Soaring vocal melodies, monster guitar riffs and guaranteed radio-ready hits – it’s not what you’d expect from a 16 year old girl and three guys who aren’t even old enough to drink. But Infinity Hour isn’t your typical bunch of teenagers. Despite their youth, all five members have been playing music for years, and their current mix of bright pop hooks and moody alternative rock is proof they’ve come of age.
Infinity Hour first coalesced in 2008, when powerhouse vocalist Jena Asciutto was just 12 years old. The band had previously honed their skills playing covers of both classic rock songs and contemporary alternative hits, but with the addition of Asciutto’s distinctive voice, Infinity Hour underwent a transformation of style and substance that is still in progress. Over the past four years, Infinity Hour – Asciutto, 16, singing lead vocals; Jared Bentley, 19, on lead guitar; Brad Rude, 19, and Dylan Walsh, 18, on drums – has evolved into a confident, kick ass collaboration of five incredibly talented teenagers ready to take over the world.
So, what makes Infinity Hour different from every other group of high school kids jamming in their parents’ basement? Well, pretty much everything.
First of all, these so-called “kids”? They can play. Each member has been training on his or her instrument since they were in middle or even elementary school. Those thousands of hours of professional instruction paid off, turning out musicianship that rivals even the most seasoned adult rock groups.
Secondly, they work their asses off. In just three years, Infinity Hour has played more than 100 gigs. And these aren’t some rinky-dink recitals at the local coffee shop. They’ve played Detroit’s Hard Rock Café, Pontiac’s cavernous Crofoot Ballroom, West Virginia’s 4,500-seat Appalachian Power Park, and countless more. And they scored coveted support slots for alternative rock group Buck Cherry, American pop-rock band Smash Mouth, Australian pop idol Cody Simpson, singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson, and platinum-selling superstar Jesse McCartney, each time playing for rapt audiences of thousands of their peers.
But Infinity Hour hasn’t stopped there. They have appeared on Detroit’s popular morning news broadcast “Fox 2 News Morning.” They have main stage festival appearances under their belts. They have won several battle of the bands-style contests, including the 2011 “Rock the Mall” teen music competition at Ann Arbor’s Top of the Park. The band has also partnered with numerous charities, such as Toys for Tots and the March of Dimes, and was featured in an Emmy award-winning video for the social justice organization “WatRUFightN4”. Their original song “Time of My Life” even reached No. 1 on both Ann Arbor’s 107.1 FM’s “Homegrown” segment, as well as Detroit’s 96.3 FM’s talent segment, “The Radio Café”. The band has also worked with heavy-hitting Detroit producers Al Sutton and Eric Hoegemeyer. They are even in negotiations to have their songs appear in TV and movies.
But strip away all the accolades, media attention, and celebrity meet-and-greets, however, and it’s their raw, achingly beautiful songs that makes Infinity Hour stick in your head (and your heart). The sound they have developed so far is a commanding blend of power pop, alternative, and hard rock – mirroring the varied musical tastes of the band’s members.
Rude and guitarist Jared Bentley bond over a shared love of Pink Floyd, Avenged Sevenfold, and the Killers, while Bentley throws in some jazz and classical for good measure. Lead singer Jena Asciutto is influenced by alternative bands such as Boston’s Guster, but also loves “a ton of chill music”, including Coldplay. Drummer Dylan Walsh, the latest member to join the group, rounds out the band’s influences with his affinity for such diverse acts as Incubus, John Mayer, and Death Cab for Cutie.
Today, Infinity Hour is compared most often to MTV darlings Paramore, due in part to the similarity between Asciutto’s voice and Paramore singer Hayley Williams’. But Infinity Hour is still evolving.
That darker, moodier sound has been a hit with their fans. Infinity Hour’s debut music video, a Little Red Riding Hood-themed clip titled “She Finally Knows Why” garnered more than 12,000 views in its first month on YouTube. And the band’s first release, a five-song EP called “Infinite Stars of Mine”, is now available on iTunes.
All four members of Infinity Hour contribute to the song-writing process, and their blend of influences and experiences makes for songs that really touch their fans.
Infinity Hour’s songs are solid, radio-ready alternative rock hits in the making, but it’s their live show that really gets you hooked. “ Head banging is definitely a big part of our shows,” says Asciutto. “It gets the audience to move around more, and any time you can get the crowd involved, you’re going to make that much more of an impact on them. When I put my microphone out to the crowd and they actually sing a long – oh my god, that’s the best feeling in the world.”
The best is yet to come for this young band however, as visions of stadium tours and VMA appearances dance in their heads.
“My dream,” says Asciutto, “would just be touring and having the world listening to our music and knowing all the words to our songs. And helping people through their problems, because music is definitely a healing process for me and millions of others.”
Guitarist Jared Bentley puts it more succinctly: “If we can make a career out of music, if we can do this for our lives and not have to get a ‘real’ job – that would be the dream.”