The Distant Fourth

Katerina Sperl

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, The Distant Fourth’s first EP was released. Right away, I could tell that the five band members were extremely talented and motivated. What I could not tell until our interview two days later was just how well-rounded, intelligent and modest each member is. More than that, they all really care about each other. Elliot Leach, who plays drums and sings backing vocals, is a music and sound recording major here at UNH. The other members include vocalist Harrison Bade, guitarist Dan Kannen, guitarist and backing vocalist Luke Matarazzo and bassist Howie Chen. Shockingly, only two of the five have ever had professional training.

Charger Bulletin: You guys used to be NOESIS, right?

Elliot Leach: Correct.

CB: Why did you decide to change the name, and how did you come up with The Distant Fourth?

Harrison Bade: I’ll let Dan explain the meaning. We changed the name because there’s another

band called “Neosis” who we were constantly being confused with. No one would pronounce our name right, and it was hard to explain over and over. It just made more

sense to change our name before our EP debuted.

Elliot: Not only that, but there were at least two other bands who had our exact name with a

much bigger fan base. People would constantly look up the wrong social media pages.

Dan Kannen: Well, if you’ve read The Odyssey and The Illiad, you know the tale of Odysseus

and the sirens. Basically, Odysseus needs to get out of siren island on a small boat which can only hold four people at a time There were four people he needed to bring along,

not including himself, so he and three others were rescued, leaving “a distant fourth on the rocks.”

Harrison: But another aspect of the name refers to society’s role of threes.

Dan: Third time’s a charm. Things always come in threes.

Elliot: The human mind likes thinking of things in groups of three.

CB: So how did you all meet and when did you form the band?

Harrison: Oh man, this is one crazy story.

Elliot: It all really centers around Harrison. At least, the way I understand it. Cue hold music.

Harrison: I met Dan after eighth grade at “Appel Farm” music camp. We didn’t get along the first year, but the second year I attended, we discovered similar artists that we loved. That same year, I met Elliot at “Powr Chord Academy” music camp. We kept in touch, and I called upon them to start writing music. I knew Luke from a past band, and I met Howie through a mutual friend of Dan and mine from “Appel Farm.”

Luke Matazarro: And then I’m pretty sure he asked all of us to be in a band.

CB: Wow, all musical connections. So Harrison gets all the credits?

Dan: Yes!

Harrison: We had good chemistry. I couldn’t have held the band together if we didn’t get along so well.

Dan: Yeah, my bandmates are honestly some of the best friends I could ever wish for.

CB: Awww.

Elliot: Love you too, Dan.

Luke: Haha yeah, same here Dan.

CB: Your lyrics do have big messages about society. They are intelligent and unlike many artists today, they really say something about the world we live in. Who usually writes these lyrics and how long does it take?

Dan: All Harrison.

Luke: I think Howie helps out a bit with the lyrics, but definitely mainly Harrison.

Harrison: I write most of the lyrics, and Howie and Elliot help in the editing process. The writing process usually takes a good ten to twelve hours of time writing before I’m content with a song. Often, I’ll read an article in the newspaper, hear a story on the news, or learn something new that sparks my thinking. I focus on human nature, communication, and interaction.

CB: So which song on your EP took the longest all together—the entire process?

Dan: “Tracing Parallels”

Harrison: “Hardest Path, Greatest End” was certainly the hardest. I was playing with the flow of the lyrics, and the content is very dramatic.

CB: Did that amount of work make it your favorite song? Or is another one your favorite?

Harrison: That’s like picking a favorite child! I love them all for the traits they exhibit.

Luke: Yeah, that’s definitely a tough choice.

Elliot: From the release, “Tracing Parallels” would have to be my favorite.

CB: Why, Elliot? Honestly I was expecting Harrison’s answer.

Elliot: Well, I think the lyrics are excellent, and instrumentally, it’s one of the more fun songs in our repertoire. Plus, that song went through many changes in the writing process, and with every one, it just kept getting better and better. Also I love the last breakdown in the song, when we play it live. It’s a sight to see.

Dan: I really like “Hardest Path, Greatest End.” Lots of very fun lead work in that one.

Howie: Choosing a favorite is difficult, but if I had to choose one it would be “Hardest Path, Greatest End.” It’s very musically diverse with the intensity of the song at certain parts and a mellow feel during others… I really like the message behind the song—it’s really about giving your all in whatever you do and reaping the rewards, and I think the most rewarding things in life are about being passionate in whatever you do. It’s a very lifting and powerful song in that way, for me.

Luke: I think I liked “Denial” best before we got to the studio to record, because I liked the intro riff a lot from the start and the intro riff for “Tracing Parallels” had to take some time to grow on me. Once we heard “Tracing Parallels” come through the speakers after having some of it recorded, it probably became my favorite and still is.

CB: Where do you usually rehearse?

Luke: When we rehearse together it’s at Harrison’s, but once we practiced before a show in Elliot’s friend’s [sound treated] basement.

Dan: T’was awesome.

CB: Anything else that you want to say?

Harrison: Every moment, every dollar, and every drop of sweat invested in this band has been one hundred percent worth it in my eyes. It has been, and continues to be, a wonderful experience.

Elliot: I would just like to let everyone know that we’re nice people, and if anyone wants to talk to us in any way, feel free to find us through Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr.

Check out their debut EP “Prologue” at

Dan Kannen: Dan is the guitarist of The Distant Fourth. He describes their music as dynamic and has been playing guitar for only six years. In those six years, his skill has definitely come a long way. Bands that inspire him are Between the Buried and Me, Dream Theater, and Miles Davis. “I’m going to University of Rochester for engineering next year, but I have full intentions to keep the band humming along on my end. I have a few non-metal side projects going on right now. I actually play in an entirely acoustic combo and [the acoustic combo has] shows scattered through February. But again I feel like anything I pursue in the future, I’ll always have The Distant Fourth, provided the other guys have the same mindset.”
Elliot Leach: Elliot plays the drums and sings backing vocals. When asked to describe his music in one word, he replied “Ummm… I feel unique is so cliché but…” However, I could not agree more that their music is unique. Green Day is his “all-time favorite band. Of all time. Ever.” After that, he likes System of a Down and Slipknot. He’s been playing drums for seven years. “It has always been my dream to have being a musician my career, so that’s what I’m aiming for right now… But I’m going to school right now as a music and sound recording major, so I feel that my education here will not only help our progress as a band, but myself for a career too. Music is what I always want to be doing, no matter how difficult it may be.”
Howie Chen: Howie is the very talented bassist of The Distant Fourth. “In five years, I’d like to see the band doing much the same as it is now. Since we’ve always been a band that has had to deal with the problem of distance between the members and conflicting schedules, I’m confident that we’ll be able to continue doing what we’re doing now. I’ve also considered the idea of releasing music in the form of a series of EPs rather than an album, both because it’s more practical for us but also because it offers an interesting and unique concept for listeners.” Howie is inspired by Periphery, Pierce the Veil, and August Burns Red. He has been playing the bass officially for a year and a half.
Luke Matarazzo: Luke is the guitarist and backing vocalist who thinks their music is best categorized as meaningful and energetic. He has been playing for five or six years, but he started out with just the cords and moved to other things in about six months to a year. “I would love to keep playing in this band and making music, but I do think I’ll have a different career after college and a family. I don’t want to abandon The Distant Fourth completely though. I think our careers might give us enough money to record a full length one day.” He enjoys August Burns Red and Emery.
Harrison Bade: Harrison is the lead vocalist who describes their music as “honest.” Part of that honesty is enveloped in the powerful lyrics he writes for the band. He has been screaming for about four and a half years. “It took me two years to really get the hang of that, learning the best technique.” His favorite bands include Of Machines, Periphery, and This or The Apocalypse. In the future, “ideally, I’d like to be jamming with the same four people I’m with now, but I know we’re all pursuing our professional careers at the same time. I can only speak for myself, but I have all intentions of keeping the band going. “