Yup, the bear in this photo is real. His name is Brutus and he lives in Montana, where the now Denver-based EDM band got its start. According to drummer Damon Metzner, this is how the beastly-but-chill sesh went down:
"When we were up in Montana a couple weeks ago, we scheduled a shoot with a live grizzly bear. This is 900-pound grizz that had been saved. ... We had this crazy shoot at 8:30 in the morning. We didn't want this to just look like we're posing around this bear, so they agreed to take the fence down. We're literally, like, 3 feet away from this grizzly bear. It almost looks photoshopped, but I assure you this is really happening. The backstory is, he's snarling and looking fierce, but really he's going for these gummy worms they were throwing."
So, for future reference, bears are into gummy worms and EDM. Maybe there's a metaphor to be made here -- something about heavy, aggressive beats and fuzzy synths?
No. Too much. But Signal Path's music definitely takes on those qualities, in addition to machine gun drum machine rhythms and occasional bleeping and whistling. With 2010's full-length record Imaginary Lines and 2011's four EPs -- The Prosaic Fades, Minds Make Lights, Souls Unswayed and Some Take Flight -- the former trio have consistently turned out room-rumbling EDM comparable to Pretty Lights, if he threw in some live instruments.
The trio is now a quartet -- though the addition of Cody Wille on keyboards isn't an enormous change, since he's been working with Signal Path for about seven years.
"We have a new member, so creativity is kind of popping off right now," Metzner said. "He's been working with the project since around 2005, and it's really good to be able to have him an official member of our live stage performance after working behind the scenes with us for years. He's helped us produce a lot of music. He's a keyboard player and studio producer. It's another interactive piece to what we're creating on stage. There's still laptops involved and beats. We're able to communicate as a band and move through the set in a more spontaneous way."
After Signal Path's show with Air Dubai at the Fox Theatre tonight, the foursome is headed into the studio full time to work on the next LP. Right now, the next album is mostly in their heads and on their iPods.
"We're still kind of gathering music. You know, there's several different approaches we take," Metzner said. "The idea was to bring in music from our favorite stuff that's coming out right now and thinking how can we put a Signal Path spin on this sound. [Band founder] Ryan Burnett comes to us with a song and then we all start practicing it and working on the arrangements and give input."
That first approach isn't far from what drove Signal Path's latest release, May 2012's mixtaEP. It's a six-track mashup and remix of artists like Sleigh Bells, The Roots, Cults, A$AP Rocky and Active Child that somehow still echoes with a Signal Path sound.
"The way that mixtape kind of came into being is that we wanted to do something different and we wanted to incorporate artists that we currently listen to, maybe a little outside the electronic realm -- hip hop, indie rock and pop," Metzner said. "Sometimes things just fit, you know? You start kicking around with stuff and things start to fall into place."
The next release will be a return to original material. They've set October aside to work on nothing else, but that's as strict as the schedule gets.
"Everything's been really fast up until this point because of the timeline," Metzner said. "Things need to get done. But with this project, we're hesitant to put a release date on it because we want to take the time and get it right."
What: Signal Path and Air Dubai
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder, 303-443-3399
More info: foxtheatre.com