The band behind the music: A discussion with Battle of the Bands winner MEASURES

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Whit writer Al Harmon sat down with Rowan's Battle of the Bands champions MEASURES. - Contributing Photographer / Dan Skinner

The metal band MEASURES has made its mark on the Glassboro music scene with its recent Battle of the Bands victory. This Rowan band is made up of guitarist Jonah Pirolli, a junior psychology major, drummer Shane Fajgier, a senior management major, bassist Nicholas Strope, a Rowan alum, and lead singer Trevor Cherkauskas, also a Rowan graduate.

Their music is aggressive and heavy, which distinguishes them from other bands in the Glassboro music scene. MEASURES originally debuted in 2019 under the moniker Invasion.

“Our music is pretty loud and aggressive which sets us apart from most other bands from our area. We just like to make people wanna run through a wall when they listen to us,” Pirolli said.

Cherkauskas, the sole remaining founding member of Invasion and the frontman of MEASURES sought to take the band in a new direction. Fajgier and Pirolli joined not long after the band was founded. They finally put the pieces together and chose to rebrand themselves after multiple lineup changes. They added Strope to the band shortly after changing their name and thus MEASURES was born.

“We decided to form MEASURES to create music that we love and share it with people who may not listen to the type of music we do and expose people to styles of music they wouldn’t listen to on their own,” Cherkauskas said.

A measure is a musical term that refers to a length of time or measurement between a specific number of beats. 

“Since we are a band of four guys we just made it plural and that’s how we got MEASURES,” Cherkauskas said. 

Members of the band think that their musical approach is distinct from other bands in Glassboro and that their music will make listeners feel as intense and powerful as their tunes are.

“Honestly, it’s hard to say what we look to accomplish for the band because everybody may want something different from the band. But for me, I hope to make this a career. Something that can financially support us so we can do this forever, because nothing is better than being on stage, writing a song someone loves, and leaving an impact on a listener,” Cherkauskas said.

MEASURES’ success has not been without its hurdles. Being in a band is challenging. It takes a lot of effort to rehearse, book shows, advertise yourself, and more.

“There is so much new content out there, so we need to stand out. We have played around plenty of crowds who may have never listened to anything heavier than Metallica, so it’s important for us to write riffs that all people will get down with,” Strope said.

Another issue is availability, as they all have jobs and several are still full-time Rowan students. They frequently need to plan at least one, if not two, weeks ahead of time for practices. However, they do an excellent job of making it work, although they don’t have much time together. They are productive in the 2-3 hours they may be able to meet one night.

Additionally, the band was faced with struggles in building their audience. Rowan audiences primarily lean towards indie rock, whereas MEASURES is on the metal side.

The band’s EP “REEL” was recently published on all platforms. The EP displays the band’s collective efforts, with each member having a part in the creative process. The album’s creation was a collaborative endeavor in which nothing was put in stone until everyone felt things were right. 

A riff or drum groove is typically brought in by a band member, and everyone will discuss it to determine if they like it for a song or not. They then begin to expand outward. While some days are more plentiful than others, they make sure that nothing is forced. This is essential to the band and how they’ve done all of their tracks.

Every band has played its first show, and every band remembers how it felt. For MEASURES, they performed for the first time when they were still known as Invasion. The more they did so, the less anxious they became. Four years after their debut performance, there is less anxiety and more emphasis on enjoyment and loosening up.

“We had a pretty relaxing day before the Battle of the Bands. It’s funny how the nerves of playing live dissipate after the first couple of shows,” Strope said. “We knew that we were ready for the performance, so we were able to spend the day relaxing around town and seeing some old friends. It was a great feeling to win, and we’re all looking forward to what we will accomplish this year.”

With their distinctive sound and energetic shows, MEASURES has a bright future ahead of them and is sure to dominate the local music scene. The band will soon release more incredible music and perform live for fans.

“The response and energy of a room full of people cheering for you gives you a feeling like no other and when you and your guys are the cause of that energy, it makes you wanna keep getting back up there to show everyone what you got,” Pirolli said. “It may be because of recency bias, but I think our most memorable show so far was the BOTB. We knew we were the only metal band in the show so we weren’t sure how the crowd would respond to us and when we saw how much they were enjoying it, it made us feel proud as a group.”

Each band member draws inspiration for their music from a different place, although they all share a similar source. All of the band members credit Merauder’s album “Master Killer” as a huge influence.

“For me, Deftones has a huge influence on my playing style, especially for the not-so-heavy stuff we write. Slipknot, Knocked Loose, Spiritbox, and some lesser-known bands named Kublai Khan, Alpha Wolf, and Polaris are some other bands I pull from when I’m trying to get in the zone,” Pirolli said.

Strope stands out from the other members of his band because, for the past few years, he has primarily listened to Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and Chuck Schuldiner of Death. He prefers to listen to the individual musicians he enjoys and can listen to nonstop.

“My two favorite local bands are currently Out of the Beardspace from Cherry Hill and Ditz from Wrightstown,” Strope said.

As the Battle of the Bands winner, MEASURES is now scheduled to play as the opening act on the main stage of Hollybash, which is widely regarded as one of Rowan’s largest events of the year.

MEASURES members credit their success to a combination of perseverance and commitment. The band has been actively playing shows, developing their abilities, and enhancing their sound over the last six months. They didn’t need to make any particular preparations for the Battle of the Bands competition because their repertoire had been established for some time. Instead, they approached it the same way they would have approached any other event, giving a strong performance that impressed both the judges and the audience.

MEASURES enjoys a variety of pastimes besides playing live shows and creating songs. Fajgier enjoys going to the gym, shooting guns, breweries, and baseball games. Strope enjoys skating, rock climbing, and scuba diving while Pirolli likes watching anime and weightlifting.

The most crucial aspect of the band just starting, in Cherkauskas’s opinion, is the Glassboro music scene, or the larger South Jersey music scene. You can establish contacts with venues, promoters, bands, and fans at all levels in this way.

“Playing with a bunch of bands extends your connections to play more shows with them and exposing yourself to their fan base and hopefully growing your own,” Cherkauskas said. “You 100% need the local scene and we try to contribute to that as much as possible by putting shows together with bands we have played with and bands we haven’t.”

MEASURES have been performing at venues throughout South Jersey, and their outstanding performance has helped them amass a sizable following. To increase their visibility and forge new relationships that will aid them in achieving their long-term objectives, the band members aim to begin touring other states shortly.

“Go out and play, and play as you care. If you decide as a band that this is what you want, go out and play. It doesn’t matter if it’s to 5 people, 50 people, 500 people, it doesn’t make a difference,” Cherkauskas said. “Every chance to play is an opportunity and when you’re just starting you got to take everything you can and you have to be prepared and leave a mark that makes people remember you… Just be patient and stay the course.”

MEASURES is a band to keep an eye on. Their distinct aesthetic and recent success will likely make them well-known. Currently, MEASURES has performances set for April 14, April 21, May 20, and June 16. 
To remain up to date, follow them on Instagram @measures.nj. Don’t miss it because they’ll be performing some of the new songs they’ve been working on. All streaming services have MEASURES’ music, including their EP “REEL.”

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