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October 18, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
The heavy beating of drums and the deep drone of a bass guitar seep through the front door of guitarist Justin Hendrix’s Columbia home. The beats get louder, and the reverberations echo down two flights of stairs and into the basement. There, visitors are greeted by the powerful and energetic sound of Cost of Desire.
To limit distractions, the small practice space is minimalist; walls are decorated with an orange Jägermeister flag and other tapestries. All 10 tracks of the band’s current setlist are written on a dry erase board that hangs on the wall behind Darren “Beazl” Beasley’s drum set. The group often looks at it to reference what to play next. The carpets, accented with jumbles of wires from various amplifiers, microphones and other equipment, create the true feeling of a band’s practice getaway.
Citing influences such as Alice in Chains and Breaking Benjamin, Cost of Desire describes its sound as melodic guitar-driven rock with an edgier element provided by Michael Kramps’ howling vocals. The quintet formed in 2011, and after adding two new members and losing one, the group now includes Eric Merritt on rhythm guitar and Shaun Armbruster on bass.
Earlier this week, the guys recorded their first studio-quality demo EP, which drops on Monday. A successful $1,000 Kickstarter campaign helped pay for studio time at Chapman Recording & Mastering in Kansas City. The band won’t play any live shows until the EP’s release. “We want to put out quality work before we go out and play them,” Beasley says. “We want to establish our sound first.”
The members say they goof off and have fun during practice, but their main focus is on the success of the band and using the time to hone their skills. “We’re serious about this,” Beasley says. “It’s do or die for us, and we’re hoping to make a career doing what we love.”