Keep an eye (and ear) on local rock band Sea of Sound.
The trio hasn't even been playing together a year yet, but it's built a sizable buzz in the local music scene, propelled by making the top three at the $10,000 Chukchansi Rock at the Top battle of the bands in August.
On Saturday, Sea of Sound releases its first album at an all-ages show at Kuppajoe, 3673 N. First St. (7 p.m., $6-$8).
Next Saturday, it plays Visalia's The Cellar Door with rising L.A. band Sir Sly (8 p.m., $5). Sea of Sound then has a handful of gigs outside of Fresno in coming months.
The group -- Zach Schuh (vocals, guitar, keys), Warren Whitehurt (guitar, keys, backup vocals) and Seth Jordan (drums), all in their early 20s -- plays modern alt-rock with enough indie leanings to be mainstream relevant in 2012.
We talked to Schuh about the band's beginnings, its sound and where it's headed.
How did Sea of Sound get started? Claire O'Neill. She's a mutual friend of Warren and I. She introduced me to Warren when I was looking for like-minded musicians and we decided to start a band. After a while, Warren introduced me to Seth and we all just clicked.
Describe your style. Who are your influences? We put a heavy emphasis on melody and strive to achieve a sound that would fit in both arena settings as well as intimate settings. We're influenced by too many bands to count, but our biggest influences are probably Coldplay, Radiohead, The Killers, Explosions In The Sky and Dave Matthews Band.
You guys have done pretty well for yourselves in a relatively short period. What's been the secret? Persistence, hard work and a sense of urgency. We believe if we aren't being productive every day that time's going to pass us by and we may miss out on something that would have been. We make it a point to accomplish something band-related every day and just hope that people take notice. The support has been overwhelming and we're extremely grateful to have done as much as we have in less than a year.
You impressed me at the Chukchansi Rock at the Top battle of the bands. Do you think making the top three there legitimized the band? Thank you. It was an honor to even compete in that considering we were (and still are, I guess) so new. I'm not sure whether it legitimized us or not, but it was undoubtedly a major stepping stone for us and a good challenge for us. We're always trying to challenge ourselves and the reaction we got at the Chukchansi event showed we're going in the right direction.
Tell us about the album you're putting out this weekend. It's a seven-song album called "Criavia," named after our friend Chris Avila, and we think it's kind of a sampler of the type of music we enjoy writing together. We currently have another batch of songs that we're narrowing down to 10 songs or so for a follow-up album with a sound that's much more centralized and representative of the band's direction. We're going to start recording it in December.
Besides that show, what other shows are you guys playing soon? We will be playing in Anaheim on Nov. 14, The Cellar Door in Visalia on Nov. 17, The Abbey in Santa Cruz on Nov. 25, Victory Cafe here in Fresno on Nov. 30, Fox & Goose in Sacramento on Dec. 1, Festivus at Fulton 55 on Dec. 7, and then Fulton 55's End Of The World Festival on Dec 21.
What are your plans to get Sea of Sound out on the road? We're just going to keep grinding and pushing as hard as we can. We're working on doing a short tour along the West Coast in the beginning of next year and we'll be booking some shows in Europe next spring.
Describe your live show in exactly 13 words. Pure raw sounds in any given venue that revives the sense of hope.
For music and more: Go to seaofsoundband.com, facebook.com/seaofsoundband.
Know a local musician more people should be familiar with? Send details to Mike Osegueda, email@example.com.