In a scene dominated by mainstream and “modern” rock, there’s a new local band that you absolutely need to get into your ears. Who are they? They are…We Are.
The band has been jamming together for just around a year and features Brian Rentfro on guitar and vocals, Jon Kuenning on guitar, vocals and percussion, Stephen Smith on guitar, Kyle Newman on bass and Jake Welchert on drums.
Jake, Stephen and Brian have been playing together since they were 17, with members of the band stemming from previous local projects Agnes the Mother and At War With Giants.
The sound can be described somewhat like Circa Survive and Thrice, as it maintains a fast-paced feel but still incorporates splashes of effects and ambience.
“Our new stuff is ambient and soft, but our other stuff is still driving,” Smith said. “There’s still a dark tone and I don’t think we’ll ever really play major scales and happy stuff.”
The band just put out an EP about a month ago. They recorded last August in Scotland, South Dakota at All Poetic Audio with producer Jeremy Schaeffer. Yes, Scotland in South Dakota. Smith said it was an awesome experience, with the idea being to go to the middle of nowhere and record.
"That way the only thing we could do is focus on the music we were recording," Smith said.
We Are plans to head back to Scotland in June to record more tracks. Schaeffer also recorded Arson City, who will be playing their CD release show this Friday at The Waiting Room with We Are. The show will only be the band’s second gig, but once Arson City heard We Are at Schaeffer’s South Dakota Studio, they immediately wanted them to be the opener on the bill.
Funny enough, this would have been We Are’s first show, but with such a big opportunity and the possibility of a massive draw, they didn’t want to go in cold. Instead, the band had an impromptu jam session at a comedy show that Smith’s friend was a part of.
“Once we realized the ramifications of the Arson City show, we said there’s no way that can be our first show,” Smith said.
We Are plans to use ambient lamps and have a background video playing on stage during their set to add to the mood and feel of their music. This is definitely a band whose sound should translate into an amazing, atmospheric set. The visuals and lighting only promise to enhance the experience.
Dedication is on full display when it comes to Kuenning, who might play the show just a mere two weeks after getting a kidney transplant. He’s not supposed to lift anything over 10 pounds for four to six weeks, but is still considering jamming out on Friday. I tip my cap to you, sir.
The band got their name because they didn’t want to get bogged down into a certain genre or comparison when describing their sound.
We Are has many influences, which makes it hard to compromise sometimes, but adds depth and variety to their music, tying in with their band name.
“We picked We Are because we are kind of a mix of everything,” Smith said.
To Smith, playing music is more than fun and cool; it’s emotional.
“I think it has become more of an emotional part to the other guys, too,” Smith said. “It changes my mood when I can’t play. It’s like an addiction; it takes away from the shitty grind.”
Come out to the show Friday, March 20 at The Waiting Room Lounge on 60th and Maple streets in Benson. Doors are at 7 with We Are opening the show at 8, followed by The Impulsive, Narcotic Self and Arson City. Don’t miss out on this epic rock show! Check out We Are’s new music video for the track “Reinvention” below!