A few weeks back I received an email from Steve Schaller asking me if I wanted to take a listen to his new band’s album. He went on and informed me he was recently in the band Oso and that they had changed their name and was set to release their debut album on March 11th, 2011.
So I agreed to take a listen to the album, after it took about 30 minutes to download on my work computer, I put on my headphones and was immediately taken back by how amazing the album was and I was only on track one!
The self titled debut album from The Heat Run is flat out amazing, the songwriting is incredible, all partnered up with the perfectly executed harmonies, instrumentation, and a well mixed yet raw recorded sound. As a whole you can tell they spent a lot of time making this record and it wasn’t rushed by all means. If you are a fan of Neil Young & The Band mixed up with a little bit of that Beatles harmony charm. Then I recommend you pick up this album on March 11th 2011 at Fergie’s or over at the bands website http://www.theheatrun.com.
Mike: First off, Congrats on your new album, its fantastic, so what was it like after the band change to work with new musicians to come up with what The Heat Run is today?
Steve: Well thank you. We’ve always played with different musicians and tweaked the lineup so it’s not really that strange for us. It’s been a constant evolution. Mike started Oso out in California with a totally different group of people but we kinda always knew we would work together eventually. He came back a few times over the holidays and we played shows and that really set the wheels in motion. Frank Ewing – who just came back into the fold – was the only one besides the two of us who played those shows. We had some other friends on bass and drums and actually had an oboe player! How many bands can say that? When he was ready to move back to Philly I flew out and drove cross-country with him doing shows as a duo, just sticking with the name Oso. Then when we got home we recruited Mike Gordon (an old friend from high school) to play bass. We played shows as a 3 piece for about a year before we found a steady drummer in Josh Fullam. When Mike met Mandy and brought her into the fold we really started to feel like we were hitting on something special. We had talked about changing the name forever and decided we better do it before we released another album. It’s refreshing to have a new start with a name that represents all of us and where we are today.
Mike: How long were you in the studio for working on this debut?
Steve: We started back in the summer of 2009 at our studio in Port Richmond. We took some pretty long breaks for mostly personal reasons. I had a baby and moved into a new house. Mike and Mandy got married and also had a baby. Then we moved the studio to my house. We finally finished this past winter so I guess it was about a year and a half on and off. We originally set out to make a really raw, live sounding album but we just love tinkering in the studio too much and couldn’t leave it alone. It was cool that we wound up recording in lots of different places and had a lot of time to get perspective on what we were doing. And we were able to incorporate a lot of different musicians and instruments. We’re all really proud of how it turned out but it wasn’t easy.
Mike: So I hear you are going to be doing a residency at Fergie’s every month? How did you guys get hooked up with that? And why did you choose such an intimate space to play shows?
Steve: We had been playing there every couple of months and always had a great time. We love playing in small rooms where we’re all really close together and at eye level with the audience. It just kinda feels more like a party atmosphere where we can really interact with the crowd. Eventually we just asked the booking guy (who happens to be our friend Raph from Hezekiah Jones) if we could just make it a regularly monthly thing instead of having to contact him every month. We decided to make this month’s show our CD release party. It’ll probably be a little tight in there but should be fun.
Mike: If you had to pick influences for your songwriting process, who would you pick and why?
Steve: With this album the songwriting process has been very collaborative and we brought in a lot of new influences. Mandy really opened us up to more southern rock, country and soul. There’s definitely Neil Young, Johnny Cash, The Band, Janis Joplin. We really got big on 3 and four part harmony which comes from The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Crosby Stills & Nash.
Mike: What are the bands plans for the future now that you have wonderful recording backing you guys up?
Steve: Well, the timing of finally finishing the album happened to coincide with Mandy getting pregnant so that will put a little twist in our plans for the next few months. Our CD release party on Friday (3/11) is going to be her last show for a little while. We’ll carry on without her playing as many shows as we can to try and get the new name out there and just keep getting better as musicians. We’ll probably start working on another album over the summer and then hopefully do some touring in late summer/early fall once Mandy is ready to get back to it. In the meantime we’ll just try to get our music to as many ears as we can. We really appreciate you helping us spread the word.
The Heat Run is:
Mike Schaller – Vocals, Guitar
Steve Schaller – Vocals, Guitar
Mandy Schaller – Vocals, Harmonica, Percussion
Mike Gordon – Bass, Vocals, Trombone
Frank Ewing – Accordion, Saxophone, Percussion
Josh Fullam – Drums, Percussion
Photo’s by: Jack Schaller (Kitchen) & Dan Baker (Yard)