AYER — Begun when its founding members were still in high school, the band One in Vain entered the area music scene at a time when it seemed that only heavy metal or hip hop ruled the pop-music roost.
But a lot has changed in the music world over the last few years thanks to YouTube, downloadable music and iTunes making access to a worldwide audience easier than ever.
More than just a band, One in Vain is an “organization” with its musicians being only the more visible part of the group’s ensemble, said manager and founding member Joe Infantino.
“What started out as a band ended up as an organization,” he said. “What happened was that between me and Jason (Norstrom), we started 13 Beats Studios and 13 Beats Productions. I’m the one who sets up the shows. I usually bring in three to eight bands and basically take over wherever it is we’re playing.”
With the success of the band and 13 Beats lineups, Infantino soon realized that more help was needed.
“As things grew, we realized that we needed a bunch of security guys and called in some friends who had experience in that line. That’s where the organization came from,” said Infantino.
Infantino said the group has also added its own DJ, sound man and female lead singer, who happens to be Norstrom’s sister.
Then, with all the pieces in place, came the band’s big break.
“One in Vain was asked to play a show by a band called Till We Die, which was sponsored by New England Concerts,” said Infantino. “Usually, we play a whole bunch of small shows with crowds of about 50 to 150 people. But when we played this show in Bedford, N.H., (on Feb. 10), we ended up having close to 700 people show up.
“That was a great night for us,” he said. “From there, New England Concerts has asked us to do more shows with name bands. That was a big jump for us. A lot of people dream of doing what we’re doing right now. But we couldn’t have done it if everybody didn’t put in 100 percent every single day even while working their regular jobs. So really, it’s taken a group effort to make it all happen and to continue forward on this. Some day, hopefully, we’ll be able to play on a daily basis as a career.”
“Basically, we started this whole thing in high school,” said Infantino, 24. “We used to be a really hard-style type of band. We had a really raw sound, extremely Massachusetts hard core. As we got older, though, we all kind of separated with a few members moving out of town. But I missed playing because it was a lot more of a family-type thing back then. We weren’t just a band.”
Infantino said the group’s dry spell ended when he met up with one of his old bandmates at a family barbecue about a year ago. One thing led to another, he said, and the two decided to make a go of it again. They also approached their former drummer, who became the group’s front man.
“We all had some really old roots together, and between the three of us we reunited as a band,” said Infantino, an x-ray technician in his other life.
Infantino, Norstrom and Tony Cadigan formed One in Vain while they were still in high school, only to have the band break up three years ago. Since then, each pursued other interests such as jobs and playing music either independently or in other bands.
But as they soon discovered, old school ties weren’t enough to put together a band that could compete in the rough-and-tumble world of local rock and roll.
“We actually went through a couple of members recently,” said Infantino. “We were trying out different members to see if they were dedicated enough and if playing in the band was exactly what they wanted to do.
“In the end, we were incorporated and called in our original guitarist,” he said. “For the drummer, we got ahold of a guy who used to play with a band called Bad Seed. We asked him to come along with us, and he joined up. So I have to say that everything is working out really well.”
The lineup of One in Vain is now Jason Norstrom, lead singer; Joe Infantino, bass and manager; Brandon Harsh, guitar; Tony Cadigan, guitar; Mikey “Hits” McLaughlin, drummer; Jessica Norstrom, cameo singer; Bobby Jackson, DJ and sound engineer; and Derek Kelly, FX guy.
The band can’t be pinned down to a single sound, said Infantino.
“We play what we like to hear and what we like to feel,” said Infantino. “For the most part, all our music has a positive message. In a time of really hard blast beats, heavy breakdowns and a lot of double bass, we have a lot of music with melodic overtones that are radio friendly. So we cater to all different tastes. We can play with the hardest rock band, but can also create more of a mainstream type of rock when we want to.”
Performing all of its own material, the band has completed its first demo album titled 13 Years already recorded by 13 Beats Studios.
For now the band continues to pay its dues, playing to wider audiences at local clubs and shows.
“At the Bedford show, we were introduced by Mike Shu, of WAAF, and after that they asked us to play with a band called Dope at Mark’s Showplace on Feb. 25, also in Bedford,” said Infantino. “We were also asked to appear at Bill’s Bar in Boston again with Till We Die who just recently got signed to a label. But the big kicker that made us so happy was that we’ll be playing with the band Powerman 5,000 on March 24, again at Mark’s Showplace.”