Courtesy of Andrew Spear
This is part of our weekly series titled “Columbus’ Own,” where we profile a local band every Thursday.
“You know that feeling you get when you roll your car window down for the first time after keeping it up all winter, but you still need to have your heat on a little because it’s still a little too cold not to? That’s what our music sounds like.”
Bass guitarist Michael Jones of Columbus band In Silent Movies describes the group’s sound this way.
The indie rock band, comprised of Jones, singer and guitarist Josh Landis and drummer Randy Detweiler, has been playing together for three years and is working on its first full-length album, which is aiming for a release early next year.
Jones and Landis started playing together while attending Ohio University, where they majored in audio production. After graduating in 2010, the duo moved to Columbus and recruited Detweiler to play with them.
Before the group met, Landis had already found inspiration for the band’s name.
“(The name) was from a blog post that I read in high school. Everything on the blog was sort of poetry that doesn’t really make sense. So the title of this blog post was ‘They had faces then, in silent movies, and feet too.’ I don’t really know why that stood out to me, but I just thought it was a cool thing,” Landis said.
Jones said he and Landis moved to Columbus partly because of the city’s robust variety of musicians and venues.
“We love the music scene here,” Jones said. “You can get to venues in 15 minutes or so, so it’s easier to get out to shows and support local bands. There’s so much talent here, so it’s a competitive scene.”
Brett Ruland, owner of Spoonful Records, located at 116 E. Long St., said he thinks supporting the local music scene is important.
“There are so many local bands out there, but we’re big on local stuff and promoting local bands’ music (at Spoonful),” Ruland said.
Though the band is dedicated to finishing its album and playing shows in Columbus, some members also balance band duties with a full-time job.
Jones is a salesman for Time Warner Cable, Landis is a server at Lindey’s in German Village and Detweiler is currently unemployed.
“I don’t know how we do it, honestly,” Landis said of balancing time between work and the band. “We’d be a lot more proficient if we practiced more.”
Keeping a set practice schedule is difficult, Jones said, since Detweiler recently moved to Cleveland.
“With our normal schedules, we try to practice once a week,” Jones said. “With Randy living in Cleveland recently, it’s been impossible so we’ve been practicing just before shows.”
Jones said the band tries to play at Columbus venues such as Kobo and Skully’s Music-Diner as often as it can, and that its energetic live shows set it apart from other bands.
“Our live show is one of the most unique things about us,” Jones said. “We’re pretty active and we like to tell jokes, whether they’re good or bad. I don’t think many bands have the balls to tell jokes on stage.”
Landis agreed that In Silent Movies excels when playing live.
“It’s hard to get a sense of our energy on an album,” Landis said. “Live, we’re really high energy and I think that’s where we’re strongest. We’re goofy and we appreciate people coming out to see us.”
Besides working and making music together, Landis and Jones are co-owners of Old Son Studios, located at 583 E. 3rd St., where they, along with third co-owner Alex Douglas, bring in local bands to record music.
Jones said owning his own studio has made it easier for In Silent Movies to work on its album.
“Since we own the studio, we can take our time with (the album) and take the time to evaluate what we’re going to put out,” Jones said. “We’re trying to put our best foot forward and get the best 10 songs that we can on the album.”
Jones said the band does not have any long-term plans after finishing the album.
“You have to take everything as it comes,” Jones said. “If you start making long-term goals, you get lost very easily. But I think we’d like to go on a significant tour somewhere, supporting an artist we like. I think that’s a pretty reasonable goal.”