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Local jams: Defendants

Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012

Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 17:09


Chelsea Weaver, News Editor

Aaron Stearns and Josh Owens of Defendants perform at a recent show at Memphis venue, Newby’s.

For the members of the Memphis-based four-piece band Defendants, music encompasses more than just sound.

Defendants’ have adopted a mixture of traditional hardcore, post-hardcore and djent metal, which creates a melodic hardcore sound featuring raw vocals, powerful melodies and technical breakdowns. Although the band has a very unique sound, it is one that is comparable to bands like Hundredth, Counterparts and Take It Back.

Although Defendants is based in Memphis, two of its members attend ASU.  Josh Owens and Aaron Stearns, formerly of Stories of Shepherds, collaborated with guitarist and drummer Bobby Ross and Tyler Payne, who both attend Visible Music College to form the project.

Josh Owens, a senior studio art photography major of Marion, does lead vocals and writes the band’s lyrics. Owens’ raw vocals can be described as more of a scream or a yell than singing, which is definitive of the hardcore genre. This rawness creates a much more serious tone and adds power to lyrics such as, “We are destined to fall, but made to rise - oh God, take this life I attempt to drive.”

Aaron Stearns, a senior graphic design major of Little Rock, plays bass for the band.

“My overall goal is to minister to people through our music and go as far as it takes us,” Stearns said.

In contrast to the mentality of many other bands, Owens said Defendants’ role is to be a friend to everyone they can and to relate to people and build them up in a positive way.

“Our goal is to take it as far as God wants us to, whether that’s doing this for the rest of our lives, getting signed, touring or just playing locally,” Owens said.

Defendants has already toured in several states, including Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma, and they often play in Memphis at venues such as the Abbey and Newby’s.

The band has played sets with musical giants in the hardcore scene such as Norma Jean, Oh Sleeper, Stray From the Path, Comeback Kid and Close Your Eyes.

The Christian alternative scene is one that often takes a lot of criticism, with outsiders viewing these types of bands through a microscope and often claiming their members are hypocrites.

These so-called hypocritical bands are ones that claim Christianity on stage just for the crowd appeal, but don’t live the claim off stage.

The members of Defendants said they hope to relieve much of this tension by demonstrating to society that being a Christian is not about all the things you do not do, but about living a life that denies the self and brings glory to Jesus Christ.

“We want to fellowship and love on people, and we want to relate to people through music and how we live our lives,” Owens said.

Defendants is currently writing and recording a new EP and plan to perform again soon after it is released. To find more information on Defendants and listen to some of their recorded music, visit their Facebook page at

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