MP3 Derby - This is the New You
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If Elliott Smith made-out with the Shins while Brendan Benson was watching, together they'd have a little Brit-Pop-Baby named derby.
11 MP3 Songs
POP: British Pop, POP: Beatles-pop
"It's the type of music that is so good that you get a nervous feeling when you listen, like if you don't hang on- you'll lose them to the world."
"Derby is one of those rare groups with a sound that's instantly familiar and yet 100 percent original. Hummable melodies and thick, cascading harmonies conjure up remnants of a long-gone era, while clever lyrics and polished songwriting place Derby among today's great young bands." "Live, Derby nails it. And that's what it's all about-a band who comes out of the studio full of energy and throws down on any stage, electric, acoustic or whatever."
-Willamette Week, Best New Bands 2005
"Derby is a guitar-pop band of the most melodic sensibilities." "...they are undeniably beautiful and slink with a Kinksy groove..." "Riding a mellow road somewhere between Bowie and Big Star, Derby has created an album with a warm heart-and a high place in Portland's struggling pop scene."
"If polished songwriting and bright performances appeal to you, if you cherish the music of the Beatles, the Kinks, the Hollies, the Byrds, the Lovin' Spoonful, Buffalo Springfield, the Raspberries, Badfinger... then Derby is going to be your new favorite band."
-Michael C. Morton, author of "Close Enough for Rock'N'Roll."
"Impeccable pop... Derby has serious melodic and arranging chops, no doubt about it. Stacked harmonies soar unabashed on the up-tempo pieces and soothe on the bummed out numbers."
"...somewhere between Elliot Smith, the Shins and The Beatles, Derby has a hooky, catchy sound that is nonetheless all their own."
DERBY's self-produced debut full-length, This is The New You exhibits a fully realized exercise in creating intelligent music built on a foundation of intricate vocal interplay and layers of subtle depth and sincerity, capturing a dichotomy between complexity and simplicity, concise with melody and lush with vocal harmonies. Derby specializes in vocally-driven, vintage-tinged pop-rock with a nod to the late sixties and seventies. Early comparisons describe them as American Brit-pop with a sprinkle of Elliot Smith and The Shins.
The members of Derby are proud Oregon natives. Nat Johnson (lead vocals, guitar, bass) was born in Salem. Dave Gulick (Vocals, Rhodes, Organ, Guitar) is originally of Corvallis. Isaac Frost (drums/percussion) and Wayne Miller (bass) were both born and bred in Portland. Their self released long player will be available for purchase online (https://www.tradebit.com), at shows and in stores locally.
This is the New You is a sonic coming of age story. Gulick explains, "The whole theme of the album deals with coming to terms with who you are. We're in our mid 20's, out of college, clueless and lonely. Yet, there is hope. While struggling through the boring day job, we're trying to figure out what we're supposed to be doing."
Derby values the challenges and rewards of producing their own album. Frost comments, "We're all so proud that we did it all ourselves. It was such a fun process when you don't feel rushed and you can truly mess around and experiment. There's no way we would have been able to spend 6 months in a real studio recording this album, let alone being able to afford a week. Having the resources to wake up, make some coffee and venture down into our basement and record
was just brilliant." Johnson concurs, "It's very rewarding to work towards a goal and actually achieve it. I've been recording and manipulating sound for a large portion of my life, and to feel like there are no restraints on how much more can be done is just exciting." Their litmus test for a song's success was also the bands biggest indulgence in their daily recording life, Stumptown Coffee. As Gulick puts it, "It fueled this record for sure." Johnson agrees, "Smelling Dave make the coffee always let me know we were on to something good."
The band is happy with the results, according to Johnson, "Technically we knew exactly what we were doing, and that really helped. It allowed us to be creative with our organic sounds and not worry about digital manipulation. Everything, every tiny detail, every squeak blip rumble pan fade, everything was done on purpose. And in the end, it's a musical time capsule of where we were at that moment, and eventually we'll be able to look back and see how much we've grown over the years."
Gulick and Johnson have each been writing and recording since high school. They started playing together as dorm mates freshman year at UofO, where Johnson played in a string quartet. Johnson's musical background is vast. His grandfather was the head of the music department at Willamette University. His Mother graduated from UofO with a degree in MusicalPerformance. Music was a constant in his life, a student of piano since the age of 6 and violin since he was 9. Johnson grew up playing violin in Oregon's public school based symphony program. Gulick's and Johnson's first musical incarnation was as an acoustic duo. Frost joined the band when he moved back to his hometown of Portland after graduating from OSU. Frostwas a perfect match musically and personally. Miller, the newest addition to Derby, brought with him a strong background in performance and recording. Miller's transparent yet driving style has opened up and fully secured the signature sound of Derby.
Gulick, a dedicated soccer fan, came up with the band name while watching an English Premier Soccer game between Manchester United and Manchester City. The announcer described the match as a derby, or cross-town rivalry. The name stuck. However, Derby's philosophical and inspirational base does not incorporate an adversarial slant - quite the contrary, the members of Derby are a positive collective, abandon of competition in terms of genre or geography.
Johnson comments on the effects of their environment as inspiration of their signature sound, "When I living in Salem and playing in symphonies, what I really loved was coming up to Portland on the weekends to see shows. I used to dream of rocking out on stage and now that it is actually happening, I try not to take that for granted. These days, Portland has so much talent that it'd be easy to be intimidated. Having all of these musicians who we look up to as our
peers is constantly inspiring."
The quartet's long term goal is "that when someone hears the name Derby, the listeners will associate the band with Portland, OR. We'd really like to help Portland become recognized as an important musical hotbed, as it should be. As things are happening, we're realizing how much great music exists in our area, and we want to help, in any tiny way, to bring that to the forefront."
Although comparisons and compartmentalization is a commonality of the critical landscape, Derby strives to stand on their own and set their own barometers of success. "We just make music that we'd like to hear and feels good to us. We don't want to be defined by a genre. Ideally, we'd like to fly under the radar as respected musicians. We respect everyone for theirmusical integrity and sticking to their own unique visions. As for us, we set our standards very high, and will continue to raise the bar."
Derby has already started out on the tour circuit and is happy that they already have their dream tour vehicle, a van named 'The Green Submarine." Johnson's fond description, "It's green, it's huge, it smells like wet dog, and we love it. It could use some gold dubs, but we'll deal as long as we can still get the ipods to work through the tape deck."
Derby thrives on performing live. Johnson explains, "It's like a giant party. We can take all of that
bottled up energy found in that little tiny disc, and then make it explode on stage. The energy of the whole band and crowd, the spontaneity, the unpredictability, all of it is addictive." Gulick states the bottom line, "Really, the most important thing for me about the live show is that we hope our fans know how much we appreciate them. Whenever someone compliments usafter the show, to know that we've given them a good experience is so rewarding."
Derby would like people to know that, "We're a group of genuine musicians who have dedicated our lives to making music. We play and create because we love to, and we hope that it can continue to be a cyclical process for us, in that the more we create, the more that allows us to expand. Everyone wants to do what they love, and for us to be doing this on any level is reason enough to be happy. We'll always be striving for improvement and growth. This is our collective life, and we're going to take it as far as it will go."
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