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Breckenwood breaks into popularity

Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 18:11


Breckenwood hopes its upcoming opener for Sum 41 will add to its already loyal fanbase.

Courtesy of Katy Crabtree from Queen City Snaps

As struggling musicians in Buffalo, local pop punk band Breckenwood was looking for a break. They all wanted to play a show that would put them in the mainstream eye beyond the success that accompanied signing with indie record label, Buzz Records.

Bassist and seniorbiology major Will Folckemer found that break – a weeklong contest held by TopBlip to open for pop punk veterans Sum 41 at Town Ballroom.

“When I found out we won, I was actually at McDonalds waiting to order a five-piece chicken select,” said Breckenwood drummer Cameron Kukla. “Before I could order, I looked at the text and screamed we won at the McDonalds drive-thru window.”

The band – named after the intersection of Elmwood Avenue and Breckenridge Street— has been on a rollercoaster ride for the past year and a half. Vocalist Garrett Shea, guitarist and senior finance major Nick Bonaventura, Folckemer and Kukla have survived through the gut-wrenching twists and turns to find themselves stalled at the band’s peak.

Finding funds to travel to venues, dealing with broken instruments and losing a chance to play Vans Warped Tour at Darien Lake last summer have been learning experiences for Breckenwood. However, after winning the chance to open for Sum 41 this Wednesday and releasing its debut album, Take Me There,through Buzz Records last Saturday, the band is on a high like no other.

“We aren’t trying to dive headfirst in the water anymore; we are trying to do the breast stroke,” Kukla said. “We tried to go too far too fast but we learned and now we just have to go on a steady course and be serious about the future.”

Folckemer, who works on campus at Perks in the Ellicott Food Court, prides himself on being Internet savvy. His skills helped him form Breckenwood a year ago through Craiglist, and he found the contest very shortly before its deadline ended.  

Breckenwood won the contest and claimed the band owed its successto its fans, who worked tirelessly to support the band. Friends and fans of the band posted the contest link on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Breckenwood was up against nine bands and solo artists across the nation but stillwon with 376 votes and 9,378 views on a video performance of a song from Take Me There.

The band could have never predicted it would be sharing the same stage as Sum 41, as some of the members have been fans since Sum 41’s peak in 2001.

Growing up, the members of Breckenwood were all exposed to music in differentways and had approval from their parents to do what they loved. Bands like Black Sabbath inspired Folckemer, while teachers in high school influenced Bonaventura

The band does most of its touring, practices and local shows during the semester amid midterms and part-time jobs. The biggest setback of touring in the summer is Folckemer’s demanding and time-consuming job. His absence delays Breckenwood’s agenda because he does most of the social media and venue booking for the band.

“It’s hard, but [while school is in session] it’s a lot easier because we all have set schedules,” Kukla said. “Summer was the worst because the only time we practiced was right before we had a live show.”

Breckenwood tries to focus their energyon making the band known around UB becauseBonaventura and Folckemer attend the university. They played at Rocktoberfest at the Student Union Theater last month and filled about half the venue. They attributed the turn out to the plentiful amount of flyers they posted on campus, which were plastered in front of the Stampede bus stops and even some bathrooms.

“The Rocktober show hit me pretty hard when the audience was singing along to our songs,” Shea said.  “Just that on its own is mind-blowing. Those are words we wrote.”

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