Philadelphia’s Kaonashi wants to create change. The quintet — Peter Rono (vocals), Ryan Paolilli (drums), August Axcelson (bass/vocals), Alex Hallquist (guitar/vocals), and Roger Alvarez (guitar) — aspire to generate compassion, understanding, and empathy through art. They understand that music is and has always been a force for bringing people together. They’ve made it their mission to leverage the platform that music provides to change the world around them for the better.
Dear Lemon House, You Ruined Me: Senior Year continues the story-building efforts of Kaonashi’s 2018 EP, Why Did You Do It?, by expanding on the character of Jamie, the androgynous protagonist of the group’s catalog. As the teen enters their final year of high school, Jamie feels the pressure to succeed and make something of their life. The record follows Jamie through their first day of school, romantic relationship with Casey, and turmoils that come with being an American teenager.
“We want this record to make people anxious,” says vocalist Peter Rono. “We want them to feel a sense of urgency. If they catch themselves thinking that they could do something to change the story of the album, then maybe — just maybe — they will take steps to make a difference in the world around them.”
The heavy storyline on the album is accompanied by an expansive sound, jumping off the band’s self-coined genre of “emo mathcore.” While those math rock driven moments and cathartic lyrics are still prominent, the band adds in elements of post hardcore, progressive rock, and even an acoustic ballad, making for a diverse listen. The writing process was a collaborative experience as the group locked themselves away in a cabin in Maine for two weeks, later returning back to the state to record with producer Evan Sammons. Among the band’s groove-heavy chaos found throughout Dear Lemon House, You Ruined Me: Senior Year, there is a clear, resounding message that Kaonashi hopes their audience will take to heart: It’s all about listening.