The Evolution of The Dead Ringers

Rowan Hastings

The Dead Ringers performing at Zest Fest 2022 – Photo by Henry McDonald

Incendiary, sensational music by local band The Dead Ringers commands  a special place in our hearts, as they represent a supportive community of local artists who lift each other up in a pursuit of success. Not only is their music prodigious, energetic, head banging material, but their sense of individuality and optimistic nostalgia makes them relatable to us locals when we hear them. For Carver Center students, they also set an example as to what we could become if we continue to pursue our passions after graduation; they too attended Carver Center. In their most notable song Essex Boys, a song dedicated to their home, they pay homage to the often overlooked locals and beauty of Essex when they sing “One day when we’re roaming around, right by your hometown. We’ll knock on your door just to say…”

Both Jason and Aaron shared the strong influence their adolescence had on their passion for music. “Music has always been what I’ve connected to the best from an early age. Over the years my taste in music has changed and evolved. It wasn’t until I was 14, when I discovered more garage rock and punk music, that probably had the most impact on me in wanting to actually create my own music” Jason shared. He also explained how he began playing the drums because it gave him and his brother something to connect around, and it gave the two of them something to do together. “My brother and I discovered a lot of the same music at the same time, and out of all the bands that had a strong impact on us, AC/DC was probably the spark that inspired us to want to involve ourselves in music”. 

Along with being inspired by Jason and his brother, Aaron was galvanized to become a musician based on his first few experiences playing in front of an audience. “I can’t pinpoint exactly when it was but after playing in front of people a handful of times I started to realize that I loved the feeling of playing in front of people and feeling the adrenaline that comes with it. It was probably by the time I got to high school [that] I knew I wanted to be a musician forever,” Aaron continued. 

Their high school  had a prominent influence on their music career. The two both attended George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, and were in the DIM (Digital Instrumental Music) prime. “The DIM prime in particular impacted me immensely with having time to play music with other students who came from all different backgrounds. It taught me how to adapt in different musical scenarios and how to connect with other musicians,” Jason said. Aaron added, “Going to Carver and being in the first class of the DIM program helped a lot in motivating me musically. I had the opportunity to practice guitar every day in school, and DIM class was my first introduction to music production and the idea of home recording. Learning the basics of a digital audio workstation was a jumping off point for us to be able to record our own music as The Dead Ringers” .  DIM education they received at Carver truly pushed them artistically. It is also safe to say that The Dead Ringers were formed around the DIM atmosphere, being able to “adapt in different musical scenarios and how to connect with other musicians,” as Jason stated.

Crowd Surfing at Zest Fest 2022 – Photo by Henry McDonald

Post High School graduation, Jason and Aaron have been glowingly successful as The Dead Ringers. I asked both what, in their opinion, has been the event that boosted their career the most. “I would probably say Zest Fest has boosted and influenced us greatly. Zest Fest is an annual music festival we host with different local artists, it has helped us develop our own scene and find other bands that work well with us” Jason explained. This reporter had the opportunity herself to attend the third annual Zest Fest this past summer, and it I believe it is a statement as to what the community of local artists is. I have never been at an event as welcoming, unifying, and inspiring as Zest Fest. Dancing to the live music along with people I had never met before, moshing together, and singing together is truly something one of a kind, as the tight knit community makes you feel close to these artists. “We have done 3 Zest Fests so far, and each time we have seen the growth of the scene and how we have progressed as a band,” Jason said. 

Zest Fest 2022 – Photo by Henry McDonald

Attending Zest Fest has also inspired many younger aspiring artists to pursue their passions in writing and performing their own music. “It is important you take every opportunity  to show off your art, because you never know where something might help you in the long run,” Jason advises aspiring artists. Aaron also added, “Playing more shows means you can meet more people and make more possible connections for more shows, recording, merchandise, etc. That being said, it’s also good to make sure you have a solid group of songs together that are ready to be played live/recorded to make a better impression on the crowd. But that also depends on the genre you play and the particular crowd you’re playing to.” 

Jason’s final piece of advice to aspiring artists reading is this: “Find true passion in what you do with your art. You should prioritize your art as something that connects you with the world and find importance and meaning in what you create. Also don’t push yourself into thinking you will be creating something every day, because there are a lot of times where that’s not the case and it takes a lot of time more than you think. So don’t ever feel guilty when you have writers/artists block, because that is normal to feel.” 

Overall, The Dead Ringers are proof that with time, passion, and drive you can accomplish your biggest dreams, and you should always continue to find enjoyment in your passions.