Graduation offers former high school students a chance to reflect and ask questions.
What career should I choose? Do I need to go to college? What should our band sound like?
The members of Liberty Deep Down, which includes three recent high school graduates, have been focusing on that last question. The band will bring its evolving sound to the main stage of the Powell Festival at 6:15 p.m. June 27 at Village Green Park.
Drummer Noah Bouhadana, a recent graduate of Olentangy Liberty High School, said the group has been working to shed its "teeny bop" sound and image. He said the group's large social media fan base -- almost 75,000 followers on Twitter -- had a big influence on the band's early music.
"We got on social media, and a lot of the people on social media are young teens," Bouhadana said. "They kind of influenced (our music) because they were reaching out to us. So we were just like, 'OK, we'll create music to accommodate their interests.' "
Lead singer Dom Frissora, a recent Gahanna Lincoln High School graduate, said the band members are now more interested in growing as musicians and artists than becoming the next big boy band or teen idols.
"We're trying to find our niche," said. "We're trying to have a more-mature sound that reaches out to a larger audience."
The beginnings of that new sound can be found on the band's second EP, Love Worth Making, released earlier this year. The EP is the first with Frissora as the lead singer, although he's been associated with the band for a while.
"I started from the bottom," he said. "I went from merch guy to rhythm-guitar player to lead singer."
The band also features Dalton Dye of Centerburg on bass and Tyler Rose of Hilliard on guitar.
Frissora said he and his bandmates have a love for everything from blues rock to slick pop.
"My dad raised me on Aerosmith, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin," Frissora said, "but I still love pop music. I love bands like Maroon 5, Neon Trees. If I could compare us to any band, I would probably say Maroon 5."
Guitarist and keyboardist Halen Bouhadana, Noah's twin brother, has a different take.
"If I could compare us to any band, it would probably be a modern-day version of INXS," he said
Frissora said he could agree on that, but he and the brothers disagreed somewhat on how to classify the band. The Bouhadana brothers said the group plays alternative rock.
"I consider us pop/rock because we got that pop sound, but then we have guitar solos and heavy-hitting hard beats and '80s guitar sounds in some songs," Frissora said.
Although the band has shows scheduled in Columbus, Nashville and Cleveland this summer, the Powell Festival gives them a significant chance to shine.
"This is one of the bigger shows, actually," Noah Bou-hadana said. "We play small venues when we go out of town."
The band played a few songs at Olentangy Liberty High School's prom, but the festival marks its first true show in front of a hometown crowd.
Although they're Olentangy Liberty graduates, the Bou-hadana brothers said the group's name does not refer to their former high school. It was suggested by a friend the duo played with when they were 11, and it stuck.
They said the name doesn't have any particular meaning, but the words flow nicely.
The band will play on its biggest stage yet when it opens for Fifth Harmony on June 29 at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion in downtown Columbus.
Frissora said he's thrilled to play the venue, where he's seen many shows.
"I'm going to be playing on the same stage as some of my musical inspirations, which just blows my mind," he said.
The band members said although they just released their latest EP in May, they haven't taken a break from songwriting. In fact, they said a full-length album might be in the works.
Until then, the band has plenty to keep them busy.
"We're trying to get our general education out of the way, doing online classes while playing in a band, traveling and writing music," Frissora said. "We're trying to do this while we still can. Trying to make something of it."
The Powell Festival runs from 5 to 11 p.m. June 27 and noon to 11 p.m. June 28 at Village Green Park in downtown Powell. The festival will include a full slate of presentations and concerts, including a performance by popular 1980s cover band the Reagan-omics, as well as food vendors and fireworks after dark June 28.