After We Præy is:
Caleb - Guitar/Vox
Erika - Bass/Vox
Curtis - Guitar
Dan - Drums
After We Præy's (AWP) beginnings are rooted in chance. In true Spinal Tap fashion, Caleb, the band's vocalist and guitarist and their original bassist went through an array of drummers in the early incarnations of the band. When the search started to seem hopeless, they turned to Craigslist in late 2012 as a last resort. By chance, they found a desperate plea posted by Dan, who had recently relocated to Richmond, VA from Maui, HI. Dan had had to leave his drum kit behind in the move, but was hoping beyond hope to find a band to join that was both in need of a drummer and that also had a drum kit available.
It just so happened that they had one to offer, so the three met up to jam. But instead of a casual jam session, after blasting through a few previously written songs and covers, they immediately started writing new material and After We Præy was born.
The Band Name
“We get asked about the name all the time,” smirks Dan, the one to bring the band name to the table. “It started out as a lot of band names do--I thought ‘Prey’ or ‘Pray’ sounded cool. But I couldn’t decide between the two. And then I remembered the latin ‘æ’ symbol I’d seen here and there. Not only did I think the combo made a great band name, but it also made a perfect band logo.”
However, ‘Præy’ by itself brought with it an unexpected connotation inspiration. “Once I had the words conjoined,” remembers Dan, “I started to realize that there was a relationship between them. I was going through a lot of life changes like moving across the world and starting a family. All that had me reflecting and thinking about intention. How my actions affect other people and if the way I live my life actually upholds my beliefs and values.”
So the band name became the question: What happens after we pray and after we prey? In other words, do our actions always match our intentions and do we always consider the implications of our actions?
“I’m honored to have chosen a name that my bandmates actually liked and were willing to use to bring their songs to the world. I’m also proud of myself for actually coming up with something with meaning!”
Chance has reared its head even more since After We Præy’s inception in the form of bassist changes.
After the original bassist, who was a friend of Caleb’s, had to leave the area, another old friend and former
bandmate of Caleb’s came into the fold in mid-2013. Being a singer and songwriter herself, she helped write a slew of new songs and add new vocal layers to existing songs.
In 2020, Erika took over bass duties and has integrated into the band effortlessly. “We are so excited to
have Erika join us,” exclaims Caleb. “She’s energetic, creative, and has blown through learning our songs like
she’s known them forever.”
The Band’s Sound
After We Præy unapologetically wear their influences on their sleeves, and in their sound. The rock genres
that shaped their youth are the sounds that inspire their musical output, but not limit it.
“Even though we grew up during different times and have lots of varied tastes,” muses Dan, “the three of us share a common love and inspiration of grunge and alternative bands like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, and Seether, and nu-metal like Korn, Deftones, and System of a Down.”
Though the band draw their influences and inspirations from these bands and others, they have organically found a dynamic fusion of sounds that sets them apart from any one influence or genre.
“In past bands, we were much more intentional about what kind of sound we wanted to be and what bands we wanted to sound like,” states Caleb. “We would try to match the technical level of speed-metal bands and things like that. So I started this band specifically to write simple music that I wanted to hear and to get the things out I need to. We like to make music that we enjoy playing and songs that other people can connect with, too.”
Fusing grunge and nu-metal made perfect sense when writing simple and catchy rock music. Those styles tend to be less about the technical prowess and flair and instead more about the groove, melody, feeling, and grounded relatability.
“All three of us most love music that rocks, music with a groove, music with good melodies, relatable lyrics, and music with an edge,” says Dan. “Whether we’re writing a more alt, rock, or heavy song, we tend to go with simple riffs and head-bobbing grooves that grunge and nu-metal generally tended to sound like, too.”
“At a recent show, a guy came up to me,” recalls Caleb, “and excitedly said that we had both a grunge and a nu-metal sound, but that we didn’t quite sound exactly like either. He said we were ‘nu-grunge.’ I can’t believe I didn’t think of that term before!”
Even though AWP didn’t set out to recreate the wheel or break new ground, the feedback they’ve gotten implies that they might be onto something “nu” that hasn’t quite been done the way they do it.
Though they are honored to be given the “nu-grunge” moniker, in the end, all they want to do is rock.
And rock is what they bring to the stage. AWP likes it loud and they bring their full sound to whatever venue will have them.
So far, they’ve played in all sorts of venues, from bars and clubs, to DIY house shows, and even to parking lots. No matter the din, they command the stage and draw the audience’s attention.
In 2019, they opened for the national act, Saliva, at Richmond’s Canal Club and had quite the response. “People that were there for Saliva were headbanging, cheering, and even moshing!” exclaimed Caleb after the show. “We got to play for a ton of people that hadn’t heard us before and the response was really great.”
“We have such a wide variety of songs and styles,” says Caleb, “that we can play pretty much any kind of rock show--and we have. Everything from basement punk shows, metal-oriented gigs, to straight up rock ‘n’ roll nights.”
Just because they prefer to plug in and rock, though, doesn’t mean that they can’t rock the stage in other formats as well. You might catch them playing acoustically or unplugged at a local farmer’s market, coffee shop, brewery, or even a local park as part of their ongoing Wide Open World video series.
“When I started writing the songs for what would eventually become After We Præy,” says Caleb, I didn’t envision playing them in an acoustic format live, but we have been creative and flexible enough to make it work. I also think the simple nature and clear melodies of the songs helps them easily translate into different formats. Sometimes I'm really surprised how good a heavy song of ours sounds acoustically.”
Now that After We Præy has rocked most available stages around the central Virginia area, they are setting their sites on regional venues. If you’re not in Richmond, but on the east coast, you may be seeing them near you soon.
In 2019, AWP finally released their debut full-length album, “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.”
“We have so many songs we wanted to get out there,” says Caleb, “it was hard to pick only an album’s worth. But
what we chose we felt both told a complete story of where we started and where we were at when we recorded
these songs, while showcasing the diversity of our sound.”
We are so proud of this thing,” Caleb continued. “We really poured our hearts and souls into it.”
“It was such a long time coming,” says Dan. “It’s such an unbelievable feeling to finally get it finished and out to
“He knocked it out of the park,” says Caleb. “We can’t thank him enough for his time, creativity, and patience with us as we worked to get this album done and out to the world.”
One commenter online stated that the band “...did a DAMN fine job on this. DAMN FINE.”
Once the band played a bunch of shows to promote "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" and the album had spent some time on the various airways, AWP set their sites on releasing an EP that contained acoustic versions of songs from "Drop" along with a couple of previously-unreleased songs. The band didn't just want to release a simple acoustic album, though. They wanted to make it a collaborative effort so they brought in the vocal and instrumental talents of musicians like Don Carroll of B-Side Story and Everybody Gets One, Dirty Metal Lefty, Erik Myers, Fox Vaughan, John Evans, and Brad Fagan.
The 2020 EP, "Rise, Reveal, and Let Go" was also Erika's recording debut and was the perfect opportunity to welcome her into the fold.
In January 2022 Curtis Lewis, guitarist of Arkaza and engineer at Studio Hellcat, joined the band. Curtis brings an abundance of talent, experience, and creative input into not only helping write new music with the band, but to go back and flesh out and add previously-unthought of textures and atmosphere to the band's existing material.
"He's been nothing short of a godsend," says Dan. "Having been in bands with more members in the past, which always adds more complexity to logistics and relationships, I was very stuck on the idea of being a three-piece since that's what After We Praey has always been. But now I can't believe we existed without Curtis for so long!"
Curtis also brings a new level of shred to the band, being that his background and his other project, Arkaza, revolve around more traditional metal and prog. "I love loud guitars, shredding solos, and killer riffs, man," Curtis exclaims. "But most of all, I just love music and love playing it. After We Praey has given me an exciting opportunity to experiment integrating my style and sensibilities into their pre-established sound."
In February 2022, AWP had the opportunity to have their set professionally recorded at Richmond's annual Rockfest. And with Curtis being a sound engineer, they were able to work the recording into an official live album.
"We're so excited to have something in the books that captures our live sound and energy so well," says Erika. "Plus, Curtis had just joined us, so the timing couldn't have been better to showcase our current sound and vibe and stage presence.
"It's also a great stepping stone towards what's to come; we have lots of things in the works!" Curtis says with obvious excitement.
10 Years & New Music
January 2023 marked the 10th anniversary of Caleb and Dan starting AWP. "Can't believe it's been 10 years already," exclaims Dan. Caleb agrees: "When I met this guy from Craigslist 10 years ago," says Caleb, "I never expected to make it this far and having accomplished what we have at this point."
"But," he continues, "I still feel like we're just getting started. We have so much more planned, so much more we want to do."
In addition to the typical music videos, live shows, and merch you can expect from a band's forward momentum, AWP just 'broke ground'--so to speak--on the recording process of a series of singles that will eventually be collected into their follow-up album to Drop, Cover, and Hold On, ...And So It Goes. And with Curtis at the helm at Studio Hellcat, things truly are just beginning for the band.