The Calm Blue Sea
The Calm Blue Sea’s lushly textured sound is a study in contrast. The music the (mostly) instrumental band from Austin, Texas creates, like its oceanic name, is at once beautiful and violent, transcendent and triumphant. With song structures measured in minutes rather than measures, the foursome marries post-rock fugues with classically-inspired arrangements, the aggression and heaviness of metal, the artiness of indie rock and the widescreen expanse of a film score. The end result is stunning.
Following a nearly year and half hiatus, The Calm Blue Sea is back, once again establishing themselves as one of the most anticipated and talked about bands to come out of the fertile Austin music scene in years. Their recent return to the stage at last year’s SXSW wowed fans and garnered praise from the likes of NPR Music and Esquire.com, who singled them out among thousands as one of the festival’s highlights while describing their songs as “epic thunderings.”
Originally formed in late 2007 as a side project to simply make a lot of noise and blow off steam, The Calm Blue Sea quickly became something much larger in scope and concept than originally intended. By early 2008, the band was already searching for the right studio and the right partner to help capture their sonic expression. Cacophony Recorders and noted engineer, Erik Wofford (The Black Angels, Explosions In The Sky), seemed like the most logical choice and the band recorded their self-titled debut in a single weekend that spring. It was self released a few months later in fall 2008.
While continuing to develop a captivating live show and a devoted local fan base, the band’s DIY ethos propelled them ever forward, with increasing momentum and a strong sense of purpose. However, the vigorous pace challenged the band’s time, energy, and resources, resulting in some membership changes. “The Calm Blue Sea is bigger than any one member,” explains guitarist and sometimes vocalist, Chris Patin. “We have always approached this band as something more than the sum of our individual contributions.”
In one year between fall 2008 and fall 2009, the band self-released its self-titled debut, toured the U.S. twice, wrote/performed/recorded and released a 96-minute original film score entitled Siegfried, and broadened its reach to a worldwide audience, often shipping albums across the globe to Japan, Australia and Europe. Doing this without the support of a label, booking agent, publicist, or any funding other than what the band could scrape up themselves started to inevitably take its toll on the members’ lives. The stress of maintaining such a high level of activity and managing so many processes internally eventually led to the decision at the end of the their tour in 2009 to take time apart from the band and ultimately each other.
The next 18 months saw Patin, drummer Stephen Bidwell, bassist Kyle Robarge living in different parts of the country, pursuing other musical endeavors, and generally just getting on with life. However, the gravitational pull was too strong and the band reunited in late 2010 with the intention of regrouping, writing a new record, and setting the all-too-familiar wheels in motion.
As soon as music industry veterans, Chip and Erin Adams, heard the band was back together, the longtime fans asked The Calm Blue Sea to be a part of their new endeavor, Modern Outsider Records. The band quickly signed a deal with the Austin-based label and the self-titled album, joined now by two unreleased songs, finally received the wide release it had always deserved.
Now joined by newest member, Taylor Wilkins on guitar, The Calm Blue Sea are excitedly entering into the second chapter of their storied career. Work on their sophomore album has begun with an eye on releasing the record in 2012. Most importantly, the band has never been more hopeful for its future. “We’re eager to stretch our musical boundaries and create something new and fresh while still maintaining the sense of what makes us The Calm Blue Sea,” Robarge says. It’s going to be very exciting to see where this path takes us.”