Seattle-based indie-emo-rockers Barcelona
drew The Launch Pad's most diverse audience - including droves of faithful underage fans, which were stopped at the door (we're sorry about that). For those of you who weren't able to catch Brian Fennell's poetic tunes at Spike Hill on that special Saturday night, we've got you covered.
We recently caught up with Barcelona's drummer, Rhett Stonelake, who reflected on their performance at The Launch Pad.
How was your overall CMJ?
CMJ 2012 was a great experience. This was our first visit back to NYC since late 2009, and that performance was out on Long Island. The energy from the city and buzz at the festival is a great atmosphere to be around.
How would you describe your show at Spike Hill?
Our showcase with Baeblemusic at Spike Hill was actually a really fun show for us. Being at the epicenter of all things hip (in the heart of Williamsburg) I think we were a bit reserved when we first rolled in, assuming that the crowd present wouldn't have the time of day or interest to listen to our music. Boy were we wrong. It really had a lot of energy from the beginning of the set and we were pleased with our performance.
You guys have some pretty devoted fans. Did you catch up with any after the show?
Being that our last visit was in 2009 and our two CMJ showcases were our only east coast performances this year, we did have quite a few fans travel from out of state to see the shows. One couple in particular was there celebrating their wedding anniversary so that was pretty special. Anytime we have the opportunity to talk with our fans and hear a little part of their story, I think we are grateful knowing the lengths at which they have worked to discover our music and have that mean something to them. Whether it's personal or relational or whatever, we're just happy to connect and listen. It was such great thrill for us to see this support considering how long it had been since we were in NYC. We've got great fans.
Two years prior to the formation of the band, Brian was involved in a solo project. He recorded Safety Songs and then employed his musically inclined friends to accompany him on a tour to support the debut album. After working with his fellow musicians, Brian came to realize that he worked better as part of a band. The friends created a music ensemble and called themselves Barcelona. Fennell described the band's sound when he stated that, "[w]e classify our music style as piano rock."
Touring began in late 2005 upon the formation of the band. Brian Fennell, Chris Bristol and Rhett Stonelake attended Seattle Pacific University, where they posed as a student club in order to get access to free rehearsal space. Bristol and Stonelake were still seniors when the band began performing gigs. Most of the band's earlier shows were on the West Coast, which has been cited as a reason for their becoming a familiar name among music listeners in the west.
The band was featured on MySpace on August 15, 2007, which caught the attention of an A&R representative who helped initiate a promotional deal with MySpace Records and MySpace.com. The band made a television appearance on Good Day Sacramento on August 8, 2007 to promote their upcoming debut album, Absolutes, and play a sample set. Barcelona released Absolutes on September 25, 2007, and it received largely favorable reviews, especially from hometown critics.
The band has played charity concerts at Pine Lake Middle School and PCMS to raise money and awareness for the schools cause of Loose Change to Loosen Chains. The $10,000 that was generated was donated to the International Justice Mission (IJM) to help in their work of freeing the millions of modern-day slaves around the globe. On November 5, 2010, the band joined American Idol runner-up Blake Lewis, singer Claire Nordstrom, the Northwest Symphony Orchestra and several local choirs in "Primal Symphony", written and produced by Grammy Award-winning composer Mateo Messina. This annual benefit concert is put on by The Symphony Guild and supports uncompensated care at Seattle Children's Hospital.
Barcelona performed at Bumbershoot 2008 in Seattle.
On December 18, 2008 Universal Records announced that it had signed Barcelona to its label Universal Motown. The label released a remastered version of the band's original Absolutes on April 28, 2009, including four additional tracks. The re-release of Absolutes was self-produced by Barcelona and Brian Eichelberger, a close friend of the band and former member. Michael H. Brauer, a two-time Grammy winner for his work with artists such as Coldplay and John Mayer, mixed the album. The band has since parted ways with Universal Motown Records. They are working on a follow-up to Absolutes.
The song "Please Don't Go" is used in the second trailer for Water for Elephants, a film starring Robert Pattinson and Academy Award winners Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz.
In December 2011, Act As If (band) released a Christmas single, "Sleighbells & Reindeer," featuring Lucy Schwartz and Brian Fennell.