INTERVIEW: Split Persona is an up-and-coming rock band hailing from Reno, Nevada

Split Persona is an up-and-coming rock band hailing from Reno, Nevada. Their goal with their music is to reach as many people as possible and leave a lasting, positive impact. Any rock fan will easily identify themselves with their melodic, uplifting sound. Split Persona put a high emphasis on bringing the energy to shows and making them a well-rounded experience for the audience. They’re always hungry for more and will stop at no one’s expense to continue delivering music that will resonate with the listener.

  1. How long have you been performing and recording as Split Persona, and how did the project come together?

Mike Patterson: Split Persona formed I believe around fall of 2019. Darren and I were previously in a reggae/ska punk band by the name of Sell the Sun. Zander came to us that summer looking for musicians to start his own band, but when we told him about Sell the Sun, he offered to do photography for the band and hangout. After kicking back with him for a bit, hearing his musical talent in the green room, we took some time to think and offered him a spot in the band. He was incredible, and just what we needed. After some time, Sell the Sun started to crumble on its own, and Zander wanted to form a hard rock band to put his archived music to use. While searching for more musicians, that’s where they found Brogan, Connor Kremsner and I. Brogan was in a class with Darren, Darren offered him a tryout, and after playing Unchained by Van Halen, Brogan was instantly, without a thought, chosen for the band. Connor Kremsner was the original drummer, who we all knew prior to Split Persona but fairly recently parted ways with the band on other endeavors. The Self-Titled EP was recorded throughout November and January then, they played the Whisky a Go Go, Renos Punk Flea Market afterparty, and quite a few shows. Once COVID-19 hit the country, we were forced to stop playing shows. I filled in once for a private graduation party over the summer, due to Connor having a medical emergency. Darren at this point was living with me, and I always had updates and sneak peaks on occurrences of the band. After jamming out with the boys quite a few times, and the mutual split with Kremsner, I was asked to fill the seat, so here we are today, as Split Persona, Preparing to kick ass at the first chance we have!

  1. Who have been your major influences in your writing and playing style?

Mike Patterson:  Personally, my biggest influences are drummers such as Dave Lombardo, Dave Grohl, Chuck Biscuits (Danzig), and Tommy Lee. Now, speaking for the band, I’d say our music is influenced by bands such as the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Deftones, Mötley Crüe, just to name a few, as well as putting our own unique twist into our art. Our love of Rock, Metal, Punk, Grunge, and any other subgenres in between is truly outstanding. Really if there’s about any band dating from the 60’s through now, we will bond over our love of the music.

  1. If I was to turn on your media player right now, which artist/song would I most likely hear on your recently played list?

Brogan Kelley: Most likely some Van Halen, Machine Gun Kelly, Royal Blood, and everything outside and in between that.

  1. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with rock listeners?

Zander Hoschak: The element of the shows, and the diversity of the music. I don’t ever write a song to appeal to a certain group of people or genre, but the fact that our music naturally swerves through genres I think is something that already is resonating with listeners. There’s the group that hates “Strawberries” and loves “All us Three” and vice-versa, which basically tells me no matter where we play, we can please even the pickiest of listeners.

  1. With the music industry rapidly changing and evolving, what are the things you like, and don’t like about it currently? And if you could change one thing about how the industry works, what would it be?

Mike Patterson: Hard to say. I’m the oldest in the band being born in 2000, so we weren’t around for the biggest events or eras of music. Hell, I didn’t even start paying much attention until the 2010’s as I got older and more coherent on the current state of the industry. I like some of the more modern bands but from what i understand, the term “local artist” has died down quite a bit. Reno isn’t a very musical city to begin with. Motley Crue was selling out the Whisky and the Starwood early in their careers, The Sex Pistols became icons with just one album. In an old band, Darren and I cranked out as much advertising as we could and the only people that showed up were my dad, the front man’s wife and a couple who stumbled in for drinks. I’m very grateful to hear that we are the most streamed band in Reno. I’m looking forward to the future of Split Persona, as we gain more publicity and popularity. If i could change anything about the industry, I’d have them keep genres in separate lanes. With rap becoming the “new Rock n Roll,” or artists like Taylor Swift and Jay-Z being nominated for the RnR Hall of Fame. Keep rock with its different genres in one place, and rap and country in their own places. Other than that, the industry is a business, I respect their business, and I hope it keeps evolving for the better!

  1. What’s your view on the current state of rock in general?

Darren Menning: Although I don’t think rock is dead by any means, I feel the time has surpassed for rock bands to become known like those of time’s past. It’s up to our current generations to reverse that, and I really hope we are able. With modern electronic, rap, and pop taking the main stage by far, it’s not going to be an easy task, but the very nature of music proves its possibility. I strive to be a part of that revival in some way shape or form. This is not to say that rock is superior to modern genres; however, I don’t think it should be left behind by any means.

  1. Do you ever write a song with current musical trends, formulas or listener satisfaction in mind, or do you simply focus on the band’s vision and trust you will find an empathic audience?

Mike Patterson: A little bit of both, actually. As musicians, we make sure we have well-structured songs. We’ll add harmonies, polyrhythms, catchy melodies that won’t get old. No more of the old 4 chord structures. We as “Die Hard” rock fans kind of know what the rest of the community wants to hear. Whether it be slower heartfelt songs such as Melted Clocks, or more intense headbangers like All Us Three, we don’t skip out or hesitate on what we think sounds good. But of course, we also do feel that we want to bond, share emotions, and talk about things that the audience can relate to, whether it be feelings of sorrow or anger, happiness or confusion. Part of what brings a musical community together is understanding and relation.

  1. Could you describe your creative processes? How do start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Is it a democratic process between the members, and who does what?

Zander Hoschak: The songwriting process is always different. Personally, I can’t just sit down with the idea of writing a song and write one. Inspiration randomly strikes me whether it be during a rehearsal or at 3am in my room. With a song like Strawberries, I wrote that whole song lyrics and all in one sitting and took it to the band later which we then built on into the song you can hear on the EP today. With writing the new album, there were a few songs that I just wrote and took to the band to build and change, while others were written in pieces that every band member contributed to. My biggest thing is that song’s aren’t entirely written by me because this isn’t the “Zander Band”, it’s “Split Persona’ and it wouldn’t sound that way without the great musicians that MAKE Split Persona.

  1. Where do you do most of your recording and production work, and do you outsource any of these processes?

Darren Menning: Currently, I’m a live front of house and post-production mix engineer as my job. Most, if not all of the production work for this band is managed by all of us together, however I’m just in charge of making it happen. As far as the first EP goes, that was produced by Tom Gordon (Whitesnake, Collective Soul, Dr. Dre, etc.) and mixed by Charley Webb (Kanye West, Ariana Grande, etc.) But for this record the majority of the work is being done by me and the band. We like the idea of a high quality self-produced, self-distributed record to show other bands that you don’t need a record label to make a quality album, you just need creativity, drive, and solid work ethic. The mindset of a label being a necessity is something I personally have seen a lot of musicians struggle with, but when you take a step back and look at the industry as a whole, some of the most successful and creative artists are running the independent route. I think that’s such a cool prospect to strive for.

  1. What would you consider a successful, proud or significant point for yourself or the band so far?

Zander Hoschak: I think the most proud I’ve been of myself and the band was the ability to record that EP. It was a painstaking process for me and Darren to be able to record 5 songs in 3 days, and have it mixed and mastered in less than a week for its release date. We started recording in November of 2019 booking only 2 studio days thinking it would be easier than it was. Tom Gordon, the engineer working with us at the time, laid out our schedule for us as follows: “We’ll tackle drums on day one, and record the rest on day 2”. We had Matt ‘Toast’ Young come in and play drums on two of the songs being “Stay Away” and “Strawberries” and him being a professional, his tracks didn’t take much long to record. Now I don’t consider myself the best drummer, or a drummer at all, but I knew what beats I wanted played for the song. The next day, I was unfortunately struck with a gnarly food poisoning which almost instantly took the possibility of vocal tracks being done that day. I didn’t tell anyone I was suffering though due to my commitment of at least finishing the instrumentals that day. After 5 hours, I finally confessed my sickness to the rest of the studio, who we’re all very understanding, and proceeded to book a day that coming January to finish vocals. Once we finally got back into the studio and finished the record, I was just proud we were able to do it. Even if it never got released. The fact that we’re recording our full length album independently, really just shows me we have something that a lot of bands out there don’t have right now, which ups my hopes for the future of Split Persona.

  1. If someone has never heard your music, which 5 keywords would you personally use to describe your music?

Brogan Kelley: LOUD, Diverse, Catchy, Memorable, and Passionate.

  1. Is there a particular song in your catalog, in which you feel you delivered your best performance, on all levels, to date? And is there maybe one song that you keep thinking you should have done a little differently in some way?

Brogan Kelley: The song we’ve done the best on is definitely “Keep It” because we’re constantly improving and changing the way it’s performed. It’s the song which we can really jam on and improvise with on stage and interact with the crowd the most.

  1. Do you have a favorite track in the band’s catalog that has a specific backstory and/or message and meaning very special to you personally?

Darren Menning: There’s a song that will be on our new album has been in the works for quite some time now that speaks to me on so many levels. The instant I heard it, I felt something was missing. I sat down at my desk that night, with a failing relationship that I cared so dearly for, financial problems, in the midst of a brand new pandemic that I wasn’t adjusting to well, and I cried my eyes out for hours writing vocal harmonies. When the rest of my life didn’t seem to love me, music did. I wrote for quite some time that night, composing what, in my eyes, was the perfect bassline and vocal harmonies to encapsulate my raw emotions at the time. I couldn’t sleep until that vision came to life, and looking back on it, it made this song so much more incredible and powerful to me.

  1. Do you think is it important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you think everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own way?

Darren Menning: On a personal level, I can guarantee that I don’t feel this music in the same way that my bandmates do. Each of our interpretations are totally different despite Zander telling us his motives behind his lyrics. And I think that’s one of the most beautiful aspects of music. The very fact that we can write something that means a lot to us and have it interpreted entirely differently by others makes it that much more special. Its really a wonderful feeling, one I know other musicians feel just as strongly. Music is a language known by all, and our goal is to allow others to relate to it in their own special way.

  1. Putting aside the accolades or criticisms that fans or the media may afford your releases, what’s the one thing about your music you think people overlook or misinterpret most often?

Zander Hoschak: Something that is often overlooked about our band is that we’re just kids. Although I still think the name “Split Persona” is the dumbest band name in the world, I came up with it when I first started playing when I was 12. I am 17 turning 18 in about a week, and no one in the band is over 20 yet. The fact that we’re all so young and thriving in the industry completely independent currently still amazes me. I never would have thought when I came up with that name that I would one day meet the musicians I’m playing with today, play the shows we’ve played so far, and write and release music. It’s kind of crazy.

  1. What’s the most exciting part of the process of putting a new song together for you?

Brogan Kelley: The most exciting part to me is when everything “clicks” and we have something we’re all really excited about and really like.

  1. Creative work in studio environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two do you ultimately prefer and why?

Zander Hoschak: Honestly, I personally love both. The adrenaline of playing a show versus the writing and recording process is like comparing apples to oranges. But you can make as much music as you want in a studio, for me, playing a show is about seeing how the audience reacts to it. Are they gonna slow dance? Or create a wall of death?

  1. Can tell us something about your latest project, and which highlights to look out for?

Brogan Kelley: Our latest new project is currently in the works, but personally I would look out for the harder songs on Side A because they pack a punch. Our goal with the project is to create something really memorable that will be remembered and talked about for years to come.

  1. What’s your favorite motto, phrase or piece of advice, you try to live or inspire yourself by?

Zander Hoschak: “Bring the arena show to the bars, and bring the bar shows to the arenas.” Putting on a memorable show for me is just as important as writing good music to play live. I learned this lesson years back when I caught the Foo Fighters at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, but was bummed that I would have to “sit though” the opener who happened to be “The Struts”. Once they started playing however, my face was melted by pure British rock and roll, and I asked myself “THIS is the opener??” and “Why aren’t they the headliner?” I’ve come to like and follow their music since that day and I realized, even when you’re playing the noon slot at a music festival and you’re the first band to play with the smallest audience, it doesn’t matter. We’re still going to play like we’re in front of an arena full of people. And we’re still going to kick-ass.

  1. Do you have a specific musical vision or goal that you want to achieve in the near future?

Darren Menning: We want to make a difference in the world. We only have a short time here, and the most important thing is leaving your mark. I want that to be a positive mark, and for everyone who listens to Split Persona to relate with each other, and understand the struggles we all as humans go through on a personal level. And most importantly, I want to spread the message that music is the single handedly most impactful outlet for emotions. It’s saved my life several times, and I truly hope to save someone else’s one day too.

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Rick Jamm

Journalist, publicist and indie music producer with a fervent passion for electric guitars and mixing desks !

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