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Band You Need to Know About: Heist

Heist is a prog-punk rock power trio from Cincinnati, Ohio, with a background in filmmaking, animation and ambitious concept albums. Known for their melodic shredding and immersive live performance, Heist create an iridescent spectrum of pyrotechnic spectacle. Heist is Michael Ragan (guitar, lead vocals), Michael Clouse (drums, vocals) and Previn (bass, mononymous).

 Catch Heist TONIGHT at Fountain Square with Motel Faces and Siren Suit!

How did Heist come to be?

Michael (Ragan) and I (Clouse) met going to school at the University of Cincinnati for E-media and Graphic Design, respectively, and in 2012 we formed a band with our other DAAP friends called Dynamite Thunderpunch. We met Previn through the scene of questionably safe house shows we would host on our back porch, and all quickly bonded over a mutual love of progressive & math rock bands like Rush, The Dear Hunter, And So I Watch You From Afar, Strawberry Girls, & Dadaray. It was immediately obvious that Previn was an intensely gifted musician, illustrator and artist himself, so when we started a new project in 2020 (initially sharing files remotely with one another) our skill sets made perfect sense to click together as a power trio. Michael is the sound guru who manages our internal demoing and recording while Previn and I split the visual work of creating video, animations, merch, etc.

Tell us about your background in filmmaking and animation…

While Previn and I both started from a traditional arts and design background, over time we both became attracted to moving pictures for similar reasons. In school I quickly realized digital animation and shooting video allowed me to express my ideas quicker than hand drawing every line in a composition, and have worked full-time as an animator and video editor since. A lifelong interest in audiovisual projection was cemented when I worked on the Huemanity installation projected on the Freedom Center for Blink Festival 2019.

Meanwhile, Previn formed TwentyTwenty Productions in 2021 with his film partner/frequent Heist collaborator Aaron Malloy. They’ve been busy creating music videos for local artists and premiered their debut short horror film ‘The Rite’ at the Esquire Theatre to a packed house in October. Most recently Previn and I shot and edited the Heist video for Evergreen.

What can one expect at a live Heist show?

We don’t take for granted how much of an ask it still is for people to come out of their homes to see live music, so we try and use every trick up our sleeves to put on the best shows we can with a 3 person team. We all wear multiple hats; in addition to playing our instruments and being goofy showmen, we trade off singing duties, trigger the projections that animate behind us, program our own light shows, and more. We’ve designed our current show to scale to larger and larger venues, and can’t wait to play at Fountain Square on what will be the biggest stage we’ve commanded so far.

After the show this Friday at Fountain Square, what is next for Heist?

In addition to promoting the recent release of our debut EP, we will be playing later this April with the incredible progressive rock/metal band Moon Tooth, in May at the inaugural Comet Burritofest with an incredible selection of this city’s musical and comedy talent. We’re about to record our next single at The Tone Shoppewith our friend Aaron Madrigal (of psych-rockers Lemon Sky and Cincinnative screen printing), and are writing our first full length album, which we hope to record and tour in support of later this year.