From Bears, to Black Cat


The Appalachian Online

Lovey Cooper

Local band to release first professional recordings Friday

Local four-piece progressive psychedelic band From Bears releases “Drone Star,” the band’s first professionally recorded EP, this Friday. The students will perform their four new songs alongside friends Earth Mover and JC Graves at Black Cat Burrito the same night.

“Drone Star” explores a more serious side to the band’s experimental musicality.

Originally named Running From Bears, the band transformed its sound when the members moved into a house with a basement practice area their sophomore year at Appalachian State University.

The release follows their previous full album, “Aphelion,” and another EP, “Wompus and Son.” Both were recorded last year using an amateur setup in that same basement. Following a lengthy courtship with Wet Bandit Studios’ Ben Mercer, the band was tempted to take its own product more seriously.

After a string of successful shows, the band raised enough money to take him up on that offer, with Mercer himself occasionally joining in on drums. After much personal involvement, Mercer will perform with the band Friday, said Ben Taylor, who plays guitar and sings for the band.

The quality upgrade is the most noticeable change with this album, said Trent Mason, who plays keyboard and guitar. The use of higher-end equipment gives them the freedom to experiment.

“We had a lot of things we could play with in the studio to get the sounds we wanted, so we are learning more how to sculpt our sound, sonically,” Mason said. He noted that the songs included wouldn’t work outside of this context. One song brings in a cello, a first for both the band and Mercer’s recording expertise.

“It felt more like this is what I should be doing, rather than just a hobby,” said Matt Nemeth, who provides drums and vocals. He calls their live act and the recorded music two different kinds of experiences, both of which the band puts a lot of time and effort into, in different ways.

“Some of the lyrics in the songs, we were thinking about appeasement,” Doug Little, who plays bass and guitar, said. “A drone star can be either a shining example of something or a monotonous, boring tone.”

Each member brought in his own song individually to the group first on guitar, then switched off amongst themselves and shook up their usual instrumentation – “musical chairs,” they call it.

A return to Black Cat is a welcomed change, after facing varying success on the road. The venue usually treats them well, and this show looks to be mostly in good fun – their parents are coming out to see it.

The challenge now is to transfer that success out of Boone. A possible East Coast tour is in the works for the band later this year, working off of their friendships with other local bands to know where to play and who to contact along the way.

Overall, recordings like this are created with the goal of getting more people to spread the music and turn heads of record labels, rather than turning a profit.

The release show is this Friday at 10:30 p.m. at Black Cat.  Tickets are $5 at the door.

Story: Lovey Cooper, Senior A&E Reporter