Mike Callahan - Guitar
Scott Kohler - Guitar
Johnny Sprague - Bass
Chas Stumbo - Drums
Crashing guitars, surging choruses, and head turning hooks. Earshot's second album, Two is proof positive that this young Los Angeles quintet's songwriting abilities, and their dedication to their craft has never been more in focus than on this eleven-song sophomore collection.
"Every song on this record got recorded at least three times if not more," says lanky singer Wil Martin. "But that was our mind-set going in: Everything was going to take as long as it had to for it to make the cut."
EARSHOT had just returned to the studio in late 2002 after spending much of that year on the road, touring and promoting their Warner Bros. debut album "Letting Go." After months of sharing stages with the likes of Kid Rock and Stone Temple Pilots, the group had played their songs to thousands of appreciative fans, who recognized their popular radio hits, "Getaway" and "Not Afraid." "Get Away" peaked at #4 on the charts and stayed in the Top 100 for over 60 weeks - a driving testament to this band's following in the States. Now it was time to take their turn at making the perennially "difficult" second album.
Working together closely, EARSHOT and their producer, Johnny K. (Disturbed, Soil) spent much of last year honing their craft and never bowing to the pressure they readily admit to feeling. "We quickly went from freaking out about not having songs for this album, to using that sense of fear, and channeling it into emotional material," recalls Wil. "It worked well for me as I think we all tend to work best sometimes under pressure. I was always the kid who showed up to class without his homework done, and I'd finish it in the moments before class got underway.
The results can be heard in the album's wealth of memorable songs; songs with a dark, passionate edge and raging guitar melodies. One listen to "Fall Apart," "Someone" and the first single "Wait" easily showcase the band's knack for creating deep, sharp hooks.
"Johnny K. understood that we wanted to keep this album sounding live and natural," explains Wil. "And we didn't want a ton of 'production' on it. We wanted our songs to translate live, and to do that we had to capture the energy and emotion of the 5 of us playing together. I think it has to be disappointing when you're a fan of a band and when you go to see them play, they don't sound anything like their records."
So, for most of 2003, EARSHOT shut out the world and worked on their studio tans in Los Angeles and at their producer's studio in Chicago. Every now and then they'd emerge; partially the creative backdrop for the song, "Nice To Feel The Sun." And while Wil clearly exhibits a tender side of his writing on the regretful "Should Have Been There," he is quite at ease expressing his doubts and fears throughout most of the album.
"There's a darkness to my lyrics," Wil admits," but there's a calm, too. The songs might be dark, but they're not dismal." Of such passionate songs as "Tongue Tied" and "Someone," Wil says, "They're really nothing more than honest accounts of life, experiences and thoughts that myself and other people go through or feel."
The band formed in 1999, with the Kansas-bred Wil joining forces with guitarists Mike Callahan and Scott Kohler in L.A. Bassist Johnny Sprague joined the band shortly after their debut was completed, and new drummer Chas Stumbo came on board in 2004.
Singer-songwriter Wil was raised on classic rock: Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell, Black Sabbath, the Beatles, Cat Stevens, AC/DC and Metallica all get cited as influences and inspirations. Wil laments the fact that albums don't seem to mean as much to young people as they did to him when he was growing up. "There seems to be an emotion lacking in music today," he believes. "There was such an honesty in the music of the '70s and early 90's"
Calling the new album "more honest" than the first, Wil Martin says that the group is proud of the album's yearlong gestation. "There aren't any 'what ifs?' for us regarding this process. We did exactly what we wanted, we tried exactly what we wanted to try, and listened to suggestions and experimented. It took more time, but it was necessary"
It's all here: Optimism, power, heartbreak, depression, regret, triumph.
All is within EARSHOT.