Arts & CultureMusic

Local band spotlight: Adventure Galley

Not a lot of bands can say “That was when our van ‘blew up’” or — when one is recounting their history — can claim one of their singles beat out over 17,000 bands in a national contest. But local Eugene band Adventure Galley can.

Formed in 2007 by childhood friends David Mill and Aaron Johnson,@@[email protected]@ Adventure Galley combines punk rock with synthesizer, keyboard and other indie characteristics@@I thought this was New Wave or even glam rock [email protected]@ to create their own post-punk indie sound, which is influenced by bands such as The Clash, The Cure, Arcade Fire and MGMT.

Initially beginning with Mill and Johnson as vocalists, the group has traded out and welcomed new members nearly every year since its formation, adding Brock Grenfell on drums, George Schultz on keys and guitar in 2008, Jesse Suihkonen on bass in 2009 and Forrest Grenfell on synthesizer in 2010.@@[email protected]@

“It’s funny because almost everybody who joined the band besides Aaron and David has joined because they filled in for a gig,” Grenfell said.

Together, the band recorded and put out their first EP, “The Right Place to Be,” in May 2010 and then did a short tour on the West Coast that same spring. This is when the van troubles started. Although their van did not technically blow up, Schultz confessed, the engine caught on fire after two days of other difficulties, leading them — after a second van had come and gone — to an RV as their current choice for tour transportation.

Later in 2010 after the success of their EP, they became the winners of Toyota Music Rock the Space 2 competition on MySpace, capturing the regard of MySpace Records with their first single, “Addict,” and beating out thousands of other bands that entered. This attention — which they admit was completely unexpected, according to Brock — allowed them to also receive funding for a full-length album and to be featured on commercials for Oregon State University and the sports camera company GoPro.@@

Most of the band members have done all of this while working and attending school. Split evenly between Eugene and Portland, members usually commute from one city to the other on weekends in order to practice for their live shows, which they play fairly consistently in both Eugene and Portland.

“Live is less beauteous for sure, but it’s much more invigorating to go out in front of people and go crazy,” Grenfell commented. “We’re pretty high energy live.”

Schultz agreed. “As we’ve learned, you can screw up over and over and over again, but if the singer is, like, standing up on top of your keyboard stand and screaming into the mic … people get into that because they come for a show and they want energy, and they want action. So we definitely try to give them that.”

Currently focusing on shows in Portland to see how they do in a big city, the group is also awaiting the release of their first, full-length album, which has just been mastered and sent to the band.

“Hopefully (people) dance to it. I think that’s the most important to me. I hope that people find it danceable,” Grenfell said of their newest album, which they recorded in spring of 2011 with producer Dave Trumfio (Wilco, Built to Spill).@@[email protected]@ He stated it has more of an electronic influence than their previous album.

“I’m not going to expect everybody to write a screenplay based on our songs, but just knowing that it inspired somebody and that somebody was, like, ‘I really love this song’ is a good thing,” Schultz said of what he hopes people will get out of Adventure Galley’s music. “I feel that way about a lot of music, so if I can do something that other people feel that way about, then that’s epic.”

He continued, “It just feels right, so we’re going to stick with it. No matter what happens. Because there’s millions of bands out there, and more often than not, the best you make it is the dive bars downtown. But … I feel pretty optimistic about the future of Adventure Galley.”

Adventure Galley tentatively hopes to release their upcoming LP sometime next spring and expects to return to Eugene to play shows at the beginning of the new year.

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