The Midwest has been home to a host of progressive blues and country musicians from Chuck Berry to Uncle Tupelo. Carrying on the tradition of progressive blues and country music is St. Louis band Since 1902. Robert Don, Justin Enoch, Pete Holohan, and Nathaniel Endicott are still young, but the music they make shows taste and maturity. Their debut full length, No Excuses Wednesdays, is a sprawling meditative mass of music. These four dudes are currently at work on their second full length album, but before that hits, here are my favorites off of their debut full-length and an interview with the band.
“Bend The Gap”
Twangy guitars and echoey old piano. What a perfect combination. Listening to this song feels like you are standing in the room while they are playing it. It’s short, it’s sweet, it’s beautiful, and it ends with a harsh bluesy seventh.
“Big Fish In a Little Pond”
This one goes through a sort of weird evolution. It starts with noise and perhaps samples, then in comes the guitar and out goes the noise. But just when you think it’s all going to continue swimmingly, the guitar stutters, the bass and drums fumble in, and coughing can be heard. Then the chord progression hits and the drums come in. Then the vocals come in and that’s where it I lose it, in a good way. It’s so incredibly relaxing I almost can’t handle it.
Perhaps the hit single? Unlike much of the album, this song gets straight to it. Catchy bass, funky yet chill guitar, shuffly skippy drums, and oh-so-soulful singing. This song captures what the band is all about. Soul, blues, chillness, atmospherics, funk, happiness, beauty, and I would assume love.
Where does the name come from?
We get asked this question all the time. A lot of people expect Since 1902 to have some significant meaning. I think I made it up on the way to guitar lessons one time.
It just sounds good. It’s got a ring to it! Feel free to look the date up on Wikipedia or something. Tons of cool stuff happened. The first movie theatre in the US opened in 1902. Who knew?
How did the band form?
The band formed right after the summer of my freshman year. Robert, Pete, Nathaniel and I had played together a couple times before. At the start of sophomore year, I pitched the idea to become a band. We all congregated in Pete’s basement and started learning songs. We have weekly practices we’ve dubbed “No Excuses Wednesdays.”
We moved from Pete’s basement to his living room where we played our first house show. It was the first time we’d played live together. Things took off from there. It was a really good year. Recently, Caleb Hill joined the band on guitar. It’s a whole new era of Since 1902.
What are your influences and favorite artists?
We all listen to a ton of diverse music. Some notable artists that have had personal impacts on us are Broken Social Scene, Radiohead, Annuals, Lindsey Buckingham, Andrew Bird, The Beatles (who doesn’t love The Beatles?), What Laura Says, XTC, Wilco, Beulah, Givers, INXS, QotSA, Sufjan Stevens… this list should stop or it will never end!
A new band favorite is definitely Earth, Wind, and Fire.
What is the writing process like? Collaborative or solitary?
It’s a mix of the two. When the band started, Robert and I both had songs we had written. Most of these songs were from a couple years earlier. When we introduced these songs in a band setting, however, they tended to change in really great ways. The most dramatic change, for me personally, is a song we play called Our Front Yard. That song transformed from being a sad, slow song, to being our most upbeat jam. It’s funny to me because the lyrics are a huge contrast to the song now. It really works though. Stuff like that happens when you give an idea to four other brains. Everybody has their own style and adds a unique element to the song. That’s something you can’t do as a solitary songwriter. So, while Robert and I may write the basic idea for a song, our songs tend to be more collaborative.
What’s the local music scene like in St. Louis?
I like the local music scene. We’ve been rebuilding recently. Robert left for college. Last year though, we played a lot of shows. Ra Cailum and Kid Counselor are our good local friends. The good thing about St. Louis is the amount of all age venues there are. Cities like Chicago and New Orleans tend to be more restrictive. It can be pretty hard to break into the local music scene though. At the DIY level, I feel like it lacks diversity. It could be better, could be worse.
What are your future plans for touring or releases?
We’re in the process of working on another album and hope to release it in the near future. Most of the recording is done, but there’s still lots of mixing to do. Mixing is terrible. It makes music not fun. The new album is a mix of really old songs and super new songs. The songs were recorded over the course of 1-2 years now. It’s been a chore trying to consolidate all the sounds into one finished product. It should be really good. We’re all super excited about it!
We’re almost always working on new music for Since 1902 as well as side/personal projects. As for touring, it’s always been a dream of ours. We definitely want to do it at some point in the future, so if anyone wants to give us a couch to sleep on, we’ll gladly come your way.