1. What is your role within the band?
Grayson Hamm- Keyboardist and Lead Vocals
Brandon Brewer- Bass and Backing Vocals.
Walt Blythe- Guitar and Backing vocals
Wes Belk- Drums, Drums and more Drums
2. How did you start?
It all started while attending ACM@UCO (Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma). First off, we all currently attend or have attended ACM in the past. Brandon has graduated, Walt and I graduate in the coming fall semester, and Wesley has taken some time off but plans to return. Through mutual friends, Walt and I ended up working on a project together for another student. Afterwards, I invited Walt to come jam – he agreed and ever since that day we have been making music together. Just a little over 3 years now I believe. So Brandon, who was going to ACM for a music production degree, was Walt’s roommate in OKC when we met. Through this mutual friendship, Brandon helped Walt and I record some early tracks we had written for his school assignment. We all ended up becoming good friends and realized how we shared very similar views on music and life. Everyone had the same drive and passion for music, plus Walt and Brandon really enjoyed my songwriting so everyone was on board to really take the recordings seriously.
By this point, the band was looking for a bass player, so Brandon, who had never really played bass, joined the band a day before a big gig at George’s Majestic in Fayetteville, Arkansas and literally had his back turned to the audience the entire show reading chord charts on his bass rig.. still one of my favorite shows to date. Wesley also came into the picture during this recording process. He had met Brandon by going to a recording session at the studio Brandon co-owns, called Woodlands, with one of his friends. Wesley started poking his head in at Woodlands more frequently and sure enough one night it happened to be when me and Walt were recording. That was the first night I had ever met him. Here was this quiet guy who didn’t really talk much and at times seemed a bit gritty on the outside.
At first, I honestly didn’t see myself playing music with Wesley but once I started to see him more frequently at the studio, we actually started to really connect on music. It just goes to show how you should never really judge a book by its cover because he’s one of my best friends now. Wesley really enjoyed my songwriting and started coming over to jam with us and out of my little house in Edmond, Oklahoma we wrote what is now known as “Hiraeth” – the band’s first EP. So long story short, it was through all these different circles and connections of friends in Oklahoma City, especially ACM, that brought us all together. It’s really interesting how all the right pieces just seemed to fall into place. This is one of many reasons we praise the school so much.
3. Where are you based?
We are based out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
4. Please give an example of your music writing process?
Being the songwriter for the band, I would have to say that there really isn’t a specific writing process. It’s constant – I am always writing and always playing. Songs that I write often end up reflecting heavily on myself internally. I’m not saying that I’m writing songs about me or someone else specifically, but moreso experiences that I’ve been through and the emotions I have attached to along the way. We all do this – our life experiences and the decisions we’ve made is what makes us who we are. I guess I try to relate this aspect of life into my music and the music is for those who can relate. But once again my writing process is constant, it’s not something one can simply turn off. I’m always wanting to create. It’s a blessing and a curse.
5. What are you working on right now?
Currently, we are working on a new project that includes a lot of content outside the realm of just releasing songs, so just wrapping up the production on all of that. We already feel confident in the uniqueness of our sound and that’s what we thrive on. It just feels like in the music industry today, it’s very important for up and coming bands to stay relevant online so we are bringing new ideas to the table to do just that and connect with as many fans as possible.
6. What is your gear setup?
I use a Nord Stage 2 EX keyboard and sing through a Shure SM7b microphone. Pretty simple.
7. What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
Well the biggest thing that takes up our free time would be working other jobs outside of music. For young bands it is extremely tough to rely on playing shows as the sole source of income for each member. Walt builds guitar pedals for a company called Walrus Audio based out of Oklahoma City, Brandon relies on studio work for his main source of income, making him the exception when it comes to this idea of having to a “normal” job, and Wesley and I are both in the restaurant game and have been for some time. I have also started giving piano lessons, so spread the word haha. The reason I am saying all this is just to show how much music affects what we do and the way we live day to day – it’s a part of us. Going back to what I had said about it being a blessing and a curse, one doesn’t just simply turn off this creative and artistic mindset they carry. It tunnels our vision for us, but there also needs to be a sense of balance with the rest of life.
8. How would you describe your music genre?
Describing our sound is probably the toughest question to answer. We all come from these different musical backgrounds that have now collided into this colorful, keys-driven indie rock and continues to morph so it’s hard for us to define exactly. This is also the idea behind our band name – it doesn’t reveal a certain aesthetic musically. We like to ride this line of uncertainty so people don’t really know what to expect next and we wanted to use a name that doesn’t really associate with or box us into a certain style or genre. “Space4Lease” became this name with the sense that regardless of what we are doing or creating in life, no matter what mountain we have climbed or hurdle we have jumped, there is always another one waiting. There is always space to grow and improve and there’s always a new space in life to step into. This applies to our music and songwriting as well as our day to day life. We are branding the name and the band with our personalities, that’s what we are expressing most in our music.
9. Do you know any music theory?
We all have attended ACM and music theory was a requirement at the school, so yes. I personally have been playing piano since I was around 7 or 8. My mother always put me in piano lessons, but I never took it too seriously. I also played trumpet in my high school marching band, so music theory was a requirement there as well. Even though I never considered these things to be important, I am surprised at how all this knowledge about theory has stuck with me. I think I enjoyed creating music on my own, but not having to follow the guidelines of someone’s else’s music. So growing up I would say these starting piano lessons and playing in the school band created a basic foundation for me as an artist. But learning and creating music by ear is what I’ve found to be my passion. Now, I do know that you need both to really expand your ability as an artist, but honestly, practicing and being a master of theory isn’t why I am the way I am as an artist. I believe it was more the drive to express my own self through music, and more specifically through a piano. Since I had an alright sense of how the piano operates, it opened this new door on being able to create by ear. There’s still so much to learn and improve on, though.
10. What are your plans for the future?
Short term, we have new songs coming out over the summer with a lot of fun content to go along with them. Long term, the plans for the future are to continue doing what we are doing in the name of progress. We have to keep building relationships with people and growing our fan base as a whole. Like I have mentioned before, the next few years are tunnel visioned for us. We love what we do, we love to tour and to create new music and the fact that our fan base continues to grow with us and more and more people are hearing our name motivates us to continue doing it. As for now, we will continue to tour around the US over the summer and then it’s back again to the studio for new tracks. Juggling the load between touring and making new music never stops.
11. How did you get into music?
Music has always been a part of my life, although I didn’t understand just how important it’d be for me until I was older. Like I mentioned before, when I was a kid my mom made do a lot of stuff I didn’t want to do like Boy Scouts and marching band in high school. Piano was no different. I didn’t enjoy taking lessons and never took it too seriously. I flat out was just not aware that there was this connection I could find with music and how drastically it would change my life. It’s taken a lot of time for me to find and it’s something I will always be chasing. Music has always been there for me and I believe my artistic ability has been patiently waiting inside of me to expose itself. But I have to give the credit to my parents for making me do that shit I didn’t want to do, it helped shape me as a person and as an artist.
12. What you listening to at the moment?
We are currently on tour headed to Chicago so we are all listening to each other’s music in the car. We have been listening to Mac Demarco’s new album a lot. Kendrick Lamar’s new record has also been in heavy rotation for us. We are huge fans of Andy Shauf, a singer songwriter from Canada, so he’s been getting a good amount of play. Honorable mentions include Pinegrove, The Districts, Klangstof, Space4Rent.
13. When are you playing next?
We are currently on a 3 week tour across the US Midwest for the remainder of May then it’s back to working on the recordings until July. Info for all events can be found through our facebook page or website.
May 17 – St Louis, MO @ SoFar Sounds
May 19 – Chicago, IL @ The Elbo Room
May 21 – St Louis, MO @ The Sinkhole
May 22 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Chameleon Room
May 24 – Nashville, TN @ The Crying Wolf
May 26 – Fayetteville, AR @ George’s Majestic Lounge w/ SpaceFace
May 27 – Hot Springs, AR @ Maxine’s.