By now, most of Tulsa knows about We the Ghost.
After all, the band formed roughly a year and half ago and digitally released its first EP, the self-recorded A Mixtape Summer, in February 2012. The band had a solid following from its origination, perhaps initially revolving around front man Beau Tyler, but once the band made its debut, the project took on a life of its own.
Initially formed around the partnership of Tyler with childhood friend Dain Samuelson, Jimmy Adams (formerly of Eric & the Adams) was added early in the game, adding additional percussion to Samuelson's djembe. The inclusion of Kris Stone on keyboards added yet another layer to the sound while fitting into the chemistry of the band perfectly.
By the time A Mixtape Summer was released, the quartet had expanded, taking on Matt McHan as lead guitarist and Branjae on vocals, fleshing out the songs even more for the audiences that were to come.
Things started moving rapidly and the band has never slowed down. An on-air radio appearance at KMOD was recorded and released through the band's website in April and the band reconvened in the studio with Rockwell (Ryan) Ripperger at the helm as producer to create White Noise, the band's first proper studio EP. With that disc, Ripperger managed to distill the essence of We the Ghost into five tight tracks, while still leaving room for the band to evolve.
Over the past year, I've had multiple chances to sit down with the band to discuss its evolution and latest developments and each time it becomes more apparent that the secret to this group is the chemistry between its members. Even though Branjae has departed to pursue another project and Jocelyn Rowland and Ben Mosier have joined the fold on violin and bass, respectively, each move has improved the chemistry of the group. More than just band members or mere friends, there's a connection between everyone involved that sees each of them able to complete the other's sentence or story. That chemistry translates to the music as well, making it apparent that the group has something special and understandable that audiences should be responding so well.
While in Austin for SXSW, I was able to sit down with Beau Tyler and Dain Samuelson to catch up on the latest developments since we last caught up around the release of White Noise in December.
Although it may seem like the band has been lying low and relatively quiet, much has been going on behind the scenes. After kicking off 2013 with a New Year's Eve show at the ball drop in the Blue Dome District, the band has kept busy, even if you haven't seen it perform in Tulsa. But that is all by design.
According to Tyler, the group doesn't want to oversaturate its presence in Tulsa, instead making each appearance an event. As such, the group only plans to play Tulsa four or five times over the course of the year in higher-profile shows. Meanwhile, the group has continued to develop its presence outside of town with strategic touring.
Although the group had to cancel its appearance at the Sundance Film Festival in January due to weather, the band recently played its first headline show at the Curtain Club in Dallas and continues to build a following outside of Oklahoma.
We the Ghost spread itself out while in Austin, playing four shows over four days for maximum exposure at the festival. After kicking things off with a loose but high energy set at the Buffalo Lounge OK Pop stage (the group actually got moved upstairs for its showcase because it wouldn't fit on the smaller, downstairs stage), the group had a busy week, paying a handful of events, including a high profile spot on the Heart of Texas stage (one of the largest outdoor stages on the festival grounds) at 8:30pm on Friday night. Even so, this all just sets the stage for more to come for this group.
With White Noise selling strongly via digital markets, the group has seen even better results overseas, with its biggest fan base developing in Indonesia and a strong following developing in Central and South America with particularly strong sales in Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador.
With the rewards of the hard work of the past year and a half finally starting to pay off, the group isn't about to slow down or take it easy now, but it is enjoying the response. Not only has the band been asked to open the Imagine Dragons concert at University of Tulsa this coming Tuesday night, March 26, but the group will also be playing the kickoff concert at Guthrie Green on April 5. In addition, We the Ghost will be playing Indie Fest on Freemont Street in Las Vegas in July (having been voted one of the Top 20 unsigned bands in the United States last year) and Utica Music Fest in New York in September.
Things only look to get bigger for the band in 2013 as the group has signed with a new management group (Soundcheck International) and is starting to draw some label attention.
As for now, however, you can catch the band as they open for Imagine Dragons at TU's Reynolds Center on Tuesday night, March 26. Tickets are $15 in advance via Ticketstorm.com and the show begins at 8pm.
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After a busy week that saw a number of our local bands (and music fans) run to Austin for SXSW and return for St. Patrick's Day, we may all be a little exhausted, but we've still got plenty of great shows on tap. As always, you can find complete listings in our Live Music and Events calendars, but here are the highlights to get you out the door for some of this week's most promising shows.
Thursday, March 21
It's a relatively quiet evening to kick start your weekend, but The Big O Show plays a special gig at The Treehouse to record its next live CD. Make sure to arrive by 9pm, so you can add to the energy of the evening. Elsewhere around town, The Danner Party plays at The Shrine, Archer Trio and Honky Tonk Happy Hour take residence at The Colony and Miles Ralston and Brave Song Circle keep things cozy at Hunt Club
Friday, March 22
The big show of the weekend hits BOK Center as Maroon 5 headlines the arena with Neon Trees and Owl City opening the night. If you're looking for your jam fix, check out EOTO with Govinda at Cain's Ballroom, then head over to The Shrine to finish your evening out with Montu. If you're thinking local, don't miss The Refund Division at Vanguard with Archer Trio and Pilgrim opening the show and the promise of new tunes from Refund Division. And before you leave home, don't forget about Mercury Lounge, where Ben Miller Band and Tyrannosaurus Chicken will surely throw one hell of a show.
Saturday, March 23
It's a great night for live music of all types as Foreign Home, Creepazoid and Physiques play The Yeti, Dante & the Hawks take over at Hunt Club, Pat Cook holds down Back Alley Blues, Ego Culture settles in at The Colony and Phil Marshall headlines The Shrine. If you're looking for something a little different, catch Quaker City Nighthawks at Mercury Lounge to give your weekend some added flavor. The show with the buzz, however, is a special solo-acoustic performance by Citizen Cope at Cain's Ballroom. Make sure and get there early, because you won't want to miss a minute of this one.
Sunday, March 24
Susan Herndon brings her "Togetherness Tour" with Hank and Shaidri Aldrich through town for a show at 306 Phoenix House at 8:30pm. The big show of the night will keep Christian music fans happy as Third Day returns to Tulsa for a show at The Convention Center with Colton Dixon and Josh Wilson at 8pm.
Monday, March 18
Cain's Ballroom keeps the week busy, bringing in R5 with Taylor Matthews and Alex Aiono and Soundpony brings the indie rock with Pocket Vinyl and Unknown Relatives.
Tuesday, March 19
Don't miss Imagine Dragons at Reynolds Center on the TU campus as the band finally visits Tulsa and invites local buzz band We the Ghost to open the show.
Wednesday, March 20
The Vanguard brings in Hillbilly Casino and Costanzas for special mid-week show and Cain's Ballroom brings the jam vibe with Zoomba, Captain Comfy, and Center of the Universe.
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