Emoticon sounds like a grunge-ier version of Metallica, a bit of early '90s alt-rock mixed in with the progressive rock sound of bands like Rush. Or, to put it more simply, it's "adventure rock," according to frontman Russell Shostak.
"Adventure rock" might not sound like something that would typically fit in on Hilton Head Island's more tame music scene. But the Savannah band will introduce itself to the island when it plays Remy's tonight.
Like many young bands, Emoticon is trying to find a niche. The three musicians have only been together for about seven months, already finding some traction at a couple of clubs in its hometown. They're now working on building a fanbase, even playing for free if they have to, all in the name of carving out a place for adventure rock.
"You crawl from the bottom up," Shostak said. "That's tough to do. You have to have confidence to know you can do that."
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Shostak, who's played guitar since he was 13, came to Hilton Head after his band in New Jersey fell apart. His parents lived on the island, and he came down to incorporate himself into the local music scene. He played a few open mics and teamed up with popular island band 4 Piece & A Biscuit for a few shows.
He sent out a request on Craigslist for other musicians looking to form a group and came across drummer David Suggs and bassist Drew Hicks. They started with Metallica covers and created their own sound. He calls it adventure rock because of the roller coaster of moods exhibited in a song, a style more complex than just a predictable three-minute rock song.
Recently, they recorded an EP and plans are under way for a full album. But now they're focused on perfecting their brand of rock. They live with the mantra: If your music is legit, people will come to your show.
"We're taking small steps," he said. "Right now that's just focused on getting our music be as good as possible."
And perhaps that modest plan will create a place for adventure rock somewhere.