Given their chosen band name, it should come as no surprise that the members of the Material are something of experts in the fields of architecture and engineering. Figuratively speaking, that is. As one of the best bands coming out of the local L.A. rock scene, though, let the record show that their skill didn’t come without having to get their hands a little dirty at times.

“Our music’s a little edgier, but we still have those pop vocals,” says frontwoman Colleen D’Agostino, adding, “I think that’s why people don’t really know where to place us.”

Despite the difficulty for critics to pinpoint a genre for her band, D’Agostino, along with guitarists Roi Elam and Jon Moreaux, and drummer Kevin Pintado, seem to have little trouble winning over fans with their brand of melodic pop-punk-tinged rock. While there is indeed something of a market saturation with girls of just-edgy-enough aesthetic fronting guitar-driven bands that are both Warped Tour and VH1 friendly, the Material has a secret weapon. Unlike many of their contemporaries, the Material actually manages to capture that elusive quality of authenticity, in no small part due to D’Agostino’s honest lyricism.

“I’m only in a writing mood when something big is going on in my life, so I take those times, even if they’re bad times, and write a ton of stuff as a catharsis,” D’Agostino says of her raw and emotive songwriting style. And though her songs may function as pseudo therapy sessions, there’s another purpose at hand.

“It just so happened that my parents split up right as we were moving to Portland and that was when I was writing a lot of my lyrics, so some of them sound kind of angry, but I’m not the kind of person that can listen to a happy song when I’m bummed out. If I listen to something that’s in the mood I’m in, it makes me feel better, so I try to connect with our fans with things that have happened in my life that they’re probably going through too.”

As the band awaits the January release of their debut full-length album, What We Are, D’Agostino promises the goal remains the same, though her approach has shifted a little bit.

“I’ve tried to be less ambiguous with my lyrics and more straightforward. I’ll try to tell a story that everyone can relate to, but I want them to be able to think about it,” she says. “The last album was a little different because I wrote it from different perspectives, where I’ll get into the mind-set of the person I’m singing about and go from their point of view. But I’ve written songs that are more about personal experience and those are probably the ones where you see me really go crazy on stage.”

In the meantime, the band is putting the finishing touches on the music video for the track “Before This Ship Goes Down” to hold fans over until the album’s release, a song that seems all too appropriate for where D’Agostino and her band mates are in their musical careers.

“The song is about two people in love who bury their dreams to live the day-to-day, nine-to-five type life, but realize they need to find something more. I wrote it about my parents as a hopeful thing before they split up, but it definitely applied to myself as well,” she says. “There was a time when we had to work full-time jobs and do the band on the side, and it was kind of a hard switch when we decided to move out of our apartments, quit our jobs, go out on the road and be homeless.” She adds the last word with a laugh, though one that still acknowledges the truth of it.

“I grew up in a structured home, so I feel less stressed out when I know what we’re doing tomorrow or next month or next year,” she says. “Giving that up to live the band lifestyle has been kind of hard for me, because I don’t know what’s happening next, but it’s gotten me out of my shell, and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”

What We Are will be available Jan. 11. The Material perform Nov. 18 at the Roxy. For more information, visit