Keyboardist and front man Grahm Bailey has spent an average of eight hours per day for about two months booking shows at venues throughout the Midwest and East Coast.
“I’ve literally pulled every single resource possible I could find,” said Bailey, a senior majoring in psychology and philosophy at IU.
Following their EP release show, the trio will embark on a 25-date tour after the release of their first EP “FRAMES,” which they debuted at The Bishop Bar on Tuesday night.
The EP features six synth-rock songs, most of which were written since the band formed in late fall 2011.
Recording the EP was not a seamless process. The songs were recorded at a local church, with bass and guitar tracked separately. Bailey — balancing keyboard while synching beats on his Macbook Pro during performances — used the software
Ableton to give their alternative sound an electronic edge.
“It’s hard to perceive your own music and know what it sounds like because you’re just too close to (your music) to really hear it,” said drummer Zak Stoldt, a senior studying telecommunications at IU. “But consistently, people keep telling us, ‘Well, I don’t really know what to compare this to.’”
Since there are only three band members — a guitarist, drummer and lead singer/keyboardist — the band asked Bradley Briggs, member of former band Urbanites of Valparaiso, to play the bass for a few songs. Mike Regan, a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, mixed the tracks on the EP.
“They have a sound that sticks with you,” said Regan, who lives in Valparaiso and has mixed music for six years. “After mixing songs for them, two days later I have their songs in my head. They’re not forgettable songs. They’re very good, catchy.”
Guitarist Brock Eveland, a senior studying arts management at IU, went to Europe for five weeks while Bailey booked venue shows and Stoldt designed T-shirts. At the end of May, Eveland tracked the guitar for the songs before taking off.
Despite the band’s academic preoccupations, Keeping Cars has made sacrifices to make music the No. 1 priority.
“I think some of the coolest parts of this whole journey have been things that nobody will ever see,” Stoldt said.
“Recording until 4 in the morning and then going to class the next day and everybody is like, ‘I got so shit-faced last night,’ and we’re like, ‘Yeah, we sat in a big room and played music until 4 in the morning.’”
Keeping Cars has played at some of Bloomington’s most popular venues Rhino’s All-Ages Club, Bear’s Place, Max’s Place and Rachel’s Café.
IU junior Jen Samson, who knows Eveland through the arts administration program at IU, attended Tuesday’s show and has been seeing the band live since they got together.
“I know that’s what they’ve been aiming to do,” said Samson about Keeping Cars making music a career. “They’ve been doing a lot of shows this summer.”
This summer, the band has played at The Bluebird and Jake’s Nightclub, as well as house parties.
Bailey, who took a break from music last year to race in Little 500, said he began to take music more seriously in summer 2011.
“I’ve tried to escape it, in the past, I tried to stop playing music and stop doing it,” Bailey said. “But I can’t, it’s a part of me, it’s a passion that keeps coming back.”
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