writing, tracking, recording, mixing and really finalizing the album. It took about three months to actually write all the songs and ideas.”

The band is sponsored by an independent record label, Right Coast Music and their boss lives in Costa Mesa, so they visited him out there. They came back home to release the album and tour the East Coast. They loved it out in Cali, but wanted to release the album back home with their fans. The band’s originals are a mix of pop, hip hop and r&b. Murphy says, “It’s a feel good, summertime beach vibe. It’s chill.”

Being under an independent label gave the guys a lot of creative control. Murphy said it was one of the benefits and also says, “We have so many different ideas and different styles with the four of us. We even put some EDM on the end of the album. We were able to mix and match with all of our styles.” Bands know that cover songs pay the bills and Murphy says, “If I want to play music full-time right now that’s what I gotta do or otherwise I’ll be in the restaurant.”

Murphy has two favorite cover songs that he doesn’t mind playing: Gavin Degraw’s “I Don’t Want To Be” which he says is a super powerful song that everyone loves singing along to and Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” which gets Murphy up as well as the crowd and they have a great time playing it.

Each band member has different genres of music that they’re influenced by. When they wrote the album, these came into play. Hornibrook raps are like old school hip hop and he raps a cleaner version of everything else that’s out right now. Murphy says he does a good job with it and thinks it’s cool to have songs with a rap in it, that increases your audience. It’s not age-limited where everything is censored; it’s a combo of Will Smith, Travis McCoy and B.O.B. Murphy’s style is like Gavin Degraw and Adam Levine. Bosco is a rock, blues and jazz guitar player and Altamuro has a hardcore/punk rock style of drumming.

I asked Murphy what he loves best about playing music and he says, “I know it’s kind of cliche to say but it’s what I love to do. I have no choice, it’s all I know. Being a musician and playing professionally in this day and trying to make it as a band or singer and make it to the top of the charts with a song, you sometimes get down on yourself. I just love playing for the perfect crowd on the perfect stage. I’m hungry for it and I’m driven especially with my original stuff. Whenever you have those bad days and you just want to give up or quit. The problem is whenever I do that I want to write a song about it. So I have no choice but to play and pursue this. It’s all I want to do.”

The band has a lot of stuff going on right now. Keep up with them on Twitter to see all the behind the scenes stuff. Twitter is a really big thing with them and they really want to stay connected with their fans. Their Twitter is @KickingSunrise. Murphy says the band is in full force and going in a great direction. I think that everyone should direct themselves to the Wobbly Barn. I like the sound of Kicking Sunrise and like Murphy says, it really is feel good music.

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