Not for the birds
Only two members of With the Birds currently attend the University of Regina, but the band is most definitely a product of the school.
Or a product of the U of R’s international business program, more specifically.
“The lead guitarist (Dan Pearson) and I met in an economics class at the University. We did a couple projects together, talked about music, and found out we both played the guitar, so we started jamming for fun,” says rhythm guitarist and vocalist Matt Baumgartner, who recently graduated from the U of R in the fall with a degree in international business.
Baumgartner’s workmate, bassist and English student Jake Stinson, soon joined in the fun “with a couple other friends at the start.” Eventually, the guys wanted to take their act more seriously, so they placed an ad on the Internet, which ultimately netted drummer Chad Neald, a student of physics at the U of R.
“Then the four of us started writing songs together,” Baumgartner says, “and it progressed from there.”
With the Birds’ sound, which was until recently reminiscent of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, is still constantly progressing, Baumgartner says.
“[Since the summer], we’ve probably scrapped more than half of our songs, and we’re going for a heavier sound,” he says. “We have been influenced a lot by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers – we do use that slap-bass sometimes – but we’re moving more towards the Arctic Monkeys, or The Strokes territory. Kind of faster, more alternative kind of stuff.”
“We haven’t been together too long,” he adds, “so I guess we’re still carving out our path, trying new things and experimenting.”
And now the band is set to officially unveil its matured sound with a to-be-titled, four-song EP “in the next week or so.”
“It can be hard to tell what family and friends really think of your music, whether they’re just being supportive or whether they genuinely enjoy the show,” Baumgartner says with a laugh. That being said, With the Birds’ music has been received well, and Baumgartner is optimistic there will be more positive reviews after they release their EP and continue to evolve throughout 2016.
“We’re just trying to progress as efficiently as we can,” Baumgartner says.
“We’re applying for a bunch of different festivals in the summertime, so it’d be awesome if we were able to get selected for one of those. We’re just keeping our fingers crossed, really, and trying to record more music, put more stuff out, and we’re trying to get a recording grant for a whole album that’s professionally recorded and professionally produced.”