CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Charleston’s own Byzantine is the headliner at this week’s Live on the Levee.
Lead singer and guitarist Chris Ojeda started the band.
Brian Henderson is on guitar and back-up vocals, Ryan Postlethwait is on bass, and Matt Bowles plays drums.
Henderson and Ojeda say Byzantine plays a type of heavy metal known as groove metal.
“Pantera kind of started the whole thing. It’s kind of Southern-fried, slower tempo kind of stuff. Definitely not speed metal or thrash metal. It’s a little more accessible than that stuff,” Henderson explained.
Ojeda does some heavy screaming and shouting so he practices proper singing techniques and tries to balance between hard and soft vocals to save his vocal cords.
When asked if singing that ever hurts his voice, Ojeda answered, “Yeah, yeah, it’s hard (laughs). It’s really difficult. They say the human voice doesn’t really mature until you get in your 40s so right now I’m hitting my peak.”
The band didn’t play a single show for 600 days because of the pandemic.
“The music industry got hit probably worse than anything, not just bands… promoters, crew, people lost jobs, like everywhere else and we’re glad to be doing it again,” Henderson said.
“Byzantine has been around since the year 2000. They formed in Charleston, West Virginia. Ojeda is the only original member and the band has evolved over the years.
They’ve never played Live on the Levee and it’s something the members say they’re really looking forward to.”
“I have a 13-year-old daughter that I don’t think she’s ever seen me play. I’m just the dad to her so this weekend will be an eye-opener for her,” Ojeda said.
The band itself has never played Live on the Levee, but Henderson played the event with a cover band years ago. He said this time will be different.
“I’m really looking forward to my mom and dad getting to come watch, my son getting to come watch and seeing a lot of our friends,” Henderson said.
Friday’s show will be the final one of this year’s 17-stop tour.
All the guys in the band have day jobs and they don’t tour in the winter. Ojeda and Henderson are also dads…so family always comes first.
“As long as we can keep a balance of home life, work-life and band life, I think we could probably do this for a good amount of time,” Ojeda said.
After Friday’s show, the band will start working on some new songs and their seventh album.
Byzantine plans to do more dates next year… pandemic willing.
13 news is a proud sponsor of Friday’s Live on the Levee show.