West End Trading Company is a hot spot for reggae in Sanford, Fla., The venue has not only hosted big names in the independent music scene but has also been a major spot for local and regional bands. Among them is Seranation, from St. Petersburg. Since having the pleasure of watching Seranation perform in April of 2017, I’ve had the privilege of connecting with them on a personal level and recently had the opportunity to interview them as they were in their studio, finalizing their upcoming album;
What inspired the name “Seranation”?
J / Seranation: That was a tough one to figure out, we went through different names!
Adam / Seranation: “Head High,” Stoke the Fire,” “Lifted”
Bianca / Seranation: everything was a copyright suit waiting to happen!
J / Seranation: I was at work one day, there was this girl there and I’d always be singing, not directly to her. She was doing something and I was singing, her name was Sarah. I’m like “It’s like a sarah-nation! and I was like “that’s it!” and I called up Adam and Bianca “yo I have a feeling for a name!” Cause “Serenade” and “Serenation” it’s like a dictionary word.
Bianca / Seranation: The act of serenading.
Adam / Seranation: It’s spelled differently though, S-E-R-A
Bianca / Seranation: One good thing about band names is that you can make up the words. Right when we heard it we were like “that’s it” we didn’t even ask questions.
J / Seranation: One-of-a-kind name for a one-of-a-kind band!
Adam / Seranation: It just stuck with us.
Did you come from a musical background?
Josh: I’ve done marching band for 4 years and done drum core, pretty much been taking lessons my whole life.
Beard: I did marching band too. I’ve come from school band.
Adam: I’m a self-taught musician, trained my ears, listening to my favorite bands. It’s been a slow process but the more practice you put in, the more you get out of it.
Bianca: When Adam and I met, the first thing we did was play together, I played Badfish on guitar and actually sang it. I realized we had a musical connection and obviously, more than that. I started playing bass when I met Adam and I give him credit for sort of being my mentor as far as learning bass and playing harmonies which was a hard part for me and he definitely helped me out with that.
J: I learned how to sing just by singing in my headphones, singing what felt good and felt right.
Adam: J had the best audition by far. Bianca and I were part of a band named “Roots for Change.”
J: These guys developed the skeletal before I came along.
Bianca: J was the missing puzzle piece.
Adam: J came to sing Badfish with us, wasn’t it Badfish?
J: I sang “Garden Grove” I didn’t do so hot but they were gracious to let me come up and join them that’s for sure!
Adam: Everyone else just kinda joined and the pieces fell into place and that’s what we are! We are what we are. The sky is the limit!
What artists inspired you?
Bianca: There are so many! To me, as atypical as it sounds, The Expendables, Slightly Stoopid, even artists from the 70’s such as Jimi Hendrix. I just remember listening to them in the car thinking “I want to learn to play music like that, write music like that!” so I learned.
Adam: Guitar, Raoul from The Expendables was my greatest inspiration, I had the pleasure of meeting him and talking about guitar and discussing music with him. It was a very humbling experience to play with musicians of that caliber and learning exactly how far I’ve come as a musician myself. It’s very humbling just to work with musicians like that, a pleasure, and I’m looking forward to playing with them in future shows.
Josh: I came from mostly a metal rock background so island vibe drumming did not come naturally for me. Listening to Pepper and The Expendables and Resinated’s Josh Hasak influenced me. Taking techniques and other styles and incorporating them for myself has worked so far.
Beard: The classics for me, Paul Simon, Bobby Darrin, Billy Joel, old piano players like Jerry Lee and Elton John.
J: Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sublime. When I heard Sublime it was like a flip-switch in my mind. That became everything for a minute. I’d put in this CD and it was a CD you can listen to a million times and never get tired of it. You’d jam it with your friends and everyone loved it. It pushed us all together. Reawakened the dream that I thought had died!
If you weren’t doing music, what would be your creative outlet?
Beard: I’d be a rapper.
Josh: I’d continue working on cars or go fishing.
Adam: I don’t have a backup plan, music is my dream. It’s what my passion is. If I didn’t have music, I don’t know if I’d exist.
J: I feel the same way. I’d do a lot of crazy things, jumping off rocks, bridges, whatever but music is the heart and soul.
Adam: There is no plan B. That’s what I’m trying to say.
Bianca: I just couldn’t imagine my life! I’ve always loved writing. I’ve done poetry, just really writing. I excelled in English in high school and everything but when I found music, I put my poetry in melody and that’s when I found my calling.
What has been the weirdest venue you’ve ever performed in?
J: 18 on the Rocks! It was like a music video! A bunch of stiffs, we got up and they were rocking it out!
Adam: and they were trying to eat a lobster and crab dinner. They had the wrong band!
They did not ask about your music style?
Bianca: They did not!
Josh: We had an entire house party across the street come over
Adam: They crashed the party!
J: We got kicked out immediately! That was a good learning experience. We didn’t throw in the towel, we stuck it out. It was one of the weirdest ones.
Beard: We had a show at Green Bags that got shut down halfway through.
Adam: Basically we were opening up for a Sublime tribute band that was using the name Sublime, they had a pending lawsuit on using that name.
Bianca: They were using it that night!
Adam: They were supposed to headline, we were opening up for them. We went on, all the crowd showed up, it was presale tickets, $25 a ticket. It starts filling up, we’re killing it, everyone is loving it. Before you know it, the cops raid the place, shut the liquor license down at the last song we played! We got the best crowd, everyone else wanted their money back! The owners took off with all the money and the bar shut down a week later.
Bianca: It was a pretty ethical story to tell though! At the end of the day, I think about that gig all the time.
Adam: The Sublime tribute band ran out of there! Gone!
J: The owner ran out with all the register money and change in his arms! He was walking out and we were like “Peace out!” He must’ve had a heads up that the cops were on the way. 10 seconds later, the place got raided.
Adam: We’ve only been a band for about three years and we’ll be seeing stranger things.
Should we be expecting a tour at some point?
Bianca: Yes you should, can’t say anything now.
Adam: Can’t get ahead of ourselves but we definitely have tour strategies in mind. I’m talking with other bands to link up and play some shows to give the USA something to look forward to.
J: We’ll keep you posted.
Connect with Seranation
Seranation is J. Carter (lead vocals), Adam Hocker (guitar, backup vocals), Bianca Schlosser (bass, backup vocals), Beard (keys, sax), Joshua Baron (drums) and Collin Smith (guitar).