Musicians Tyler Theofilos and Dave Buker see their recording project, The Depths, as an avenue to recapture the music they made in the past in a new light.
"To me, The Depths is just another name for the music Dave and I have been making together since we were 12," Theofilos said. Theofilos and Buker have been in bands together going on 15 years, starting with the band Faze and ending with The Depths.
The two, however musically connected, are separated geographically. Theofilos lives in Los Angeles, while Buker lives in Columbus.
Buker is a Youngstown native and has played in the Youngstown folk collective The Devotees. Aside from The Depths, Buker also has his another band in Columbus, Dave Buker and the Historians.
Despite the fact that Theofilos and Buker are geographically distant, Buker agrees the band has been making great progress working on their latest untitled EP, which should be completed by the spring.
"Since we are geographically separated, we have been sending files back and forth, and I have been arranging them into polished recordings," Buker said. "So far, the new recordings of The Depths' songs have existed for a few years but were never recorded. So we've been recording via the Internet, but not necessarily writing that way."
When you go
WHO: The Depths, Modern Life and the Tullsen Brothers
WHEN: 10 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Cedars Lounge, 23 N. Hazel St., Youngstown
HOW MUCH: $5.
Composing through email has proven to be a rather difficult task. "As a result, we are very eager to use our time together during the holiday to write as a team. Tyler and I have been making music since we were 12 or 13, and so we're very used to writing together in the same room. It's exciting to get back in that process," Buker said.
The core of the band includes Buker and Theofilos taking on multiple instrument roles on The Depths' recordings. The band's live lineup includes Buker on vocals, keyboards and guitar and Theofilos on vocals and guitar. Joining Theofilos and Buker for the show at Cedars will be Joe Spurlock on bass and synthesizer and Dave Buker's brother, Jared Buker, on drums.
The band's only studio recording is "The Night Life" EP (2008). The band also put out a live album called "Night Live: Live Recordings," which was recorded live at Cedars Lounge in December 2009. These recordings are available on The Depths Bandcamp page.
"The 'Night Life' EP is more like a rock album in a pretty straightforward way. We recorded the 'Night Life' EP in 2008, before I returned to college. Since then, we both have been exploring work on our own," Theofilos said.
Last year, Theofilos released a mini-solo album under the name Lookalike (available on Bandcamp.com).
"We both matured a lot since the first material of The Depths, and I think people will be surprised by the songs we have been working on for four years," Theofilos said.
For Theofilos, The Depths are continuously expanding in soundscapes.
"My biggest hope is that we can give our fans something they don't expect. The material we've been working on is more nuanced, stranger and less polite," Theofilos said.
Buker believes that "Night Life," was quite raw in its musical delivery and is different from the band's current material.
"Our new EP represents a new process for Tyler and me. For example, we are recording these new songs mostly on our own. Our song 'Clouds Over a River' is a great example of this. The process worked like this, Tyler sent me his vocal and acoustic guitar tracks. I then recorded my brother Jared Buker's drum kit over these tracks. After this, I performed bass, vocals, electric piano, organ, guitar, and trumpet over the existing tracks. Lastly, I had a violinist record additional parts after which I mixed and mastered the recording. This process has given us the opportunity to be patient and experimental. As a result, it better represents our writing as a duo," Buker said.
For The Depths, the ultimate musical influence is emotional honesty. Buker said that when he and Theofilos were younger, they bonded over the Smashing Pumpkins' acclaimed 1995 double album, "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness."
"Since then, we've embraced a lot of different music, and now our goal is to simply make music that we like. If we like it and are proud of it, we're sure someone else will too," Buker said.
Pure emotion is the fabric that binds songwriting and structure together.
"We just write music until we've got a set of songs that fit together and then we arrange those. The one thing I will say is that it has come from a place of emotional honesty. If it doesn't, we're wasting everyone's time," Theofilos said.
Buker and Theofilos hope to complete The Depth's latest EP by spring of 2013. During the summer of 2013, Theofilos said he plans on recording another Lookalike mini-album.
Buker said The Depths also plan on hitting the road, playing some West Coast shows.
"We are planning to do a short tour in California over the summer, and hopefully will, continue doing short tours once or twice a year," Buker said.