Artist of the Month: West the Defender

West The Defender is a six piece pop-rock band hailing from central New Jersey. Composed of Justin Posyton (lead vocals, guitar), Pete Mitchell (vocals, guitar), Kyle Matthews (vocals, keys), Kris Brandyberry (vocals, trumpet, percussion), Ryan Klimchock (bass), and Nick Netta (drums), this motley crew of close friends have been playing together on and off since any members decided to be in a rock band. While always striving to write better songs and play better shows, West The Defender has recently realized their vision of the band’s sound and intends to relay that vision to as many listeners as humanly possible.

Currently the band is promoting their first full-length record, Don’t Tell My Girlfriend, produced, recorded, and mixed by Tom Stratton of Socratic at Soundwaves Studios in Union, NJ, released this past November at 10th Street Live in Kenilworth, NJ. A staple around Jersey, West The Defender has played venues such as Kenny’s Castaway’s, The Stone Pony, The Court Tavern, Mexicali Live, Crash Mansion, The Crossroads, and Union County’s annual Musicfest. They’ve had the privilege of sharing bills with bands such as Third Eye Blind, Cash Cash, Socratic, and Grammy-Nominees Fountains of Wayne.

The band draws on on a “back to basics” approach. With influences like The Beatles, Incubus, Weezer, and The Eagles WTD creates music that will appeal to any pop rock fan; it’s vibrant, fun, and energetic music that has some killer riffs. After a listen of the first couple notes of the opening single “Boop” I was instantly hooked by their quirky, dark and humorous music boasting of horny guys and easy girls. The music has a theatrical quality with high and dramatic vocals, but all while keeping charismatic pop rock melodies that make you wanna dance and sing a long. The couplement of keys, horns and guitars is a delightful and exciting pairing.

Despite having been together for only a short period of time, their individual experience shines through on their tight sound that will capture your ears and emotions.

Stand out tracks: “Boop,” “Barside Casanova” “Snap,” and “Touch”

ESBMusic had the chance to catch up with Justin Posyton and Pete Mitchell to find out how the band came together, the inspiration behind their music, and what they like best about being from the Garden State.

ESBM: How did you guys come up with your band name?
WTD: West the Defender was my favorite Saturday morning cartoon
show. It was also the name of Nick’s first AND third parakeet as a child. I believe it may also have been a reference to Adam West, the defender of Gotham City. We could go on for days about what the name
means to US, but honestly, West the Defender is whatever you want it to be. We’d like to believe that music should be judged by your ears and not the moniker you choose to release it under. So much thought
goes into a superhiptrendy band name these days and it’s just a tad ridiculous. How often do you hear a band name that really makes any sense anymore?!? As long as it’s something that sticks with you and
piques a bit of interest isn’t that all that matters?

ESBM: How did you all come together as band?
WTD: About 10 years ago at Krome in Sayerville, a skinny little sophomore skater (lets be real, he was a rollerblader) kid who was dating a girl in my senior class approached me about singing in his band. I recently left my high school band, so I agreed to “audition.” No one else showed up to try out so, clearly, I got the gig. We were TERRIBLE. Ever since then, Pete and I have written together in various projects. Along the way, we’ve added and subtracted numerous long-time friends from the equation and wound up with our little crew of derelicts. We all went to high school together, with the exception of Nick, so finding each other wasn’t too difficult. I’ve known Nick for years, he was the creepy 20-something who dated my friend in high school… then he was the creepy little drummer from afteryellowred that we shared a few bills with as cronophoto, now he’s MY creepy little djlilnicky. we’re all very close, maybe too close. 😉

ESBM: What’s the best thing about being from NJ?
WTD: Being nothing like the Jersey stereotype! Jersey is a melting pot, to say the least, but unfortunately commercial media only portrays that age-old cliche Italian guy in a wife beater who drops the vowels off of everything and refers to himself in the third person driving his escalade over the pulaski skyway complaining about how bad it smells. Granted it’s entertaining, but Jersey is so much more. We have the music scene that’s been feeding New York it’s talent and suburban angst for decades. We have miles upon miles of some of the most beautiful landscape on the East Coast. We have music, food, and all
mediums of art oozing out of our cities and towns. We have Bruce…c’mon. What’s the best thing about being from Jersey? Not being from somewhere else.

ESBM: You guys have a few fun webisodes online, are you starting that up again this year?
WTD: We’re currently editing a video from our headlining gig at The Stone Pony on 2/12/12. It’ll have some fun antics incorporated in it. But yes, we will absolutely be promoting our new record with shameful youtube plugs. We also have some really talented people coding our new kick-ass website, which will include an online store, regular webisode updates, tweets, Facebook nonsense… and all of that cool interwebs stuff!

ESBM: You just released you sophomore album in November – can you tell us about the inspiration behind it?
WTD: The record, Don’t Tell My Girlfriend, is a true representation of West The Defender. We wanted to make a commercial quality record that maintained some sort of integrity as musicians… as humans, really. There is so much music out there today that’s made just to appeal to a column in some “suit’s” marketing projections for the upcoming decade. We make music that we like to play, that our friends will like to drink heavily to, that hopefully makes someone we have never met want to listen again. With the help of our dear friend and producer, Tom Stratton of Socratic, at Soundwaves Studios in Union (our hometown) I think we accomplished that with this record. Don’t Tell My Girlfriend is about lovers and lunatics, and how they’re one and the same. It’s light, it’s dark, and we’re very proud of it.

ESBM: Will you be touring this summer in support of the album?
WTD: YES! Local tour, unless someone learns of a rich uncle… (anyone?) Philly, Atlantic City, Baltimore. It’s all in the works! Right now, we’re recording an acoustic EP as a companion to Don’t Tell My Girlfriend,” with some new songs, and some new versions of songs on the record. It will be available late March, digitally and for free with purchase of the LP!

ESBM: Rumor has it you will be opening for Blue October April 6th at The Paramount Theater in Asbury Park. How did this opportunity come about?
WTD: Unfortunately, that fell through. The promoters had someone picked out already. Our good friend Kyle Brendle from The Stone Pony, who has been really good to us, was trying to get us on that show. He booked us as opening support for Fountains of Wayne at the Pony this past summer, where we recently headlined a local music showcase.

ESBM: Any last words?
WTD: Just…THANK YOU! And readers can get Don’t Tell My Girlfriend at for 50% off by using the promo code: esbmusic 🙂

for more information on West the Defender check out their bandcamp, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

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