Velour's 2015 Winter BOTB: Steven Halliday Band, Spirit City, Drape | Buzz Blog

Velour's 2015 Winter BOTB: Steven Halliday Band, Spirit City, Drape

Part One of our interviews with the 2015 finalists.

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This past weekend saw the bi-annual tradition of Velour's Battle Of The Bands, as 25 rising acts went head-to-head for audience votes throughout the week. Eventually, it came down to a local celebrity jury (including myself) and a packed crowd at the Provo venue to decide the winner of the 2015 Winter BOTB. This year's run was hotly contested, with the audience split on a winner, and the judges' votes gave Festive People the prize. Today, we have Part 1 of 2 sets of interview pieces featuring the finalists who played Saturday night, featuring interviews from Steven Halliday Band, Spirit City and Drape, complete with photos I snapped at the show. Check back for Part 2 later.

Steven Halliday Band (Dalen Freddie Flickin, Danny Buffington, Steven Halliday, Jordan Turner & Ryan Miller)
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StevenHallidayBand.com

Gavin: Hey everyone, first off, tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Steven:
I'm Steven Halliday, independent singer/songwriter. Lived in many states from California to Missouri, but mostly raised in Utah, spending much time in south Utah Valley (Salem) and Logan. The band consists of four other musicians: Danny Buffington (bass/drummer/harmony vocals), Dalen Freddie Ficklin (keys/guitar/ukulele), Ryan Miller (sax/ukulele/guitar) and Jordan Turner (drummer).

Gavin: What first got each of you interested in music, and what were your major influences?

Steven:
Influences range from Dave Matthews and Harry Connick Jr. to The Fray and One Republic. We have a great appreciation for the talent of advanced rhythms and insane riffs from bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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Gavin: How was it for each of you to break into the local music scene?

Steven:
The music scene in Provo/SLC is extremely competitive, with so much talent and many big-named bands coming from this area. It's always about perseverance. Just have to keep going inch by inch, until you grow a little fan base that gets larger as you keep moving forward. We are currently at that stage of getting our small but loyal following to a notable size that makes playing gigs a blast and we love every bit of it.

Gavin: When did you start putting the band together, and what made you choose to go under your name?

Steven:
I formed a band back in 2009 after a year in Nashville, Tenn. recording my first album. I was living in Logan, attending USU and still developing my skills as a songwriter. Later in 2010, after finishing my degree, I moved to Utah Valley to pursue a business opportunity, only playing music on the side as a solo artist. I was blessed with steady solo gigs in Park City, Deer Valley and Salt Lake City as a weekly entertainer in various lounges, bars, restaurants and music events. I found new band members closer to my home in the valley around 2011, keeping my name as I've spent many years working as a solo artist. It's really just been "Steven Halliday" and somewhere along the line, someone added the "band" part and I guess we just kept it.

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Gavin: How would you best describe the sound you've created as a group?

Steven:
 Our band is a group of traditional musicians who like to mix and mingle different genres and styles to make unique, easy-listening music with a groovy jam band element. We have jazz infused with our rock'n'roll blood, spiked with a funky twist.

Gavin: How has it been for you guys making your way through the state and building an audience?

Steven:
We've had a lot of great experiences playing gigs throughout this state. From the Sundance Film Festival, opening several concerts for noteworthy artists, to the non-paying benefit concerts for charity, we've been blessed with many great opportunities to keep us moving forward.

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Gavin: Do you have any plans to tour as a group yet outside of Utah?

Steven:
We've done a few "mini-tours" in our band's small tour bus that we call "Meatball" or "Meaty" for short. It's a little 23-foot motor home that we've restored for touring purposes. Right now, many of the band members are in school, so these mini-tours take place in the summer only.

Gavin: Are you planning a full-length album or EP yet, or just writing material for now?

Steven:
Currently, we will be releasing a new single called "The Gamble," with a sweet music video that was filmed in the desert near the Salt Flats. I am planning a new full-length album to come out later next year. Currently, I have two full albums recorded, but only one is available on iTunes and Spotify while the other is being re-mastered to improve production quality. Those albums are Eclectic, and Beginner's Luck.

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Gavin: How has it been for you being a part of this season's BOTB at Velour?

Steven:
Velour's Winter BOTB 2015 was epic! What a great night full of talented musicians and amazing music. We had a blast on stage in front of a fantastic crowd, and gained many new fans that night. We really enjoyed hanging out with all the other bands, and hope to share the stage with all of them again.

Gavin: What bands have you enjoyed seeing the most during this competition?

Steven:
4th East Flood was one of the bands who played Thursday night and didn't get the chance to make it to the finals, but I felt they were one of the most talented and fun groups of the week. They just stuck out to me, and I really enjoyed them. For the finals, I was very empathetic for the judges who had to judge so much great talent, but I was happy to see Festive People get the well-deserved win.

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Gavin: What can we expect all of you in 2016?

Steven:
Watch for our new single release of "The Gamble" coming in January and a full-length album later in the year. We hope to book several more gigs at Velour and other great venues so keep an eye out for where we will be playing next! 


Spirit City (Nate Young, Austin Young, Cori Place, Braden Dye and Perry Burton)
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SpiritCityMusic.com

Gavin: Hey everyone, first off, tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Cori Place:
We are five guys from Springville who have our sights on big success in the music business. We have quit our full-time jobs to give it our best shot.

Gavin: What first got each of you interested in music and what were your major influences?

Cori:
For most of us, it was just being around music a lot when we were young.  Music was a medium through which we discovered our identities while growing up. It definitely played a big part in shaping us as people. Either that or we did it for the girls. Our influences are really eclectic, we love music that makes us feel nostalgic, from Bruce Springsteen and The Cure to Nirvana and Third Eye Blind. Artists we grew up listening to, but also, we tend to gravitate towards music that sounds fresh. We’re continually listening to new music and discovering new artists we like.  

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Gavin: How was it for each of you to break into the local music scene?

Cori:
All of us individually have played in bands in the past that have had somewhat of a presence locally. When we started Spirit City, it really felt familiar and comfortable, kind of like coming home. We feel like we’re finally discovering who we want to be as artists and what we want to represent, lyrically, musically, etc. We have definitely had so much support and help from other local musicians and clubs/venues. We really appreciate Velour and Corey Fox for all his hard work and support of the local music scene, as well as the countless other individuals that have encouraged us and supported us on the local level.  That’s pretty much how the Provo music scene is, though, we realize a high tide raises all boats.

Gavin: How did you all eventually come together to form Spirit City?

Cori:
Nate and I had been writing music together for about a year in hopes of attracting like-minded musicians that wanted to push this music as much as we did. We ended up recruiting Nate’s younger brother, Austin, to play keys/synth and sing backing vocals. When we were looking for a drummer, I randomly messaged Perry, which led to us later connecting with Braden. I really feel fortunate that we have found a great group of guys. That can be the hardest part sometimes.

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Gavin: What would you say was the biggest influence behind the kind of indie-rock you create?

Cori:
More than anything I would say life experience.  We really try to write from the heart, about personal experiences or things that have shaped us as individuals, while keeping things fun at the same time.  We try to enjoy ourselves as much as we can while writing music about things that matter to us or have influenced us in some way.

Gavin: You've been together just over a year, how has it been going out and building an audience?

Cori:
I think for any band, proving yourselves and building an audience is one of the hardest things to do. We have worked really hard to get ourselves out there and take advantage of the opportunities that come our way. So far it has gone really well. It makes us really excited for the future!

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Gavin: How has it been growing as a group to where you're now a five-piece, and how does that affect your songwriting?

Cori:
We are lucky that there aren’t any egos in the band. We all come up with goods ideas and the others do their best to see that idea through. We think having five people is a strength.

Gavin: Right now you only have a few singles out. Are there any plans to make an EP or full-length album yet?

Cori:
Definitely! Actually, we are currently writing with a producer (soon to be announced) and hope to release an EP early-mid next year. We have a bunch of demos already and they are sounding awesome. We can’t wait for the release.  It is definitely going to be our best work yet!

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Gavin: Are you looking to tour anytime soon, or will you be sticking to home for now?

Cori:
Home shows are really important, so we always want to play those, but we are looking to tour/play regional shows this summer in support of our EP release.

Gavin: How has it been for you being a part of this season's BOTB at Velour?

Cori:
The Velour BOTB is as much a learning experience as it is a chance to play live. As a band, you work so hard to impress and win that you do things that expand your capability. It really pushed us and helped us grow.

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Gavin: What bands have you enjoyed seeing the most during this competition?

Cori:
All of the bands we have seen have been really entertaining. Provo produces so much talent. Crook & The Bluff, Festive People and Grey Glass were some of our favorites.

Gavin: What can we expect of all of you in 2016?

Cori:
Our upcoming EP, with music that makes you want to sing, dance, cry, and enjoy life! Thanks for the interview, it’s been a blast.  We hope everyone stays tuned into all things Spirit City. We are super excited for the coming.


Drape
(Kyler, Paul, Julianne, Matthew)
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Drape on Facebook

Gavin: Hey everyone, first off, tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Julianne:
Some of us are students. Most of us live in Provo. We're all human.

Gavin: What first got each of you interested in music and what were your favorite bands growing up?

Kyler:
We've all been playing music since we were young. We grew listening to pop and R&B music in the '90s so we levitate towards that now.

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Gavin: How was it for each of you to break into the local music scene?

Paul:
As a band we haven't really broken into the scene yet. We're still looking for fans. We're still trying to get some music together.

Gavin: When did the four of you come together to form Drape?

Kyler:
Drape started with Paul and I writing in my basement for a few months. Julianne came in a little later, but that was when Drape as a true band started. Matthew came along recently but is already proving to be very important

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Gavin: What was the biggest influence behind the mix of alternative, pop and R&B music you've created?

Julianne:
There are a lot of great musicians who are reviving '80s and '90s R&B and pop that we admire. Blood Orange, Solange, Nao, Jai Paul to name a few. We are also very influenced by Michael and Janet.

Gavin: What's it like for you to come together and write music with so many different styles?

Kyler:
We think our songwriting has been rather seamless because we all have a very similar vision for our music. It's been easy to get good feedback from each other because it's usually things we are aware of. If not, we pretend like we were aware the whole time.

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Gavin: You've only been together less than a year, how has it been for you playing shows and building an audience so far?

Paul:
We've only been playing shows for a couple of months, but we have been lucky to have a lot of friends who have supported us. We've also been amazed by the response we've gotten from new fans. It's been great so far.

Gavin: Do you have an EP or full-length album in the works yet, or are you still writing music for now?

Julianne:
We're still working on our first single, but an EP will follow for sure. Hopefully soon.

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Gavin:  How has it been for you being a part of this season's BOTB at Velour?

Kyler:
Since we’re a relatively new band, we’re so grateful for the people that came to our show and danced and had a good time. It’s also been a humbling and wonderful experience to recognize how much talent we have in the area! There was not one band that we saw that didn’t put on a stellar show.

Gavin: What bands have you enjoyed seeing the most during this competition?

Paul: 
We had a killer time performing alongside NA-G on Monday night! Also, all the finalists were really great. Steve Halliday Band had great musicality, Spirit City had great stage presence, Festive People’s entire sound was so refined, and Grey Glass put on such a passionate live show.


Enjoyed these interviews? Want more? Click here for Part 2.

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