Local alt-rock trio Our Time In Space go Euro in Hollywood.

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It’s an age-old question many undiscovered bands have asked time and again: What does it take to get noticed by a reputable producer? Salt Lake City alt-rock trio Our Time In Space may have the answer, and it’s not nearly difficult as one might think. It all boils down to a little bit of luck and a lot of faith in the music you make.


Of course, OTIS’ smooth, catchy sound, a perfect mix of edgy and listener-friendly rock & roll that many aspiring bands would kill for, and distinctive, pristine vocals don’t hurt, either.


After recording their first EP This Is with local musician/sound engineer Jud Powell in February 2005, OTIS boldly sent demos to a slew of national producers. “We decided that our music needed an outside opinion,” says guitarist/bassist Chris Peterson.


A wise impulse. In November 2005, veteran producer Alex Newport'who has worked with a long list of acts including The Mars Volta, The Melvins, Brasil and At the Drive-In'expressed interest in working with Our Time In Space. Newport receives stacks of demos from bands all over the world, many of which find their way to the bottom of the nearest trash can. An ecstatic OTIS were invited to Los Angeles to record with him.


In June of this year, Peterson, vocalist/bassist/guitarist Ryan Neilson and drummer Rod McNeely piled into a van and drove to Los Angeles to lay down tracks at Hothead Studios and play a show at a joint called Spaceland. McNeely explains that the studio where the trio spent 10-12 hour days recording with Newport (who offered his services at a generous discount) is housed in a defunct Pabst Blue Ribbon factory. “The PBR logo was everywhere,” he says with a grin. “It was fantastic.”


The recording process only took a few days, which allowed the trio to explore Los Angeles. They saw the good (a bona fide speakeasy, top-notch music and art), the bad (traffic galore), and the ugly (an unhinged crack addict defecating in the alley down the street from the recording studio). But overall, they had a wonderful time.


The band agrees that working with Newport was a great learning experience. He provided a plethora of constructive criticism and streamlined the band’s (at times) meandering sound. “One of the most important things he told us was not to bury the vocals. You can hear my voice much better on the newer tracks,” explains Neilson.


The four-track demo OTIS recorded in L.A. is a lucid continuation of the band’s sound, best described (in their own words) as “an absolute equation of rhythmic melody and scientific harmony between technology and creation” is available for download from the band’s Websites: and The band also plans to press a limited number of copies and hand them out at upcoming shows.


Our Time In Space are still without a label or a full-length album, but they’re optimistic about the future: “We’ll record again when we have the time and the resources to do it right,” says Peterson. “Recording with Alex was such a great experience that we’re sure things can only get better from here.”


Peterson adds that one of the most enjoyable aspects of recording with Newport is that he originally hails from the United Kingdom “If I had a choice between working with someone from the United States and working with someone from Europe, I would always choose the European. European producers hear things differently, and I think that’s why some of the greatest rock music has come from places like England.”


Broken Record
1051 S. 300 West
Tuesday, Oct. 10
9 p.m.

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Jenny Poplar

Jenny Poplar is both a dancer and a frequent City Weekly contributor.

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