With a head nod from Yellowcard and almost a decade under their belt, Cincinnati’s own The Upset Victory is a band not to be ignored as you’re making your schedule for this year’s Bunbury Music Festival. The alt-rock quintet–which comprises Stephen Campbell (guitar), Frank Hammonds (guitar/vocals), Eric Vice (bass), Jason Dill (vocals), and Aaron Roy (drums) caught my ears last year as they turned up to eleven and electrified the Amphitheater Stage.

“I got my first taste of playing music with bands when I was about 13 or 14 years old but had been playing other instruments like piano prior to the guitar,” said Campbell. “Our singer Jason’s uncle was a musician, our drummer’s father was a musician, our bassist Eric’s mother was a musician, many family members in our guitarist Frank’s family were musicians including his father, and my grandparents were musicians – so it was certainly in our blood.”

I caught up with Stephen Campbell to help you get to know the band as well as a little insight on what makes the Cincinnati music scene special and why the band is excited to be back for its second appearance at Bunbury on Friday, July 11th at 2pm on the Amphitheater Stage. Check it out and be sure to add them into your schedule. 

How did you meet the members of your band and when did you start playing together?

Everyone in The Upset Victory has been involved in a variety of projects and bands over the past decade. We formed out of the ashes of previous musical endeavors. I got in touch with Frank one day over the phone and we started entertaining the idea of staring a brand new project. This would eventually become The Upset Victory. Our first rehearsal was in December of 2005. In early ’06 we started writing and formulating ideas that would become our first EP. This EP was later signed over to Take Over Records (Yellowcard, The Matches) and everything pretty much took off from there. Jason, Eric, and Aaron had all been in previous bands we used to play shows with a lot and it was natural progression to join forces.

How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard your band before?

This is always the hardest question to answer. Sonically we strive to explore a lot of different “soundscapes” and instrumentation in our music; everything from mandolin to interesting percussion. But, at the end of the day I’d consider us a rock band through and through with elements of pop, punk, and alternative. We like to incorporate a broad spectrum of influences and genres into our sound. The easiest thing to do would be to hop onto our website and listen for yourself!

What do you think makes the Cincinnati music scene different from other cities?

I feel the vast variety of genres makes Cincinnati unique. We have Bunbury Music Festival and then we have Midpoint Music Festival and then several festivals in between, all which showcase different bands and artists. A lot of great bands have emerged from Cincinnati, too–The National and Foxy Shazam, just to name a few–and that list is growing annually. It’s definitely exciting to be in the midst a great music revival in this city.

What is your favorite venue to play in Cincinnati?

There’s so many great venues in our hometown, however, The Madison Theater holds a special place in our hearts. We held our anniversary showcase there last year and a few of our headlining CD release shows have been held there as well. A good friend of ours, Frank Hulelfeld, assisted us in booking shows at The Madison Theater for years. He’s been a great connection and friend for quite some time now and helps bands of all sizes orchestrate the best shows possible. His new venue, Coda, opened up this year – go check it out!

What did it feel like playing at Bunbury the first time? How does it feel to be playing it again? How does it feel to be selected as one of the local acts that represents your city?

It was amazing. It was awesome to see such a successful festival on such a grand scale take over the Cincinnati region. It’s great to see a town with such a vast and extensive musical history come alive and bring that energy into the 21st century. Everyone who helped orchestrate the festival did a fantastic job and we had a blast representing our hometown. We’re proud to call Cincinnati our home and usher in a new musical chapter for the city. There are so many great bands on a slew of different stages so fans of any genre of music won’t be disappointed by attending this year’s festival. We’re very thankful to playing again and we hope to meet as many great people as we did last year.

How does preparing for a festival performance differ from preparing for a smaller show?

Honestly, for us it’s about the same. Playing our hearts out and giving it our all is what you can come to expect from a TUV show. Whether it’s 300 people or 3,000 people, we’ll always strive to put on the best show imaginable. It’s always been about the music and performing those songs as close to the way they were recorded as possible.

Who are you excited to see play at Bunbury?

Andrew W.K. – he seems like he can party! Fall Out Boy is also going to be cool to see. We remember seeing them play a long time ago at VFW halls. It’s great to see bands come full circle. I think all the bands will kill it this year.

Don’t forget to add The Upset Victory to your schedule for Friday, July 11th at 2:00pm, when they’ll take to the Amphitheater Stage. Tickets are still available for the festival and can be found here.

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