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Minus the Bear, yo.
Minus the Bear, yo.

The members of Minus the Bear decided to take their fans on a new musical adventure with the release of their latest CD, Omni.

No surprise, as the indie-rock band’s always coming up with inventive ways to stretch its sounds. This time around, the group took a musical page from the past and melded it with contemporary pop sounds.

Wednesday, Minus the Bear shows off its new tunes at the Ogden Theatre in Denver.

If you go

Who: Minus the Bear, with Everest and Mini Mansions

When: 7:30 p.m. July 14

Where: Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver

Cost: $18-$20

“We started this band, because we were buddies that hung out,” guitarist Dave Knudson said. “Now we have this necessity to create music as a group. Doing this is a no-brainer.

“It’s a pretty good deal and we plan to keep it going.”

Minus the Bear started experimenting with its ambient and sonic explorations in Seattle. The group’s been going strong since 2001, and has released several studio CDs and a full range of EPs.

The band’s always revising its sound and vision, while keeping the music inventive and accessible.

“We constantly challenge ourselves,” Knudson said. “We always have an interest in finding new ways to create pop music. We hope to keep going and finding new directions.

“We haven’t written much since Omni came out this year, because we’ve been on the road so much. We never try to force ourselves to write new music.”

It’s been three years since Minus the Bear released Planet of Ice.

That record jumped to the top of the indie charts and the band embarked on an intense tour schedule. The CD’s success allowed Minus the Bear to hit markets in Europe, Japan and Australia.

“It took three years for us to make Omni,” Knudson said. “We traveled a lot, and then we wrote and recorded the CD. It was also a long process to find a new label — that took longer than we expected.

“One of the things we wanted to do on the new record was to capture more of our live energy. The live show is really where you get to see what we’re doing.”


Minus the Bear decided to work with an outside producer on Omni, so the band brought in Joe Chiccarelli. The studio pro has produced records for The White Stripes, The Shins, My Morning Jacket and The Strokes.

“We did this CD with a different producer in mind,” Knudson said. “We were looking for a different way to present our songs. We didn’t want to get all cerebral, but we also didn’t want to have any limitations with what we did on this record.”

The band members had been listening to an assortment of classic CDs and they pulled those influences into the new music.

“We listened to a lot of Steely Dan, funk, R&B and hip-hop,” Knudson said. “Basically, we were listening to music from the ’70s and ’80s. There’s something about the sheen of that music that’s up front and in your face — the records were very vibrant and had a bigger sound.

“Those elements seeped through into our new record, so a lot more groove, soul and feeling comes across.”

Not pop-punk

Minus the Bear also wanted to keep Omni’s music modern and listener-friendly, so the band fused contemporary pop sounds into the mix. The group kept an organic approach, and limited the fixes and overdubs.

“We always try to make interesting pop songs,” Knudson said. “Then, we try to make the parts in-between interesting and go someplace new. We’re fans of really poppy, contemporary music, and fans of progressive acts like Rush and King Crimson.

“Our music is experimental, but accessible.”

Minus the Bear is now taking Omni’s songs on the road. The group’s hoping to bring its newer sound to a wider spectrum of fans.

“This record has been accessible to a wider audience and our shows have become more of a cross-section than before,” Knudson said. “The new record comes off very well live and the live show definitely makes more of an impact. It’s a lot more energy-filled version of the record.

“There’s a lot of bands out there now playing alt-country or ’90s pop-punk. We’re definitely not doing that.”

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