The Ceremonies' Art Takes Many Forms
With the million different hyphens and additives attached to their names, The Ceremonies’ intersections of several artistic mediums mesh together as well as their tight vocal harmonies. Described as ‘80s New Wave combined with alt-rock, the band, comprised of brothers Matthew, Michael, and Mark Cook, is notorious for their mastery of fusions—boasting their skills in various art mediums. Often integrating a visual and poetic aspect to their live shows, The Ceremonies are kings of multimedia-ness.
“From the beginning, we’ve always been interested in the artistic experience,” frontman Matt says. “We’re not really concerned with what medium it takes but with getting out a message or altering people’s perspectives in some way. Whether that comes from writing, painting, or video.”
With musical influences ranging from bands like The Cure and The Smiths to lyrical influences like poets William Wordsworth and William Blake, the Ceremonies are as fluid as the definition of their namesake. Drawing much of their lyrical influence from romantic poets, the band is inspired by the sense of wonder and naivety that permeates throughout that era of art.
“There’s a common thread that I found in the writing [of these authors]—they have an appreciation for the youthful spirit,” Matt says. “There’s that famous quote, ‘The child is the father of the man.’ They value the mind of a child that prioritizes imagination, the free flow of ideas, and not being jaded by society.” The combination of the band’s affinity for the fresh-faced and innovative spirit is what allows audience members to be permeable and open-minded at shows.
From reading poetry between songs to painting on a canvas onstage, the priority of the Ceremonies is to encourage interactivity—a type of interactivity that truly captures the essence of a shared ceremony.
From references as constant as a church wedding to kitschy family traditions, the Ceremonies are hell-bent on embodying the feeling of a tight-knit communal gathering—one that “unites people and sort of hones in on a common ideology of feeling” as Mark states.
When attending one of the brothers’ impressive shows, audience members are sure to experience their impressive roster of multi-medium talents. Whether it be through visual art, poetry, or music, the band’s intention is to foster a sense of community between the viewer and the performer. Matt explains that they hope to wear their hearts on their sleeve at every show and in turn allow audience members to do the same. “That, obviously, is when a piece is effective,” Matt says. “As an artist, that’s [our] goal. If someone hears a sad song and feels sad or hears a song that is uplifting and feels uplifted, that’s the goal.”
Although they haven’t released any music since 2013, the band is diligently perfecting their studio sound while working on their forthcoming album. Now, with fully live instrumentation, Michael shares that they are more so translating their live sound into the studio environment—making their album just as theatric as their performances.
Written by Libby Hsieh
Photographed by Beau Simmons
Styled by Dani + Emma
Assistant Stylist Desiree Coles