Two brothers, who now call Astoria home, are hoping their band wins the grand prize in the national “Get Out of the Garage” competition in Brooklyn this weekend — and they’ll be carrying with them the memory of a bandmate who lost his life to cancer.
Nate and Ben McCarthy, originally from Nyack, started the band Regret the Hour in 2011 after years of being surrounded by music in their home and wanting to start their own group.
The brothers, who sing and play guitar, formed the band while in high school with drummer and vocalist Anders Fleming and bassist Jesse Yanko.
While finishing up the recording of their first album in 2012 called “Better Days,” which Ben calls a “DIY project,” 16-year-old Yanko died after a long battle with cancer. The album was later released in 2013.
“I think it just feels gratifying to be here right now and done all of this after that. I know that’s something that [Yanko] would have wanted,” Ben said about the band’s decision to move forward after questioning what to do next. “I think [the album] is a big part of the history of the band and you can hear it in the songs.”
The group later started playing at bars in Nyack and didn’t make the move to bigger venues, such as the Mercury Lounge and Knitting Factory, until Nate and Ben decided to head to Astoria as they attended Hunter College.
Regret the Hour, which has released three EPs along with their first album, will now take the stage on Feb. 28 with four other independent bands for the second annual Get Out of the Garage competition finals, presented by Guitar Center and Converse.
The artist discovery program, which started in October and includes bands from across the country, offers an opportunity for musicians to launch their careers.
Out of more than 8,000 submissions, five bands were chosen – including Regret the Hour. Part of the process to choose the finalists was based on how many people watched a music video on the Get Out of the Garage official website for each band.
“It feels pretty awesome,” Ben said about being chosen. “We couldn’t have done it without all the people that helped us out, that watched the video and shared it.”
The grand prize winner of the competition will earn a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, studio recording time, a music video, $25,000 in cash, new gear and more.
Regret the Hour plans to perform two songs during the finale, one from the album they recorded with Yanko and another from their new album, which is in the process of being completed.
Ben added that although they are nervous about the big performance, they are excited about getting as far as they have on their own. They are not backed by a record label and they don’t even have a manager, so they’ve had to book every performance themselves.
After the competition, the band plans to continue working on their new album and they hope to have it released by late summer.
“We are definitely pretty excited for this new album we are working on. It really represents the band,” Ben said. “We’re just really excited to get it finished and get it out there.”