Defying Lojic: St. Louis-based band doesn't define its sound

Friday, June 18, 2010

Some may characterize Lojic's music as rock and some could say it's reggae, but the sound this band puts out can't be forced in a box.

The band took inspiration from artists such as 311, Bob Marley and The Urge and put its own unique spin on several music genres.

Lojic will mark the release of its third studio album, "Lies in Hopetropolis," with a concert Friday at the Pageant in St. Louis. The band will play the second concert of the tour in Cape Girardeau.

"We love Cape," Lojic bassist Johnny O'Neil said. "We've been here numerous times. Even if we blow up we'd still play in Cape."

Lojic, along with Tone Def All-Stars and Earthworms, will perform Saturday night at Breakaways. Breakaways owner Mike Hess met Lojic when they played a show at the bar in 2005.

"They're great fellas," Hess said. "We expect a large crowd and a good turnout from St. Louis also."

The band is made up of O'Neil on bass and vocals, Will Betts on vocals, Jonny Hughes on guitar and Christopher Schnack on the drums. The band members grew up together in St. Louis. Lojic has been playing music since 2002; Schnack joined in 2008.

O'Neil said the group's name originated while they were in high school.

"We thought it would be cool to have a one word name," he said. 'We had a couple names picked out, but we settled on Lojic."

When asked who Lojic's sound was similar to, O'Neil said it has been compared to the sounds of 311, Sublime and Incubus.

"We love reggae," he said. "We love metal and blues, but we are still trying to go in our own direction."

According to the band's MySpace page, one of its influences is life.

"Anyone who has been given the gift and the curse of expression has to use life as an influence," O'Neil said. "If you can look at a bird and can't see how beautiful it is, then you're numb."

The band came up with title "Lies in Hopetropolis" when O'Neil's former roommate mumbled it. The band agreed to name the album after that rambling, O'Neil said.

"It's about the places where people make homes and have hope for better futures, but at the same time within societal structures there's a lot of manipulation that goes on," he said.

The band has learned much over the years.

"The first album, we had no idea what we were doing," O'Neil said, referring to the music production process.

Steve Ewing of The Urge helped with the band's second album, and the members were able to produce the third album by themselves.

Not only did the group's skills as musicians expand, O'Neil said, the band has matured its purpose as well.

"When we were kids we had the same dream as any one else, but as you get older it becomes about doing what you can to help other people," O'Neil said. "Our ultimate goal would be to be able to do charitable work."

O'Neil said he would like to work with the American Cancer Society or with an AIDS or autism group.

"But there really are too many causes," he said in an e-mail. "Those three would be what I would fight most for."

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