Mattituck native Christina Halladay said it was “a bit overwhelming” to find out Rolling Stone had featured her Philly-based band, Sheer Mag, in its “10 New Artists You Need to Know: January 2015” article.
After all, the group’s 29-year-old lead singer told northforker, Sheer Mag (that’s short for “Sheer Magnitude”) doesn’t have a Facebook fan page and its members actively avoid promoting themselves.
Chalk it up to word-of-mouth, then.
“We’ve been getting very positive responses,” Halladay said. “It’s a really cool, grassroots-y thing.”
Halladay and her bandmates — lead guitarist Kyle Seely, bass player Hart Seely, rhythm guitarist Matt Palmer and drummer Allen Chapman — have developed an enthusiastic following a little less than a year after forming their punk/1970s-style band in February 2014. Six months ago, the group released a four-shot record, including the catchy “What You Want,” and is working toward a full-length album. They perform at small venues across Philadelphia and New York City.
Halladay, who graduated from Mattituck High School in 2004 and has lived in South Philly for the past six years, met all her bandmates, except Chapman, while studying liberal arts at SUNY Purchase. One by one, she said, they all began moving to the City of Brotherly Love.
“All of our friends were moving to Brooklyn and we didn’t want to do the same thing everyone else was doing,” Halladay said. “We moved to Philly so we could work on music. It’s easier to be an artist when you don’t have to pay thousands and thousands of dollars in rent every month.”
Halladay, who counts rock bands like Thin Lizzie and Lynyrd Skynyrd as influences — “I just like that Southern twang,” she said of the latter — said her songs are largely about what it’s like to move to a big city after growing up on the North Fork.
“My struggle of living in a city when I was raised in a small town — and sometimes wondering why I’m there — that’s a big theme of the record,” she said.
When asked about her long-term goals, Halladay said it’s all about focusing on the music and not getting caught up in becoming famous.
“There are a lot of bands that are just kind of trendy,” she said. “We just want to be able to have sustainable music careers and do things that we respect. We kind of want to do things on our own terms.”