Synthetic 16 (Ex-Tonystark, Lament): Singer Jon Scondotto on His ‘00s Melodic Rock Band

Formed by 2 former members of the post-hardcore band Tonystark in 1998, Synthetic 16 found the musicians gearing their songwriting into a alt-rock-inspired space.

"Towards the end of Tonystarks' existence, the writing style was getting more and more into rock radio-type songs, with vocal harmonies, and layering multiple guitar tracks into songs," Synthetic 16 vocalist Jon Scondotto told No Echo earlier this week in celebration of the band's two studio albums—2000's Your Water and 2003's Too Far Along—finally hitting streaming outlets.

Jon, who also fronted '90s Brooklyn hardcore band Lament, picked up the Synthetic 16 story: "Coming from a hardcore music background, there was definitely some distinct changes in the approach of singing, as well as writing.

"Having spent so many years participating in things like musicals, and being in acting companies, and receiving vocal training, it was definitely helpful in switching up from hardcore to more modern rock-type vocals. One is not necessarily easier than another! I didn’t find it too difficult to transition styles, more because of my specific background in performing arts."

Synthetic 16 played shows consistently throughout the late '90s and into the early '00s, gigging around the Northeast, and doing weekend runs as far as places like Michigan, and Arizona.

"Having spent so many years in the hardcore scene, many people were really complimentary towards the music, which was extremely flattering to get love like that from people. I think it was the kind of music where a lot of people didn’t see themselves playing, personally, but wound listen to it and appreciate the songs.

"This dated notion that everyone in hardcore bands only listens to hardcore music is really silly to me. I was very happy when anyone from anywhere liked the band, but it felt really good to get people from the hardcore to check it out and tell us if they dug it."

Unfortunately for the group, Synthetic 16's sophomore album, Too Far Along, was shelved by their label, foreshadowing their eventual break up. "Even though the band had a lot of local support," Jon explained, "as time went on and there was no progress, less and less people seemed interested in the music. Without a release or a label behind the band anymore, things would get stagnant, Shows would get more difficult to book, and the band ended up limping into 2006 with no shows, and eventually decided to call it quits."

So, with both Synthetic 16 albums getting the streaming treatment all these years later, can we expect a proper reunion? "I’m on the verge of turning 50, and I would like to perform these songs with these people a few times before the lights go out forever, and here’s hoping that we could pull something like that off sooner than later. I could say with confidence it’s definitely going to happen, I can not say with confidence specifically when.

"All I know is, Synthetic 16 was a huge part of my life that I will never forget, that many people that have been in my life in the past 15 years are completely unaware of this even existing."


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