By Kelley Simms
Virginia-based CORSAIR’s ’70s-inspired rock sound was born out of the ashes of an annual BLACK SABBATH tribute band called MASS SABBATH, which played every Halloween night for years in Charlottesville.
The band, consisting of vocalist/bassist Jordan Brunk, new drummer Aaron Lipscombe and guitarists Marie Landragin and Paul Sebring, formed in 2008 after Landragin and Sebring, who gelled together so well in Mass Sabbath, decided to start their own progressive band. Brunk joined a few years later just in time to be indoctrinated into Mass Sabbath’s one-offs along with the duo.
The thing that stands out the most about Corsair (named after a WWII fighter aircraft called the 4FU), is their organic use of harmonizing guitars, which has a distinct familiarity to bands such as THIN LIZZY, WISHBONE ASH and IRON MAIDEN.
“The way that I see it, to do something brand spanking new that’s never been done before is not what we’re going for,” Landragin says. “What we’re going for is, when we pick up a guitar, there’s something that happens to me when I’m playing a riff that feels really good. There’s something about the melody and the rhythm of it. Then when you put another guitar with it and it’s harmonizing with it, I literally get chills playing. There’s moments where it just clicks so well where these two sounds become one, but one very new sound. It’s not like something you’ve heard before.”
The band’s insertion of chord transitions, turn-arounds and musical ideas that bridge one riff to the next are other high points to Corsair’s sound.
“We enjoy doing things that are a little bit more interesting than something that’s straight forward,” Brunk says. “So we do lean toward the progressive side. We have a balance of trying to push the boundaries but keeping the song intact as a whole.”
With its self-released, self-titled debut album about to be released (Jan. 21, 2013 through Shadow Kingdom Records), Corsair has become a well-talked about unit within the metal/rock circles.
“I just hope to reach more people,” Brunk says. “I’m really impressed with the metal community on how much input and interaction they have on blogs and forums and how people are actively searching for new music. I’m just happy to have their reach and network of people as part of what we’re doing.”
Probably one of the most famous groups to hail from Charlottesville is the Dave Matthews Band. Although you might not expect a band like Corsair and their unique progressive sound to make a dent in the local scene, local fans who want their music a bit heavier, turn toward Corsair.
“We definitely have a strong home crowd that loves us and always comes out to see us,” Brunk says. “The harder rock scene isn’t exactly the heart of what’s happening here. What’s most popular in Charlottesville is alt/country, bluegrass and roots-rock. There’s a pretty strong indie band circuit as well. There are a lot of musicians in town and for the population and density of musicians, it’s very high. There’s a lot of very talented musicians that are older that have stuck around and are kind of staples on the scene. There are major bands coming in all the time and a lot of that is because of Dave Matthews. So it has the idea of it being a big music scene, but in reality, the local scene is smaller but the talent is pretty high. As a music lover, there’s a lot to be seen in Charlottesville from the local to international level.”
Corsair is hoping to get back into the studio with new material in the new year. In the meantime, the band is just happy to release the new album and they have a few New Years resolutions they are going to focus on.
“I always get frustrated at the end of every year because I say I haven’t produced enough creatively,” Landragin concludes. “For this next year coming up, I want to be more creative, not only just with music but also with other mediums ... push myself and try to think outside the box and also to be a good person!” as Landragin ends the conversation with a good-hearted laugh.