THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
20th November, 2008 0
Your Best Friend's Steve Sochanek knows a good floor or two to crash on between here and the East Coast.
Sochanek and his band mate's live, eat, and breath the music they believe in enough to put the band as job #1, taking them on self-promoted tours across the U.S. and knocking on some friend's doors along the way.
Your Best Friend is Saginaw's latest act to drop into the regional/national touring spotlight, coming off of its 2008 self-titled CD release, allowing them to share the stage with many current top indie acts (Flint's national act Chiodos just to name one).
With tight, precise, wide-ranging music, the group brings in equal measures of rock and indie-core spirit, with brushes of punk, classic, folk, emo, and even prog-rock-isms in the mix. Your Best Friend is on the brink of becoming just what their name implies—a new household name for the masses, representing many styles of music.
Along with guitarist/vocalist Sochanek are drummer/vocalist Nick Edler, and original members guitarist/keys/vocalist John Bonham, and bassist/vocalist Dale Brown.
"The band itself has been around for about five years, but with the current lineup, it's been together about two," said Sochanek during a phone interview last week from Chicago while on the road.
"Nick and I joined pretty close about two years ago and we've been solid ever since."
With the self-titled CD as their first official full-length release, Your Best Friend has prioritized the group as a tight-knit organization—which is not bad for two 23 and two 24-year-old musical artists.
"About half is brand new and half of it was songs that were semi-written before Nick and I joined the band," said Sochanek. "The brand new songs took us about six months to a year to put together until we were finally happy with them. Whereas the older songs, even though they were complete, we rearranged and changed some parts to make them kind of fit our style more.
"I had actually known John and Dale when they first started the band," continued the guitarist. "I had played in different bands around town which is where we kind of met back when Your Best Friend started. We played some shows together over the few years. So I had known these guys and really respected what they were doing. When their old guitar player left the band, it was a kind of opportunity that I really couldn't pass up, because they were such good musicians and I really liked what they were doing."
Drummer Edler soon followed suit.
"As far as Nick, he's played in local bands around the East side of Michigan. It was just kind of being in the right place at the right time; they were in need of a drummer (and) Nick was around. It took off from there."
Produced by ex-Detroit musician Mark Michalik in Chicago where he now resides, Michalik has worked with The Swellers and Empty Orchestra in the past and brought familiarity to Your Best Friend. He recorded a two-song demo with them prior to Sochanek and Edler joining the group.
"The guys were comfortable working with him," Sochanek declared.
"We put a good chunk of change into (the CD). We didn't want to cut any corners if we were going to do a record. We wanted everything to turn out just how we wanted it. That's kind of how things go running the band—we make sure we do everything to our full expectations, our full standards."
While they would just like to be categorized as rock or indie artists, the group has the ability to cross many genera's with their sound in a unique and modern way.
"We just consider ourselves indie rock," said the guitarist. "We all have such different musical backgrounds. The easiest place to put us in is rock and roll. Some common bands that we listen to (would be) Brand New, Minus The Bear, (and) Cursive. We have musical backgrounds that are like from punk rock to classic rock to folk rock. There's always going to be hints of some of our deeper influences. We're even out of touch with people sometimes that listen to us, because there are so many different sounds that people find to relate to. I think that really works to our advantage, it turns out nicely."
Part of keeping their freshness includes taking booking and arrangements into their own hands and putting together tours—successful tours at that.
"We're just finishing out our tour right now and when we get back home we're going to shop to some labels to find some support," said Sochanek. "Right now we're pretty swamped with the booking, the day to day band tasks that we do, along with trying to tour and make it something of a normal job so we can pay some bills.
"At this point we've put out our full-length record (and) we've toured it two or three times trying to support it. Its just time for some external support. We're going to take our time and find a label that we're happy with, one that's happy to work with us and support us as much as we want to support ourselves."
While they have sparked some interest in labels already, the group continues to grow on the road.
"Our tours have always been financially successful," stated Sochanek. "We feel every tour we have done has gotten better and better. We have been able to play better shows in front of bigger crowds, more established venues, and we've been able to reach more of the audience that we want to reach. This tour's been great so far.
Every time we go out on the road has been a new experience."
Band money gets turned into merchandise, gas, insurance for the touring van, etc.
"Any money that's made by the band goes back into the band (and) the record's already paid off. We've gone through the first pressing and that kind of helped put us back into a good money standing."
While there are day jobs awaiting them off the road, you can expect Your Best Friend to be the only gig for the quartet soon enough.
"We're all kind of on the same level about what we want to do with this band," said Sochanek. "Our personal lives are kind of set aside when it comes to the band. This is what we want to do, so we need to focus on that."
Check them out at myspace.com/yourbestfriend and www.yourbestfriendrock.com. Some local dates coming up include Jamestown Hall in Saginaw on Dec. 6, and The Loft in Bay City on Jan.
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)