Fighting Season: A local band with big aspirations


Evan Rutland, 21, is happiest when he’s onstage playing music for others (Photo by Daniel Hadfield).


For Evan Rutland, making it big in the music industry is more than a pipe dream.

The 21-year-old former Sheridan student and bassist of Fighting Season is well on his way to making his dream a reality.

In two years, the pop punk Hamilton band has released an EP and two music videos.

“The band has become a huge part of my life,” says Rutland. “Investing all of my time and money in this band for the past two years has given me many great friendships and has completely changed my view of the music industry.”

Fighting Season began two years ago when Matt O’Connor, the lead vocalist, got some friends together.

It was short-lived, however, and they split up within a year. Determined to revive the band, the singer placed an ad on Kijiji to search for new members.

At this time, Rutland and his current bandmate, Glenn Bellon, who were in another band at the time, found they weren’t getting anywhere and were in search for a new project.

That’s when they found O’Connor. “I had been in other bands before Fighting Season, but nothing was ever getting done. I wanted to be in a band that was serious with members who all thought the same way while also playing music that I could enjoy,” says Rutland.


Now, two years later, Fighting Season has played at many venues across Southern Ontario, drawing in more than 1,000 fans. They’ve sold band merchandise at shows and will be opening an online store in the near future.

“The fans are the reason we’re still able to do this day to day and we can’t thank them enough,” says Rutland.

Fighting Season’s sound is influenced by bands like The Story So Far, This Time Next Year and Blink-182. “Musically, we went from writing music just to get some songs out, to trying new things and sounds to make us as unique as possible,” says Rutland.

The group also played alongside well-known bands like Hit The Lights, Man Overboard and Forever Came Calling.

James Dittburner, Rutland’s childhood friend, has been to more than a dozen of Fighting Season’s shows.

“I’ve known Evan since he was four,” says the 21-year-old fan. “Music is one of his passions. He loves it. He’s always so hyped before any show, no matter how many people show up.”

Dittburner is excited about their new EP, Weathered, which came out Tuesday. “I remember their first EP in 2013 was amazing and easy to love. I just couldn’t put it down.”

Rutland says that even though he loves being a part of a band, there are still some challenges that come with it, like having to miss out on certain events while they’re in the studio, playing a show or on the road.

“Being away from loved ones is tough,” says Rutland. “When we went on our tour, a couple of us were really missing special people in our lives.”

Even so, Rutland’s family and friends are extremely understanding and supportive of his musical ambitions. “You have to continue doing what you’re passionate about,” says Dittburner.

In 2012, Rutland studied in the Child and Youth Worker program at Davis Campus, but he left after realizing it wasn’t for him. He plans on going back to school in case a career in music doesn’t work out.

But Rutland knows nothing could compare with the thrill of music. “When you release new music, you never know how people will take it. Seeing people enjoy it and seeing it reaching all over the world is such a cool feeling, and people telling us that it helped them through a tough time is the most rewarding feeling ever,” he says. “Having your music connect with others is great. Seeing them singing it back to you is even better.”

Check out Fighting Season’s band page here.