Article written by Kyla Wyllie
“It’s kind of crazy to think that Essex Class only started a year ago. The anniversary of our first show is on Monday,” says Ross Martin, lead guitarist of local band, Essex Class. He talked with us and opened up about his band, and the journey they’ve been on since it first started.
“Ryan Merrill and I met in a music class during my freshman year of college at USD,” little did he know that this friendship was going to completely change the direction of his career, and his imamate future. “Ryan and I decided to start writing together, and Essex Class was born. Later we found Lance, the drummer, and Lance knew Andrew, the bassist.”
Before this turn of events, Ross was set to be a doctor, majoring in biology. However, as this music hobby began to take off, he made a life-changing decision and switched into a music major. It was “so that I could focus on becoming a better songwriter and understand more of what makes music good,” he says. In addition, “being in a serious band” is what Lance, the drummer, has always wanted to do, and has since then made him much more happier than before. This just goes to show how one little action can change the course of your life, and the lives of those around you. Music is a powerful force, it’s no secret that it bring people together, just look at Essex Class as an example of many.
One of the universal questions everyone has to ask a band is: “where does your name come from?” “What does it mean?” “What, or who, inspired it?” Contrary to many musical groups riding the air waves today, Essex Class’s story is more interesting and meaningful than the common response, “it just sounded cool.”
“The name was inspired by the naval background of San Diego. Essex Class is a naval classification of aircraft carriers.” The Essex Class carriers were the “backbone of the U.S. Navy’s combat strength during World War II” (Essex-class aircraft carrier, Wikipedia.org), and despite this, not a single carrier was eradicated by the opposing side.
Along with a strong backstory to their name, the band has strong goals set for the future. “We would like to take this band all the way! We have plans of playing more out of town shows, booking tours, and increasing our reach as a band. Currently we are writing even more new material to play at our shows, and plan on keeping our fans on their toes with new songs and new covers.” Furthermore, they are currently collaborating to make their next single, Domino, with a big Hollywood producer.
It hasn’t been easy for Essex Class to get where they are now, it took a lot of determination and provided many hardships along the way. “The biggest struggle changes as the band evolves,” says Martin. “First it was booking places we hadn’t played before. Second it was getting good recordings of songs. Third it was getting music videos along with those songs. Right now the biggest struggle we’re facing is planning out a tour. Where do we play? What cities do we go to? Do we have adequate transportation to bring all four of us, plus all of our equipment, to each venue?”
Nevertheless, there are many payoffs to hard work. Ross tells us, “the highlight of our career thus far has to be opening up for The Frights back in September of 2015. It was such an incredible opportunity. We played to a sold out Soma side stage of over 400 people just as the first band. What a night. I had no idea that we would have made so much progress in the amount of time that we have. It’s all because of the overwhelming support from friends, family, and the fans.”
In response to all the support Essex Class receives, Ross would like to say, on the behalf of the whole band, “thank you so much for all the support you’ve given us. You’re helping all of our dreams come true and I personally love each and every one of you.” A band is nothing without the background people willing to support them from behind the scenes. The fans are the backbone of the music (much like the Essex Class air carriers to WWII), without them it would not be. Music can be a tough business to break into, but there are those people out there who hand out unconditional love and admiration that provide the extra push some people need.
Looking back, Ross describes their journey as a band in one phrase: “no breaks.” Because there truly are no breaks, you have to work hard for everything that comes your way, not just in music, but in life. Essex Class has learned that, and continues to constantly grow as a band.
Happy one year anniversary, great things are coming your way.
(Photo received via Essex Class Instagram)