Birmingham-based indie rock outfit The Urns produce a visceral yet charming sound reminiscent of Pavement, Built to Spill and Weezer without retreating into nostalgic territory, but creating an ownership of the genre that allows them to bring something new to the table. They have released a slew of singles and demos on Bandcamp, but will celebrate the release of their new LP, Deep Web (Fat Sandwich Records), on Friday, September 20th at Bottletree Cafe, playing alongside Waxahatchee, Screaming Females and Tenement. The 18-and-up show starts at 9 p.m. and is $10 in advance, $12 at the door.
Chris K. Davidson for You Hear This?: Typical first question: How did the band get started? Has it mainly been Birmingham based?
Chayse Porter (guitar, vocals): Keith [Neighbors, guitar and vocals] and I started writing together in the fall of 2011. PJ played drums and Katherine played bass. Then PJ moved to Austin and Katherine moved to Philly. We then welcomed our other good friends Aaron [Gibbs, drums] and Rickey [Edge, bass] to the band. Shortly thereafter, we recruited Carter [Wilson] to round out our sound, playing third guitar. We are always touring with other projects, so it’s difficult to get us all in the same room. Though when we do, it’s definitely something special.
YHT?: I definitely hear the Built to Spill influence along with a little bit of Lemonheads and (musically) Pinkerton-era Weezer. What was it about this style of music that gravitated you towards making a go at it yourself while still maintaining a unique creative identity?
CP: There’s something very unique about my generation – something about independent rock, specifically. It was off the wall. It was bold. It went against the rigid etiquette of what was expected from conventional song formula. Growing up, I knew what I was hearing. I wasn’t quite old enough to “get it”, but I knew there was something honest behind it. There was something completely unabashed about Pinkerton. There was no artistic reservation in Crooked Rain Crooked Rain; that’s for sure. I still get chills when I hear “Then Comes Dudley.” It’s important to us that we make music that is sincere. We’re not riding any nostalgic wave, so to speak. It’s something that we’ve always had a taste for and we don’t really know any other way to present it to anyone listening.
YHT?: How’s the response been in the Birmingham community towards your band? Have you had many chances to go outside Alabama?
CP: We’ve been very spoiled to grow and evolve as a band in what I believe to be one of the greatest DIY scenes in America. We’ve been all over the land in various projects, but it wasn’t until recently that the Urns started venturing out.
YHT?: Any significance behind the name?
CP: So, this is embarrassing. We’ve always felt like naming a band is a silly process, and whatever you come up with will never be as cool as “Styx”, so we kept putting it off. One night, I had a dream that we were playing our first show and I introduced us as the Urns. We just ran with it.
YHT?: Talk about the writing, production and recording of the new record.
CP: Deep Web is a collection of songs that date back to our inception. Half of the album is an analog live recording from Magnetic Audio, and the other half was recorded in our basement, with minimal resources at our disposal. It was mixed by Emanuel Ellinas and Jonathan Crain and mastered by Matt Whitson.
YHT?: What does the next 6 months to a year look like for the band?
CP: We’ll be touring in support of Deep Web, while writing and recording for our next full length.
YHT?: Jamie Hince of the Kills once said music is the only art form that people expect to be free in order to gain a following for the artist or band. Do you feel that statement has merit and how does it apply to you all as an independent band?
CP: There’s nothing more rewarding than the intrinsic nature of writing music with your friends and sharing it with anyone that’ll listen.
YHT?: Sharing the stage with Waxahatchee for your CD release is definitely a big deal, especially after all the positive press received for Cerulean Salt. Was that pairing intentional or coincidental?
CP: Well, we’ve all sort of grown up in the same circle and worked together in past endeavors. It’s definitely a great honor to share the stage with good people that are doing well with something they love. It will be a nice little reunion of sorts.
The Urns play with Waxahatchee, Screaming Females and Tenement tonight, September 20, at Bottletree. The 18-and-up show starts at 9 p.m. and is $10 in advance, $12 at the door. For more info visit http://theurns.bandcamp.com.