By Marah J. Morrison
Originally from Youngstown and now located in Columbus, indie rock band Spirit of the Bear returned to Youngstown to release their first entirely self-produced EP, “Haunt Me,” at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts Feb. 22.
In their new EP, the band has brought out sounds they had yet to explore, as well as returned to their roots on their new project. The band was also joined by Label Me Lecter and Very Good Friends for their show.
James Harker, vocalist and guitarist, said lyrically, the new EP is on the same tier of sadness as the last album and is very down. He said this EP is just like the last album and not a lot has been changed.
“For this album, it was mostly very production heavy, where I would count the step in my studio and then send it to everyone else and then they would counter add their parts,” he said.
Harker said the EP was produced from the inside out as opposed to being produced as a group, and during the production of the last album, they were all together all of the time.
“We wrote all the songs and then when we recorded them, it was really organic,” he said. “It was mostly the raw instruments.”
Harker said Ethan Schwendeman, their keyboardist who lives in Costa Rica, was not able to join them for the new release. He said his friend, who was filling in with them, played a role in “Haunt Me.”
“I had written the title track and played it for him,” he said. “The lyrics are sad and my friend was like, ‘That’s a good song. The name for the song [should be] ‘Haunt Me.’’”
Harker said by the time the title track was finished, the band needed to decide on a name for their EP and “Haunt Me” was what they went with. He said it was the song he had spent the most time on as well.
Jamie Vitullo, drummer, said the band’s ideas for this EP came organically from doing jam sessions together and talking over things. A few of the songs came from Harker, which were solo songs turned into full band songs.
“It’s been a full, collaborative outlet,” he said.
Vitullo said money can be a struggle and a hardship faced being a part of a band, and it costs a lot of money to be in a band, but sometimes they don’t make enough in return.
“The return hasn’t come yet, but it’s going to come,” he said.
Mike Perorazio, bassist, said the band members enjoy hanging out with each other, and the band members live across the state, so they do not get to see each other a lot.
“Whether it’s a month or a couple of weeks, that’s pretty cool because we write songs, but there’s shenanigans and stuff,” he said.
Perorazio said today, getting people to listen to their music is quicker than ever compared to the past, and it’s interesting where the band is at with their music and their careers right now.
The EP “Haunt Me” is available on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon and through other streaming services. To learn more about Spirit of the Bear and to listen to their top tracks, visit http://www.spiritofthebearband.com.