Sometimes the process of creating a labor of love from the ground up can be less-than-pretty. After months of planting ideas for their sophomore La Habra EP, Gardeners Logic are in a hurry to find out if the proper elements are in place to help their soon-to-be-finished recording make an impact when it sees the light of day at the end of the month.
This challenge, though, is being able to finish it in the midst of their second residency Detroit Bar, where the Huntington Beach band is filling up April with various shades of indie rock and Americana lineups to support their acoustic-driven, road trip-ready songs. As each day approaches toward their April 29th record release–the last night of their four-week stint–the promise of late night mixing sessions, crammed schedules and copious amounts of sweat aren't enough to intimidate this young-but-scrappy crew of OC folksters.
"We have this deadline now so it's gotta get done one way or the other," says drummer Matt Wilson. He's sporting a plaid shirt and horn-rimmed glasses as he sits clutching a frosty beer bottle in Detroit's back lounge. Seated with feet dangling on one of the pool tables is thick bearded front vocalist/guitarist Ian Bailey, whose songwriting takes cues from Wilco, Bonnie Prince Billy and Sufjan Stevens. While their previous EP favored melodic, story-driven songs about travel and passing adolescence, the new effort is more introverted and stripped down. Bailey, Wilson and guitarist Vince Phung (full disclosure: Phung also books local bands at Detroit Bar) now comprises the main lineup that once included seven people.
"I was really anal about [recreating] the sound of the record and we definitely got that. But as time went on, people had things come up…school and all that," Bailey says. So we condensed down into a four piece… we got to tighten up and Vince picked up a lot of slack on guitar." That fourth slot is usually rotated in by various OC musicians in their circle.
The band started in 2008 as Bailey's sapling of a solo side project designed to make music that didn't sit right in other bands he was in. He joined another band that year–the Counter Regiment–where he started playing with Wilson and good friend Gary Westmoreland. Though they fizzled in 2011, the three friends sprouted up a more impressive venture–opening Music Arts Production Studio (MAPS) in Huntington Beach. Wilson is the primary engineer, recording a variety of local bands, as well as his own, for the last three years. Once Bailey came in to lay down some of his Gardeners Logic material that December, he and Wilson saw enough growth potential to embark on the debut EP.
Seven months later, after keeping the project largely under wraps, the band released the EP anchored by howling indie pop gems like "Coyote Run" and the safe-sounding, alt-country jam "Costa Mesa" and snagged themselves their first residency at Detroit. At the time, the venue served as an incubator for them to really not only hone their sound, but grow their own community of bands to partner with, which now includes acts like Fellow Bohemian and Big Monsta (Wilson also plays drums in that band).
So far, their second go-round at Detroit is proving to be a good place to spread out sonically and tease their new material while they finish recording it in the studio. Each night of the residency offers one track from the new EP with the last night reserved for a set comprised of the first and second EP's back to back. One thing that sort of throws off this easily predictable way of doing things is their choice to produce a music video for "Coyote Run" off of the first EP instead of a tack from their newer material. When asked about the logic behind that move, Bailey says people should realize that fruits of a band's labor have to come in an organic way in their own time.
"It's definitely ass backwards a little bit," he says." We are also putting a single out for the first release after the second one comes out. But really, it's all just creative output."
Gardeners Logic performs every Monday in April at Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St. Costa Mesa Mesa, www.detroitbar.com, (949) 642-0600. 8 p.m. Free . 21+. For more info on Gardeners Logic, visit www.facebook.com/gardenerslogic