Interview: West Side Saints

The West Side Saints are creating buzz for themselves on the Detroit rock music scene. Their latest EP, and the band’s first studio effort, Ends and Beginnings, has that raw around the edges energy and sound that today’s rock music has been missing. WGTB got the chance to speak with lead singer Ben Bertsch to learn more about West Side Saints’ sound and what’s next for this up-and-coming band.

What inspired you to become a professional musician? Was music something you were always passionate about?

I think we all just love music and want to inspire other people. Music was always an integral aspect of our existence. As long as people listen to us, and we can connect with them, we will be passionate about music.

Tell us a little about West Side Saints?

There are five band members: Ben Bertsch (vocals,) Anthony Cistone (guitars,) Vince Pelini (guitars,) Connor Randall (drums,) and Eric Sabbeth(bass.)

Anthony and I have known each other since we were six, back in Ohio. We met Vince in high school. Anthony moved out to Colorado after freshman year of high school. I (Ben) moved to Colorado after my freshman year of college and started writing songs with Anthony, while Vince was in college in Nebraska. Vince moved out to Denver after college and joined, then Connor found us on SoundCloud, and Eric completed the lineup. It’s really pretty serendipitous how many things have led to becoming a band; it gives us hope.

Listening to your music it is easy to detect a multitude of different genres. How would you classify your sound?

I would classify our sound as a mix between old and new. With all of the different personalities that we have on each instrument, and the influences we draw from, it’s hard to say. I think we want to put our own spin on things, but we want to stay true to our roots as well.

I know you guys are proud to be from Denver. Do you think living in Denver has influenced your sound at all?

I think Denver has an eclectic mix of music on its scene. I would say the fact that you can see a jam band, a folk band, a rock band, and an electronic artist on the same strip helps expand your musical experience. No doubt, the environment influences what comes out of us, and with so much music around us, it is easy to draw inspiration.

“Halo” is one your most popular songs. What was the inspiration behind the song?

Anthony wrote that and it’s just about a boy asking a girl to come down to his level, to take off her Halo.

What can listeners expect from your upcoming EP?

I think they can expect an expansion in our sound. We want to utilize more instrumentation and experiment with more harmonies to get a fuller sound. I would say they can expect a little more weirdness and space with a little rabble rousing.

When is you upcoming EP going to be released?

Our next EP will be released in July to early August.

What is the first album you ever bought?

The first albums I ever had were Notorious B.I.G. Born Again and Credence Clearwater’s greatest hits.

What’s the last song you listened to on your iPod?

All Night Stand by the Kinks

What is next for the West Side Saints?

Our efforts are geared toward putting out an excellent debut album with a beautiful concept, and touring the country in a homey van that seats 5. We just want to be on the road.

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About the author

Rhiannon Catalano

Rhiannon Catalano

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Rhiannon Catalano is a junior in the MSB double majoring in Marketing and Operations and Information Management. She loves all genres of music from alternative, to classic rock, to country, and everything in between. Listen to her show Anything Goes from 8-10pm on Sunday nights.

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