Stay Inside: About Us
The last show we played couldn’t have been more lit. On the low, we’re all still smiling, and the show was two weeks ago. Small basement venue. Max capacity. Packed with people we really care about, who really care about us.
And the whole time I’m thinking, “wow — what an absolute trip that the crowd is so diverse. I mean, we’re an ‘emo’ band.” I’ve been to a ton of emo/post-hardcore/metal shows and was always shocked by how few people of color showed up. There’s no reason why this genre, this very white genre, can’t create music that can connect with a more diverse audience. Stay Inside writes about the big breakups and feeling far from home, but we also want to talk about how absolutely terrified I am of the police, when she wasn’t taken seriously because of her gender, when his religious affiliations were shit on, and when the country we contribute to refuses to give anything back. We want to address it all —it’s why we’re here.
I’m Bartees, I play guitar and sing in Stay Inside. I’m from Yukon, Oklahoma, a sundown town until the late 80's, but if you lived there you’d still feel it. I grew up listening to so many hardcore and emo bands wondering why they didn’t have more black kids in them. So I started a few bands back there before moving to DC. DC was draining and I was really losing hope when it came to making music that meant something to me. Those feelings evaporated when I moved to Brooklyn and met Chris on Craigslist. Responding to that ad was, in short, my musical Hail Mary pass to the back corner of the end zone.
Chris is a singer and guitarist from Hockessin, Delaware. We are bros and we share a birthday. We knew as soon as we met and talked about Metro Boomin and At the Drive In that we had to start something — whatever that meant. For him, playing in a band has always been a way to help with depression. He told me, “it’s good to talk about your fears and insecurities — even better to yell about them with your friends.”
Vishnu plays drums. He’s from Wayne, Pennsylvania, which thankfully is just a couple train stops away from Philadelphia, where he spent his time checking out shows at the First Unitarian Church and the Electric Factory. Now Vish knows about like… all the bands and we nerd out about them and tones and beats and production non stop. He puts a lot of thought into our writing and recording, and is integral when it comes to talking about what the hell we’re doing with this band. He’s seriously a technician and I appreciate his approach to what we’re trying to do. Side note, I met this dude playing ping pong and he is nasty.
Our bass player Bryn is from Los Angeles, California and I also met her at work playing ping pong (she’s also very good). She got into punk way early and started playing guitar at 11. At 13, she and her family packed up and moved North Carolina. While she, at times, turned to bands like Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill for music made by people with similar issues on her mind, it wasn’t until college until she discovered Carissa’s Wierd. But even still, the amount of women in emo/post-hardcore was disappointing. When Chris and I were looking for a bass player we knew we were looking for a unicorn. I remember saying “we need a bass player that is actually a math rock guitarist,” and that’s exactly what Bryn is. An incredibly musical player who reminds all of us about why we do this — pure unadulterated love for everything this music means.
We started Stay Inside because our feelings are diverse as we are and a reflection of our experiences. Emo shouldn’t just be about being sad. It can also serve as a medium to tell an array of stories about fighting back and bringing more people into the fold. But ultimately to show folks all over that whether it’s about boyfriends, girlfriends, family, cops, misogyny, racism, or anything else, they have four friends in Brooklyn yelling and screaming for them. We want to lift people up by singing about the things that get us down.
And there will be no apologizing for it, it’s not like anybody is apologizing to us.
COME CHECK US OUT!
PS: This started as a few people starting a band, but it’s grown into a family of folks that help us create. Special shout out to Christopher Salyers who works on our visuals, Stephanie Banares who is always way too kind and so gifted with a camera and the folks at the Footlight who have been more than gracious in letting us practice in the bar. We appreciate it all.