Rich Howells

SONG PREMIERE: Scranton indie pop band Black Tie Stereo looks for ‘Somebody Like You’

SONG PREMIERE: Scranton indie pop band Black Tie Stereo looks for ‘Somebody Like You’
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Like a lot of young bands hoping to break out on a national level, Scranton indie pop band Black Tie Stereo has begun a Kickstarter campaign to fund their next album. But unlike many others, they’re going into it with several advantages.

The first is that they’ve run a successful crowdfunding campaign before to fund their last EP, 2017’s “DoYou,” recording with A&R legend Mark Mazzetti in Los Angeles. The second is that they’ve built themselves a loyal local fan base over the last five years that pack venues across Northeastern Pennsylvania practically every weekend. The third is that their songs are infectious and fun, like something you’d hear on the radio or at a party that you just can’t help singing along with by the next chorus.

“We hope that people would recognize the influence bands like The Killers and Walk the Moon have had on our sound, but really we want to be unique. We would describe our current sound as indie pop/rock, similar to those acts. One of our big things for this new project is that we don’t want to be the next anyone – we want to be the first Black Tie Stereo,” drummer George Pachucy told NEPA Scene.

“We’ve been hard at work writing brand new material. We started our new writing in January and have been working full steam ahead since. We really want to become a more polished-sounding act, so we spent a great deal of time and effort learning how to craft and engineer sounds we really like. We feel we’ve been put in a box occasionally as being strictly recorded sounding ‘live,’ and we want to preserve some of that flair while adding in more highly produced technical elements.”

That’s where “Somebody Like You” comes in, their new single debuting today exclusively on NEPA Scene.

“‘Somebody Like You’ is one of our cracks at a feel-good song. We’ve definitely been writing some more introspective songs lately, and we wanted to give something upbeat, positive, and catchy that we could really get people moving to. We feel a lot of love for the support we’ve gotten so far, and that ‘someone’ in the song is anyone to whom we give that love right back,” Pachucy explained.

The song was recorded locally and self-produced, but they felt it needed something a bit more, so they turned to Chicago-based producer/engineer Marc McClusky (Weezer, Motion City Soundtrack, Bad Religion, Everclear), who has worked on many Top 5 Billboard albums.

“We are consulting with a company called Craft Services – the lead singer of the band Punchline and Punchline’s manager – for the release of ‘Somebody Like You’ and to help us raise some money to record on our own. We were happy with the quality of the recording and the mix, but we felt production-wise we could’ve used a little more. They suggested we send it to him, and we were blown away by the mixes he sent back,” Pachucy said.

“Marc really brought life to the mix. He added a different perspective than what was already there, along with additional synths and percussion elements he added, which really brought the mix to life and gave it some color. The new vocal sound is some of the best that we’ve heard in a mix. What we really like about Marc is his versatility. The Weezer, Motion City Soundtrack, and Punchline albums he mixed/produced sound just as good as the EDM and pop tracks he’s credited on. He does a ton of film scoring as well. With a band like us that tries to blur the lines of some of those genres, he’s a helpful crutch to lean on.”

The money they raise will allow them to continue working with McClusky in person at his Chicago studio over the course of two weeks in September as part of their reaffirmed commitment to take Black Tie Stereo to the next level.

“We had a conversation as a group in early January about what we wanted from this project. We decided as a group that, yes, we’ve worked very hard and we’ve done some very cool things, but none of us were satisfied. So the options were we stop now, finish the rest of our shows out, and play occasionally or double down, work twice as hard, push ourselves creatively, and put all of ourselves into a project that could make our own break,” Pachucy emphasized.

“We’ve spent years of our lives working on music while waiting for what some other person or entity could do for us. We decided we’re done waiting – we’re going to go after it as hard as we can. We’re going to write, we’re going to tour, we’re going to network, and we’re going to see where this takes us. We’re not getting any younger, we know that; now is the time to really go for it.”

He feels that “Somebody Like You” is just the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of what they’re capable of musically now that they’ve had years of experience and personal growth.

“Technologically, we’re on an entirely different planet. We feel we have a unified vision of how we want the songs and this project to turn out, and we finally have the ability to program sounds to replicate what we’re hearing in our heads. We really haven’t done that to this point in our writing process. When one of us says, ‘I want it to sound like this,’ we’re not making silly noises trying to replicate what we’re hearing, mostly; we’re actually able to create something very close to what we’re hearing,” he described.

“On the personal side of things, we’ve finally found our groove as to how to write as a unit. Everyone really puts their egos aside and works full force on whatever idea is on the table, and it’s given us what we feel is a brand new sound, not only for ‘Somebody Like You,’ but for the newer tunes we’ve been working on. Sometimes someone comes in with a full song that needs only a few minor tweaks before it’s where we all love it. Sometimes we come in with a riff or a lyric we like and then we just work off of that. It’s so collaborative and honest that it’s refreshing.”

Tonight, they’re playing a free outdoor show on the Linden Street stage outside of Levels Bar & Grill (519 Linden St., Scranton) as part of the Scrantastic Spectacular. They are set to perform from 7:30 p.m.-8 p.m. before the fireworks and from 10 p.m.-11 p.m. after the fireworks celebrating Independence Day. With $1,638 raised towards their minimum $3,000 goal in just two days, BTS is well on their way to exercising their own independence as artists as they reach for their stretch goal of $5,000 to produce an entire album.

“We really appreciate all the support. As of 26 hours after the campaign has launched, we’ve already raised $1,100+ dollars. That’s just incredible. We’d love for as many people as possible to be a part of this with us. You don’t necessarily have to give monetarily; come out to a show, share a post, comment on something. Anything helps us because this project won’t be possible without it,” he said.

“We will be giving away immediate perks – T-shirts, stickers, and wristbands – to donors of different levels at our shows as well. The last fundraiser we did was successful, but we didn’t feel like people felt like a part of the project. We want this to feel more immersive and can’t wait to share!”

Once the music is in the hands of supporters, their next step is to make new ones all over the country by going out on tour with a national act, hoping to travel with bands like Walk the Moon, The Killers, The Wombats, The 1975, MisterWives, and Panic! at the Disco – and they’ve already opened for the latter two.

“We wish people could hear the demo versions of what we’re working on for this next project. It’s not anything outside of our sound, but it’s so much more creative and contemplative than what has come before,” Pachucy left off.

“We’re looking at everything through such a new lens now.”

Photo by bedfordtowers