Ad Astra – Milwaukee Metalcore on the Rise
Formed in West Allis, Wisconsin in 2010 by high school friends Tomas Gamino, Domingo Kenner, and Ryan Bretsch, Ad Astra quickly took on its present name, which is Latin for “to the stars,” and began with just a vocalist, bassist, and drummer. Because the founding members are all multi-instrumentalists, the band did not need a full time guitarist until they realized that they had something big on their hands. In time, the newly formed band recruited a pair of guitarists, but only one took the band seriously enough to stick around for long haul – rhythm guitarist, Ian Burke.
Bringing together a variety of influences, the band developed a sound that blends melodic death metal, thrash, and metalcore. But a solid sound means nothing without a solid lineup, which has been one of the major struggles for the band until discovering Jamison Fernandez at a local hangout ‘The Gazebo’ in 2014. With their lineup finally stabilized, the band spent the following months adjusting and honing their craft, while recording a few demo tracks and playing live whenever possible.
As the band entered 2016, Fernandez parted ways with the band on good terms, leaving Ad Astra to struggle with an issue that has plagued the band since inception – an incomplete lineup. Regardless, Gamino and his bandmates are not giving up on their dreams.
“We have plans to continue recording when our funding allows it. We are currently making merch and demo CDs to raise money at shows and hopefully finish recording our EP. If enough people support our music and buy our merchandise we would love to record a full-length album,” says Gamino.
While putting their finances into recording new music and creating a line of merchandise, Ad Astra has been busy playing the Southeast Wisconsin scene to support these endeavors. Their shows are quickly becoming the talk of the town due to their high levels of energy and crowd involvement.
“Our band strives to pull anyone and everyone from the audience into our music. After all, that’s what shows are supposed be. They’re supposed to be an escape from life and all responsibilities so you can just have fun and get lost in the music,” says Gamino. “So if we see anyone in the audience who isn’t moving, we will put the spotlight on them and do whatever it takes to earn a new fan, whether its inviting them on stage, singing to them or blasting a guitar solo right at them.”
Without a doubt Ad Astra does everything they can do win new fans or at the very least acknowledge their presence while on stage. One notable event included the band’s supporting performance for Mercy Isle in which they performed a near flawless rendition of Killswitch Engage’s ‘End of Heartache’ with the aid of Disappearance’s Megan Orvald after pulling her out from the crowd. Least to say, when you’re at an Ad Astra show expect to be involved in some way, shape, or form.
With the powerful and memorable stage show element locked down and merchandise on the way, the band has yet to round out their promotional campaign. Unfortunately, the band does not have the funds to embark on a tour or shoot a video just yet, but they certainly have plans for the future.
“We are in the process of creating a Kickstarter account to any fans who would like to show their support and help us release more music and travel to other places,” explains Gamino “As soon as we can afford it, we would love to go on tour. It’s the dream of just about any band, isn’t it?”
As for a music video, the band is currently brainstorming ideas for what they’d like to do for their first major offering to the worldwide metal masses. For now, the band is more focused on building their reputation and writing new music, but don’t count out a video just yet.
“As soon as we figure out which song and where we’re shooting it, you bet your sweet ass we’ll have ourselves a music video!” says Gamino with a laugh.
As 2016 kicks into gear the band has laid out a solid plan for the coming months. They’re primarily focused on writing and recording new music, releasing their debut EP, playing shows, and finding a suitable replacement for Jamison Fernandez. Once the dust settles for all of that there’s a good chance Ad Astra will be ready to release a video or two, go on tour, and maybe even step back into the recording studio. In the meantime, check the band out on Facebook and band camp and show these young metal heads your support.