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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Sonic bloom: Mostly Bears

    Sonic bloom: Mostly Bears

    Tucson is ready. While cities like Omaha, Austin and Portland have become veritable Meccas for big-time indie-rock, Tucson has laid dormant. Although flush with a wide array of solid local bands, the city’s music scene and alternative culture have been waiting like an empty mic, for a band with ambition and talent to step up to the stage. Enter: Mostly Bears.

    With an infectious sound that spans from hard aggressiveness, to natural warmth, lead-singer/guitarist Brian Lopez, drummer Nick Wantland and bassist/backing vocalist Geoffrey Hidalgo are ready to attack, or cuddle you to death, take your pick.

    After playing shows for the past year, the band will take the stage this Friday at Club Congress for the much-anticipated release of their debut EP, Only Child. Said Lopez, “”It’s been like a crazy work in progress, but everything’s come out fine.””

    Although copies have been available through the band for the past month, Friday’s show marks the first time most fans will be able to get their hands on the group’s recorded work. Rest assured, their live sound definitely translates in the studio, and the EP has been getting positive feedback from local press.

    Parts of the album were recorded live, attesting to band’s cohesiveness and skill. “”We can all kinda blend our sounds and can make it sound part of the same,”” said Wantland.

    Mostly Bears are a tight-knit unit. Lopez, Wantland and Hidalgo all share a house and the band literally practices in Lopez’s bedroom. Being in such close proximity has given the three a unique environment to grow and develop their own style that’s hard to define; think Radiohead circa 1996 getting in a gang-fight with Arcade Fire.

    “”I had no idea whatsoever we’d turn out how we did,”” said Hidalgo. “”If you talk to some of the people that are part of the scene they would describe us as prog-rock and that’s something we don’t really see ourselves as at all.””

    “”I mean at the core its rock music, but it’s just experimental; we like to take things that might be simple and do them in a different way,”” added Wantland. “”But it’s not like Ween, like we don’t just bust out a country song.””

    On paper Mostly Bears may look like a typical three-piece piece rock group, but a lot of their sound comes from additional instruments via keyboards. They also tinker with more eclectic instruments, including a Guzheng, which is a 21-string traditional Chinese instrument, built on a six-foot long soundboard.

    The band doesn’t plan trekking with the instrument to every show, “”just special occasions,”” said Lopez. “”We might bust it out for the CD release.””

    Following Friday’s show at Congress the group is aiming to book more tour dates. “”It’s pretty much game-on as far as tours go, we have some connections with some smaller booking agents to hopefully help us out. Because bookings are like hell on earth,”” said Lopez.

    Along with the upcoming shows the band has been focusing on a full-length album to release later this year. “”We have a few songs that have been in our set for a while that we plan on being on the full-length album and also we have quite a few ideas that we’re working on right now,”” said Hidalgo.

    The paradox within their sound also crosses over into their practices. Even though the music is often at deafening levels, the group stays relaxed working together developing songs while tossing back glasses of red-wine.

    The band’s relaxed style is a direct influence of growing up in Tucson. In fact you can’t really find a band that’s more Tucson that Mostly Bears.

    All three members are products of Tucson High School and lead-singer, Lopez, graduated from the UA a year ago. A lot of their early influences can be traced straight to the Tucson Unified School District.

    “”I was like 12 at like Roskruge, which was the middle school I went to and was in this music class, but it was taught by like this ex-heavy metal drummer,”” said Lopez.


    “”Being in such close proximity has given the three a unique environment to grow and develop their own style that’s hard to define; think Radiohead circa 1996 getting in a gang-fight with Arcade Fire.””

    the way he taught the class was, if you want to play guitar get on this side of the room and if you want to play drums get on this side. I wanted to do drums but there was only one drum set. So I just grabbed a crappy guitar – I just kept doing it and like realized I was pretty decent at it.””

    Musical influences for the band are across the board and range from alternative rock to funk. Radiohead, especially, is a big influence for Lopez and the band.

    “”I bought OK Computer in seventh grade and that changed my outlook a little more,”” said Lopez. “”And if you have a pretty decent falsetto you automatically are like ‘ah, I sound like Radiohead…Or Coldplay,’ who was also influenced by Radiohead.””

    Hidalgo grew up listening to heavier music. “”I was a metal head and liked Metallica and Pantera and Megadeth and then bought like Rated-R by Queens of the Stone Age,”” said Hidalgo. “”I realized it was more than just fast riffs and shit.””

    The band’s musical growth however has also distanced them from music they used to enjoy. “”You remember thinking back to what was inspiring you to learn your stuff at the time and now you’re like ‘what the fuck was I thinking?'”” said Wantland.

    “”Right now we try to listen to as many different things as we can that don’t suck, it helps broaden the musical range that we play,”” said Hidalgo.

    Mostly Bears’ relaxed attitude has also distanced them any conflicts with other bands, something practically unavoidable in the music business.

    “”We’re non-confrontational,”” said Lopez. “”But there has definitely been some bands, not on our side, that we’ve felt some animosity from. Not the nicest people in the world I guess, but what can you really do?””

    “”We try to be as nice to people as possible,”” added Hidalgo.

    It’s hard not to like the band. They’re humble about the praise they’re receiving and seem more about the music than anything else. “”If I could be like doing this in like 20 years on some different level when I like have one leg so I can’t perform, just working in the industry in 20 years would be like my main goal,”” said Lopez.

    It’s nice to see a group that isn’t chasing after any rock star lifestyle and just want to keep playing their instruments. “”If it could be something that just supports itself that would be wonderful,”” added Hidalgo.

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