Connecting with Reason Define

Interview with Shelby McVicker of Reason Define via email correspondence August 4, 2019.

Let's start with an introduction of the band members.

Reason|Define is:

Paolina Massaro - Vocals

Caitlin Rutkowski - Bass

Sav Ruff - Guitar

Shelby McVicker - Guitar

Syd McVicker - Drums

You are currently chatting with me! Shelby! Howdy partners!


How did you come together to form a band?

We started out at a music school for a summer camp! In the summer camp, you learned around 5-6 cover songs and then played at a “real” venue. We hit it off and decided to do this thing for real! So we started writing our own music, booking shows, and the rest is history!

When and how did you start finding success with your music?

Success can be measured in so many different ways. If we start to compare ourselves to other bands or focus on what we wish we could be doing, we will never be able to focus on the current moment that we are in. Success, to me, is when someone comes up to me and says something along the lines of, “your music helped me” or “to see women up there doing this is so empowering.” When I joined a band, all I wanted was to be able to help people with my music the way that music helped me. So whenever someone hears our music and it helps them, that is the utmost success that I can have.

Talk about some of your favorite songs you've written and what inspired them.

The concept behind In Memory… is one of my favorite things that we have done as a band. When we started writing the record, we were all grieving ​something​. A friendship, a relationship, parts of ourselves, or family members. Through writing this record, we were able to explore those feelings of grief and create a concept album that shows people that they are not alone in their sadness and struggles. Within In Memory…, there are specific parts of the album that I adore so much. Specifically, I love the bridge of Forgiveness Again. When Sav and I were writing the bridge, we wanted the harmonies to fade in and out as a representation of the feelings that accompany denial.

You've just released a new video, tell us about that.

Yes! We just released a video for Reaper ft. Jacob Peters of Never I! At our hometown release show in Charlotte, Jacob jumped up on stage and surprised us by doing guest vocals on Reaper. We loved the moment so much that we wanted to capture it forever so we asked Jacob to be on the track and record a music video with us! He was an absolute gem to work with. Ross Theisen and Nicholous Thomas shot the music video. The grungy, minimalistic feeling of the video is exactly what we wanted for the video. From the beginning of starting this project to the final product coming out, everyone who worked with it and on it was an absolute pleasure to work it and essential to the success of the song.

Many bands don't make it out of their home town. How did you get started with touring?

We always knew that we needed to tour to be able to get our name out of just Charlotte and the surrounding cities. Our first couple of tours were booked completely on our own. We have been blessed to now have an incredible booking agent through Blind Anxiety Entertainment. We love working with them and can’t wait to see all of the tours that we can cook up in the future!

How has your Neon Summer tour been going so far?

The only way to describe our Neon Summer tour is WILD! As most people know, touring can be extremely taxing and stressful, but it is also the most rewarding thing that we have ever experienced. While we were in Chicago for the night, our trailer was broken into while we were sleeping. That experience of waking up to our trailer being destroyed and our equipment stolen was heartbreaking. However, the amount of support and love we experienced after the fact was indescribable. I get tears in my eyes whenever I think of it. Our music family rallied behind us to help us. To know that we have that kind of support behind us when we were sitting in the rain in the middle of Chicago feeling heartbroken and vulnerable is something that I will never, ever forget. We are super excited to finish out Neon Summer with an absolute BANG!

What are some of your favorite experiences with shows, at home or on the road?

Like I said before, one of my favorite experiences is being able to touch people with our music. I want to be able to share my human experience to hopefully help someone who is going through the same thing. So when people come to our shows and talk to me and tell me their story, that is my favorite thing about being in a band.

What's next after this tour?

I gotta graduate, girl! I am in college right now for Graphic Design. We are taking a little bit of a break for the fall, but mayyyyybe we will start writing LP3, mayyyyyybe we will release some new merch, just maybe though. You’ll have to follow us on social media to make sure you stay informed!

~Shameless plug~ If you need any graphic design work, contact me or Caitlin at our graphic design company, To The Moon Design! ~~~

Any final thoughts or shout-outs?

Thank you so much to everyone for your endless support and love. Thank you for not only hearing In Memory… but actually listening to it, letting it resonate with you, and especially, for sharing your stories with us. We love and appreciate every single one of you! Now, go stream Reaper ft. Jacob from Never I and LOOK ME IN THE EYES!

If you want to find out more information about Reason|Define, go to


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