Praying for a breakthrough

Ohio is no stranger to big names in the music industry arising from its smallest towns. Among the list of such names are The Black Keys, Marilyn Manson, Twenty One Pilots and many more artists who have left their marks on the world of rock and roll. In the near future, Ohioans might be saying the same about upcoming local band Pray for Sleep.

After a long period of trying different members, singer Cameron Dickson ‘18 and lead guitarist Hayden Kissler ‘18 finally discovered Reno Houston ‘17 as the perfect drummer for their band. According to Houston, the trio met in winter 2016 and instantly meshed, thus forming Pray for Sleep.

“Once it was down to just the three of us, we were finally able to achieve our sound and really dive into the writing process,” Dickson said.

The three members have diverse backgrounds that contribute to the band’s unique music. Dickson describes people as shocked every time they discover his love for jazz music. Despite Houston’s heavy and quick hits on the drums, he first learned to play with softer music of the 80s. As for Kissler, he is self-taught with help from his dad, who has a band of his own.

“My dad introduced me to the White Stripes, and from then on I taught myself how to play blues and rock,” Kissler said.

The band attributes most of its inspiration coming from rock bands, specifically Beartooth, a band out of Columbus that formed in 2012.

“I discovered metal [music], primarily Beartooth, and instantly knew that is what I wanted to play,” Houston said. Dickson also derived his love for the genre when he saw the band live for the first time.

Since the successful release of its first single “Bittersweet,” the band has received overall excited responses from its listeners. Five-time winner of Battle of the Buzz on RadioU, the band’s music features elements of pop, classic rock and metalcore, perfectly intertwined to create the sound that appeals to various tastes.

“It’s been a fun journey to experience people accepting our music even though they might not listen to the genre,” Kissler said.

Cure Culture out of Olentangy High School and Wait for the Day from the Westerville area are two other young bands within Columbus on their way to fame alongside Pray for Sleep.

The three bands have a close-knit relationship and help one another out in the process of recording, producing and performing. Lead guitarist of Cure Culture, Will Carlson produces the music for all three bands, and Pray for Sleep credits him for the experience it has gained along the way.

“Our biggest turning point was meeting Will,” Kissler said. Throughout the production process, Carlson taught the band about the industry. “He is the connection we needed to be able to take Pray for Sleep to the next level. He really showed us how to run a band.” Cure Culture, as well as Pray for Sleep, writes music with a message.

“Our songs talk about doubt, depression, happiness, relationships, uncertainty, basically everything we go through at this age,” Carlson said.

“When they hear our songs, they know they aren’t alone and they don’t have to be a ‘slave’ to that thing anymore,” Houston said.

Setting the foundation for their future with unique guitar riffs, heavy beats and metal-worthy screams, the band has been hard at work in the studio for the past several months mastering its first big project- a five-song EP that is awaiting an official release date.

“We can’t wait for people to hear what we’ve accomplished in the past year,” Dickson said. The band anticipates the EP to be its breakthrough into the industry. “This is just the beginning for Pray for Sleep.”


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