The Magenta Shift evolves as rising student band


Alexis Moats

Junior Leif McCoy performs at Clementine Cafe during a sold out concert by Low Volume on Jan. 5. McCoy's band, then known as The Governeers, opened for Low Volume.

The Magenta Shift, formerly known as The Governeers, is the newest start-up band to walk the halls of Harrisonburg High School. The band includes juniors Leif McCoy, Forrest Matter and Declan Leach along with sophomore Stanley Inouye. The group has been together for a while, but has just recently started taking their talents outside of the basement.

“We’ve gone through several iterations of this group. The whole time it was me, Leif and Forrest. Then somewhere along the road last year I said, ‘Hey Stanley [Inouye], you’re picking up bass pretty good, why don’t you come hang with us and play?’” Leach said.

“Before we had a gigging group, we definitely tried to put some stuff together, and it didn’t work. That’s why we’re here with these people,” Matter further explained.

Even though Leach and Matter had a bass player, they still weren’t sure if it was technically a “band.”

“I don’t know if it was implied that we were making a band or not, but it just kind of happened. We learned a couple of songs and we were like, ‘Hey, this is pretty cool!’ Somewhere down the road Sam [Schaeffer] said that they had a show and asked us if we wanted to open for them, so we said yes and it ended up being a really good show,” Leach said.

Then known as “The Governeers,” the group opened for Low Volume for the first time on Jan. 5 at Clementine Cafe. There were many things that The Magenta Shift took away from that little gig before they opened again for Low Volume on Mar. 15.

Photo courtesy of Allison Miller
Low Volume performs at Clementine Cafe on Jan. 5. McCoy can be seen playing guitar third from the left.

“After that initial show we really narrowed down the songs we wanted to play and the styles we were kinda shooting for, and some original stuff started congealing pretty well between Forrest and Leif,” Leach said.

The original songs weren’t quite planned out and happened spontaneously.

“Originally Leif wanted to have a solo project, and I was going to help him record. So one night we were just sitting in Leif’s basement and then we wrote a song or something. So we said, ‘Hey band, this is cool,’ and it just kept happening. Eventually it progressed to Leif and my project and then it became The Governeers’s project, and that led us to our name now which is ‘The Magenta Shift,’” Matter said.

Inouye and the rest of the group weren’t happy with “The Governeers” for a name anymore and wanted to switch it up, so each of the four members came up with some ideas for a new name. The Magenta Shift is the one that stuck.

“That name was Stanley’s idea. We had a list of a bunch of different names from all of us: Seiches on Beaches, Less In The Miserables, a play on Les Miserable which was my personal favorite. We should definitely call an album that in the future,” Leach said.

For Leach, The Governeers was only a temporary name.

“In the long run, we were not going to be The Governeers. We wanted to find a long-term name. Some people still hate our name, and to them I say make your own band and call it whatever you want,” Leach said.

Matter has been a huge addition to The Magenta Shift because of his ability to record and produce songs.

“Forrest is a great asset to have because he’s really good with the mixer and can set us up wherever, and we sound good. He’s really helpful in terms of self-producing. We can do whatever we want because we have the tools to accomplish all the recordings,” Leach said.

Matter enjoys producing a wide range of projects.

“[The ability to self-produce songs] has been interesting because it’s been my first [experience] in recording/producing anything that isn’t one vocal. I’ve done some hip-hop things and mixing with Amir Myers, a fellow HHS student, and it’s been amazing working with him and I look forward to see how that goes,” Matter said.

The band has been able to come up with and write some singles that will hit the charts shortly.

“We have a single, and it’s called ‘Fire In The City.’ You can expect it on all the major streaming platforms, and it should be coming out hopefully before the end of this month. We intend to continue to self produce, record, mix and master all of our media,” Matter said.


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