Local hardcore rockers get record deal

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Kyle Hapeman of Albion and bandmates sign with InVogue Records and start tour later this month

Photos by Tom Rivers – Band members of Until We Are Ghosts are pictured by their van which they will take on a three-month tour beginning later this month. The group includes, from left: Kevin Dickes on bass, Jordan Blankenberg on drums, Kyle Hapeman on guitar, James Blackenberg on guitar and Rob Anders on vocals. They are pictured outside the St. Mary’s Athletic Club in Albion, where they performed on Sunday.

ALBION – By day he is a mild-mannered employee at Baxter Healthcare in Medina, training workers to make medical pumps and devices.

For 4 ½ years Kyle Hapeman has worked that job. His last day at Baxter is May 21. Hapeman and his fellow band members have been signed by a record company and they are going on tour. The debut CD for Until We Are Ghosts will be out on May 27.

“We never expected a record deal or a tour,” Hapeman, 22, said today before the band played at St. Mary’s Athletic Club. “We just like to play music.”

Hapeman plays guitar and provides some vocals for the band, a five-piece melodic hardcore band. Hapeman is from Albion while the other band members are from the Rochester area.

The band’s music is intense, and some might say lead singer Rob Anders of Greece is a screamer.

“It’s a mixture of screaming and yelling,” Anders said. “You’re letting yourself go.”

Kyle Hapeman, right, and Kevin Dickes perform with Until We Are Ghosts during a concert at St. Mary’s. The band’s debut album, “Bitterseed,” is out on May 27.

The band members made their first music video, “Hourglass,” and Hapeman thinks that got the attention of InVogue Records, which has signed Until We Are Ghosts to three records.

Despite the intensity of Anders’s singing, Hapeman said the band’s songs strike an emotional cord with the audience. In one song, Anders sings about losing his grandmother. In another song, he sings about strained father-son relationships.

“When we play, you feel every word,” Hapeman said. “We’re really personal about our lyrics.”

Hapeman likes to move around the performance area while he plays guitar. He strums away even while doing jump kicks during a concert.

Hapeman didn’t sing in the school chorus or play in Albion’s marching band. He taught himself to play guitar.

His mother, Denise London, said her son is shy. But during a concert, he lets out a different side.

Kyle Hapeman, in back, jumps and kicks while playing the guitar at the same time.

Hapeman put together the band, reaching out to hardcore musicians through Facebook.

“Kyle is the leader of the pack,” Anders said. “He is someone you can work with. You can feel his determination.”

Anders is giving up a job as assistant manager at Taco Bell to go on tour. Anders said Hapeman came up with the band’s name.

“It fits us because you don’t know what you’re going to get,” Anders said. “With the band Metallica, you know you can expect heavy metal.”

The band is eager for the chance to play full-time and see the country. Hapeman said he willing to give up his job to follow his passion.

“I’m only 22 and I figure I have to work until I’m 65 or 70,” he said. “I may not have another opportunity like this.”

For more on Until We Are Ghosts, click here.

Rob Anders, lead singer for Until We Are Ghosts, lets it rip during a concert in Albion today.