The Keystones, an up-and-coming rock outfit based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has released its latest music video, “Time Will Tell.”
Now a trio, The Keystones features Vocalist/Bassist Matt Sherman; Vocalist/Drummer Eddie Curran; and Vocalist/Guitarist Jake Lutzke.
Many wondered if The Keystones would survive after the departure of Vocalist Jack Sherman in May 2020.
“He was working full time at an ad agency which ate up a lot of his time, and beyond that, fiction writing has always been his main passion,” said Matt Sherman. “Between his job, his writing, and the band, he was stretching himself pretty thin, so we understood when he parted ways with us.”
While many bands choose to break up after the departure of such a key figure, The Keystones chose to continue, proving that the remaining members were equally as strong musicians.
“Shortly after Jack’s departure, Bill D’Arcangelo of Modern Empire Music added us to his artist roster and has been acting as our manager since,” Sherman said. “Having a manager definitely made us feel more inspired to keep pushing and making music. He’s stuck with us through some rough times. We went through a couple of different singers who really didn’t pan out and a lot of good songs that might not ever see the light of day. Regardless, we’ve got a really supportive team, and at the end of the day, there isn’t really anything else we’d want to be doing. We’ve all wanted to be in a band since we were just kids, so the only thing that made any sense was to keep the band alive.”
Sherman added that remaining members of The Keystones have gone through many musical changes in the last year since Jack’s departure, putting their own stamp on the band.
“It’s almost funny,” Sherman shared. “I mean, we honestly used to just drink a couple of beers, jam in our basement until we found something that stuck, make a voice memo of it on our phones, and then bring it to a producer. And I mean it did work – that’s how ‘Miss Connection,’ our best performing song, was written. Since then, though, we’ve all become somewhat familiar with audio production, at least enough to write and record full demos on our own,” he continued. “Now, we usually write songs separately to begin with but then send each other demos to see if we all dig it. It’s nice, since we have more direction and control over our writing process now.”
And, as Sherman can attest, the band has been “all over the board” stylistically speaking.
“Last year around this time, we were writing heavier emo music that even had elements of metal in it,” Sherman shared. “At the same time, we were writing a couple really soft pop tunes, something on the complete other end of the spectrum. I think now we’ve really settled into the alternative genre, and while we explore elements of pop, indie, hard rock, and more, we’ve definitely always been an alternative band at heart and it shows in our newest release, ‘Time Will Tell.’”
According to Sherman, “Time Will Tell” started out simply before growing into something wonderful.
“Me and Jake were sitting in his basement, just starting to figure out how to record and demo music,” Sherman shared. “We were trying to come up with some ideas, but nothing was really catching. So we thought, ‘2010’ was fun, and it worked out pretty well,’ and we tried to write something that had a similar vibe to it. That’s how the skeleton of the song took shape.”
Sherman stated that the song was a massive collaboration.
“We’d had a couple of the singers we worked with over the last year write vocals and lyrics over it to see what they could come up with while also adding in our own ideas,” he said. “Then, when we decided to just stay as a trio, we rewrote a lot of the vocals to make it more personal to ourselves. Our producer, Sam Nelson, vocalist from Five AM, also added a lot of elements to the song as a whole – helping us write a catchy synth line and come up with more interesting vocal melodies.”
The lyrics definitely represent what The Keystones have been through over the last year.
“It’s been tough,” Sherman admitted. “We’ve changed our lineup a lot and have struggled to find our niche musically. There have been times where we’ve lost hope, but honestly there isn’t anything we’d rather be doing. So it’s like, ‘hey, we’re going to keep pushing and doing what we want to do, and only time will tell if we’re making the right moves or not.’ And that correlates with us identifying ourselves as an alt rock band. It’s what we want to do, we’re not trying to pander or just stick to the most relevant genre. We think people will like it and that things work out for us, but who’s to say? Honestly, time is the only thing that will prove if we’re right or not.”
And, like all the bands out there, The Keystones have been trying to remain relevant throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It definitely hasn’t been easy, and most artists will tell you that,” Sherman stated. “Honestly, it’s in part been through the support of our really dedicated fans. There were times when we would get a little down on ourselves and wonder if people were still going to show up to shows post-pandemic, but our friends would always hype us up and share our music. We actually just had our first show since the pandemic on July 16th, and we were amazed with the turnout. It was a blast. Besides that,” Sherman continued, “some of our songs have just been consistently performing well on streaming platforms. ‘Miss Connection’ and ‘2010’ are always getting streamed a decent amount each day, and it’s been over two years since they’ve been released. We don’t fully understand it, but it’s been awesome to see that people around the world still dig those tunes and continue supporting us.”
The Keystones plan to release more singles later in 2021.
“We like releasing singles, it’s always been fun to treat each song like it’s really special instead of lumping them onto an EP or an album right away,” Sherman ended. “The release date for them is TBD, but we’d hope to get at least 2-3 out by the end of 2021.”