Alumni Spotlight: Matthew Baker (Forerunner)

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Hello friends, this week we are catching up with Matthew Baker of the band Forerunner. Based in Kernersville, NC, Forerunner was a part of the Raging Storm Records family in 2013. Recently they have been working in the studio on material old and new, and have just released a music video for their song Rebuilt with Fire. I caught up with Matt to talk about his music projects past and present.

Courtney Servo-Salvaxe: How did you first hear about RSR?

Matthew Baker: Raging Storm approached us in 2012 and we did some research thought it would be a solid move for us, we were all either in our late teens or early 20’s and were pumped to get that “first deal”. Unfortunately, barely a year later the label disbanded and we were back on our own until the band split up in 2014.

CS: What impact has Raging Storm had on your career?

MB: While Forerunner was with RSR, in the brief time we were with them, we were able to play some great shows, got good publicity and met Jason’s family. The stars just didn’t align for us at the time and it also seemed like the label was getting stressful for Jason and he wanted to take a hiatus. We used to reminisce a lot on what could have been, you know?

CS: Is this where what you had envisioned for your life at this point? If not where else would you rather see yourself and what are you doing to get there?

MB: I’m taking this as a band question, not individually, because we are all meeting career goals. I just got promoted in the hospital I work at, my brother and bassist, Noah is in school, Joey the guitarist and second vocalist is getting his doctorate in December, and our drummer Jeff just got his real estate license. But as a band we are all hungry to get some recognition and have people feel what we feel with the songs we write. Personally, I feel like I need to push myself out of my comfort zone, take more risks and simply go for things without overthinking them too much; I get in a stasis whenever I get in my own head.

CS: What was your favorite song from your set and why?

MB: Let me tell you the obligatory, “new stuff we wrote makes it so hard to choose”; but playing “Rebuilt with Fire”, the energy we all have is so awesome and it is such a fun song and I definitely think the band would agree. There’s probably cracks in the concrete where we practice from us stomping so hard playing that song.

CS: Where did the band name Forerunner come from?

MB: Well from what I was told coming into the band when it was forming was that it is from the video game HALO. Being a faith based band, we tell people Jesus was a forerunner and felt it stuck. But if you want the truth it technically came from HALO hahaha. Also, Joey came into the band shortly after Forerunner was established as the name and he drove a 4Runner which raised a lot more questions on the origin of the name.

Rebuilt by Fire

CS: What advice would you give to yourself if you were just starting out again?

MB: Oh man, definitely tell myself not to overthink things, like I mentioned earlier, which I do a lot. Other than that we probably should have jumped on a tour, play more shows out of state, just branch out, and most importantly to not let it become so professional; we weren’t having fun at the end of the first run.

CS: What prompted the revival of Forerunner after so long?

MB: I honestly don’t know what revived the band. Probably 50% stubbornness and 50% pride for not wanting to sit on all these songs from before and just never release them. We went through a couple different genre jumps in different bands, but metal is our comfort zone and when this new/old group got together it just made sense to revamp the unreleased tracks and pump out new stuff under the same name. Plus the name is pretty dope, so you can’t just NOT keep using it.



You can follow the band for updates on new music and local shows at





Alumni Spotlight: Jon Carolino (Sam’s the Hero)

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I caught up with Jon Carolino, former drummer of the very first Raging Storm Records band Sam’s the Hero, to discuss his past work with Raging Storm and what he is up to present day.

Tyler Bennett: How did you first hear about Raging Storm Records?

Jon Carolino: I heard about Raging Storm when we met Jason at a show my band was playing at. At the time we were called Son’s of Noah (now called Sams’s the Hero) and he told us about the label he was forming. With him being new at it and us being an upcoming band we both thought we would take the chance on each other and became each others’ guinea pig.

TB: What all did you do for Raging Storm?

JC: So my work personally for Raging Storm was mainly getting the first website up, the first logo and a lot of the original marketing for him. I was a full time graphic designer at that point and gladly helped RSR out. Raging Storm really became everyone’s project, both the band and J’s family, and we all pitched in in some sort of capacity to help the label be successful. 

TB: What impact did Raging Storm have on you and your band Sam’s the Hero?

JC: I think the impact was big for both of us. None of us really knew what we were doing but we both had a lot of heart and tried really hard. I think with our bands work ethic, beliefs and attitude we were able to show J we were willing to put in the work and help him help us. I think it gave J a drive to really push us and see how far he could go in making things happen for the label. Through RSR Son’s got to go on their tour. We played the Cornerstone festival and went on tour with the Extreme Tour. I  believe those two first events really helped kick things off for both our band and Raging Storm Records as a brand. 

TB: You stepped down from Sam’s not long after touring, can you talk about that?

Jon playing with the worship band Standstill

JC: So my departure from Sam’s was a tough one. In the middle of starting to record our second album, I just felt the Lord saying “You’re finished here. I want you to move onto something different”. That was really hard. Those two guys (Jeff Riggs and Neil Donohue) were, and still are today, some of my best friends; my brothers. What I felt the Lord was asking me to do was to leave behind the drums and take up my guitar again and focus on worship, college, and youth ministry.

So I did. I focused really hard on being part of an upcoming college and career age ministry called common ground and I also focused most of my energy in being a youth worship leader at my church. During that time I formed a worship band called Standstill. We ended up being able to tour and put out some albums as well. That went for about 3 years.

A few years down the line from that, after everyone disbanded from that band, I did come back to Sam’s as a guitar player for a short while. Being newly married, it became really hard to keep up with regular practices, talks of tour (especially as a sole provider for my household), shows and really most of all, figuring out how to be a good husband.

TB: It’s easy to respect needing to be home more with your family. But you obviously still felt you had music to create. Is this where your solo project came to be?

JC: With the yearning to keep playing music, I turned to Youtube. It was a way for me to still preform in some sense but it was able to keep me at home doing music when I wanted to do it. From there a few years down the line, as I was building my viewer base, I had a daughter. Long story short, there were a few complications and we unfortunately lost her 9 days after birth. She was an amazing testament of God’s power overcoming many things the doctors were telling us. While we were pregnant with my daughter Isabella, I wrote an album for her called Woven. It was all ambient post rock. In the middle of writing it was when we learned about her condition while in the womb. After she was born and then had passed, I coped with the loss with writing. Still in the same ambient post rock vein, I wrote 2 albums in my efforts to say what I needed to say with out having the words to say it. Those albums were called Ruins and Home.

In the midst of all that, Youtube was still going strong as I was very open in sharing our story with my viewers. I also found an avenue to really see my music work for me. I found For those who don’t know, The Music Bed is a site that allows independent musicians to put their music out there to be licensed for film makers with very fair percentage cuts. Music Bed picked me up pretty quick and I started to see that I was able to make more money in the industry that way than I had ever seen playing out. So it was a blessing to see the fruits of the tragedy my wife and I go through turn into some that was really fulfilling of another dream.

To this day, I still write ambient post rock music, I’m still active on YouTube and am still active on Music Bed. You can find my music at and any other streaming/music purchasing service you favor under the name ‘Carolino’. My dream is to be able to write scores for movies. Its funny how a pop punk drummer goes from helping write songs like “We’re better than Relient K”  and “ants go marching” to being picked up by film makers writing documentaries that Listerine and Dell are working on. 

TB: I saw you used to work for Studio Center and now work for the Parroco Production Group, what is it that you did at Studio Center and currently do at Parroco?

In the studio with Jason Upton

JC: At Studio Center I was mainly a graphic designer/web designer. It paid well and I’m a high creative so I dug the gig. I then got into food photography there as well. So by the end of my time there, I was a graphic/web designer/photographer. Then met Jim Parroco. This dude is a legend. He is basically me in about 20 years, haha. We are the same person. Jim goes to my church and is one of my great friends and mentors. He saw my passion for music and engineering so he gave me a chance and put me through one of his music engineering schools. From there, he entrusted me with a key to one of his studios.

About a year and half later (LONG story short) we found a way for him to hire me full time. So there I do literally everything. Shooting, editing, motion graphics, graphic design, web design, studio musician, audio engineer, field audio…basically if it’s in the creative field I’m probably doing it. There I’ve had some amazing opportunities, such as tracking Jason Upton for his new upcoming album.

TB: Besides working, what else are you up to nowadays?

JC: Besides working, I’m still playing music. I’m very active in the church as a worship musician and I run the church’s media team. I am still pushing hard with my music independently and I’m continuing to try and grow in the music and creative field. Learning how make sustainable models out of the things I am passionate about.

You can check out Jon’s music at You can check out the production company he works for at


Alumni Spotlight: Matt Walker (Hail the Blessed Hour, ModernMyth)

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This week we are talking with Matt Walker, former guitarist from Raging Storm alumni band Hail the Blessed Hour. The band previously released their label debut in 2009, and an EP in 2011. Along with HTBH touring guitarist Johnny Digges, they have a new band in Tulsa, OK called ModernMyth. I caught up with Matt to talk about his music projects past and present.

Clay Dukes: How did Hail the Blessed Hour first get connected with Raging Storm?

Matt Walker: I want to say it was back in 2005 or 2006. I remember Dan our vocalist talking to me about being in contact with Jason from RSR on MySpace. Those conversations eventually led to HTBH signing on to the RSR roster.

CD: How did this new relationship affect your band?

Cornerstone Festival 2011

MW: Jason, his family, and the rest of the RSR team played an integral role in HTBH’s introduction to the music industry. We were all kids fresh out of high school, not having the slightest clue what we were doing, but we dove in head first financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Jason and RSR really took us under their wing and worked hard to motivate us and help us make a business out of our music.

CD: What is something interesting or different about the band that your fans may not know?

MW: It’s difficult to think of something different that our fans may not have known about the band. I feel like we were pretty transparent and honest about who we were and who we are. In some cases, maybe we were a little too transparent. Being in a Christian band can be difficult at times because you are serving as a ministry, but you are also very imperfect human beings. I think there tends to be an expectation of keeping your nose clean and leading by example, which I hope we did, but I’m confident that there were times that we fell short of a lot of people’s expectations. If you think about it, a band of 5 hippie looking metal kids that are 18-20 years old, growing up in Flint; there was a constant battle between our actions and expectations. Jason was always a great mentor to us and helped us reign that in a little bit. I hope in the end our fans took us at face value and understood our ultimate message was grace. Not only God’s grace for us as imperfect people, but our grace for each other. That message often becomes convoluted in the inner circles of the church. So hopefully that message was clear through HTBH.

CD: What was touring like for you guys? Did you have any favorite touring stops?

MW: We didn’t tour as often as we would have liked. I could tell you a big long story about how broke we were, our trailer got stolen, life circumstances, and whatever. However, I’m not going to do that because that’s a lot of excuses. We did a couple of short tours and played some shows in Virginia, Tennessee, Indiana, and some others. I really liked Nashville, mainly because that’s still one of my favorite cities to visit. Even with that being the case, I think my favorite shows were in the small towns of northern Indiana. They had a really strong music scene up there. That was back when The Blood Reckoning and Blessed Is He were developing strong followings and we played some shows up there with TBR and that was killer. Ultimately, nothing beats Cornerstone, but I think that goes without saying.

Matt with his new band ModernMyth

CD:Where does the name Hail the Blessed Hour come from?

MW: I wish there was a more interesting story behind our band name, but there isn’t. We were previously called Closed Eyes and I have no recollection of where that came from, but one day we decided it was time to change the name. At that time, we were practicing at a church and there were hymnals all over the place in the room we jammed in. So I started thumbing through the pages looking for some inspiration. It didn’t take long for me to stumble across an old hymn called “We Shall See The King”. There’s a line in the chorus that says, “We will hail the blessed hour”. I don’t know why, but as soon as I read that line it stuck with me. The other guys agreed, so we went with it.

CD: What can you tell me about your current band ModernMyth?

MW: ModernMyth is a project that I started with some of the guys from a band called The Dawn Armada in 2012 while HTBH was on hiatus. The goal with ModernMyth was to revive our interest in music. I remember being a kid and listening to music that wasn’t overly complex and it wasn’t about trying to be the heaviest or craziest or whatever was going to grab people’s attention for a split second. It was just good music that made sense and there were no gimmicks. That’s become a lost art in the music industry today. ModernMyth is a tip of the cap to some of our biggest musical influences and it’s been exciting to go back to our roots and just write music that we thoroughly enjoy.

CD: Are you guys working on an album?

MW: Earlier this year, we launched an indiegogo campaign and raised enough funds to start the process for recording our first album. So we are gearing up to make that happen right now. We have about 18 or 19 tracks to choose from that we will probably whittle down to about 8 or 9 final tracks. For anyone who is interested, we currently have 2 singles up on Spotify and you can access lots of other updates and information via our social media pages and our website (

You can follow the band for updates on new music and local shows at




Alumni Spotlight: Laura Rentz of Silversyde

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Today I got to speak with Laura Juliano-Rentz, lead singer of Silversyde. Originally from upstate New York, Silversyde released their debut album on Raging Storm Records in 2011. Transitioning from a regional band to a touring band, Silversyde attracted the attention of Christian radio, earning RSR our first charted singles on the Billboard Christian Rock charts. I wanted to learn a little bit about the label’s history, as well as catch up with this alumni band who is still touring relentlessly.
Jon Lockett: How did you first hear about RSR?
Laura Rentz: We first heard about Raging Storm Records in 2010 because of the tour/show scene we were in at the time. We were a regional band then and were just scratching the surface of who we would become in later years. It’s been so long now that I forget how the dialogue was opened, but it was and we got started on artist development.
JL: What impacts did RSR have on Silversyde? 
LR: I think Raging Storm Records had a bigger role in impacting who we are today than anyone else aside from our original manager- my late mother. When we started with RSR it was not easy to hear what needed to be fixed/done to improve our band, and I would venture to say that it was almost on the harsher end more than anything. But I wouldn’t have it any other way! (lol) I remember sitting down and reading through a list of critiques and being angry, insulted and down right hurt at the list of things that were apparently wrong- but I had two choices: one, stay insulted and not listen to the critiques or two, realize that I didn’t (still don’t) know everything about the industry and making music and that I needed outside help if we were to build something with longevity. So here we are, seven years later and I’m so glad that I was able to swallow my pride and take some advice- a quality I’ve put to use more times then not! 


JL: What is something interesting or different about the band that your fans may not know?
LR: Something different about our band that a lot of fans do not know is I’ve recently had my first child, a daughter and she started touring the country at 3 months old. What’s interesting about it is that I toured about 85% of my pregnancy and I was on stage during each trimester. It was hard, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
JL: Where all has the band toured and what is your favorite city to play in?
LR: The band has had multiple touring opportunities over the years and so far we have hit 48 states. Each of us has our own favorite city to play, but if I had to choose I’d say Salem, Oregon or Twin Falls, Idaho. You get amazing views of the countryside alongside hanging with some super cool people who love what we do!
JL: Where does the name Silversyde come from?
LR: The name “Silversyde” came from our desire to have our band name represent our dogma, which is ‘finding hope in the worst circumstances’, then, through some prayer and spit-balling it finally just came to us. 
Check the band out at and go say hey to them at a city near you as they embark on the second leg of their Beauty and Grace tour with Chaotic Resemblance and Theody!


Circus Circus


Casting Shadows