A Feature Look at Persist - Feb. 3, 2011.
By Elena Maystruk
There is something to be said for taking a back seat to the spotlight. Letting rookies take the stage while you toil rigorously over your music. The members of Persist, a rock band with a solemn serious sound, know only too well what its like to bide their time and it has paid off in spades.
It seems that K.C. Lee (vocals), Z (guitar), Christian (guitar), KJ (bass) and Jerry Stro (drums), had a lot to offer the Canadian music scene. “They [Persist] had a dream to be a household name. They knew that wouldn’t happen in a small city so they moved closer to Toronto,” said K.C. Lee during our phone interview of this past week. He recalls that their sound needed to evolve. They achieved that goal the old-fashioned way: through practice and purpose and with input from producer Joel Kazmi.
Playing at many of Toronto’s frequent haunts like Lee’s Palace, The Bovine Sex Club and the Sound Academy, Persist spent three years building a solid reputation as no-nonsense performers. “We are more seasoned now,” says Lee, reminiscing about the past. “Things happen when they should… we practiced religiously and played as much as we could”.
K.C. Lee was a latecomer to the band. Persist was originally formed by Stro, the band’s drummer and bass player Z. The group had to coax the talented yet reluctant vocalist to lend his voice to Persist’s world of hardcore alternative music. The son of award-winning musician Joe Sealy, K.C. Lee was primarily into blues when he was approached by Persist so the change took some getting used to. Ultimately it was the soul of the music that convinced him. Between the change of genre and vocal lessons, even K.C. Lee himself can rightly admit that he’s “a hell of a singer.”
The meld of austere vocal strength and heavy, wall trembling sound is only an aspect of what Persist can offer an audience. The band has a mainstream quality, combining their own hardcore musical methodology with sounds akin to more recent bands like Avenged Sevenfold (though with considerably less swearing). On that note, though the band’s sound has a welcome familiarity, the lyrics are truly their own. Unlike many bands in their genre, Persist stays far away from offensive language and “screamo” music. The lyrics present a tough exterior to match the band’s solemn, darker style, giving the songs a raw simplicity.
K.C. Lee admits he is particularly proud of their musical following. “The fans are so dedicated. I mean, these days, people have to feed their families, yet they make time to come out and hear us play!”
From playing as many gigs as they could, wherever they could, to playing The Joint in Las Vegas at the infamous Hard Rock Hotel, Persist currently looks forward to the March 23rd gig that will kick off their upcoming North American tour with Five Finger Death Punch and Soulfly. Look for them to play locally once again when the tour crosses into Canada in April.