Feb 13, 2013 09:04 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
The Music of Best Friends
It took time, but rock band Best Friends’ full-length debut is complete. Nine tracks make up the self-titled record, but the development of each song varied—spanning countless iterations and years. “Some of the songs, like ‘Open Up Your Eyes,’ are three or four years old with some recently done overdubbing,” says John Casey, the band’s guitarist. “Other bits of it took no time at all and were more or less done in a few hours.”
Started sometime around the summer of 2011, Point Pleasant’s own Best Friends can’t exactly pinpoint its moment of origin. John, Jami Calandros, Jordan Pack, and Paris Leonard came together at different times in their lives as best friends do, and from the early points of their relationships, music was a key component—from the number of lost songs John and Paris wrote to John and Jami’s middle school guitar/drums duo, Beagle Asterisk (a riff of sorts on Keanu Reeves’ band Dogstar).
The current band is a culmination of these efforts, gluing together the pieces of childhood into a semi-serious project, though John still sees the band as an extension of the group’s long-term friendship. “Through that, the greatest thing ever will be made,” he says slyly.
John says working creatively with close friends keeps the process relaxing and positive. “I’d rather have someone I vibe with than necessarily the most skilled person or whatever,” he says. “But I’m also lucky in having very talented friends.”
Best Friends was recorded in John’s living room. The space is cluttered with cable, guitar strings, amplifiers, and other miscellaneous material, but he says working from home smoothed things out. “We weren’t thinking, ‘We’re paying $20 an hour or whatever for this studio,’” he says. “Instead, it’s, ‘I’m in a living room. I’m at home. I can try it today; I can try it tomorrow. I can try it this way; I can try it that way.’ That was the mentality.”
The results are there. When listening, the living room isn’t exactly gone. The record sounds energetic and raw in all the right ways, but it also maintains a considerable amount of attention to detail and production values that don’t scream “South Park neighborhood studio.”
Jordan says he’s proud of the final product and feels it accurately represents the band. “We really found a way to show off the different sides of us as a group with each individual track,” he says. “It just feels so good to have actual material that our fans, or other people who have never heard of us, can listen to.”
John says it’s long been his goal to make an album, and he can now cross it off his list. However, he says the sky is the limit. “I’d like to keep it to just us hanging out, but if that means 5,000 years from now people are going to listen to Elvis Presley and Best Friends, I’m fine with that too,” he says. “Hopefully we can make music that’s good enough for that to happen.”
Best Friends is available for free on the group’s Bandcamp page.