Threesound band lets ‘music breathe for itself’

Posted: October 13, 2012

The Winchester Star


Winchester — For the local band Threesound, creating music is a fluid process.

One member has an idea, another picks up on it and before they know it, all four members have had a hand in creating the sound, said John Hayes, guitarist and vocalist.

“If you watch us constructing a song, we all instantly know what we are talking about,” said Hayes of Winchester, a freshman at Shenandoah University. “We don’t even have to say anything; we just know what to do.”

Because of that camaraderie, the members have created a sound that incorporates the varied types of music they each love — funk, jazz, pop, rock, and electronic — in a way that is distinctly Threesound’s, said Bobby Crim of Winchester, drummer and lead singer.

When the members of Threesound start talking about their music, it is almost as if the music is the fifth member. As Crim puts it: “We let the music breathe for itself.”

For all that freedom, though, they try to keep the sound “very tight, very coordinated,” Hayes said.

The other band members are Andrew Renner of Winchester, bassist and a sophomore at Virginia Tech, and Alex Swafford of Winchester, also a bassist and a freshman at Virginia Tech.

The band is young — it started in 2010 — as are the members — Hayes and Swafford are 18 and the others are 19. But when they talk about music, it is in the way that only true fans do, regardless of age — admiration in their voices as they mention a particular drum solo or guitar riff in a particular recording of a song.

The band has a self-titled short album, recorded at Cue Recording Studios last fall. The members are working on their first full-length album, which they hope to release in the spring with Northern Premier Management, which is based in Winchester, said Jay Powell, Threesound’s agent.

Northern’s owner, Jim Foster, asked him to work with the band a performance in March at Sweet Caroline’s nightclub.

When he went to hear the group play in Crim’s basement, Powell said, he could tell within a few songs what Foster saw in the band that was worth developing.

“Your normal fare around here is classic rock or some stuff that doesn’t have any relevance any more,” he said. “These guys are playing something very fresh.”

The range of the group is reflected in its songs. “Groove Street” was inspired by music Hayes wrote on the guitar, while Crim wrote the lyrics. It is a song about staying optimistic and open.

“A lot of what I write is about taking an emotion you feel and projecting it through the song so other people feel it, too,” Hayes said.

That feeling is always the goal at the band’s concerts, Swafford said.

“If we want a relaxed mindset where everybody is just jamming in the crowd, we can do that,” he said. “It is really great and really fun. It is honestly an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.”

“Synchronicity” is the band’s deepest and “most intense song,” and the opening guitar lick by Renner “really stands out,” said Robert Willis, who conducts publicity for the band. “It is almost like he is making the guitar weep.”

This prompted Hayes to add that his mother says Renner, who is not talkative, “never speaks because his guitar talks for him.”

Renner’s personality was the inspiration for “Simple Sid,” which is “about a modest boy set in his way,” Crim said.

Crim is the ringleader and one of the more versatile players, able to play guitar, bass and drums and to sing, Hayes said.

Swafford is an “unbelievable bass player” and a “sensitive, deep, complex man,” Crim said.

Hayes stays focused on the melody of a song and wants to get it right rather than overcomplicate it, Willis said.

Hayes is the newest addition to the band — the band started with the other three, hence the name Threesound, Crim said, the group but didn’t change the name.

The first time any of the members played together was in middle school, when Swafford and Renner called themselves The Marmadukes.

They disbanded and later re-formed in high school with Crim. Renner left to go to school and was succeeded by Hayes. Then Renner rejoined the band, which has led to some intense new guitar styling between them.

“They sounded good without Andrew, but they sound great with Andrew,” Willis said.

The band members are trying to build up a strong local profile that they hope will lead to more gigs further afield, Powell said.

Their upcoming shows are at 2:30 p.m. today at the Ballston Arts and Crafts Festival, and at 1 p.m. Oct. 20 at MeetMarket in Washington, D.C.

Locally, the group will perform Nov. 3 at Del Rio in Stephens City for an autism awareness benefit show; Nov. 16 at Sweet Caroline’s; Nov. 21 at Island Delights Caribbean Restaurant; and Nov. 24 and Dec. 21 at 147 North, all in Winchester.


For more information about Threesound, visit or

— Contact Laura McFarland at