The four-piece Seattle-based band This Providence will be touring in Aurora on May 6. Formerly known as Sunday Best, the group recently released their third album Who Are You Now? with record label Fueled by Ramen. The band’s drummer and newest member Andy Horst, spoke with North by Northwestern over the phone about the band’s latest work, performing in Chicago and where things are headed for the group.
You recently released your third album. How is it different from the band’s previous two albums?
[With this album, as well as the previous one] Gavin our guitarist, wrote almost all the music, and then Dan (our singer) would go in and write the melodies and lyrics and stuff over the music Gavin had written. [Gavin and Dan] had tended to write fairly complicated music because that’s what they were into. They’re very influenced by Gatsbys American Dream and stuff like that. Then with me and David (our bass player) being fairly new members, and finally part of the writing team, we kind of simplified the record a lot. We wanted to make it a lot more tangible for a broader audience. I think just a lot of it was that we looked at the bands we really loved, and we wanted to, in a sense, imitate that. Not necessarily in style or exactly writing, but as in writing more simple songs that are more easily tangible to more people.
How did you end up joining This Providence?
Initially their first drummer quit because touring wasn’t really his lifestyle, and I met Gavin through our local music scene. He had just heard about my band that had just broken up, and I knew about This Providence just living around there [in Seattle]. And they actually asked me once to join, but I turned them down. I went to school in Australia for a little while, then they kicked out their second drummer and asked me again. And at that time, one of my best friends from high school was actually playing with the band, who’s not with us anymore, so he was kind of my second “in” with the band.
Have you or anyone in the band ever visited or performed in Chicago?
We’ve played Chicago quite a bit — actually, [it's] one of our favorite cities. It’s pretty tied with New York for shows. I have a sister in Chicago, so I actually spend quite a bit of time there. I’ll fly out a few times a year. It’s definitely my favorite Midwest city.
What makes it one of your favorite cities?
There’s just something classy about Chicago. I don’t know if I can directly pinpoint it. For me personally, I have a lot of family. My whole family is from Chicago and the rest are from Minnesota, so it’s just like a lot of personal family history there for me. People actually respect music there compared to a lot of other cities.
What do you enjoy most about being part of This Providence?
I’d say the relationships. As a drummer, I tend to kind of hide in the back. I’m not the super vocal person of the band, I don’t love the attention. But I think the friendships that we have with the band, that we make with other bands, is most definitely my favorite part. The people that you meet in this industry are just awesome across the board.
What was it like recording with Matt Squire (Panic At The Disco, Boys Like Girls, All Time Low) in Los Angeles?
It was a pretty amazing experience. We recorded at a studio called The Layer. Basically the whole inside of it, the guy who owns it, he turned it into a medieval castle. So we were recording almost in a castle, and Squire just really worked with us. He knew what we wanted more than we did.
What are the biggest challenges This Providence has faced?
The state of the music industry with people downloading. There’s a lot less people buying records, a lot less people coming to shows, a lot less people buying [merchandise], so it’s harder to survive out there just on the road. We had some management issues when I first joined, and we have new managers now who are fantastic. The old ones kind of didn’t help us get to the direction we were trying to go, so they kind of put us on hold for a little bit. Which I think in a sense slowed us down from getting to the point where we wanted to be.
Where do you think the band’s music is headed?
Our goal is to make music that almost anyone can receive and enjoy. We don’t want to get stuck in a pocket like a lot of other bands on the scene. We want to make something a little more respectable. We’re very influenced by a lot of bands that we feel have done that, like Jimmy Eat World, Third Eye Blind, Oasis and The Cure and stuff. Those songwriters, the way they handle the business with the band, they’re not overly “scene,” but they’re dudes that write good songs and perform well and people love it. They’re bands that aren’t stuck in a certain scene.
Do you have any advice for people who are trying to start their own bands or trying to get into the music industry?
I’d say number one, make sure you enjoy it and make sure you’re playing for the right reasons. Because a band is probably the slowest way to get rich quick, especially with the way the economy and industry is right now. We do it because we love doing it, not because we’re trying to get rich or anything. I’d just say keep playing, work with as many styles and people until you can find a niche where you can really bring out your perfect creative side.