The Set List

By Brian Washburn


While (what seems like) the everlasting recession has dampened the music scene around Arkansas, the Natural State has yet another band on the rise … literally. Arkansas progressive rock band PMToday has signed to indie metal label Rise Records and are looking to make a name for themselves with both the label’s diverse acts and across the nation. However, the boys in PMToday are nothing new to the Arkansas music scene.

“We’ve been playing music for six years. We’ve gone through a bunch of member changes and in 2006 we went through a sound change and began getting the sound of our last record,” said drummer Ryan Brogan, who’s brothers Conor (vocalist/guitarist) and Cuinn (guitarist/vocalist) also comprise PMToday, along with bassist Jerrod Morgan.

The sound of their last record, 2007’s “And Then The Hurricane,” progressed from the emo/rock sound dominating Arkansas’ music scene to a more guitar-driven rock that Conor says is derived from influences such as Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and other classic rock artists like The Police. But while this rock-driven sound can be found across the nation, it is a bit of a departure from the metal and screamo bands found on PMToday’s new label, Rise Records.

“Rise really seemed interested. They called a whole bunch and negotiated a good deal. They weren’t sketchy about anything that we asked for,” Conor said.

“We just hope that all of the Rise bands keep an open mind because we aren’t your typical Rise band,” Ryan said.

Even though many bands on the label tend to associate themselves with the Christian metal scene, Conor said he did not know where the rumor that PMToday is a Christian band came from. “We are just a band,” he said.

While PMToday might not be your typical Rise band, they have another task to live up to, being the second rock band in the past year signed to a major indie label in the national rock scene, the first being Little Rock’s School Boy Humor. But the band is not feeling the pressure to live up to any expectations. In fact, they are excited about being able to represent the Arkansas music scene on a national level.

“It’s really cool coming out of Arkansas. It’s not as huge of a deal as it was a couple years ago, but still really exciting. People here in Arkansas are proud of us and it’s awesome that another Arkansas band got signed. It seems they all broke up and are dying out, and it sucks,” Ryan said.

Even though some notable Arkansas bands have decided to part ways, PMToday wants to cement their status in the state’s music history when they enter the studio on Sept. 16 to record their Rise Records debut, which they say will feature a completely different writing process than they are used to.

“The writing process is different this time around than (it was) two years ago with the first CD,” Ryan said. “Basically Conor wrote pretty much everything and I did some structuring and we recorded on a really crappy 8-track. It was usually a slow process because whenever we write songs we write one song at a time and keep on that until it’s finished.

“This time around we are not going to stick on the same song at one time, so we don’t waste songs and all of the other members are more involved than previous members,” he said.

It seems like the national music scene has become saturated with unoriginal rock bands in the past couple of years. But in PMToday’s minds, their genuine songs, as well as their relentless work ethic, will set their music apart.

“We are not writing for anyone. We don’t create songs to go onto the radio or impress anyone but ourselves,” Conor said. “We make music we think is cool. We don’t fit in and if we do sound like other bands, we don’t try to do that. Every song, we try to make that song as good as it can be or better than the last song with a lot of thought and hard work.”

Categories: LIVE! In NWA