Steelwells: From Orange County to the Mainstream

The Steelwells music


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Orange County based indie rock band Steelwells has seen its star rise in recent years. From being the recipients of a number of Orange County Music Awards and opening up for fellow O.C. band Young the Giant, Steelwells have already seen their share of success. Not the type of band to rest on their laurels, the band is pushing forward, creating some new music and playing more shows than ever. Progressive Man had a great time getting to know the members of Steelwells a little bit better.

You guys have been a part of the Orange County music scene for a while now. How did the band first get together?

Andrew, and Robbie were working on putting something together back in 2007 when I met them.  Rob and I met through my cousin.  I had written some songs but had never really played in a serious band before.  At the time I thought “I’ll do this for a while, why not.”  But once we started playing I was hooked.

We had a different drummer and keyboardist back then which would account for the change in sound as we kept writing together with the new members.  Billy joined the band about a year later and then Jon joined us after Shallow on the Draft.  Once we started writing with Jon we realized how much we really had changed since then.

Is there any particular story about how you guys came up with the band name?

It’s pretty boring really.  We were sitting around before our first show trying to figure out what to call this thing.  I think I was joking and said something like steel wheels (like the Rolling Stones record) when someone said “What?  Steelwells?”  And we all just liked it.  It seemed to fit what we were making somehow.

What genre of music would you say you are and what made you want to go in that direction?

We are an indie band I guess?  Pop/ indie something or other. There really hasn’t been too much thought in direction really.  Which is a double edged sword.  It makes for something that is different I think, but at the same time it’s hard to define for those who haven’t heard it.  There are lots of people who really want us to better define ourselves but I kind of like being musically aloof. It’s more interesting for us.

But people in the industry hate it so maybe we are shooting ourselves in the foot.  At the end of the day it’s really up to the listener to make that decision I think.  We aren’t salesmen, we just make songs.

Steelwells Dead SongWhat projects do you have lined up? Are you recording anything new right now or lining up show dates?

YES!  This month (June) we are playing three residencies.  San Diego, Orange County, and LA.  I think we may have list our minds a little on this one.  The schedule is up on our blog/ Facebook etc.  we have new music we recorded with Jacquire King as well as some self produced music we released ourselves last year.

We just wanted to kick off the summer and and introduce our fans to some new tunes from us.  The album we made with Jacquire is kind of mired in a legal situation but we are hoping to get that released ASAP.  We are really proud of the work so hopefully everyone digs the sound.

Which one of your songs would you say is the band’s favorite track to play and listen to? Why?

Isolabella- it’s off our Cool Kids EP and I think it just has a lot of meaning and heart.

In 2010 you were awarded the “Best Song” award at the OC Music Awards for your song “El Capitan.” How did that feel? What was it like beating out a well-known band like Atreyu?

Strange.  Awards are kind of funny things.  We really appreciate it of course.  I guess we always just kind of feel like we didn’t really deserve it.  Honestly, it might sound like cheese, but just being a part of the Orange County music community is good enough for us.

You guys seem to be well-connected to another famous OC band, Young the Giant. What’s it like playing shows with them?

Those are some solid dudes for sure.  We had a great time playing the Pacific Amp. with them.  It was definitely the biggest crowd we have ever played for.  It seemed like people dug the music.  I know we had a really good time playing.

How did you guys set-up the shows with Young the Giant?

Andrew has done an amazing job keeping in touch with some really great bands.  The dude works hard for sure.

What’s one of your favorite memories during the time you guys have been together?

I think being in the studio with Jacquire was a pretty great time for us.  We learned a lot, made some good tunes, and found a great mentor in Jacquire.

Where can people go to find your music?

We’ve mainly been using soundcloud to release new music. But we are also on iTunes, Amazon, etc..  You can find links on our blog and Facebook.

Author: Nader Ahmadnia

Nader Ahmadnia is a writer for Progressive Man Magazine, an online music publication that features new and emerging talent.

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