Does anyone know of any good local bands in the Salt Lake City area?
I recently moved back to Utah from California and I really want to check out some local shows. Are there any bands you would recommend? I know when I lived here before, there use to be an amazing local music scene. I hope the same is true now!
The Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men is a band from a small town called Ben Lomond in the Santa Cruz Mountains, formed by two brothers Kellen and Jamie, and occasionally joined on stage with Henry, Kyle and Mason. Their musical inspiration comes from acts such as Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Norah Jones and Bob Dylan, which shows in their music. Their full length album is available to listen to up on their Web site. When I first listened to the album, I was amazed by how much I enjoyed it. I listened to the entire album, without skipping any of the songs, which is really rare for me. I’m a pretty big Tom Petty band, so I had a good feeling I would love the Coffis Brothers, which turned out to be correct. It’s hard to pick a favorite from the album, but some of the songs I liked the most are Down to the Wire, All I Need and You Can Run. I asked Kellen some questions about how the band got started, about recording their album and what advice he’d give to bands that are just starting out.
BLD Music Quest: How did The Coffis Brothers first get started?
Kellen: The Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men (Jamie Coffis, Kellen Coffis, Henry Chadwick, Kyle Poppen, and Mason Hutchinson) got formed last summer, 2010. Jamie and I started writing song about 3 years ago but it wasn’t until spring of 2010 that we started playing out in public as a duo. In May of 2010 we had our first show as a full band. All five of us went to the same high school and have known each other for most of our lives. We had been jamming with each other for years so the forming of the band was pretty organic.
BLD Music Quest: You guys have some great recordings. When did you guys record & how did it go?
Kellen: Last January we booked four days in a great studio in Santa Cruz called Gadgetbox Studios, where we had the pleasure of working with Andy Zenzcak. We did all the tracking in those four days and had an absolute blast doing it. We wanted to make the songs sound as live as we could, so the recording process was basically all of us playing the songs together at the same time in the same room. About 99% of the leading and backing vocals were done live and we tried to limit the amount of over-dubbing involved. We sort of followed the model of Tom Petty records, where it really sounds like a rock & roll band playing together, and with the magic of Andy, I think we did that. We are more than pleased with our product, as well as our experience, from Gadgetbox.
BLD Music Quest: What plans does the band have for the rest of the year?
Kellen: We’re trying to stay as busy as we can. Jamie and I have been traveling around the Bay Area playing as a duo as much as we can. In the next couple months we will be heading to Sacramento, Sonoma, and Portland, Oregon. We also have a few full band shows set up in Santa Cruz and further up the peninsula as well.
BLD Music Quest: What advice would you give to bands just starting out?
Kellen: We are a pretty new band so we are learning quite a bit, but the best advice I can give is play music as much as you can, whether you’re playing in front of 5 people or 100 people, just play. Also go see live music as much as you can. I always learn a lot going to see other bands play and I think it really helps you see what works and what doesn’t work on stage.
You can listen to their full length album and see where they’re playing next at:
A couple months ago, the band Evolove debuted their video for “Wake Up Call” on HotTopic.com and it now has over 2,200 views of that site alone. Since the video’s debut, the band has completed a national tour and also added the music video to their own YouTube page, where the number of views is quickly increasing. Personally, I think the video is filmed amazingly and also showcases the band very well. The video was directed by Iggi Ogard. On Evolove’s YouTube page, you can also watch tour videos from the band’s recent national tour.
To watch the video for yourself, check out the link below:
When I first checked out A Thousand Years At Sea’s new EP, “We Will Fall Apart”, I was taken by surprise. It was the first time I’ve heard of the band, so I didn’t really know what to expect. On their Facebook, the band says “A Thousand Years At Sea is the fusion of singer-songwriters Colin Cotter and Ethan Lewis, and pianist Neil Pearlman’s distinctive and innovative musical sounds, bringing together elements of folk, jazz, celtic, and rock into a dynamic and unique experience.” I’m always impressed when a band can mix numerous types of music into one song and still pull it off, creating their own unique sound. I was taken by surprise at how well ATYAS mixes folk, jazz, celtic and rock together. The fiddle, keyboard, guitar and drums all come together very nicely. The new EP consists of songs Desperado, The Growing Light, I’ll Just Swim and Like Fading Faith. I would say my favorite song off the EP is Desperado, with I’ll Just Swim following in a close second place. I found the EP to be very relaxing to listen to, while still combining a lot of good rhythm and beats. In order to find out more about the new EP and the band, I asked band member Colin Cotter a few questions about how the band got started, how recording the EP was and what the band’s plans are for the rest of the year.
BLD Music Quest: How did A Thousand Years at Sea first get started?
Colin: Back in 2008 I was writing a lot of songs, but I didn’t really have an outlet for them. At that time I wasn’t doing a ton of performing, but I was playing for fun a lot, usually just having Celtic sessions with friends. Ethan Lewis and I have been friends for ten years or so, having both grown up attending the same fiddle camp, Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School. I knew Ethan was a really rad fiddler who was also getting into songwriting more and more, so that along with the fact that we always got a long really well made him an ideal candidate for a band-mate. Neil Pearlman and I met at a party freshman year of college out in New York City, and it came up that he was a pianist and mandolin player who was really into the Celtic and Cape Breton music scene. The trad music world is a tiny place, so we ended up realizing we had a ton of mutual friends, and decided we’d have some tunes in the next few days. After jamming with Neil, I knew his style would be a great fit for what I was trying to accomplish – he incorporates elements for our shared background of Celtic music while involving a lot of really interesting jazz and funk ideas. So logistically getting the band together was and is always a bit of a nightmare, since Neil lives on the east coast while Ethan lives on the west coast, but I talked to both of them, and in January 2009 I had Neil fly out to California at the end of our winter break, and we recorded our first CD, Silver Shores Await.
BLD Music Quest: You guys have a great EP! When did you guys record & how did it go?
Colin: Thanks a lot! Recording Silver Shores Await was an amazing time – it was my first experience in the studio, and it was our first chance to get these new songs recorded, which was big for me and Ethan, since doing the whole singer-songwriter thing was a big step outside our Celtic comfort zone. So in January of 2009, we flew Neil out to the bay area, and we had about a day to run our material before recording at Live Oak Studio in Berkeley, CA. In that first weekend we got 13 tracks recorded and rough-mixed. The recording process was really fun, since we basically had just the bare bones of each arrangement planned, and the rest we whipped up right there in the studio. When I flew back home for spring break, Ethan and I went back into the studio with Live Oak’s engineer, James Ward (who was awesome to work with) and worked out our punch-ins and did the mixing. We had a little time left over at the end, so that was when I decided we should try recording the last track, One More Mile – it’s the only track without Neil on it, which is because he was thousands of miles away from the studio when it was recorded.
We recorded our new EP, We Will Fall Apart, back in April of 2011. Ethan teaches at a school out in California, so I had him fly out to NYC to play a couple gigs and get these recordings done so we could have them for the summer. This time around we decided to limit the number of songs and work out some more refined arrangements while still keeping a degree of “winging it” in there. We had a great engineer in Nathen Rosenberg over at Doghouse NYC Studio in Brooklyn, and we pounded out 4 tracks, fully mixed in a day. Recording this one was a lot of fun, as we were incorporating drums (metal drummer, Alex Cohen) into the band for the first time. Emphasizing the rock element was really cool, because up to this point, I felt like rock had been somewhat trapped as an underlying influence in ATYAS’ music, but having the drums in there really helped bring it out front.
BLD Music Quest: What plans does the band have for the rest of the year?
Colin: Right now we’re about to jump off on a northern California tour for a few weeks, starting with the KVMR Grass Valley Celtic Festival for the first weekend of October. After that, Ethan and I will have a weekend here, and a weekend there for gigs through December and more extensive gigging will pick up around January. It’s a little hectic to get the whole band together, since Neil lives out east and plays with a few groups, Ethan teaches during the school year, and I play in another group as well. What this means though, is a couple times a year, we have tours that last a couple weeks, and in between those, I play shows as a duo, either with Ethan when I’m out on the west coast, or with Neil when I’m out on the east coast.
BLD Music Quest: What advice would you give to bands just starting out?
Colin: I think my most fundamental piece of advice to bands just starting out is that while music is this amazing thing that people spend their whole lives doing just for fun, if you want to be a professional musician you really need to treat it like a business. That doesn’t mean stop having fun with music (if you stop having fun with music, you need to reevaluate things…), but you need to be really, really proactive with everything from booking to marketing so you can make money. You can’t be a professional musician for long if you aren’t making any money at it. The money is there (usually not a ton), but you need to go after it. Every show should build your audience – that means new people in the door who come back next time, every time. You’re doing yourself no favors if no new people come, or if your performance isn’t polished, prepared, etc. In short, there are annoying, gritty aspects to working in the music industry, but don’t be lazy about them, be professional. Grinding out the annoying parts of being a musician is what allows you to be a musician.
You can check out the band for yourself at their Facebook page or buy the EP off iTunes or CDBaby.
Devil in the Machine is a new band from Petaluma, California. When they first started the band, their vision was to become a tight band with dueling lead guitar harmony’s, heavy yet eclectic songs with an open mind towards any creative ideas, organization and a positive image. I would say their vision has definitely become a reality. “Most of all we wanted to create a musical product that could attract a huge listening audience that wouldn’t normally listen to hard rock and heavy metal,” Sean said about their band. Since their new EP “Bloody Mary” recently was released, I asked Sean some questions about the new E and about some of the band’s plans for the rest of the year. Check out what he said.
BLD Music Quest: What was the recording process like for your first EP?
Sean: The recording process was great. This was the fourth time recording for me, so I was somewhat focused on what I wanted to do. We worked with a producer named Alex Kostel who had been in the process of studding sound engineering and he wanted to try out his new gear. So he recorded us for free, and did an amazing job. I learned so much from that guy. He had us recording separate, playing with a click track, using different mics and equipment. Also we did some MIDI work on the song “Rain”, which was a huge departure from our normal sound. Recording for me is always one big learning experience. You listen to your CD and go “Hey, next time I’m gonna do things this way!”
BLD Music Quest: Where do you get ideas and inspiration for new music?
Sean: One influence for me was the fact that before I was playing metal, I was in a funk jam band, so obviously I wanted a fast, heavy, loud, dark, progressive and aggressive sound with lots of balls. I was also exercising a lot, and listening to metal while working out. So I wanted to create an E.P. that would make you want to get up off your ass and do something! We write about life, past experiences, movies, concepts, and whatever just might be inspiring one of us. As far as songs go, every songs is really different. Sometimes you just hear strange music in your head and you make a song out of it. Other time you have a collection of riffs and ideas saved up that can go together very well. Every song is different. Don’t be afraid of what people may think of your ideas! Because what you may think is the greatest song in the world, could be a horrible song to someone else.
BLD Music Quest: What are the band’s plans for the rest of the year?
Sean: We plan on recording a full length L.P. soon. But for now we are gonna continue playing local gigs, and travel around California playing shows to a new audience. We will continue to sell digital downloads, CDs, t-shirts and other merchandise. Like always we will be writing new material which will raise the bar and test our wits. Hopefully we will get pick up on a tour this summer, so we can reach a bigger audience.
BLD Music Quest: What advice would you give to other bands starting out?
Sean: Advise for other musicians… Hmm, first off the musical industry right now is very, very bad. You need to learn how to produce yourself, manage yourself, and promote yourself. Also you should probably research the music business and figure out how it works. You can’t just join a band and expect to be a rock star even if you’re the best. There is still lots of work you need to do. Don’t wait around for people to make things happen, do it yourself! Another big tip is to surround yourself with musicians that are on the same level as you, you should all agree on what you want to sound like. Last but not least, organize, be prepared and plan ahead.
You can check out the new EP “Bloody Mary” yourself on iTunes and most digital download Web sites!
One of the big things I pay attention to when it comes to listening to new bands is the kind of mood the music puts me in. & As soon as I started listening to 321 Stereo, I was convinced it is impossible to be in anything besides an amazing and upbeat mood when you listen to them. It’s the kind of music that makes you want to get up and move and it’s the kind of songs that get stuck in your head for days. 321 Stereo is a new wave/pop/dance band from San Diego who’s been around since 2009 and consists of Aubrey King on vocals, Jennie Ortega on bass, Patrick Dela Cruz on drums, Allan Celio on keyboards, and Raj Rajasingh on guitar. You can catch them playing at the Playground Festival in Irvine this Saturday, alongside acts such as Lil Jon, New Boyz, Shiny Toy Guns, The Game and Panic! At The Disco. If you’re looking for fun, upbeat music and a band that is full of energy, I would definitely recommend this band… But be prepared that their song Tell Me is pretty likely to be stuck in your head for days, like it was for me. I asked the lead singer Aubrey King a few questions about what’s helped the band’s success, where they get inspiration from, and what their plans are for the rest of the year. Check out what she had to say:
BLD Music Quest: The amount of accomplishments 321 Stereo has made only in a little over two years is absolutely amazing. What do you think has helped the band’s success?
Aubrey: We’ve been fortunate to have great team around us starting with our Manager Fale, Booking Agent Lauren and the many friends/family that have helped us in some way with either PR/marketing or booking us. We also try to play as many shows at as many different venue’s as we can to continue to gain exposure and hopefully while gaining experience and new fans. Thankfully that work has translated in being invited to play some great shows, and in our 2 time nomination for “Best Pop” at the San Diego Music Awards
BLD Music Quest: Where does the band get inspiration for new music?
Aubrey: From various places…life experiences, other musicians and bands such as Pat Benetar, The Human Leagure, and The Jets. Each member of our band has a heavy influence into our sound. Whether it’s our keyboardist Allan’s love of 80’s music and synth sounds, or Patrick’s intricate punk style of drumming, we all contribute our different musical influences into one unique sound.
BLD Music Quest: What are the band’s plans for the rest of 2011?
Aubrey: Our #1 priority before 2012 is to record our 5 song EP, while continuing to play more shows in Southern California to promote, and get our music out to as many people as possible. September is also a huge “festival month” for us as we are playing in 4 consecutive music festivals on every weekend in September.
BLD Music Quest: Is there any possibility for touring in the future?
Aubrey: We’ve had some opportunities but our focus is having the EP done by November. After the EP is finished, touring is definitely next on the list! As of now we are in the works for a possible tour in Arizona, and in the Portland/Seattle area, while of course still playing where we can here in Southern California.
You can check out 321 Stereo for yourself at the following links: