Band in line for national recording contract

Anareta & Apheta makes grade in online competition

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The boys in the band are ready for the big time, with the help of a few thousand votes from fans across the world. Anareta & Apheta, an alternative heavy metal band, took shape in a Castle Rock garage where a group of five teens let their music take center stage every day.

Those years of practice paid off in September when they earned a spot in the nationwide Project Independent competition, beating out a slew of other bands who performed at Denver’s famed Gothic Theater to vie for a chance at a 48-city tour, $50,000 in band equipment, a recording contract and a chance to headline in the 2012 Project Independent tour.

Their performance in the first round of competition earned them the number six spot against 150 bands nationwide as they make their way to the final round. It is a voting process the boys are watching with no small amount of excitement.

Anareta & Apheta took shape from the efforts of twins Isaiah (Izzy) and Eli Livingood, 15, who started the band when they were in middle school. Over time they added friends Stetson Rocha, 15, Tyler Lumpkin, 18 and Craig Howie, 19. All are Castle Rock residents except Howie, who lives in Parker, and all remain true to their alternative roots.

Three of the band members convened in the Livingood’s historic Craig & Gould home, greeting visitors with their long hair, facial piercings, ear plugs, stocking caps and black leggings. Their appearance is balanced by broad smiles, clear skin, lots of eye contact and the warm, open enthusiasm of budding creativity.

Eli Livingood’s gentle nature comes through when he shares a sample of the band’s music, a mix of fluid guitar, rolling drums and wild vocals that quickly morphed into what they refer to as Lumpkin’s “screams.”

“There’s a little bit of language here,” Eli said, preparing his visitor.

His warning was not necessary. The vocals were unrecognizable to the untrained ear.

Today’s incarnation of the band took shape about a year ago, when the Livingoods began writing their own music, culling the band’s name from an online search of astrology terms. The dichotomy of Anareta — “bringer of death” — and Apheta — “giver of life” — appealed to them. The part of their nature that pushes the boundaries did not come their way by accident.

Each of the band members began school in a traditional setting and eventually made their way to an alternative education. The twins and Rocha are finishing school online, while Lumpkin and Howie are completing their education through DC Oakes, Douglas County’s alternative high school.

The band practices in the detached garage of the Livingood home, where the parents created a living arrangement solely for the purpose of supporting the boys’ creative efforts. The twins’ parents, Steve Livingood and Ann Humphreys, divorced 10 years ago and, about 18 months ago, moved back in together after Humphreys lost her roommate.

At risk of losing the house where the boys were settled, the family made the decision to have dad return home to keep the boys in a familiar place, have mom and dad under the same roof and provide stability as the twins pursue their passion. Today, Steve Livingood lives in the basement, the twins have the run of the garage and there is an adult home at all times.

“We have a great family unit,” Humphreys said. “None of the boys are druggers or drinkers, they’re good kids. They just stay home and play music.”

The music for now is at the heart of the family as the band awaits the Dec. 31 deadline for the Project Independent final competition. Anareta & Apheta finished round one in sixth position and landed in 10th position in round two, securing a spot on the Project Independent 2012 album.

Voting continues through the Project Independent website at www.projectindependent.net