Monday, June 16, 2014

Velour's Summer BOTB: The May Reunion, Static Waves

Posted By on June 16, 2014, 7:00 PM

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This past Saturday in Provo, five bands played to a packed Velour in their bi-annual Battle Of The Bands competition. —- I headed down on the FrontRunner, which lands a mere six blocks away from the famed 100 Block of Provo, to both judge and cover the evening. If you haven't already read it, City Weekly's music editor Kolbie Stonehocker already wrote up a great rundown of the evening, and you can read her post from yesterday over here. As for myself, over the next two days I'll have interviews with all five bands, along with over 400 photos that you can see in this gallery here. Today we chat with The May Reunion and Static Waves.



The May Reunion (Andy Chow, Russell Ollerton & Jenny Webre)

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The May Reunion on Facebook



Gavin: Hey guys, first thing, tell us a little about yourselves.



Russell: We're a soft, acoustic rock trio that has a minimalist mentality and tries its best to make its listeners feel pensive, and if not pensive, at least a little sleepy.



Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?



Russell: I think I have my mother to thank for how I've turned out musically. She introduced me to old music starting at a very young age. I used to run around the house with old Billy Joel cassettes playing in my little portable cassette player. When I was sixteen she bought me a record player and introduced me to Dan Fogelberg and other legends from the '60s and '70s. I have always leaned towards older music (I now have well over 200 vinyl records that I listen to frequently) like Bob Dylan, The Carpenters, The Mama's and the Papa's, and the ones already mentioned. I have also enjoyed more "modern" music including Guster, Ben Kweller, Silverchair, and anything that Jack White does. I think Jack White has had a deep impact on the way I listen and write music; he taught me that complete honesty with music is, at the end of the day, going to get you closer to where you want to be be with music, whether through listening to it or writing it, than any other paradigm. When Andy was 10, he started the flute and has been playing music ever since. He went to San Francisco School of the Arts focusing on his flute performance. He grew up listening to classical, hip-hop, and progressive rock. His dad also introduced him to The Carpenters and to Dan Fogelberg when he was younger, and he has told me that those sounds have stuck with him ever since. Andy also has told me that the music I used to make in high school has also influenced his songwriting, which of course is an honor and a delight to hear.


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Gavin: How did you first come together as a duo to form The May Reunion?



Russell: The concept behind The May Reunion started quite a long time ago. I had just graduated high school, and Andy was in his last year. We were pondering about the future and how soon, life was going to get real. We decided that ten years from then, we would meet up May 6, 2017. No matter where we were in the world and what we were doing in life, as a token of our friendship. Near the same time we decided that if we both ended up being in the same area for college, we would make music together. The two ideas seemed to mesh well, so we decided to start a band called The May Reunion once we were in college. Since then we've dabbled in the project, but I would say that we really decided to work on The May Reunion full-force about six months ago.



Gavin: What was it like at first forming a kind of '60s alternative kind of sound?



Russell: As a band we've never actively tried to incorporate retro undertones into our sound, I think it's just a product of me and Andy's past experiences with music. The vintage tone to our sound is definitely at least a partial result of the fact that most of the music I listen to is from the golden years of vinyl. People seem to appreciate it though, its always nice to have someone come up after a show and tell us how refreshing it was to hear us after listening to some really loud poppy band.


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Gavin: You started up back in the spring of 2013, how was it for you playing around Provo as a brand new band coming up?



Russell: Starting out as a new band in Provo was and has been nothing but a good experience. The local music scene here is such fertile ground for musicians, thanks to places like The Velour and the fact that so many people come to Utah Valley already pretty proficient with some sort of musical talent. If there's anywhere in the United States left where "The American Dream" for musicians still exists, its here.



Gavin: When did you eventually bring Jenny into the group, and how has it been playing as a trio?



Russell: We found Jenny just a few weeks ago. It has been great; we've been looking for a girl that sings like her for the past six months, and it's nice to finally have found her. As long as I could remember, I have been able to hear my songs with all of its parts distinctly in my mind before hearing it in real life. Hearing Jenny sing with us sounds exactly how my brain has always envisioned it.


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Gavin: You currently have a couple singles online, are there any plans in the works yet to record an EP or full-length album?



Russell: We plan on recording a full-length album starting this summer. We plan to release it sometime early next year.



Gavin: How has it been for you guys participating in this summer's Battle Of The Bands?



Russell: Participating in The Battle of the Bands has been great. We've had nothing but good, uplifting experiences working with Corey Fox and The Velour. It's been a little crazy recently since we just added Jenny to the band; we've been practicing essentially everyday since Jenny needed to learn our songs in time for The Battle of the Bands. But it has been loads of fun.


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Gavin: What are your thoughts on the local music scene right now and the bands coming out of it?



Russell: The local music scene here is amazing. Around here, a band really reaps what it sows, and I think the bands that have acquired a household name locally are the ones that understand this and have a strong work ethic.



Gavin: Not including yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?



Russell: Andy and I have always been a fan of the local music scene here, and we are both huge Book On Tape Worm fans, and we rarely miss any of their shows. Other bands we enjoy include The Moth & The Flame and The National Parks, to name a few.


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Gavin: What do you think of the rise of sites like Bandcamp and bands essentially marketing themselves?



Russell: I think the advent of websites like Bandcamp are definitely the direction music is and will continue to head. Technology is allowing bands to really take charge of their own future and are making the super-power labels that have historically dominated what music is heard in the world at least a little less important. I think this trend towards bands taking more control over marketing their own music is a really good thing.



Gavin: What can we expect from all of you over the rest of the year?



Russell: We are going to continue to play shows, and as mentioned earlier, we are going to begin working on a full-length album starting very soon. Most of the songs on the album have already been written, and the few that aren't are either in the works or will be soon.


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Static Waves (Cade Tueller, Justin Woods, Jesse Williams Cory Beighley & Austin Cross)

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Static Waves on Facebook



Gavin: Hey guys, first thing, tell us a little about yourselves.

Jesse: We're a pop/rock band with some electronic influence. We are inspired by classic rock and are looking to push a new sound of American rock n’ roll.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?



Jesse: For me it was a movie called The Buddy Holly Story. I think the first time I saw it I was 8 or 9 and from that moment on I was hooked. My Dad sort of raised me on rock n' roll. He had a particular taste in music that has definitely rubbed off on me. As a band our taste is very wide but I’d say most of us grew up on classic rock even though our sound doesn't necessarily reflect that it definitely inspires us.


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Gavin: How did the four of you come together to form Static Waves?



Jesse: I knew I wanted to put together a band for a long time, I just felt like I’d get around to it. I had been writing music for years and occasionally playing solo with electronic loops, I was always wanting a bigger sound. Last February I broke my leg badly and was stuck in bed for a good part of the year. Living next door to The New Electric Sound at the time while laying in bed with a broken leg probably put the fever in me to start a band. Honestly, I got lucky. Cory Beighley (drums) came over one day just to help with my demos, we had good chemistry and decided to form a band. Cory brought on Cade Tueller (bass), I brought on Austin Cross (guitar) and Austin brought on Justin Woods (synth/keys). We’ve all known each other for a long time, this was just finally the right time to form Static Waves.



Gavin: What was the driving force behind the kind of pop/rock sound you've created?



Jesse: I had written and recorded a couple of the songs by myself, multiple times for multiple genres, electronic, indie/folk, old rock n' roll. I have a really hard time settling for a certain kind of sound because they are all awesome. We heard about Pleasant Pictures through Chase Baker who said Eric Robertson would be a great local producer for us. We met with Eric and a week later we started working together. He was able to help pull this sound out of us, and we’re very happy with it.


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Gavin: You barely formed at the start of the year, how has it been playing around and building up an audience?



Jesse: It’s been awesome. We are performing every chance we get. Because we’re so new we’ve been working hard to meet the caliber of the Provo music scene as fast as possible. There’s so much talent here it’s crazy. We decided early on that it doesn’t matter if we are playing for 10 people or 10,000 people we’re playing because we love it and we want to share our energy and excitement with our audiences.



Gavin: You recently put out a single called “Prisoners.” How has it been watching that take off in local circles?



Jesse: It’s been exciting! A few of the local bands that we really admire have actually reached out to us because of this song. Having their support and encouragement makes us anxious for what’s to come. We have a lot more material coming out and we’re working really hard, we’ve only skimmed the surface.


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Gavin: Are you looking to make an EP or a full-length album soon, or mainly writing music for now?



Jesse: We are actually wrapping up our EP it will be released later this summer. It’s currently being mixed and mastered by both Chris Burton at Music House and Eric Robertson at Pleasant Pictures. They are both so talented and really help bring our ideas and our sound to life.



Gavin: How has it been for you guys participating in this summer's Battle Of The Bands and making the finals?



Jesse: It’s been really fun, all the bands are talented and supportive of one another. It’s a great atmosphere even with the sense of competition.


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Gavin: What are your thoughts on the local music scene right now and the bands coming out of it?



Jesse: I can’t imagine a better place to play music, the bands coming out are rad! and it’s so diverse: Coral Bones to Westward The Tide to Mimi Knowles to Strange Family, it’s so cool, there’s always a good show happening somewhere.



Gavin: Not including yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?



Jesse: We Are The Strike, Coral Bones, Westward The Tide and The Blue Aces.


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Gavin: What can we expect from all of you over the rest of the year?



Jesse: This is just the beginning of Static Waves. This year there will be an EP release and many more shows.



Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?



Jesse: Keep an eye out for our EP release, hopefully at Velour, and a few music videos later this summer.


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