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VESPERA: Partners with Alternative Press + The Jed Foundation to promote mental health awareness

Added 24 December 2017, 4:01 AM

Vespera has teamed up with Alternative Press as well as The Jed Foundation to start a dialogue on suicide, addiction, and general mental health. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 15 – 24 (Source: The Jed Foundation). Conditions like depression, anxiety and substance use disorders, especially when they are untreated, increase the risk of suicide (Source: The Jed Foundation). Though the statistics are compelling, the stigma surrounding mental illness still exists. With his op-ed essay and release of “Paradise” ft. Spencer Sotelo of Periphery, vocalist Jonathan Wolfe seeks to break down the walls and share his story in hopes that others will find the confidence to continue the conversation. Additionally, Wolfe went through direct training with The Jed Foundation to learn how to tackle these issues and communicate with his friends/fans on the subject.

Wolfe stated:

“So many of us suffer through our addictions and depression in silence and shame, I just want people to realize that they aren't alone. I want people to have a safe place to talk about what goes on in their minds without being judged or ridiculed. Maybe if we end the stigma, so many of us won't feel so isolated. I hope my story will help push the conversation of mental health in the right direction."

To learn more, please take a moment to read Wolfe’s op-ed essay in full and watch “Paradise” exclusively on Alternative Press now here.

About Vespera:

This past Fall, Vespera unveiled their second single “Obsidian Dreams” on Kerrang!. as a follow up to their debut “Bloom” which premiered on Billboard. The tracks were inspired by Wolfe’s girlfriend Jourdan Miller (winner of America’s Next Top Model in 2013) who additionally starred in both videos. “Bloom” went on to secure a spot on Spotify’s official Rock Hard playlist after grabbing the attention of Allison Hagendorf (Global Head of Rock for Spotify). With only two singles off their full-length album available to the public, the band has successfully impressed fans and press alike, receiving positive pickup on Alternative Press, AXS, Live Nation’s The Noise, Metal Injection, MetalSucks, Rolling Stone India, and many more.

The project “showcases many different subgenres in rock without being overwhelming,” says Wolfe. “It really showcases a darker psychological side that I've never shown before as a songwriter … I envisioned a dark and aggressive, yet calm and grandiose sound with lyrical content that spoke directly to the soul.” To achieve this direction, Wolfe experimented for the first time with a seven-string guitar and dropped tuning. “I wanted to go out of my depth and create something completely different from what I had ever done previously.”

Formed in the ether of 2016, Vespera would soon outgrow its quiet formation and become a reverberating sound aiming to echo through time. Vespera was created by artisan musician Jonathan Wolfe in Seattle, WA while on hiatus after relocating from Los Angeles, CA. Months of self -discovery and musical experimentation would lead towards the unintentional creation of seven instrumental demos that would capture the dark and haunting moods that inspired Wolfe to venture into a new sound. The music takes twists and turns, painting dismal moods and hopeful recourse within its chord choices. The dark, technical sound of guitars fused around intricate drumming would set Wolfe on the path to discover a new, haunting yet natural tone to combine with a refined and confident upper register. The result is a well-thought-out story, told within a vivid and dynamic soundtrack.

During the Summer of 2016, Wolfe traveled to Bethesda, MD to work on a 5-song EP with Taylor Larson (Periphery, Darkest Hour). Larson would assist Wolfe in his venture towards a new sound. In a turn of events, five songs would soon become the 15-track album titled The Thoughts That Plague You. Between his time in Seattle, Miami, New York, and Bethesda, he would not only finalize the songs for the album but also write the treatments for six music videos whilst completing the lineup for his as-yet-unnamed band.

Wolfe later added Jonathan Schwartz (drums), Cairn Tse-Lalonde (guitar), and Paul Anderson (bass) to the team. The four would come together as complete strangers, taking a leap of faith, and moving forward together as a unit. Vespera made its first appearance on April 1, 2017 with a video clip showing Wolfe playing guitar in a studio setting. The words of David Bowie played over the audio, speaking to the viewers. “If you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you're capable of going. Go a little bit out of your depth and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.” Wolfe says “I wanted to introduce my new endeavor to the world with the very words that inspired the start to this journey.”

The Thoughts That Plague You is set for release in 2018.

News reported by: Jean-François "Thrashing Assault" Briard

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