By Siobhan Cassidy 

Stony Brook band Breathing East won a spot to perform at Bamboozle—again.

Breathing East, whose members attended Stony Brook, played at the festival for the second year in a row, performing with artists like 30 Seconds to Mars, Taking Back Sunday, Motley Crue and more at The Bamboozle Festival last week on The Break Stage. The east-end band, which has made appearances Rock Yo Face Case, were feverishly trying to perfect its sound to win The Break Contest, a battle-of-the-bands style of competition at The Crazy Donkey, last month.

Just a year ago, Breathing East had won fourth place in The Break Contest, giving them a chance to perform on a side stage at Bamboozle in East Rutherford, N.J. Since their alternative sound blew the rookie bands away, they won, again.

“It refreshes the reason why we work so hard,” said Will Stevens, who is a senior. The band had a glimpse of life as a rock star, from professional roadies, to agencies contacting them and, of course, the groupies. “To perform at a musical festival? It is one of the best experiences a band can ask for.”

Breathing East is made up of four self-taught members: AJ McIntyre (vocals and guitar), Mark Standish (lead guitar and vocals), Will Stevens (bass and vocals), and Conor Harrigan (drums), who have been writing and producing music together for two years. The band said their influenced by 90’s music, but has a pop-dance vibe to its new EP, The Successor.

In the days before Bamboozle, Breathing East was in the top five downloaded bands on, a website where rising artists upload their mp3’s for publicity, surpassing 30 Seconds to Mars.

All members live on the east end of Long Island and practice in Jamesport. When Harrigan, a 2009 graduate of Stony Brook University, and Standish, who attended Hofstra University, would drive home from college on the weekend, they said the first thing they would notice is a fresh, salty breeze that distinguishes the East End from the city.

“It was a sigh of relief,” Standish said. “We are breathing the east.”

Many music artists have begun their musical journeys locally: Brand New, Taking Back Sunday and, of course, Billy Joel are just a few. While many of them hail from New York City or Nassau County, the members of Breathing East feel that hailing from the East End of Long Island makes them stand out in the competitive music industry. There is a certain feel of the East End, said Stevens. “It’s calm and airy. We carry that within the band.”

Performing for a massive crowd at a music festival or not, Harrigan said there is nothing like playing at Stony Brook University. There is a local following on the campus that regularly attends Rock Yo Face Case to see Breathing East play.


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