Saint Motel, SWIMM
124 Market Place
Baltimore, Maryland, 21202
A lot has been said about time spent in the woods in solitude. From classic Thoreau literature, to music from the Big Pink, or Bon Iver, all examine shutting out the world, losing, and perhaps finding yourself. In the fall of 2010, Hockey left behind the flowering fields of Oregon for the tiny town of Hillsdale, New York. The band toured almost non-stop in support of their debut album "Mind Chaos" (2009) and the desolate forests of upstate New York seemed an appropriate place to get away and work on developing new material.
Hockey started as a duo (Ben Keys, Jerm Bass) at The Johnston College in Redlands, California in 2002. After stints in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Spokane, the band eventually landed in Portland, OR. In the summer of 2008 they embarked on a quixotic tour of the West in a converted van running on vegetable oil. Despite serious car trouble, the tour was a success. On the road, the band caught the attention of influential BBC radio host, Zane Lowe. After a few spins and a spot as "Reaction Record of the Week" for song 'Song Away', the band signed to Capitol/Virgin/EMI and things began to soar. Over the next two years, the group toured worldwide, focusing heavily on their large influence in the UK. After appearances on 'Later with Jools Holland', 'Live from Abbey Road Studios', and 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon', Hockey booked gigs with Friendly Fires, Passion Pit and Phoenix, as well as headline tours in the US, UK, Europe and Japan. Festival spots for 2009 and 2010 included: Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds, Islie of White, Peace and Love, Hove, Eurocannes, Laneway, Bonaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza. In Aug 2010, following the many tours and the subsequent breakup of their live band, Ben and Jerm decided to head east and start work on their next record.
Arriving upstate, the band set out on what was ostensibly a short time in the woods, to get away, write, and think. The result was twenty two months of creating and recording what eventually became the band's sophomore effort, "Wyeth IS". Using vintage keyboards and drum machines made famous by 80's hip hop, as well as a "half time" technique which resulted in a deeper, more lush sound, the band began to re-imagine themselves, to evolve, and mature. Under considerable pressure from Label and Management about "hits" (a la Song Away) the duo eventually parted ways with both, freeing them to follow a new path. During this time the band almost changed their name. But they ultimately stuck with Hockey, while Ben replaced his last name, Grubin, with his middle name Wyeth.
After months of breakthroughs and defeats, Ben and Jerm whittled the work down fromover fifty demos to a final eleven songs. From the broad, universal perspective of "Wild Style" to the self reflective triumph of "Thought I was Changing", Hockey created an album about change, resilience and authenticity. This is the record they found in the woods, after they took the time to look...
With a sound as blistering as a parking lot on the hottest day of summer and a tireless devotion to the gods of rock and roll, Saint Motel are an explosive, cinematic, indie-pop band, with an intriguing blend of mischief and sincerity. Breaking out with "Puzzle Pieces," brand new single "At Least I Have Nothing," and a boundary pushing, explosive live show, Saint Motel are moving full speed ahead with their light hearted melodies and roll around on the floor excitement.
After high school, A/J Jackson decided to study film to discover new ways of creative expression, at the same time knowing full well that music was the closest thing to his heart. At film school, he soon met guitarist A Sharp, and the two friends began discovering structural parallels between movies and songs and began to explore them. A Sharp, who had been classically trained both by pedigree—having a classical guitar mentor in both his father and grandfather—and by education, learning to play flamenco in the caves of Granada, Spain. He wanted to immerse himself in something besides notes and chords and training, and so the two met amid film screenings and lectures about light and sound.
The rest of the band came together easily, if not somewhat by chance. The two film students found bass player Dak, a former buddhist monk, working as the sushi chef at their local sushi bar, where he overheard them discussing their search for a bassist. They found out that he'd been in a rock and roll band back in Thailand, and enlisted immediately. Drummer Greg Erwin gave up a professional career in motorcycle racing, and moved to LA to pursue careers in music and stunt work. Having first learned about music from bagpipe sessions with his grandfather, he ended up meeting the band at one of their first Los Angeles shows.
Saint Motel is one of those bands so dedicated, they're willing to try everything—and anything-- once. Looking to transport listeners to the same sweaty, shaking, dangerous place they found at the punk shows of their adolescence, they do things like practice entirely in darkness and try and maintain eye contact with one another through entire sets. Their shows are filled with thrills for the senses including a video piano that is connected to various live cameras planted on stage and others wirelessly roaming around the venue.
As a songwriter, Jackson pulls from a variety of sources. When it came time to build "Puzzle Pieces" into a Saint Motel tune, Jackson recalled a conversation with a photographer friend, about a model with perfect features but an anything but perfect face. "She had the most beautiful lips and beautiful eyes and her nose was perfect but they didn't fit together on her face—I just thought that was magic." Reflecting this everyday magic in sweeping melodies and raucous performance is exactly what the band is all about. "Sometimes our shows are more ruthless than they need to be for the type of music that we play," Jackson says, "but that's exactly how we want it."
SWIMM is the music of Chris Hess, Adam Winn. They write, record, and play live with several friends including Zac Sullivan, Gavin Little, Jared Bowser, Jonathan Berlin, Spencer Petersen & Adrian Martinez. The music flows in different directions, dipping into indie rock, dance, and rock n roll all with a twinge of psychedelia as the common element.