Thursday, January 31, 2008

Spiral Diary, Heber Skies, Wendy Ohlwiler, Last The Winter

Posted By on January 31, 2008, 1:08 PM

Coming off of Tromadance, I wanted to hit a few more venues that had local artists playing.  And to start I went back to Kilby Court to check out a show with all local Utah artists and no headlining acts.  The majority of the sets were acoustic, giving a nice change of pace to the snowy season.  Artists included Spiral Diary, Heber Skies (with Ben Killbourne), Wendy Ohlwiler (also with Ben), and finally Last The Winter. 

--- And while the venue wasn't packed, the crowd on hand certainly showed their support for the artists who came to play. You can check out the photos from the concert while down below I had a chance to talk with all four of the acts playing that night.

Spiral Diary

It was a smaller turnout tonight. What did you think of the turnout, and what do you think of the Salt Lake audience in general?

Spiral: This was my first time playing solo here in Salt Lake, so it was a pretty good crowd and tonight was a lot of fun. Usually the intimate crowds are better for what I do. So I was really happy with how that went.

Gavin: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into performing.

Spiral: I started guitar about six years ago and this was something I just started messing around with. Made this little project of mine that I thought friends and family would listen to. After that I joined a band called Allred who I played guitar for, but now I'm just doing the solo thing.

Gavin: Was it just you playing the backup on the tape track?

Spiral: I recorded it all myself just at my house and ran it through a little MP3 player.

Gavin: Nice. What artists have been and influence to you?

Spiral: You definitely hear a little Brand New or Jamieson Parker or Straylight Run in some of my solo stuff, but my favorites would be Our Lady Peace or Third Eye Blind.

Gavin: What's your opinion of the local music scene?

Spiral: I think it's really good. I think I'm blessed to be in a place with so much talent in both Provo and Salt Lake, they have a lot of good places to play.

Gavin: You tour down in Provo just as much as you do here?

Spiral: Actually I'm from Highland, so I usually end up in Provo more than Salt Lake.

Gavin: You're unsigned right now, are you looking for a label?

Spiral: I think I'd take whatever I could get, but right now I'm just kind of playing music. And if I happen to stumble upon some luck, that would be great, but right now I'm just doing what I do.

Gavin: So you're just doing your own thing for the time being?

Spiral: Well when I was in a band it was something we were aiming for, everyone aims for that. But I think it seems a little out of reach, so I'm just playing and doing what I like.

Gavin: Why did you choose to do a solo project instead of being a solo artist?

Spiral: I look at it as I'm just between bands right now. I'd like to join or form another band, but it's hard to find the right people. So this is what I'm doing to keep busy.

Gavin: Cool. What's your opinion of the current trends in music right now?

Spiral: I can't say I listen to a lot of radio right now, so I really don't know.

Gavin: What would you say about the music industry as it stands right now?

Spiral: I don't know a whole lot about it, but what I hear is it's suffering due to music downloads. I still think at it's heart there's a lot of bands touring thanks to MySpace, but it's hard to weed out the really good bands. Kind of difficult to see what's good and what deserves to be out there right now.

Gavin: So then what's your opinion on music downloads?

Spiral: I'm fine for it. As a musician I;m just happy that people are listening.

Gavin: Any local artists or bands you recommend?

Spiral: Should probably give a shot out to Tate Of The Lionelle. They seem to have some credibility here. Down in Provo I like The New Nervous, and their side project Night Night. James Belliston, Jordan's Memory, stuff like that.

Gavin: Finally are you working on new material or trying to put together an album?

Spiral: I'm working on recording a full length CD, but I only have a couple songs so far. So that's that for now.

Heber Skies

Gavin: What did you think of the turnout tonight and your opinion of the Salt Lake crowd?

Heber: I always like playing in Salt Lake, the venues I've played at have good monitors and I can hear myself well. I'm not to worried about the crowd just as long as I liked it.

Gavin: Little bit of a change from Logan then.

Heber: Definitely.

Gavin: Tell us about yourself and how you got into performing.

Heber: Well, I've been playing piano and guitar for a long time now. I started performing three or four years ago with a punk rock band, but I got into different music and split away, so now I'm more into the solo thing with the acoustic guitar.

Gavin: What kind of artists have been an influence on you?

Heber: Well Ben, who I play with has been a real influence. But I'm just into whoever sounds original, doing their own thing.

Gavin: You're unsigned right now. Are you looking for a label or just enjoying what you're doing right now?

Heber: I wouldn't say I'm looking, I'm just playing from place to place. If something happens, that's cool, but I'm not worried about it right now.

If something did happen, would you go for more of an Indi label or more Mainstream?

Heber: I don't think I'd go mainstream, but something underground would be cool. Like a local label, that's be nice.

Gavin: What's your opinion of the local scene in Utah?

Heber: As far as I can tell, Salt Lake, I've been to a lot of the bands here. Band Of Annuals, Wendy Ohlwiler, a lot of the bands here are performing well here, so I think it's doing well.

Gavin: What's your opinion of the music industry right now and it's current state?

Heber: There's a lot of good stuff out there right now that's not getting heard, and it's too bad. The stuff that's getting heard I'm not too fond of. Seems kind of like cookie-cutter music, nothing's personal anymore.

Gavin: So what's your opinion on music file sharing?

Heber: It's great. The media is awesome for getting music out there. MySpace is great, it gives bands an opportunity to be heard and share music with friends.

Gavin: Any artists you recommend?

Heber: Bright Eyes is always good, Band Of Annuals sounds fantastic.

Gavin: Are you looking to put an album together of your work so far or are you just playing around and having run?

Heber: I make rough recordings for people who want some of my music, but I haven't done anything full out yet. If an opportunity came up to record with somebody I would definitely do that.

Wendy Ohlwiler

What did you think of the turnout tonight?

Wendy: I loved the crowd. They were engaged and enthusiastic and so quiet during the set, I was a little unnerved.

Gavin: I know you've traveled around, how does the Salt Lake crowd compare to other audiences around the country?

Wendy: The crowd at Kilby is a lot like the House scene you find near colleges. People usually sitting on the floor and very intently focusing on the music.

Gavin: Tell us a little about your career so far.

Wendy: I discovered music as I was transitioning out of Mormonisim, I wrote my way through it, and that's what most of “Calico Sea” is. Music has been a really great place for my emotions and I just couldn't get enough of it, once I started playing it was all I wanted to do. I started playing in Salt Lake for a while, then touring a little bit in the southwest and northwest, and was fortunate to make my way to D.C. and New York a couple times. Next goal is play in to Europe.

Gavin: That's kind of the goal for a lot of solo artists nowadays.

Wendy: Yeah. Just take my ukulele, travel light.

Gavin: What's your opinion of the local scene here, and how does it compare to other scenes you've played for?

Wendy: There's a really cool scene here, actually. Its always been entwined, people playing in three to four bands at a time, and that's great because it feels like family. Compared to other scenes, it's hard to say. It seems like there's a lot of intermingling in Phoenix and Tuscon.

Gavin: It feels more like a group effort than individuality.

Wendy: Yeah. A willingness to collaborate, which takes courage sometimes because your songs are like your babies and they sound a certain way, and then they tend to sound a different way when you play them with a band.

Gavin: What's been the response to your last album?

Wendy: It was nominated last year by City Weekly for Best Local CD, however it did not win. But I felt honored to be included. I've gotten some great reviews and I've only got about 500 left. I think that's pretty good.

Gavin: Nice. What's your opinion of the music industry right now?

Wendy: Mysterious. I don't have a knack for business, and I'm really redefining what music is for me, I'm not focused on the business right now because sometimes it feels icky making connections and self promoting. I'm much more into writing and recording and playing live.

Gavin: Icky is a good term. So then what's your view on what's popular right now?

Wendy: I'm a little relieved to see some of the music I like turn up in pop music now. Like Cat Power and Elliot Smith, some people I've worshiped through the years. I'm happy to see them getting a paycheck.

Gavin: How's the work on your new album coming along?

Wendy: I actually wrote and recorded five songs in five days. The downside is I recorded it in garage band so it's hissy. But that record is inspired by what I'm calling “the best thing that's happened to me.” Jason Molina invited me to come on stage and sing with him and it pretty much blew my mind. I couldn't sleep that night because I was just so jacked up on adrenaline. Then Ben challenged me to write a song and that spurred the five days of writing.

Gavin: Any artists you recommend?

Wendy: Glade. He's been an inspiration through his music and writing, his melodies and guitar playing. Black Wagon and David Williams of course who I've been playing with for 10 years now. Stacey Board and Melissa Warner, we've done some collaborating. Band of Annuals of course, and Dead Horse Point.

Last The Winter (Jared Demann, Landon Peck)

Gavin: This is your first show. What did you think of the turnout, and what's your opinion of the Salt Lake audience?

Jared: It was a pretty good turnout.

Landon: We have a lot of friends, apparently. Very generous to come support us.

Jared: Chris was great. (Pointing to their friend in the room)

Landon: Give a shoutout to Chris!

Gavin: Tell us how you two came together.

Jared: Friend of a friend. I was playing with a band called My Demise.

Landon: They sounded really good. Amazing.

Jared: Landon was playing his guitar and I thought he was good and we got to talking. Couple months later my band broke up.

Landon: So he settled.

Jared: I settled for Landon.

Gavin: What's your opinion of the local scene?

Landon: Overrated. Just kidding.

Jared: There's a lot of hardcore, but I think we're building a new feeling to the scene.

Landon: Something new to bring to the table.

Gavin: You're unsigned right now. Are you looking for a label or just doing your own thing right now?

Landon: I'll be honest, if someone gives me something, I'll sign it. Maybe. For a good price.

Gavin: What's your opinion of the current trends that are popular right now?

Jared: Well, I like all kinds of bands, but my favorite right now is Scary Kids Scaring Kids. They're amazing, but they're considered “emo-screamo”. Still, they're amazing.

Landon: Emo sucks, hardcore sucks, a lot of it sucks now. Don't get me started on it.

Gavin: With that in mind, what's your opinion on the industry and the current state it's in?

Landon: It's a mess. Enough said.

Jared: It's potpourri.

Landon: And we're here to clean it up... one venue at a time!

Gavin: Any local artists you guys recommend?

Jared: Spiral Diary. He was awesome. An up and coming metal band called Breaux.

Landon: They're awesome.

Gavin: Are you working on any material together or just playing for now?

Jared: We're putting together and acoustic EP right now. We're going to eventually start a four person band.

Landon: So if you know anyone out there who plays.

Jared: Maybe a drummer or a bass player.

Landon: Who would like to play with us and is fast.

Jared: We'll talk to you.

Landon: But yeah, just looking to make a demo EP right now.


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