Biography

When you listen to The Years, the debut studio recording from Urbanites, you’re hearing a band in progress. Beneath the frayed linen cover of a classic novel or between the scratchy grooves of a worn out 33 & 1/3rd, there’s a story that we’ve all heard some version of - if not lived through, more times than we’d care to admit: We expend our lives trying to get to an ideal that doesn’t actually exist. And when we come to understand this reality, we often find that, what we truly wanted, was right there - with us the entire time.

Bradley Briggs, Steven Burkholder, DJ Field and Jeremy Schering had known one another for the better part of a decade before forming Urbanites. They met in Valparaiso, Indiana - a community that unifies the rustic midwest with nearby Chicago, Illinois. The four began making music by exchanging (destroying, and restoring) computer files and occasionally passing around a weathered acoustic guitar. After years of conversations and individual collaborations, they came to understand that, when the four of them came together, it was the kind of band that each of them had always wanted to be in.

Urbanites’ first rehearsal space was in the grand ballroom of an abandoned mansion, secluded in the snowy woods of the Indiana countryside. Recording their first demos, every breath haunted the icy air, as microphones were set and computers were adapted to wall outlets - likely wired in the early nineteen hundreds. The gorgeous orchestrations of Nat King Cole - whirring from vinyl to speakers in aged disrepair - were likely, the last sounds to echo through this space. For their earliest performances, they chose unconventional local venues, like the massive wooden barn at the County Line Orchard, or the historic Art Theater, which had been built during the zenith of motion pictures. In the following months, their ambitions extended with performances at storied Chicago venues like Schubas, Double Door, Beat Kitchen, and Metro. The following summer, a used (nearly un-insurable) white 15 passenger van was purchased and the band played their first dates outside of Chicagoland. Performing in front of considerably larger audiences at SXSW and Summerfest, they shared the stage with contemporaries like Tyler James, and Dear and the Headlights.

Whereas all of their previous demos were more or less assembled from ideas - passed from hard drive to hard drive - the band wanted to make The Years differently. Each was intent on coming away with a realistic recording of the sound that only the four of them could make, as one. So, they decided to record the album together, live, in the same space - Studio A of Electrical Audio in Chicago, Illinois. With the exception of limited overdubs, (vocals, drum ensembles and laptop atmospherics) each song represented one collective take, warmly captured to two inch analogue tape. This recording method embraced the mistake as much as the moment. They also chose to document the making of the record with a film, appropriately titled, ‘You Can’t Rewind The Years’. With a new understanding and years of progress to come, these longtime friends are making the music that they’d always hoped to. As they sing, in The Years’ standout track Restless, “Not without trial, not without error - this brokenness is ours to share.”

Edited by urbanites on 6 Apr 2010, 23:17

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