Pressure 4-5 Biography
Pressure 4-5 is:
Adam Rich - Vocals
Mark Barry - Guitar
Joe Schmidt - Guitar
Lyle Mckeany - Bass
Tom Schmidt - Drums
"As individuals, we're constantly learning and trying to figure things out – it's an ongoing process," says Pressure 4-5 frontman Adam Rich. "It's what life is about, and we named this record Burning The Process in honor of that."
Burning The Process (released Oct. 9, 2001, on DreamWorks Records) is Pressure 4-5's major-label debut. Produced by hard-rock studio guru Jay Baumgardner (Papa Roach, Orgy, Slipknot, Coal Chamber), it harnesses the raw power of the band's live show while deftly showcasing their thoughtful, positive lyrics. "Our music has an uplifting message," verifies bassist Lyle McKeany.
Pressure 4-5 came together in January 1998 in Santa Barbara, Calif., where the members all attended college. Founders Adam and guitarist Mark Barry passed out flyers in their search for a bassist and quickly found Lyle. Joe Schmidt was more of a wild card.
"Joe came to our first show ever," recalls Mark. "He wanted to play guitar in the band. We said, ‘Sure, you can be in the band, but we already have a guitarist.' So he ended up as our DJ for a year. The only problem was, he hated it. He'd always flake out on shows and practice – hence the ‘4-5' moniker; we never knew if we'd be four guys or five. We finally broke down and let him play guitar."
"DJ'ing was just my angle to get in the band," Joe corroborates. "It wasn't really my bag." Adam admits, "He's a better guitarist anyway, and adding the additional guitar really beefed up our sound."
The addition of Joe eventually yielded another bonus: drummer Tom Schmidt. "It's always been a dream for me to be in a band with my brother," says Tom. "Mom raised Joe and me with instruments in our hands from the age of 8, so we're happy to be at this level together."
Pressure 4-5 played their first live shows in January 1999 and have since dedicated as much time as possible to touring, forging a tight-knit camaraderie during their days and nights on the road. They cut their musical teeth across the Southwest with local bands, also sharing stages with Incubus, A Perfect Circle, Papa Roach and Black Eyed Peas. Summer of 2001 saw them on the bill of Ozzfest. (Pressure 4-5's work onstage did, however, ease up enough to let them record the EP Antechnology, which they released on their own Dripping Records in 1999.)
"Touring is inevitably an adventure," muses Adam. "The van breaks down all the time and you're always asking yourself, ‘Are we going to make it home this time?' You're only earning enough each night to get you to the next show, and then it starts all over again."
The constant travel wasn't without its repercussions on the home front either. School, work and relationships fell by the wayside. "Being in a band is like having four girlfriends at once and dealing with everything that goes along with that," Lyle hypothesizes. "Only you're not getting any sex."
Eventually, Lyle's dedication to touring and his thriving web-design business got him kicked out of college. "It's probably the nerdiest way to get kicked out of school," he laments. "But I can always go back. I don't regret the choice I made. Right away it was obvious we were totally connecting with people through our music."
The rest of the band clearly shares his determination and vision. "From the beginning, we absolutely knew where we wanted to go," says Adam. "We're ready to give all our effort and make sacrifices. We want to take our band all the way."
Reflecting the attitudes of its individual members, Pressure 4-5's songs tackle themes of nonconformity, personal loss and spirituality, yet they resonate with an unswerving lust for life. "We're not the kind of people who dwell on stuff that brings you down," Lyle states. "That's just not our thing. We believe everyone has the power to make a change for the better."
"Beat The World," the first radio track off Burning The Process, was written after Adam's best friend died suddenly. "I think the only way you should write songs is if they're genuinely coming from your heart," he asserts. "‘Beat The World' is about overcoming adversity. We all know the world is a fucked-up place, but you can't just turn your back on it. You've got to work with what you have and overcome your problems. Or else there's no point, you know?"
Complementing the band's fearlessness in tackling heavy subject matter is their aggressive sonic approach. "One guitar can only do so much," Mark notes. "With two guitars, it's just so much bigger, especially live – it sounds huge. Plus, you have the whole band bringing different ideas and creativity to the table. We're all guitar players and songwriters, which keeps us from getting stuck with a bunch of songs that sound the same."
"Each person in this band has specific interests," confirms Adam. "Rock, metal, electronic. You put four people with that variety of interests into one room and you're going to get a lot of different sounds. Everyone gets their say in our writing process."
Citing influences as varied as Failure, The Roots, Primus and Radiohead (and Tom crediting four years of jazz drumming for the building blocks of his style), Pressure 4-5 are quick to laud their favorite bands. In fact, it was seeing those outfits live that cemented their own dreams.
"The big, seminal show in my life was Fear Factory, December '94," Joe recalls. "I was in the front row, raising hell, and [Fear Factory guitarist] Dino noticed me. He pulled me up onstage with the band! I saw the show from their viewpoint and I was, like, ‘This is the best thing ever.'"
"For me it was the first Tibetan Freedom concert in San Francisco," says Adam. "Seeing Rage Against The Machine for the first time … it immediately became apparent to me that this – what was going on onstage and all around me – was my goal. I couldn't take my eyes off the band, the way they moved, the way they played. I was completely riveted. Being in that crowd, getting sunburned, not eating or drinking so you wouldn't have to go to the bathroom and lose your spot, not knowing if you were going to fall down at any moment …. It was just amazing."
Like their musical heroes, Pressure 4-5 wants to leave an indelible imprint on their fans. "I'd like to make an impact on the music community, add a freshness to the scene," says Lyle. "We have so many interests and places we want to go. I hope the work we're doing now opens doors to other types of music projects." Joe insists: "I'm going to start a one-man death-metal band. I'm already working on the title."
"I hope we can befriend other bands," Lyle continues, "keep doing what we've done on tour. I hate the battle-of-the-bands thing – I want to support other bands, make new friends. Down the line, I hope we reach a good point in our careers and are still the nice guys."
"Yeah, we want to stay approachable," Adam says. "We just want to be the guys that are easy to hang out with."