A band of student musicians is committed to making music that makes a statement.

Catch & Release is a 5-piece band.

One member, Emmett Berktold, is a fourth-year music student at Cal Poly Pomona.

The band has been playing together for eight years and has had a rotating cast.

The current members include Berktold, lead vocalist and lead guitarist; Jason Gomez, rhythm guitarist and background vocalist; Wilmer Lopez, lead Guitarist; John Solano, bassist and acoustic guitarist; and Jose Ceja, percussionist.

Together the band members have created a cohesive sound that they are proud of. They believe the music they perform has a message that is important and currently missing in the music industry.

“We like to include themes in our music that are not necessarily prevalent in our genre,” said Berktold. “We have very politically charged lyrics that take some stances. We write about values not common in the prevalent zeitgeist.”

Catch & Release jamming out at one of its many live performances. (Courtesy of Emmett Berktold)

Gomez recruited Berktold in 2014 and they later recruited other members together.

“Jason started this band in 2010,” said Berktold.

“It was originally called ‘As Kings Fall’. When he recruited me, we decided to change the name. I had the idea of ‘Catch & Release’ and that’s what we settled on.

We had a big shift in identity.”

The band started and is based in Ontario, California.

They perform at events regularly and have performed in LA, Inland Empire, Pomona, Pasadena and even have gone as far as San Diego.

The band’s genre is described as alternative rock and post-hardcore.

“We don’t want to be considered unapproachable,” said Berktold, regarding the usual intensity of the hardcore music genre.

“There is definitely some screaming here and there, but it’s nothing too aggressive. We are hardcore but we also have an alternative side to the music. We are interested in the melodic and orchestrated aspects of our music rather than just being physical, or abrasive or loud.”

The band is heavily inspired by primarily Underoath and Silverstein, both of which are part of the post-hardcore music genre.

Other musical inspirations include Paramore, Rise Against, Incubus and A Day to Remember.

Catch & Release have two songs posted on YouTube.

They first released ‘For God & Country’ five months ago.

Their more recent song is called ‘Skeletons’. Their music is also available on Soundcloud. Some lyrics from ‘Skeletons’ include: “Mind tuned out / unaware of what’s going on around / I think it’s time to break the mold / break the silence.”

The band is on top of their music writing and composing strategies.

Their artistic process is a true collaboration with all of the members of the band.

“I typically layout a concept with a basic rhythm,” said Berktold. “We then will discuss it and I’ll say ‘Oh, I like the way this sounds.’ Like how one major chord hit the minor versions, for example.”

A passion for music is what drives the band members as musicians individually and together.

Catch & Release is hopeful regarding their aspirations for the future of the band.

“Our short-term goal is to gain a collection of about five songs that can help build a professional bridge for our music,” said Berktold. “We want to tour, of course, so we can inject the community surrounding this genre.

But to do that, we need a substantial library of music first.”

The band has booked performances that are gaining popularity and will bring more attention to their band as they attempt to achieve this short-term goal.

“As for the long term, we all want to inject the hearts and minds of the world with our music,” said Berktold.

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