Let's get the "ex-members" thing out of the way first. Knelt Before features musicians who have previously played in such bands as LoveHateHero, Divide the Day, and Second Coming.
"After leaving music for many years, I got together with Don Rossington through a mutual appreciation of straight edge hardcore, positive thinking, and strong moral values," Knelt Before vocalist Mark Johnston told No Echo about their early stages in an email.
"After searching for months to find like-minded individuals, Mark and Don connected with Shannon Eoff and Derek Woodard. Having known Mark from a previous project, Shannon was an obvious choice, and on her recommendation Derek was added as a second guitarist."
Not wasting any time, Knelt Before just dropped their debut album, Be Nice. "Pulling from our various influences, we would best descibe ourselves as pop-punk hardcore. We are big fans of late '90s and early '00s hardcore and emotional hardcore (Dag Nasty, Ignite, By a Thread, Life of Agony), but cannot deny how big of an influence the melodic punk bands had on us (No Use for a Name, Ten Foot Pole, Big Wig, Bad Religion).
"Not to be confined to that, we really just want to make music that we enjoy playing and listening to. We pull from so many different wells that the next record may take us in a totally different direction. We just love music and love being positive, whatever that ends up sounding like is what we sound like."
Knelt Before are based out of Portland, Oregon, so No Echo asked Mark to give us his impression about the local music community there. "Portland has some amazing acts coming out of it right now: Change, Jade Dust, Enact. The scene is definitely alive and well. I've always been a passive observer—from going to shows at Koo's Cafe in Santa Ana, to Che Cafe in San Diego, to Davey Jones' Locker and Rock and Roll Pizza in Portland. I have always loved seeing the sense of community that this music brings.
"I can happily say that nowadays I see a lot less of the violence that I saw in my time. Kids used to drive to California from Utah to start fights with the non-straight edge kids, and now I see a lot more acceptance at shows. Straight edge and non hanging out, living their truth and respecting the others' choices."
Mark also wanted to include the following thoughts in our piece on Knelt Before: "I'm back to active firefighting after a debilitating ACL / Meniscus injury I sustained from jumping out a second story window. Don is also a public servant [he's a school teacher] and we believe that community service is a big part of our belief that you have to be the change you want to see. We advocate for change by having a hand in it."
Be Nice is available now on across all digital outlets.
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