It was just about a year ago that The Longest Day of the Year talked about one of its biggest problems as an upcoming band. Over beers, the Boulder band told the Colorado Daily that they were having trouble getting exposure in their own town.
Now — this time over beer and pizza — they’re telling a different story of how they wound up with a gig at the Fox Theatre Thursday night.
Logistically, it’s a simple story of connections — knowing people who can recommend the Boulder band for a big gig like this — opening for Austin, Texas, band Sons of Fathers.
But the more important story is of persistence and adaptation.
“It’s tough to go from the small venues to a bigger venue and try to establish yourself that way,” drummer Darin Graber said. “It’s on us to make our show good enough, where people say, ‘OK, this belongs here.’ … we want it to be a show, not just good songs. We try to have good songs, that’s what we do, but you need to have a really good show, too.”
When The Longest Day of the Year get on stage, it will feel more like an orchestrated show. Going forward, that will be partially thanks to some self-sampling.
“We’re trying to develop (self-sampling) and bring it into the show more,” Graber said. “It’s fun … starting from this Americana-ish starting point, to have things like that mixed in is sort of unique. We started bringing in some pre-recorded stuff to use as an intro or to intertwine it with parts of the songs.”
Bassist Dan O’Donnell said the group uses material from the album, in which it had other musicians sitting in.
“With these intros and outros we can do, there’s never any dead space,” said O’Donnell.
The band is also aware of how its “Americana-ish” sound (which they also called “rock-ish, country-ish”) can work for — and against — them.
“You wanna be the local opener … and if you’re really strongly in one genre, I can imagine it being a little easier to say ‘such and such band is coming to town and we have the same fans,'” Graber said.
The mixed genre makes The Longest Day of the Year a good match for different bands, like Sons of Fathers, who have a more country or folk sound — in the vein if Mumford and Sons.
The musical variety comes from The longest Day of the Year’s writers, t.Mule and Brian McCosky.
“When I’m writing, I rarely have any sort of agenda of what instrumentation or whatever’s gonna happen. It’s mostly just stuff that’s going in my brain without me really thinking about it,” t.Mule said. “‘Eloise’ was written while running. Most songs I’ve never written down until I finish. There definitely are times when I’m sitting there and have to write down a line, but a lot of times a song is already in motion, just going.”
The guys haven’t started recording a second album yet, but they’re bringing new songs into the live repertoire that should showcase their flexibility.
“Some of the really old stuff … has kind of made its way into the mix or we’ve kind of refreshed some of it,” t.Mule said. “(The songs) are a little more rock based.”
The band recently made its first live appearance on University of Colorado’s Radio 1190 and are trying to land more similar gigs. Meanwhile, they’re still pushing for the small venues in Boulder, Fort Collins and Denver.
“It’s so easy for … bars or small venues to find someone to play, even if they’re not gonna give them any (money) for it. They’re spoiled by aspiring bands that wanna play. We definitely fit that bill a lot of times,” Graber said.
“But I feel optimistic right now. It seems like it’s starting to get better.”
What: The Longest Day of the Year and Sons of Fathers
When: Thursday at 9 p.m.
Where: Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder