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Columbus crooners put music under name New Vancouver

Courtesy of Jeffrey Riley

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This is part of our weekly series titled “Columbus’ Own,” where we profile a local band every Thursday.

The members of Columbus indie pop rock band New Vancouver are perfectionists.

After releasing its debut EP “Armchair Fanfare” in February 2011, the band has been working on recording its full-length album, tentatively titled “Short Songs for Long Faces,” since the beginning of the year.

“We are taking our time on this album to make sure it is really, really, really good,” guitarist and vocalist Tony Rice said.

The band also released a two-track album in April that includes the songs “Everybody Wants You to be My Baby” and “Where Love Once Was.”

Also comprised of drummer Ryan Piechuta, pianist and vocalist Jeff Straw and bassist and vocalist Seth Daily, New Vancouver spent its summer playing shows at Columbus venues such as Oldfield’s Bar, Kobo, Skully’s Music-Diner and Victory’s.

Straw said the band’s live shows are packed with energy because of its ability to pack a lot of songs into a short time slot.

“A lot of the songs we play are really short, only three minutes on average, so everything’s pretty fast-paced,” Straw said.

New Vancouver formed when the four members were students at Capital University’s Conservatory of Music in Bexley, Ohio. Straw said he, Piechuta and Rice had been friends since their freshman year and had always talked about starting a band together.

“One day we just decided to play and see what happened,” Straw said. “We had a really good time and then we put an ad on the radio to find a bassist, and Seth fit in great.”

Piechuta, Straw and Daily graduated last spring and live together in Grove City, and Rice plans to graduate in December.

Though New Vancouver cites indie rock bands Modest Mouse and Death Cab for Cutie as major influences, Piechuta said the band is inspired by genres ranging from folk and rock to jazz and Motown.

“I would definitely say Motown in general had a big influence on us and the whole Beatles generation,” Piechuta said. “But there is also a lot of modern day stuff too.”

Rice agreed, saying folk is another genre often associated with the band.

“We also listen to a lot of folk, so that kind of gets applied to our sound,” Rice said. “Bob Dylan is one of our influences.”

New Vancouver’s interests in music are reflected in its recordings.

“A lot of our songs are pretty different from each other,” Straw said. “They all fit together really well, but if you listen to two or three of our songs then you are probably not going to get them confused because they are so diverse.”

Piechuta agreed, adding each band member’s personal preferences affect different songs.

“We tend to be really diverse because we all write and three of us sing the songs,” Piechuta said. “So that widens our sound as well. And each writer has his own individual influences as well.”

Straw said the band’s songwriting process is collaborative, and whoever writes a particular song usually sings lead vocals on it.

“We’ll each write a song, play it for everybody and then, if we all like it, it becomes the band’s and then we transform it into our sound,” Straw said.

The band’s songs are typically “up-tempo and upbeat,” Straw said, and tend to focus on real-life experiences.

“I generally don’t sit down to write a song. It just kind of occurs,” Straw said. “The songs are just about trying to put a different perspective on what’s going on in our lives.”

Straw said, besides working on its new album, the band’s main focus is to “stay on a track toward improvement.”

“We all graduated with music recording degrees, except for Seth, who has a musical performance degree,” Straw said. “We’d love to just keep recording our own songs and keep improving our sound.”

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