ORLANDO — Ned Russin has been on a world tour for the past year, and his travels have even taken him to Japan – where, as it turns out, audiences love to hear the sounds of a really good punk band.
“It was a really different experience,” said Russin, the bass player for the indie band Title Fight. “I think the big thing is that English isn’t really popular in Japan. A lot of people aren’t fluent in English at all. We can’t even communicate with people after shows, and we didn’t even know what to expect.”
So Russin and his band mates — Jamie Rhoden on guitar and vocals, Ned’s twin brother Ben Russin on drums, and Shane Moran on second guitar – tried their hand at a more universal language: pop-punk. It worked.
“We just started playing, and a lot of people who have never heard of us or seen us were excited to hear us and were dancing with us, and it was really cool,” Russin said. “It was pretty similar to an American concert. People were singing along, and going crazy. I think it’s kind of a universal language when you play to an audience.”
The band will test that theory again next week when they come to Orlando on Tuesday, Nov. 15 with the Alt Press Fall Tour, and perform at Beacham Theatre.
“We’ve played Florida several times,” Russin said in an interview with Freeline Media. “We’ve played in Orlando and Pensacola and Tallahassee. Florida is good. We’ve made some good friends down in Florida and we have a lot of fun down there. It’s a different environment than where we’re from.”
The band was formed in 2003 in their home town of Kingston, Penn., and began performing locally around the Kingston and Wilkes-Barre area.
“We were just 13 years old, Jamie, Ben and myself, and my older brother had been in bands since we were seven years old,” Russin said. “So I just kind of grew up with it. We just always wanted to do it. Finally we decided to get together and start playing.”
They took advantage of local clubs – although they were definitely not the kind of music arenas that fans would expect from a big city like Orlando, he added.
“The venues that we had are pretty small, 200-capacity rooms,” he said. “We didn’t have any (clubs) for a little while, and then we ended up opening our own place. It was really small, bare bones, a stage and a sound system, and that’s it. Kingston is not an area where big bands come through.”
They began recording demos in 2005, and in 2010 Title Fight was featured on Triple B Record’s compilation, “America’s Hardcore,” with a new song, “Dreamcatchers.” In January, Title Fight signed to SideOneDummy Records and released an album, Shed, last May.
And they hit the road, touring extensively throughout the year.
“We didn’t go looking for greener pastures, we went looking for other places to perform,” he said.
Title Fight has also been able to take advantage of the Internet and social media as a way to reach out to fans.
“We kind of caught the very tail end of it,” Russin said. “We booked our first tour contacting people through Myspace, and it makes it so easy. You can create something that will catch people’s attention, and our goal is to make music that is relevant today. Some bands today are awesome, but we also listen to some bands from the ‘90s and ‘80s, and their music is still really good, too.”
Russin said that while Title Fight has been classified as punk/hardcore, “I think there’s definitely a lot of melody and structures to them that are uncommon. To me, it’s always more a mentality and an attitude than the way the songs are played. It can be slower, and still be a punk band. It’s just the way that you carry yourself and approach the music. That’s what we like about it. It’s not what everybody else is doing. It really varies.”
So does their audience, he added.
“It could be anybody,” Russin said. “Sometimes we have people that come up to us that are 30 years old, and then kids 15 years old who like us. It’s not one group into our music. Punk has been around for a long time, but we‘ve always just been the same, and people that were around in the beginning, and still around, some of them say we remind them of older bands, and that’s really flattering.”
The Alternative Press Tour starts at 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday. The Beacham is at 46 N. Orange Ave. in Orlando. Call 407-246-1419 for tickets, which cost $16-18.
Russin said their live stage shows are always an exhilarating experience.
“We’re right there, and playing, and the audience members are also right there, and there is no separation,” he said. “We’re all the same kind of people, you know. If you like the song, you can take the microphone and dance and do whatever you want — there are no restrictions. There’s this wild energy to it. That’s our favorite part about being a band, is playing. I personally think there’s nothing like going to hear a band live.”
Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.