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Listen up: Sea of Sound
Warren Whitehurst loves cats and (consequently) cat videos. Which has nothing to do with his band Sea of Sound, really, but he'd be obliged if you wanted to share a funny cat video on the band's Facebook page. And somehow I don't think that's a ploy to get more "likes."
In four months of playing the band has garnered some not-kitty related attention, including a third place finish at Chukchansi's Rock at the Top contest (no small feat considering the other bands involved).
We chat with singer Zach Schuh about the band's successes, its new EP (set for release in the next few months) and vampires versus pirates.
FF: So, let's start with some general band info, members/history/etc.
ZS: A mutual friend introduced Warren and I back in late 2010. I was looking for like-minded musicians to start a project with. We met and played with a couple song ideas and before leaving I asked if he would be interested in starting a band together. It seemed like there was a lost of chemistry between us -- both in the music we played, and our personalities. We ended up starting a band called Nova in 2011. In early 2012, [drummer Seth Jordan] moved back from a two-year stay in Los Angeles where he had been playing music with another band called StrongerThan Bears. As soon as word got around that he was moving back, Warren contacted him and told him about Nova. Warren, Seth and I all met and jammed together and instantly felt something click. When we stopped playing, Seth mentioned how he really enjoyed playing music with the two of us and I asked him to become a permanent member.
The name Sea Of Sound comes from the title of a song we wrote. The main lyrical hook is “When I’m lost and I can’t be found, I’ll be swimming in asea of sound.”
We played our first official show May 25. We all genuinely love writing music and performing together. It’s been incredibly rewarding to see how much positive reception we’ve gotten in the few months we’ve been playing; we’re extremely grateful for the support.
FF: Let's talk about the new EP. When will it be out? Where was it recorded? What wereyou trying to do with this batch of songs?
ZS: The last couple songs are being mastered right now and we should be getting the CDs within the next 10 to 14 days. Our EP release show is going to be Nov. 10 at Kuppajoe, so I guess that would be the official day, but it’ll probably beavailable before then on iTunes and stuff like that.
Funny thing about the EP… We initially had titled it Bandit after my dad’s dog, who suffers from both an overbite and eating FAR too many servings of food each day. To Bandit’s credit, he’s possibly the coolest dog you’ll ever meet, and is on a diet. However, we ended up changing the name of the EP to Criavia.
Criavia is the nickname of one of my long-time friends, Chris Avila. If you’ve ever met him, you’d instantly know why it was such a great title choice; plus it just flows off the tongue. For those of you that don’t know Chris, you can just pretend Criavia means regal and majestic.
We actually built a recording studio inside my dad’s garage. There was an extra garage bay that was empty and he was kind enough to let us take over and literally build an entire studio inside of there. We spent the majority of January and February constructing it. Quite a few trips to Home Depot were made in those months.
We did all the recording, mixing and mastering ourselves in that studio, which has bee a fun experience. I think we kind of view this batch of songs as a sampler of what kind of music we enjoy creating. We’ve definitely started honing in on our own sound recently, but Criavia is simply a good representation of what we’re all about.
We’re also really excited about some new songs we recently wrote after recording Criavia and are going to be playing them live soon.
FF: You've been on a bit of a roll. You ended in the top three at Chuckhansi's Rock at the Top event and were the Drink Local, Listen local band of the week. What's the next move for you guys?
ZS: We’re actually currently in the finals of another battle of the bands in Los Angeles. It started with more 30 bands and is now down to the final five. We play in the final round next Monday.
We’re also hoping to lock in some more radio interviews and planning a tour for next spring. Besides that, we want to go as far as the music and everything else allows us to. It is undoubtedly a collective dream to play our own music as a career, and we would love to see how far we could take this. It’s a bit paradoxical to admit that we want to be as big as absolutely possible because you feel so vulnerable to criticismand failure, but without putting it all out in the open like that there’s the potential that others may not perceive what we’re doing as seriously as we view it.
There’s definitely an aspect of luck that comes into play, too, so we can only hope that we keep writing better and better music and that a bit of luck is on our side. Aside from that, though,we sincerely enjoy writing original music together and performing together, so whetheror not we end up continuing to progress past this point, we can all honestly say there’s nothing we’d rather be doing right now and we’re just going to enjoy the ride for as longas it lasts – which we’re hoping is going to be quite a while.
FF: A fanboy question. I'm seriously in love with the song "Lost Boys." So, my question: Is it about vampires or pirates? Really though, it's a Peter Pan reference right?
ZS: Haha! Yeah, it’s a Peter Pan reference. Though, given the recent vampire crazein pop culture lately, maybe we should be saying it’s about vampires. The song itself isactually about youth and searching for that youthful optimism. It’s also about living in the moment and just enjoying life for what it is. As we get older, in our experiences at least, the trials we face become more and more intimidating and we start to delve into deeper, tougher questions that we want answered – and often there’s no easy answer. When we’re younger, it seems like we have a relatively carefree and optimistic view. The song is about wanting to return to that state.
FF: I feel like there are some obvious influences in the songs I've heard from the band.What are you trying to do musically? What bands are you listening to/what is inspiringyou right now?
KS: There are a few bands we all mutually enjoy and tend to draw inspiration from occasionally such as Coldplay, Radiohead, Death Cab For Cutie and Dave MatthewsBand. Individually, though, we come from pretty different backgrounds. Growing up, my mom was a piano teacher and an accompanist while my dad isalso a really talented pianist and sang with a Southern Gospel quartet. I think I adopted a lot of the playing styles of my parents when it comes to playing piano – guitar is adifferent story – and the way I apply harmonies. Currently my inspirations and favorite bands are Coldplay, U2, The Killers and Radiohead.
Warren comes from a more punk rock background. Music came as a calling after seeing his cousin’s band “TsunamiBomb” perform multiple times in the Valley. After playing in a couple garage bands, his abilities evolved after learning about music theory and composition at Fresno State. He often draws inspiration from Explosions In The Sky, Muse, Pixies and Death Cab For Cutie. Seth started playing drums at the age of 3 and both his father and uncle played in multiple bands while he was growing up. Seth listens to a lot of Grizzly Bear, Phoenix,Dave Matthews Band and a wide variety of jazz artists.
Musically, we’re trying to accomplish a sound that is both familiar and unique. We collaborate together on everything we write and want most of our songs to naturally fit in an arena setting. The most critical thing we focus on when writing a song is that we put passion into it.
The songs have to have passion and you can’t fake true passion. If we play the song and can’t “feel” it, then we know something’s missing and take a step back before taking the next step forward with the song.
Another crucial element we strive for is that our music evokes emotion in the listener and that they can connect on some level to the songs and the lyrical content. There’s one melancholy song on the upcoming EP called "Fire And Dust" that is particularly personal to me and isone of the few songs I’ve written with lyrics about my own life experiences.
FF: Is there anything else you would like people to know?
KS: We just want to say thank you to those that ever took the time to listen to us and support us in any way.
Also, anyone that took the time to read this.