Phantom Sway

Ska-Punk ‘Survay Says!’ is gone but Menzel brothers ‘Keep Flying’

Ska-Punk band Survay Says! disbands—members form new group Keep Flying

keep flying

There are many bands that never “make it big” or even get to the brink of success. These bands play dive bars and venues with crowds of less than twenty. Eventually, those gigs take a toll on bands. Pair them with jobs, marriages, and rough financial situations and the band is doomed.

One band that has fought tooth-and-nail through the petty arguments, misfortune on the road, and disappointing turnouts was Survay Says!ss 2—a Ska-Punk band from New Jersey (we can argue about the “punk” genre some other time). Founded in 2008, Survay Says! spent the last eight years playing over one-thousand shows all over the United States and even in the United Kingdom. Survay Says! is one of the few bands I know of who have landed large tours with groups like Reel Big Fish and Big D and the Kids Table, yet still play the house shows and small benefits for great causes. Their success came from solid work ethic and passion for their music. All of these are reasons why I am very surprised and saddened to hear that after eight very committed years to the band, they have decided to call it quits.

I first met the guys of Survay Says! about five years ago at a show in Maryland. That show lead to multiple others spanning from New Hampshire to Florida. I can say with complete confidence that Survay Says! was a group of fine musicians and genuine people that were in it 100% for the sake of music and reaching out to people. These guys had a massive impact on the crowds they played for, and even bigger impacts on the groups they played with. They were guys that would not only put you up for a night while you were on tour (shout out to Mrs. Menzel—The best band mom in the Universe) but make you breakfast in the morning (DJ is a master chef). They were invested in the well being of bands that were just starting, struggling, or both; always willing to offer tips and advice humbly and honestly.

Now that I’ve paid my respects to Survay Says! I can move on to the fun part—the future of two of it’s members: brothers Henry and DJ Menzel.

Along with a few other friends the Menzel brothers have set out for a new musical journey. I should mention that the others joining them in this project have many years of music business and performing experience, some with the likes of The Wonder Years and Four Year Strong to only name a few. It seems as though this new group named—Keep Flying is almost a super group for pop-punk. Fortunately, I had the honor of talking to Henry today to discuss the end of Survay Says, the new group and some exciting things in their future.

How many shows did Survay Says! play in 2015

208

When was Survay Says! formed?

2008

Is the new lineup full and permanent for Keep Flying?

Yes, all of the members are THE members of Keep Flying.

Any tour plans yet?

Yes! We’ll be in the east coast for this summer with our EP release shows in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

New music release date?

Today! Our music video will come out in the next month or so and the full length should come out later in the year.

Where was the EP tracked and with who?

Barber Shop Studios in New Jersey with Brett Romnes from I Am the Avalanche and Gary Cioni from Crime in Stereo.

Sounds Like?

Not ska! (laughs) That’s not a dis on ska but this is closer to The Wonder Years, Set Your Goals, and Motion City Soundtrack.

Still playing any Survay Says! stuff?

Yes, a select few from Observations of the Human Condition will be coming with us.

Where do you see Keep Flying in 2 years?

Oh wow. Optimistically…touring consistently, keeping it afloat financially, and connecting with as many people as possible.

What do you want to say to the fans of Survay Says?

This was really hard to do. Survay Says is no longer, and that’s sad…it’s really sad. I went back and forth for so long between thinking this was a great idea and thinking it was an awful idea. To me, I felt like I was betraying the fans of Survay Says! but, anyone who liked Survay Says! will like Keep Flying. Change needs to happen sometimes but it’s not a bad thing. So far the reaction has been universally positive and that makes me super happy. The music of SS still exists and the spirit for the new band is the same. It’s like the old band but better. These last few months have been weird because since last fall I haven’t really played out and it doesn’t feel good at all. My ultimate life validation comes from playing shows and connecting with people through those shows. Ya know, I have a job now. I plan on staying at that job but to me, playing in a band is so much more rewarding. I’m excited for the new band because we have all these business ideas that we’ve learned through experience and adding members to this group. I’m glad this is finally out there because I was so tired of keeping this secret from all of our friends.

Keep Flying’s new EP is now available for download at the band’s Bandcamp page http://www.keepflying.band for only $5, but there’s an option to pay more if you’re feeling extra generous. After listening to this EP, one thing is for certain—Keep Flying will be a force in the upcoming years of pop-punk music, and for those of you who don’t find the genre favorable, you may still find yourself roped in by the tasty horn hooks.

Kris Nigh

Kris Nigh is a musician from western Maryland. He currently plays trombone for rock band May Weather and drums for soul band East Coast Stoke. His performances with May Weather have taken him as far north as New Hampshire and as far south as Florida, while playing many venues in between. May Weather currently has 2 releases on iTunes with a third slated for sometime in 2016. He is a graduate of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia where he received a Bachelor’s of Music Education and a Bachelor’s of Music with an emphasis in composition.
Writing music articles is one of his new hobbies, coming alongside B movies, trampoline dodge ball, and offending other millennials on social media. Kris recently co-founded a production company called First Dimension Productions—an all-in-one company catering to young musicians with a tight budget looking for good quality studio recording, booking, music videos and promotional packet design. The company also provides live sound, event promotion and event DJs.