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From the Dorms to the Studio: ASU alum Marcus Reardon pilots This Modern

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By Alex Gallagher

Marcus Reardon had been studying sports journalism at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and living in Taylor Place in Downtown Phoenix when a conversation changed his life.

“I remember there was a very pivotal conversation I had with someone on my floor where I asked him, ‘What kind of music do you listen to?’ And he said, ‘I don’t listen to music. … I’m a sports guy,” Reardon recalls. 

“I realized very quickly that the people at the top of the sports journalism world are people who literally wake up in the morning and their first thought is sports, and I’ve just never thought like that.”

Reardon was different. At the top of his mind was music. As students rehearsed scripts or watched sports religiously, Reardon confined himself to his dorm to make beats and hone his craft as a rapper.

After graduating ASU in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism, Reardon began chasing his passion for music. 

Through the connection of his cousin Thomas, he met Tim “Timo” Willsey — who graduated ASU in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in sustainable energy, materials and technology — and Sean Whiteman — an alumnus of Mesa Community College.

Veterans of the local music scene, Willsey and Whiteman were looking to start a new project that Reardon’s vocal style suited.

“I wanted to make a change,” Whiteman says. “I was ready to get away from metal music and really heavy stuff. I was looking for something new that hadn’t been completely explored yet, and I figured the best way I’m going to hit that route is at least start with a rapper, get him to learn how to sing, and then go from there.”

The band buckled down with Reardon handling the vocals, Willsey producing backing vocals and programming, Whiteman serving as the group’s stickman, and Tre Scott shredding the strings.

The Mesa-based band recorded and toured under several names beginning in 2016, including Without Feeling Weird and Project Marcus, before settling on, in late 2018, This Modern — a name that Willsey feels encapsulates the band’s variety of sounds juggled within its tracks. 

“Based on our style of music, it’s very rap-rock-infused fusion,” Willsey says. “We have no genre limits to do whatever we want, and it sounds modern.”

The band’s single “Everyone’s Miserable,” which hit the airwaves in April and addresses contemporary topics, exuded just that. 

“‘Everyone’s Miserable’ is really a song of the times,” Reardon says. “You turn on the news, misery; you turn on the radio, misery; and it seems like everyone’s miserable. Whether it’s financially or otherwise, everyone’s struggling. The economy’s crazy, there’s war, a pandemic, and everyone is miserable.”

Despite the depressing nomenclature of the track’s lyrics, it offers an upbeat musical score that overwhelms the somber lyrics and provides hope for the listers.

“The instrumentation is an interesting dichotomy that makes you feel good,” Reardon says. “I wanted to make you smile and almost giggle at the fact that everyone is kind of miserable.”

Because of this, Reardon reiterates that the song is a glimmer of hope, not solely about a somber time in history.

“It’s not a song intended to make you write sad or down about your state of the world,” Reardon says. “It’s actually the opposite. It’s a glimmer of hope.”

Looking to the rest of the summer, Reardon and Co. hope to release one more single and plan to utilize their home studio to record acts like Futuristic and the Color 8. CT

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