The Up and Comers: The Agony Family

The Agony Family
Photo Credit: Jeff Crespi

Let me introduce to you The Agony Family: Greg Scalera (lead vocals/keyboard), Fred Ilac (bass/vocals), Steve Scalera (guitar/vocals), Shawna Grabowski (drums), Jakub Gac (guitar), and Tony Mowatt (acoustic guitar/keyboards/vocals).

The Agony Family began as a solo project by Greg Scalera. Originally the keyboardist for the NJ pop/rock band, Moraine, Greg came up with the idea for the band after Moraine split up while he continued his education at Kean University.

“When the group split, I decided to complete my education before taking another swing at the music industry,” he said. “Halfway through my four-year stay at Kean University, I caved. I had to get back to music. So I wrote, recorded, and independently released the project’s first album, “Yourself United”, during my junior year.”

Knowing he wouldn’t have the time to play live shows at the time, Greg worked

Greg Scalera
Photo Credit: John Posada

with graphic artist, Amber Adeline, to present the project as a comic book style animated band with real music similar to how the band, the Gorillaz, was done. It wasn’t until after he graduated that Greg was able to get a group of his friends from Kean together to play the music live. Eventually, the group departed from the animated angle to become a full band, still working closely with Amber for merchandise designs and concept art with shades of the project’s original comic book style history worked in.

“At its core, The Agony Family is a group of artists with a variety of interests

including music, graphics, cinematography,  live theatre, and much more,” Greg said. “We continually strive to find innovative new ways to blend the different kinds of art and music that we love in order to provide unique, exciting experiences for our fans and the NJ music community.”

On May 19, The Agony Family headlined the YuuZoo/Break Stage at The Bamboozle Festival and they most recently won the Danimal Records/Jersey Shows Real Deal contest for a $10,000 recording contract. They have also been

The Agony Family
Photo Credit: Ashley Grabowski

nominated for “Top Young Band” in this year’s Asbury Music Awards. On November 9, the band will be releasing a double-disc album titled “Earth!”. There will be a release show/party that night at 10th Street Live in Kenilworth, NJ, also featuring The New Royalty, A Balance Between, Driving Lights, Sensory Hoverload, and Archis Emerge. Their full length album, “Yourself United”, is available for digital purchase in any major online music store.

To all aspiring musicians and bands out there, Greg says:

Everything you’ve ever heard anyone say about being in a band is totally true, unless they said it’s not hard work. Yes, it’s difficult. Yes, it’s time consuming. Yes, it’s exhausting and frustrating and often extremely discouraging. And yes, if you truly love writing and playing, it’s the most rewarding passion in the world.

Understand what you want from your music and for yourself as an artist. Set specific goals and don’t lose sight of them. Aim ridiculously high. Pay your dues, network, don’t burn any bridges, listen to your fans and never take them or their opinions for granted. It’s very rare that success “finds” anyone. You truly have to grab it by the face and make it see you. And, most importantly, never hesitate to ask for help! There is a wealth of information and resources out there in the form of people who have done all of this before, many right there in your community alone! The internet is your best friend. Do some research, find some contact info, reach out and ask questions. More often than not, folks in the industry will be happy to tell you what you need to know. Everybody was new sometime, and nobody forgets what it was like.

To learn more about The Agony Family, feel free to visit their facebook or twitter (@Theagonyfamily) page, as well as their website when it is launched on November 9 along with their album.

If you are in or know a band, artist, writer, etc. who would be interested in being interviewed for an upcoming ‘The Up and Comers’, please email murphcas89 (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

2 thoughts on “The Up and Comers: The Agony Family

  1. Great band, have seen everyone of their shows at the break contest, and saw them at Bamboozle. But I’m reading this article and can’t help but wonder why none of the other members of the group are mentioned other than in the first paragraph?

    Their live show is phenomenal, they have so much energy and are incredibly fun to watch. The music is good, but watching them perform is the real selling point for me. The onstage dynamic between their bassist and lead guitarist is incredibly entertaining. Their lead guitarist also completely melts faces whenever he solos, definitely the best guitarist I’ve seen at his age. The secondary vocals provided by their second keyboardist and aforementioned bassist were simply killer. The drummer? I’d be lying if I said I was anything but impressed by her raw talent.

    The fact that this band performed as a whole group, and not as a band backing a vocalist, was what hooked me as a fan.

    I don’t know how their band dynamic is off-stage, but it’s a shame that the rest of the group doesn’t get the recognition they deserve.

    • By not having the other members give comments, I wasn’t saying anything negative about them. I sent everyone in the band the questions, Greg just happened to answer them and I’m sure he answered them with the voice of the entire band. I know Greg and Tony personally and have interviewed both of them for other articles in the past. They know how I work as a writer and know I wouldn’t personally make it seem like I was saying some members are better than others. I’m sorry if it came off as that way, cause I definitely didn’t mean it to. I agree that this band is amazing which is why I wanted them to be the first band interviewed for this series.

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