A popular orchestral rock band from Cleveland is back together and gearing up for a big 2018. For this week's Shuffle, Seafair talks about working out their differences and getting back to the joy of making music.
Creativity versus business
Seafair is an eclectic blend of pop, rock and classical influences, combining drums, guitar and bass with violin and cello. They formed in 2012 but split up early last year. Vocalist Chayla Hope said the band got caught up trying to make it big.
“It just got really business-y,” Hope said. “That was a really big struggle for all of us because almost every single person in the band has wanted to make it since they were pretty young.”
Drummer Ryan Kelly described the band as a family, which has its pros and cons.
“Families fight,” Kelly said. “It got to a point where we were together so often that everybody’s running in a hamster wheel trying to figure out what’s going on.”
The family friction eventually got to be too much. Bassist Josh Riehl took the breakup especially hard.
“I was absolutely beside myself,” Riehl said. “It was absolutely heart-wrenching.”
Getting back together
In the winter of 2016, the band started group-texting. The band eventually realized they still had more to say artistically. As families often do, Seafair decided to have a reunion. One of their first comeback appearances was aboard the Goodtime III headlining this year’s Roar Along the Shore in Cleveland.
“When we got back together, it was a major click,” Hope said.
Riehl said the band’s breakup turned out to be a good thing.
“You just get stronger from it,” Riehl said. “We’re in a place where we’re so much tighter and so much more respectful of each other.”
According to Hope, the band is different and better.
“The songs are 50 times more truthful,” Hope said.
The band is also less concerned with fame and more focused on making music.
“We’re just doing our thing and getting our music into ears,” Riehl said. “Hopefully it resonates with enough people that we just continue to build ourselves.”
Soundtrack to a good time
For Riehl, the goal with each show is to make sure everyone has a good time. He recalls playing the 2016 Brite Winter Fest in the Flats.
“There were so many people at that show, and we were the soundtrack to their good time,” Riehl said. “That is what I want out of this band.”
Hope loves the feeling she gets when the crowd joins in.
“Every time I look out and see people singing the lyrics that I’ve written, it’s just the greatest feeling ever.”