By Paige Owens
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Fans and Pittsburgh locals gathered into the upstairs of The Smiling Moose bar and music venue located in Southside on Jan. 29, eagerly awaiting the performances of Camp Element, Awake & Create, and Palisades. Members from each of the bands buzzed around the hot, dimly lit room preparing for their set and interacting with fans and friends that had come out to support them that evening.
Zachery Urbanek, a sophomore studying Criminal Justice at Penn State New Kensington, sported black skinny jeans, a white graphic T-shirt, and his signature black faux leather jacket with a hoodie underneath. Urbanek was not only a member of Awake & Create, a band which broke up in late August 2014 and reunited for this particular show, but he is also a member of the highly anticipated local band, Who We Are.
Who We Are is a post-hardcore band, made up of five members originating out of Pittsburgh. Who We Are first formed in late 2014 after Awake & Create decided to part ways. However, four of the former Awake & Create members joined forces with viral YouTube video vocalist, Chris Barna.
Who We Are is made up of Chris Barna (vocals), Nicholas Fike (guitar), Anthony McMillan (guitar), Zachary Urbanek (bass guitar), and John Harrison (drums).
Prior to Awake & Create’s demise, the band played various venues in the Pittsburgh area, including Vans Warped Tour (2014), one of the largest post-hardcore travelling festivals in the United States, at the First Niagara Pavilion.
According to McMillan, Urbanek’s brother, “Zach didn’t know how to play bass guitar. We needed someone to fill in on bass for a show in late August. So we taught him how to play all of our songs and he played one show with the band before we broke up.”
Who We Are is currently an unsigned band, sponsoring and networking themselves. The band is working to create a fan base through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, which is their most active sources of communication. The band posts updates on their fan pages in order to stay connected with the fans they have already gained. Currently their ever growing fan base has over 2,000 “likes” on their Facebook page and over 4,000 Twitter followers.
According to the band’s Facebook page, “Who We Are is looking to bring something different to the music industry and is currently working on their full length album, which is yet to be decided on a release date.”
A teaser video for the band’s debut single, “#apt69” was released prior to the band’s original release date of Jan. 16. However, according to a Facebook and Twitter post, the release of “#apt69” was postponed indefinitely.
“My brother and I are working on rewriting some of the music and writing new music. That first song probably won’t be released at all,” said Urbanek, while sharing a cigarette outside of the Nittany Highland Apartment building adjacent from the New Kensington campus the day before the show.
Despite Who We Are not able to play the Jan. 29 show at The Smiling Moose as planned, the former Awake and Create, was able to captivate the audience with their energy, dedication, talent, and an overall outstanding performance.
As Who We Are continues their writing and recording process throughout 2015, it is evident that the music they produce will connect with the audience and bring something new and exciting to the music industry.