What: A4 Animal w/ Kate Jaworski and Paul Kimbiris
When: 8:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Shine, 2027 13th St., Boulder, 303-449-0120
What began as the duo of Mark Hanson and Chris Shepard has grown into a quartet including JR Ranck and Andy Fox, under the name A4 Animal. The group is still fresh on the scene, with only a few gigs together so far, but they’re in a home studio in Gunbarrel, recording and getting ready to break out. We chatted with Chris Shepard to see how it’s going.
A4 Animal has been together about two years now. Give me a summary of what you’ve done so far.
When we first met we just — what actually happened is I heard Mark talk, and I knew he was a musician, and I liked the sound of his voice, and I was like, ‘I think we could sing well together.’ And we started playing around with each other’s songs, and it worked out really well, the way we write together. We had a different rhythm section, but it didn’t work out, just people’s schedules getting crazy. Then we got this new rhythm section with JR Ranck and Andy Fox … And we just started working together. We got management behind us and we’ve been recording a couple times a week, getting ready to put out either a full CD or EP, whichever makes sense. We record out of a studio in a house in Gunbarrel and we do all the engineering ourselves.
You started with local music vet Mark Hanson, but you’re a transplant from Philly. What brought you out here?
Actually, work brought me out here. I work for a company called School of Rock. It’s a lot of fun. I’ve been doing that for about eight years and Boulder wanted one, and my general manager basically brought me on board to be the music director and I was ready for the change.
So tell me about the album you’re working on right now.
We have — it’s basically a mixture of song styles. we’re basically a rock ‘n’ roll band, but we have a lot of different influences, everything from jazz, to bluegrass, to experimental rock ‘n’ roll, to ambient music, and it’s all coming together in our style. Basically, what we do is we get together, and we’re kind of using the studio as a grounds for rehearsal in a sense. We haven’t done a ton of gigs collectively as a band. So we find a bunch of songs we wanna sit down and record that day, and we iron it out and record it … I go back and add guitar overdubs and clean up harmonies, basically just producing. Mark and I, being the vocalists, do the vocal overdubbing for most of the tracks. I do most of the producing. I’ve been doing it with different projects over the years. It’s really my favorite part.
So where are you hoping to do from there?
Well we’d like to get some stuff sold, to be perfectly honest with you. We write what we wanna write and then we talk to our management team about ‘How are we gonna make this work? How could this be useful for us?’ Rather than taking the traditional club route of just duking it out like most bands do, we’re trying to take a fresher approach and get right to advertisement, and commercials, and all that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on iTunes and got a song because I heard it on a commercial.
Anything else we should know?
We’re still such a baby band, getting all our ducks in a row, but I love what we do. I’m cool.