In Theory is comprised of four friends who were classmates at the same high-school and came together out of their mutual love for music, even though their individual tastes were pretty varied. As Theo Gersht (guitar and lead vocals) explained when we spoke on the phone, the band embraced the concepts of grass roots publicity and quickly developed a dedicated following in their local Los Angeles, California. They continued to approach their publicity at that same personal level and got in on the ground floor with sites like Myspace, which translated to a huge internet fan base.
The band was very close to breaking up, because of family pressures, when they were discovered by Vincent Bitetti and Barry Fasman who eventually signed them to Shelter From the Storm Records. Recently they were picked up by TKO and given a sponsorship by RKS Guitars.
There first single, "A New Medication" speaks of the loss of a friend to alcoholism. And Theo says in the band's bio that many of the songs come back to the relationships he and other band-mates have formed. But then there are some that are not necessarily inspired by reality. He divulges "Love Me or Leave Me" was actually inspired by an episode of The OC.
Theo and I recently spoke about how the band formed, their new album, and their plans for the future.
Tell me a little bit about In Theory's history and how you formed?
Me and Aaron, our drummer, have been playing together for six years. We met each other in high school. The other two guys, Sam and Avromie, were friends, but they were a grade above me and we didn't have much outside contact. But post high school we sort of all decided we wanted to be in a band together and we've been together ever since. It's been about three years now.
To those who have yet to hear your music, how would you describe your sound?
It's melodic-rock. A lot of people try to box us into a genre and we really don't like that. You've probably heard people call us pop-punk or alternative. Nowadays there are so many different genres and we take influences from all over the place.
When I met Avromie he listened to mostly metal-rock, a lot of Metallica and a lot of Disturbed. Sam listened to a lot of emo and hardcore. Aaron only listened to punk. I was listening to everything from Incubus to Dave Mathews Band to Blink 182. So we had all these influences coming in from all across the board. We've ended up with more of a melodic rock sound and even though it's not a genre yet, we're hoping to make it one.
The band's bio says you've had classical piano training before you migrated to the guitar, how hard was the transition?
I played [piano] from the time I was five until twelve, so just under seven years. It was everything from Beethoven to Mozart and it was just classical piano. I'll be honest, it was fun but it just wasn't what I was into. And, as all teachers would want you to do, mine wanted me to practice and I just was not into practicing the piano.
So, when I was about 12, I started listening to more rock. The first CD I owned was The Spice Girls, even thought I'm embarrassed to say that, but it lead me into listening to bands like Weezer, The Offspring, Third Eye Blind, and bands like that. Soon as I heard them, aside from hearing the fact there was no piano, I loved the idea that with a guitar I would be able to write songs of that caliber. I begged my father for two years and he eventually got me one. The rest is history.
Are you the songwriter of the group?
Yeah. Avromie does write as well, but I wrote about nine tenths of the album.
Is the songwriting and recording process collaborative as a band or do one of you take charge?
I generally write a song and have it, let's say, 90 percent done. Then I take it to the band and we'll rework it. We'll make sure the band is happy with the song, if they don't like a particular part, verse, bridge, we'll look at it. We really try to accommodate everyone in the band so everyone feels like they are part of the creative process.
It wasn't originally like that. Originally, I would write the songs, I would take it in and teach it to the band, we would record it, and that was the end of it. That was on the first album, and it was not a very creative album. You know, experimental, and it wasn't very good, honestly. On this second album  we really put a lot of time into working the songs, and reworking the songs, and reworking the songs again. I think everyone is really happy with the way it all turned out.
You give a bit of a background about "A New Medication" and "Love Me Or Leave Me" in the bio, do you find most of your songs are rooted in fact and/or real life?
Most of the tracks are based on real life events. They are either based on events that have happened in my life or that I've seen happen in other people's lives. On one of the tracks, actually it's the last track of the album, called "Why Didn't You Come?" is actually based on us as a band trying to promote ourselves.
We use to draw all the local high school kids and it would be a lot of fun, but at a certain point we were playing so much that the kids would all be, "Oh Yeah, we'll come." People would start saying they would show up, but then not come. Obviously, we're on the other side now, where we are actually drawing kids again, but for awhile, right after high school, a lot of friends had gone off to college. We'd go out and hand out flyers and stuff and people would say, "We're coming, we're coming, we're coming," and smile and be nice, then they wouldn't show. So the song is to them, sort of a 'look at us now.'
You mentioned grass-roots marketing, handing out flyers and such. Now that you're bigger what is your approach? Do you find sites like Myspace and Pure Volume helpful?
I will tell you this much, for us anyway, Myspace has been the biggest change in our lives as far as creating new fans and for publicity. It's free publicity. There's nothing wrong with, and I'll always suggest, people should go out with flyers – even if it's grass roots. Some people think it's embarrassing, but it is really effective. You make friends doing things like that, and these friends end up becoming fans.
But as far as this new generation of Pure Volume and Myspace, it is so effective. Right now we're really focusing on trying to build up our Pure Volume Page. Our primary page right now is our Myspace page.
There was a point where for every single day for a week we were getting thousands of friends. Every day of that week we averaged 2,000 friend adds. It's just amazing. It really did a lot for pushing the band and it made an impression on Barry Fasman and Vincent Bitetti from Shelter From the Storm Records. When they first heard us, they liked the sound obviously. They liked it enough to come to a second show, but it impressed them when they came to our page and saw we had nearly 30,000 friends. I think at the time we had 150,000 plays, or something like that.
It's been really good to us, and I would suggest to any band that hasn't got a Myspace page, they should do so as quick as they can. We actually had the page on access to be honest. I had a friend who was at Hopeless Records for a very long time, this was before Myspace was popular, he told me, "You got to get this thing, it's called Myspace. I don't care if you use it, just sign up for it."
So I got it set up as myspace.com/intheory and didn't touch it for five months. I just let it sit. So, it turns out five months later Myspace becomes this whole phenomenon and we already have our page lined up, which worked because a couple other bands called In Theory had already showed up on the scene.
Right now most of your scheduled shows are based in the Los Angeles area. Is there a major tour in the works?
We just came back from one and a half months on the road. We went as far east as Chicago and we did a couple shows out there with Papa Roach. We played with Story of the Year, the Fusion Tour, and we played some states on the way back. Right now we just made a deal with TKO [The Kirby Organization] in New York. Andrew Goodfriend and Mike Monterulo are now our agents and they are working on some tours for this May and June.
As This is It hits shelves in June, what are your plans for the future?
First we have the May-June tour and then the summer tour. From there, between you and me, we love to tour. We have the most amazing experiences on the road, we love to play, and the band got a lot better and a lot tighter. We got to do it every single day, so we learned to deal with the crowd in a more easy fashion. Our on-stage presence has really begun to take off and take hold. We would like to tour ten months out of the year.
The Album drops June 5th. The single ["A New Medication"] will release March 13th. [This interview was conducted March 12.] I'm really excited about that. K-Rock, in LA, played the single again last night. I'm really excited about that. I literally got in the car last night, turned it on, and they started playing "A New Medication." It will be available for download on iTunes and all the usual online stores.