Interviews

Exploring personal battles, touring, new music with melodic hardcore band BE WELL

7 mins read
Brian McTernan of Be Well by Elena Vilain
Brian McTernan of Be Well by Elena Vilain

A Tap I Can’t Turn Off” and “Without A Compass,” explore profound themes of fear, disappointment, and the difficult journey of putting one’s life back together. Released at the start of May, these songs are a raw and emotional experience.

Today, we bring you an exclusive chat with BE WELL, the Baltimore hardcore quintet led by Brian McTernan and featuring members from bands like BANE, DARKEST HOUR, and FAIRWEATHER.

With their summer tour about to kick off alongside HOT WATER MUSIC, QUICKSAND, and I AM THE AVALANCHE, we sat down with the band to dive into the emotional depths of their new double single and to get a preview of their tour experiences.

In our chat, Brian McTernan opens up about the personal battles that inspired “A Tap I Can’t Turn Off,” discussing the overwhelming fear of letting down those who love him. He gets real about his internal struggles and how they’ve haunted him despite a successful career.

On “Without A Compass,” Brian shares his journey through feeling broken and the ongoing process of finding healing and clarity.

The band also spills on their tour kickoff in Boston, the camaraderie with tour mates HOT WATER MUSIC and QUICKSAND, and what it’s like to tour Europe versus the U.S. They even give us a glimpse into their downtime activities and plans for exploring Europe.

Plus, we get the lowdown on their upcoming U.S. shows with I AM THE AVALANCHE, promising longer sets and more intimate venues without barricades.

 

Looking ahead, BE WELL teases more new music, hinting at a full album release in early 2025, and talks about some killer festivals and local bands they’re excited about. From Baltimore’s END IT and PRAISE to Richmond’s BEGGARS and CLOAK/DAGGER, there’s no shortage of talent in their scene.

Stay tuned for the full interview where we delve into these topics and more.

Answers by Brian McTernan

Brian, “A Tap I Can’t Turn Off” delves into the fear of disappointing those who unconditionally love and believe in you. Can you elaborate on the personal experiences that led to these reflections?

I have always doubted myself and have had a hard time understanding why so many people that I love and respect have put so much trust in me. I can look back at my life and objectively see all of the amazing things I have been a part of, but my internal monologue is in sharp contrast to that.

I wish I felt like the person other people seem to see when they look at me, but I have never been able to. I am haunted by the idea that bands may have been more successful if they had someone else produce their records, that my wife would have been happier if she had married someone else, and the wort thought is always that my daughter may have had a better life if she didn’t have a Father with so much baggage.

I know how irrational these thoughts are, but I have had a very difficult time trying to move past them.

“Without A Compass” speaks to the feeling of being broken and the journey to piece everything back together. Could you share more about what caused this sense of brokenness and how you’ve navigated through it?

Doing this band has helped me understand myself more, and I think it has also helped the people I love the most have a better understanding of who I am. I spent most of my life feeling like there was something about me that was bad and I needed to expel, but for the first time in my life, I can see that I just need to let the light in and allow the things that feel broken inside to heal.

Your spring/summer tour kicked off in Boston. How was the first show? What was the audience’s reaction like?

The shows were fun!!! HWM and Quicksand are two bands that every single member of our band loves, so it was awesome to be able to get to share the stage with them.

The audience was very cool and attentive, especially considering how early we went on, and that we were going to be followed by bands that they have loved for 30 years.

Be Well

During this tour, which bands or artists have left a strong impression on you? Have you discovered any new music or made memorable connections?

I don’t think we discovered any new bands, but it reinforced our love for HWM and Quicksand. Another bright spot was meeting the Off With Their Heads guys. We had all been fans of their band, but we had never met them personally. They were very cool and helpful and also excellent shows every night.

How did you spend the time between your last U.S. show on May 14 and the start of your European tour on May 30? Any interesting experiences or downtime activities?

Not really… haha. We have another tour in the US right after we get home from Europe, so we all just spent time with our families and rehearsed a few times.

What are the logistics of touring in Europe compared to the U.S.? How do you physically and mentally prepare for such relocations?

Europe is easier in a lot of ways. Most of the venues will have a band room or apartment you can stay in, they provide meals, and there are a lot of companies that rent vans and backlines for reasonable costs.

I also love that there are so many cities close together, so the drives are rarely super long. The flights have gotten very expensive to get there, which is the only hard thing, but once you are there it’s a really special place to tour.

Be Well Credit Florian Mennicken
Be Well by Florian Mennicken

Do you have plans to explore Europe during your tour, especially given the one-day break before your final show in Germany on June 2? Are you planning to stay in Europe a bit longer after the tour ends?

We fly into Prague and will have a day off there, which we are all looking forward to. I wish we were going to be there over there longer, so we could spend time exploring and hanging out with friends, but I don’t know that there will be a lot of time for that on this short run.

Your next series of shows begins on June 14 in New York. Can you talk about the epic bands on these dates and what fans can expect from these shows?

We are stoked for those shows!!! We have been the opener on a lot of the tours we have done so far, and several of them have been in really big rooms.

On our tour with I Am The Avalanche, we are main support so we get to go on later and play longer.

I am also excited that there won’t be barricades at most of the shows. I think it’s going to be a really fun run of dates.

Beyond “A Tap I Can’t Turn Off” and “Without A Compass,” what can fans look forward to in the coming months? Are there more releases or projects in the works?

Mike has been very busy this year with Darkest Hour, and Aaron has had a lot going on with Bane.

 

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We wanted to wait until we were all available to tour and support the album once it’s released. It will be 12 songs, including the songs we just released. We are hoping for an early 2025 release.

 

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What are your gig plans for July and beyond? Can we expect any surprises or special events?

We will be playing a cool festival called Gimme Some 90’s, as well as Furnace Fest. Both festivals have amazing line ups. Besides that, we will be pretty quiet while we finish recording the record.

 

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Are there any new projects or bands from your local scene that you’re particularly excited about, whether in hardcore or other genres?

Yes! I live in Baltimore and we have a ton of amazing bands right now… End It, Praise, Angel Du$t, Turnstile are bands everyone has heard of.

In DC, our friends in No Man just put out an awesome record.

Our drummer and bass player are in a cool Richmond band called Beggars that people should check out.

Also in Richmond is a band called Cloak/Dagger that we all love.

BE WELL tour dates:

MAY 30 β€” LICHTENSTEIN, DE β€” JZ Riot ^ – headline show
MAY 31 β€” STUTTGART, DE – SBAM Festival ^ – headline show

JUNE 02 β€” WIESBADEN, DE β€” Schlachthof ^ – headline show
JUNE 14 β€” Lindenhurst, NY β€” Sand City South * – supporting I Am The Avalanche
JUNE 15 β€” Asbury Park, NJ β€” Asbury Lanes * – supporting I Am The Avalanche
JUNE 16 β€” Albany, NY β€” Empire Underground * – supporting I Am The Avalanche
JUNE 18 β€” Buffalo, NY β€” Rec Room * – supporting I Am The Avalanche
JUNE 20 β€” Lakewood, OH β€” Mahall’s * – supporting I Am The Avalanche
JUNE 21 β€” Pontiac, MI β€” Pike Room * – supporting I Am The Avalanche
JUNE 22 β€” Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge * – supporting I Am The Avalanche
JUNE 24 β€” Pittsburgh, PA β€” Preserving Underground * – supporting I Am The Avalanche
JUNE 26 β€” Baltimore, MD β€” Ottobar * – supporting I Am The Avalanche
JUNE 27 β€” Philadelphia, PA – The Foundry * – supporting I Am The Avalanche
JUNE 28 β€” Allston, MA β€” Brighton Music Hall * – supporting I Am The Avalanche
JUNE 29 β€” BROOKLYN, NY β€” Music Hall of Williamsburg * – supporting I Am The Avalanche

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DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
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