ON BEAT: CADENCE!


Belmont band CADENCE! blurs the lines of hard rock and power pop for a raw, time-worn approach to arena rock.


Its lineup consists of freshman drummer Brennan Kaiser, sophomore bassist Kevin Bull Jr., junior guitarist Will Sulak and junior front-man Cadence Hinnant.


The genre of arena rock, which originated in the 1970s, manifests itself with strong emphasis on melody, anthemic choruses and rich instrumentation, which is presented in CADENCE!’s live performances.


CADENCE! melds elementary 80s and 2000s rock styles for an interactive, Van Halen-esque hard rock style and a nostalgic Nickelback sound.


The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.


What is arena rock to CADENCE!?


Cadence: So, arena rock, for us, is just kind of the blanket term of basically all kinds of rock music. What arena rock technically is, is like commercial rock that’s made to be heard by the masses, which is what we do. Because we like the 80s a lot and the 2000s a lot, it sort of combines the two. And we definitely try to write catchy songs. We try to write commercially viable songs because you know, we will never be ashamed to say that we want to like, make it big. So, we’ll write songs that will hopefully, you know, make that possible.


What themes does the band pursue?


Cadence: We have a few different topics that are really important to us, which will be seen a lot in the next three songs that are coming out. We’ve got a new song coming out Oct. 7, called “Keep Me Up All Night,” which is about mental health and just sort of overcoming depression and overcoming obstacles in your head. And then we have a song coming out on Nov. 8, which is Election Day. It’s a song called “American Poison.” The idea is kind of like things that are destroying our country that we don’t do enough about. Which would be mental health, suicide rates, drug abuse, school shootings, like all of these things that we see repeat themselves every year multiple times.


How do you promote those themes?


Cadence: “American Poison” comes out Election Day. We’re doing a show for a single release and then we’re also announcing this project we’re working on called The American Poison Foundation, which is like, we’re going to work with some food banks and different groups that are involved with mental health and have a charitable side of the band to have a way to kind of give back because all the bands that we’re really into have something like that.


What are three quintessential albums that inspire the CADENCE! sound?


Cadence: Oh, that’s easy. Nickelback “All the Right Reasons.” Bon Jovi “Have a Nice Day” and Hinder “All American Nightmare.” I love a lot of music, but there’s not a whole lot of albums where front to back, I really consider a masterpiece. There’s not really a song to skip and those three albums, to me. They're exactly how I like music. And all those albums just really drive home exactly how I want my music to sound.


What role do you think bands have in the industry?


Cadence: I mean, I think they’re the most important thing. Without the band, there’s just no, you know, every other part of it just doesn’t exist. On top of that, I think how a band treats their fans and their employees is also one of the most important things. A band like Bon Jovi is like six people right now when they tour, but they have like 40 people that they travel with because they have merch people and roadies. It’s not just the people on stage, it’s really a family. And I think there’s something beautiful about the music being more than just the people that play it.


How do you want to influence the industry?


Cadence: I mean, we just want to treat everyone the best we can. That goes for people at our shows, for the audiences that go to any other bands that we work with. We’re all sort of lucky in that every time we’ve met one of our influences, they’ve always been super nice, but we know that’s not always the case with everybody. And we want to be the kind of band that people never have to be ashamed of supporting. And I don’t care if you’re a worker at the venue or somebody at the show or whatever, everyone should be treated like royalty in my opinion, right? Every person that does something is needed in the industry.


How have you grown since high school?


Cadence: In high school I was super shy. I would never talk to anybody outside of my little friend group. I just wasn’t very confident about myself. So, moving to Nashville, I realized pretty quickly that I’m not going to get anywhere unless I scrap that mentality and become open to being very outgoing. I would also say I was still figuring out a lot of what’s important to me. So, I would say I just sort of know myself better and I’m more comfortable with myself than I was before. It definitely has a lot to do with Belmont because in high school, there weren’t really kids I felt like would like me. Music kids we’re kind of the outcast. But coming to Belmont, being surrounded by all these kids that make music and also love art, and love supporting each other is great because I didn’t have that in high school.


How do you navigate through the challenges of an emerging artist?


Cadence: I sort of have the mindset where it’s like, if I’m not going to tell people about my music then who is? So, I sort of just take it upon myself to tell everyone I can about my band. And I always try to just be myself. In this music world, so much of what you see on social media or TikTok or whatever, isn’t an actual representation of what these musicians are like. So, I like the idea of what you see is what you get. We don’t want to project an image we’re not. We want to be the same people when you meet us in person as when you meet us on Instagram.


What’s your favorite collaborative experience?


Cadence: We have this one band that we’re really good friends with called Lydia’s Castle, that’s another Nashville band. They’re kind of like our big sisters and brothers in a way. The singer, Tonya, has really taken me under her wing and has been a mentor for me. Their drummer, Jon, was in a band called Staind in the 2000s, which was a pretty big band for that era, and he’s been a great example for me and a great mentor figure. I guess my favorite collaboration with anybody is with the people that have taken me under their wing. I feel like I’m very fortunate to have a number of good mentors in music of people I look up to and want to be like, and they’ve kind of been willing to teach me their ways.


PHOTO: Courtesy of CADENCE!


This interview was conducted by Emma Halloran.

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