Staten Island’s alt pop punk rockers PERSEI discuss new single “Faith”

5 mins read

Staten Island’s own Persei is carving out a distinct space with their nuanced exploration of pop punk, as well as personal and spiritual unrest. Their latest single, “Faith” delves into the complexities of maintaining belief amidst adversity. This track is a precursor to their eagerly awaited debut LP, “What’s Left Inside,” anticipated to drop in Spring 2024.

“Faith” follows the band’s earlier release, “Not Okay,” continuing the thematic journey into the trials of growth and the questioning of constants in our lives. While “Not Okay” wrestled with the idea of personal evolution, “Faith” shifts the focus to a broader existential query, probing the reasons behind life’s most challenging moments.

Drummer and vocalist Sergio Gorno sheds light on the inspiration behind the song, stating, “As we grow older, we can lose faith in God and religion during our weakest moments. We’ve experienced it in our own lives and seen it happen to those around us. Is there a reason for the battles we have to fight?”

Persei’s sound is a testament to their diverse musical backgrounds, blending elements from across the alternative spectrum to forge a sound that is both emotionally charged and distinctly theirs. The band, composed of Jonathan Cutrona (vocals/guitar), Mike Maldarelli (vocals/guitar), Nick Millus (guitar), Andrew Maino (bass), and Sergio Gorno (vocals/drums), has been on a steady ascent since their formation in early 2018.

Their journey from the debut EP “117 Whatever Street” to their win at Bayside’s national Battle of the Bands, and performances alongside punk-rock stalwarts, underscores a trajectory marked by relentless pursuit and passion. The band’s engagement with the genre has not only won them spots supporting acts like Homesafe and The Dangerous Summer but also a feature in Alternative Press’ “10 Unsigned Pop-Punk Bands You’ll Wish You Had Discovered Sooner.”


As Persei stands on the cusp of releasing “What’s Left Inside,” “Faith” serves as a reminder of their ability to navigate the depths of human experience with authenticity and raw energy.

This single promises to be a harbinger of the introspective and resonant tracks awaiting listeners on their full-length debut. With their DIY ethos and a hands-on approach to their music, as evidenced by the self-production of their latest singles, Persei continues to resonate with listeners who find solace and understanding within their lyrics and melodies.

In an enlightening chat with Persei, we uncovered the layers behind their new single “Faith” and their journey towards their debut LP, “What’s Left Inside.” Check out our full interview below.

So, Persei, spill the beans for us: what’s the backstory of this Staten Island pack, and how did you all decide to join forces for this project?

We were all in the marching band at Tottenville High School in Staten Island — so that’s pretty much how we all know each other. Jay, Mike, and Maino had played in a band together throughout high school, same for a separate band with Nick and myself. Jay and I reconnected in 2016 because of a mutual friend, and Jay showed me a solo EP he was working on at the time.

Both of us just waxed poetic about how much we missed playing music. I loved the songs he had written so I would screw around and write drum parts to them electronically, and before I knew it we were in the studio together tracking that first EP. Shortly after its release, we filled out the rest of the band lineup with Nick, Mike, and Maino. The rest is history I guess. We’ve had an awesome time creating music together, and it’s all sort of led to this point where this LP acts as sort of a climax to all of this.

“Faith” dives deep into the theme of lost belief during tough times. Can you talk about what fueled this introspection and the choice to lay it all out in this song?

This introspection is fueled by the story of a pious man who relied on the value of his own faith, seeking a higher power during tough times. Although he always believed his faith would set him free, his reliance on faith ultimately kept him waiting. The good times can sustain this person for only so long before they realize their higher power isn’t there to save them from the troubles of everyday life.


“Faith” follows “Not Okay” pretty closely, both thematically and chronologically. Is this a hint of a broader narrative we can expect from ‘What’s Left Inside’? Also, with the reelase about to drop, can you tease any themes or stories we should brace for? Any track you’re particularly excited for fans to hear?

I would say so, yeah. The main theme of a lot of these songs is that growing through your twenties comes with a lot of realizations and hard truths hitting you pretty fast. I would say the song that we’re most excited for fans to hear (excluding singles) is Hiding My Face. It’s the perfect ending to the record, and does a lot of different things musically. But who knows? Sometimes fans gravitate towards the song you’d least expect, so you never know.

Sergio mentioned personal experiences with losing faith. Would you be willing to share a bit more about these moments and how they’ve shaped the music you create?

Losing faith can be a recurring occurrence in one’s 20’s. Whether it’s losing faith in oneself, in your goals , or even in the ability to persevere, it’s a shared experience among many. Collectively, we’ve all faced hardships that have tested our beliefs and confidence in ourselves. To move forward allows us to share these experiences and grow from them.

This song highlights the human experience. The frustration of relying on a higher power to alleviate troubles and dispel negativity shaped us to write a song about the challenges the concept presents. It captures the sentiment of patiently waiting for a higher power to intervene during times of trouble, despite the potential for disappointment.


With your sound rooted in pop-punk but clearly pulling from a wider emo and alternative spectrum, how do you balance these influences when crafting your tracks?

To be completely honest, we’re still figuring that out, even after all these years. Among the 5 of us, there’s a wide range of influences on us musically. I think that’s probably why on this record in particular, the vibe can definitely change from track to track. We hope that this just means that there’s something for everyone on this record.

You’ve had quite the journey from your debut EP to winning Bayside’s Battle of the Bands and now prepping for your first LP. How do you feel these experiences have evolved Persei’s sound and approach to music?

When we won the Battle of the Bands and played with Bayside, Anthony Raneri’s advice to us that night was just to forget about all the extra stuff and just make good music. Ultimately, the songs being good is the most important thing. With that in mind, I think our approach to this record has just been to make music that WE love.

Any local Staten Island or NYC pop-punk bands you think deserve more ears and hearts? Give us your top picks.

This is a good one. Definitely have to throw a big shoutout to our boys in Ronx. Roses is my favorite track of theirs.

Beyond the LP release, what’s on the horizon for Persei? Any tours, collaborations, or new ventures you’re itching to dive into?

We’re hoping to get out there and play some shows. To this point, we’ve only ever played in the NYC area and Philly. With work, family, and other things, schedules can get tough but we definitely want to showcase this record that took us 18 months to make. It’s been a while since we’ve been out there, so we’re looking forward to any new ventures/collaborations that come our way.

And just for fun, if Persei could set up the ultimate punk rock show, which bands (past or present) would be on the bill with you?

Going to try to give an answer that the whole group would co-sign here. I would say probably Citizen, Hot Mulligan, The Wonder Years, and A Day To Remember.

Previous Story

HETZE share video for their biting new track “Brainwasher”

Next Story

Mathy emo indie rockers BIG HUG share top 5 UK under the radar bands, influences, new EP rundown