By JESSICA A. BOTELHO
With a few new members added to the mix, the North Attleboro-based band, YORK, just celebrated their CD release party at The Ruins at the Colosseum in Providence on June 3. After putting together their first full-length album, “Box Full Of Memories,” they said their group is as solid and fresh as ever.
“The new members have made everything feel more complete and whole,” said Emily Rickard, who plays keyboard and shares vocal duties with bassist Dan Pawlowsli. “Before, we were going through any musician we could grab to call ourselves a full band. Musically, our compositions have been evolving constantly. In one of the songs, ‘Shine,’ we have a pretty intense solo that I would have never guessed to be in a YORK song.”
Pawlowski agreed, saying they have “evolved a lot musically.” He also said their live shows are much stronger, as they added a second guitarist and incorporated a new drummer.
“Mike Taub, our guitarist, and Erick Cifuentes, our drummer, bring a lot of energy to our live performances, something I would say we were slightly lacking,” he said.
John Shay, the original guitarist, said each member impacts every song “immensely” when writing.
“There are a lot of different emotions that come with the task and everyone tends to put their own into the songs we decide to track,” said Shay. “If we were to break it down, usually [Rickard] and [Pawlowski] mainly influence melody and structure; [Taub] and [Cifuentes] tend to influence a lot when it comes to the composition of music; and I influence the lyrical content.”
To record the album, YORK hooked up with producer/engineer David Adam Monroe of Time Bomb Studios based in Somerville, Mass. Monroe heard their music on MySpace and contacted the band. He let them know he was interested in working with them.
“We looked into him and we thought that he seemed pretty legit,” Pawlowski said. “It turns out that he was. [He] is one of the reasons YORK sounds the way it does today. He showed us a different way to take on the writing process and helps us get the best out of every song when we record.”
Shay said teaming up with Monroe was the best decision the band has made in their three-year career. He thinks of Monroe as a father figure, but also a friend and mentor.
“He tells us when our lyrics are just there to fill space, when a certain section of a song just doesn’t sit well in the song, and tells us when to shut up or get out of the room when we’re going delirious in the studio,” said Shay. “He is always giving us advice and direction. It is always the best times of our lives when we head into the studio with [him.]”
Now that the album is complete, they said they are relieved and feel accomplished.
“This was, in my opinion, the main bridge we had to cross to start pushing us and getting the sound of YORK to peoples’ ears,” said Pawlowski. “Yet, this is just the start to where we want to be with our music.”
Rickard also said it’s odd not going to the studio anymore, as they visited Time Bomb Studios three months straight when they were recording. But, overall she is excited about their new material.
“It took two years, but it seems like we just finished it all so quickly,” she said. “The songs we recorded are perfect for where we are in our lives. For me, it showcases what people can expect from us [and] what we’re growing into because it has songs that we recorded two years ago and songs we recorded two months ago.”
While Rickard and Pawlowski typically both provide vocals for all songs, their album includes two tracks they sing on their own. These songs are “Shine” and “Digging My Own Grave.”
“We wanted to have two songs on the CD that were different from the others,” Pawlowsli said. “This also lets us show that there isn’t one main singer in this band. [Rickard] and I both take on the same goals.”
In May, the band co-hosted The Cheap Seats, a weekly two-hour radio show on COOL 102 in Hyannis, Mass., with Cat Wilson. The show features local bands and artists as co-hosts. Wilson encourages them to share their personal stories and they suggest music for her to broadcast.
“It was awesome being on the radio with Cat,” Cifuentes said. “She seemed really supportive and my Spanish-speaking skills actual came into use to promote for a Cinco-de-Mayo celebration.”
Taub agreed and said since it was their radio debut, “it was a bit nerve-racking at first, but ended up being a lot of fun. Cat seems to love our sound and she genuinely believes we can make big things happen and it feels good to know there are supporters like her out there.”
In addition to having their music played on COOL 102, two of the album’s singles, “Let Me In,” and “Reservoir,” have recently received airplay on several FM stations, including WHJY, WBRU, and Pixy 103. The band hopes to sign with a booking agency in the near future and start extensive touring.
“We want to do all that we can to make our passion possible,” said Cifuentes. “We all know that this is what we are. I’m a drummer, not a waiter.”
Shay said they want “to find a way where we can support our dream and ourselves while enjoying the experience with our best friends.”
For Rickard and Taub, they can’t wait to return to the studio.
“I think we’re already eager to record another album,” Rickard said.
Taub agreed and said, “writing and playing music is addicting, so I think I speak for all of YORK when I say we can’t wait to get back into the studio. A lot of music nowadays is played and recorded just for the sake of being played and recorded. It lacks the unique feel that every band should have. I feel that YORK is bringing back something that’s been lost for years.”
For more information about YORK, visit their newly designed website at www.thisisyorkmusic.com.