Right here in the saltiest city, we’re swimming with young, local talent—and Spy Hop Productions has booked an all-ages Localized showcase for April, featuring three local bands comprised of talented under-agers. Spy Hop is an awesome resource for fine fledglings, offering a variety of resources for young people interested in the digital arts, including a recording studio and a music blog called 801 Sessions that features new artists every month. Indie synth-pop from Solarsuit and math rock from Anthropology will be present, as well as opening band Creature Double Feature. Swing by Kilby Court on April 26 and $5 will get you a killer glimpse at some up-and-coming bands.
While most high school dudes are busy trying to get chicks and maintain status, the members of Solarsuit spend every spare second they get from school and homework writing, practicing, marketing or scheming. “We don’t get much sleep anymore,” says guitarist/vocalist Logan Nelson. Trying to break into the realm of successful music isn’t easy, but Solarsuit are fighting to be recognized and to prove that being 17 won’t stop them. As their fanbase slowly creeps upward on the Internet and as they continue to make connections, their bright-eyed dedication is beginning to pay off. In 2012, Solarsuit got to open for Imagine Dragons at In The Venue. Nelson teaches music lessons with Robby Connolly from Fictionist and guitarist Luke Barton plays in Luna Lune with his older sister. Despite all the ties to big names in Provo, Solarsuit is a Salt Lake band who claim Kilby as their home.
Most bands get started after some friends have fun jamming with each other, but Solarsuit seemed to have serious intentions from the start. After some brief member shuffling and name changing (formerly Q&A), they launched into songwriting and show-booking. They started as an indie-rock project and have now eased into indie synth-pop, with an added guitar and keys. While their age obviously sets them apart from others in their genre, musically, they make their sound fresh by emphasizing both guitar parts and pushing the synth forward. The result is a mature, clean sound that is endearing and approachable. Solarsuit are influenced by Coldplay, Bombay Bicycle Club and Radiohead. You can hear these influences in their music along with their unique touches. They have several high-quality, professional videos available, and are working on recording their first EP, which will drop in May.
In their video “Sleep Talking,” you can see Solarsuit play an acoustic house show. The feel is open, honest and a bit on the tender side. “That’s how we make a lot of our songs, just being loose and hanging out,” keyboardist Matt Spurrier says. They’re set up in a half circle, in a living room with big, open windows. Nelson and Barton are on guitar, Billy Brown on drums, Spurrier on keys and Ethan England on bass, with everyone pitching in for harmonies with Nelson’s lead vocals. Playing acoustic leaves more vulnerability, and through the course of this video, Solarsuit leaves no room for doubt that this is what they love to do. In another video, they perform “Friendly Fires” live, and it’s hard not to appreciate how truly happy playing music makes these dudes. As Brown puts it, “We play music because—what would we do if we didn’t play music?”
“There’s not a ton of bands that come out of high school ready to do something else. Maroon 5 is the only one I can think of, but I don’t love them very much,” Nelson says. These dudes are striving to not be labeled a “high school band.” Even though their fanbase is largely in their age group, they try to reach out to all groups of people. “If an 80-year-old man digs us and thinks we’re catchy, then that’s awesome,” says Nelson
When asked about fame, all five members bust out a huge smile and nod to each other. “We all want it. It would be a totally awesome, surreal experience. There’s doors that are opening for us. There’s something here that’s working,” Nelson says, speaking for the group. Solarsuit are active in pursuing their ambitious goals and dreams—including getting played on AltNation radio, getting signed to a record label and winning a Grammy within two years. Nelson says, “If you push yourself to reach really hard goals, I think you’ll achieve more.”
“I love the way playing music feels,” England says with a smile. Barton adds, “I think it’s really cool to make music that people want to hear.”
For right now, they’re focusing and playing as many shows as they can, cranking out songs and gaining a stronger fanbase. Plan on hearing all new songs at Localized, and be sure to look up their tunes on Reverbnation—their music speaks for all their hard work.