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New Groove

Published: 2008/12/23

Yamn

Thanks to your votes, our latest New Groove of the Month is Yamn. The Colorado-based group consists of Brian Hamilton (guitar/vocals), Adam Ebensberger (drums/vocals), David Duart (bass/vocals) and Ryan Ebarb (keyboards/guitar/vocals). Yamn, which currently calls Colorado home, first came together in Texas five years ago. The group answered our questions collectively and spoke about the perils of touring across the Rockies in winter, detailed its various Halloween themes and highlighted the occasional butter knife fight.

Stay tuned for our interview with the group. First off, you're still a developing act, making the rounds. How surprised were you that folks voted you as our New Groove of the Month?

We were very surprised and extremely excited to be voted the New Groove of
the Month. We have been close before and it's nice to be part of such an
amazing list of New Grooves and to represent our Colorado scene on
Jambands.com.

*Can you talk about the development of the group? How did you meet and how
did the current line-up solidify?*

It's been a slow development over the years, with the past 2 years hitting
it hard touring the Western US and working on gaining crowds and new fans
in Colorado. The band originally began in Lubbock, TX in 2003 and in June
2005 transplanted to Breckenridge, CO where we met Massachusetts native
David Duart (Dewey). Dewey was then brought in as the new bass player in
January 2007. At that point we sold everything we owned, moved onto our
bus and went on the road for 8 months.

We continued on the road until the fall, when we decided to record our
first album. We went to a cabin in Mayhill, New Mexico for two months to
rehearse and write new material. Then drove to Nashville, TN in late
November and recorded our debut album in 6 days. We then moved into our
current home in Denver and have been here since. This was a huge
development and learning period for us and really solidified what the band
is today.

Since April of this year, we have been very fortunate to have our Lighting
Director Paul Whitehouse on board with us. Paul has been very active in
the growth of this band in all aspects and is basically the 5th member so
to speak. His lightshow is amazing and it helps turn small bars and clubs
into epic Rock shows.

*You describe Yamn as "a four piece
Progressive-electro-trance-fusion-grass-rock band." Can you talk about the
varied backgrounds and interests that the four of you bring to bear?*

Our whole mantra seems to be anything goes. This consists of us being
open minded and accepting any style or genre of music and making it our
own. Everyone in the band brings a unique insight into what they enjoy
about playing and listening to music.

*In terms of those genres mentioned above, is there one that seems to
predominate in the live setting as of late?*

Trance and progressive rock have been at the forefront of our live shows.
Our keyboard player Ryan also double duty's on guitar, adding versatility
to the band. We take a lot of risks on stage so at any time any genre can
pop out in a live setting. It really depends on the night and how bad we
train wreck!

*How would you describe the vitality and support of your local Colorado music
scene?*

Strong and Growing! People love music in this state and bands all across
the country love playing here. We are extremely fortunate as a band and
musicians to be a part of this scene. Breckenridge and Summit County
especially have been great to us, the people in that area love to party
down and we love being their band. Denver has been awesome as well, the
local bands in this city are great and we love sharing shows and fans with
each other. It's a very community-oriented scene. A lot of us bands get
together and party when the big shows come to town! This state has so
many great venues from cool bars to clubs to theatres and of course RED
ROCKS. This allows a lot of opportunity for local bands to grow and play
with national acts.

We also have to give a big shout out to the Northwest scene in general.
It's such a beautiful part of the country and touring through these states
we have met so many great people and bands. There is a large support
network for bands of our size and we can't thank people enough for always
helping us out on the road.

*Can you talk a bit about the challenges in trekking through Colorado during
the winter? Do you have any interesting stories of mishaps or near-mishaps?*

Driving through Colorado in the winter is tough! Let us paint a picture
for you. Five grown men in a ragged school bus broken down in an apartment
parking lot in Keystone in sub zero temperatures. Three of them huddled
together under a jacket trying to sleep, another curled up in a drum rug
on his bunk, and one zipped up in a piano case on a couch, all happening
in the early hours of the morning after leaving The Goat. Cause of
breakdown: a plastic bag in our fuel tank. This is one of a hundred.

Touring through the Northwest in the winter is also tough, there are too
many mishaps or near-mishaps to list. Either way we use to roll in a 32
foot school bus named AJ Ward. Towards the end of AJ's life she ran on
waste vegetable oil, which has even more stories. She became terminally
ill in San Francisco in late July on our summer tour and we had to cancel
12 dates and head home to Denver. Upon arrival in Denver, she then passed
away. We would like to thank John and Eric from Ashbury park in Portland,
OR for selling us their bus because she was one of the greatest things to
happen to this band since its inception.

*Who writes the band's music? How it is typically presented to the group and
how does it then come together?*

We tend to all write music for the band, Brian (Guitar) and Ryan
(Keyboards) bringing more to the table as of late. Sometimes they present
it to the group on an 8 track with a bunch of different parts or thru MIDI
computer software such as Reason. From there the band as a whole develops
and finishes the song.

How do you approach original songs in the live setting?

Our original songs are pretty straightforward and most of them have
sections open for improvisation. At one point early on, we did asterisks on
our set list next to a song or two. We would pick a point in that song
and everyone would have to play something different. It created for a lot
of good moments and some not so good but it really made us take a risk and
that's what we enjoy doing during our live shows. Now we don't use
asterisks and have moved towards listening to each other so if someone
decides to play away from the norm we will all latch on and see where it
goes. Yet on the other side of the spectrum we still feel very strongly
about playing our rehearsed compositions as tight as possible.

*What about covers, can you talk about what songs you toss in from time to
time? Who selects them?*

We usually have an indoor butter knife fight about what covers we play. If
you get cut and blood drawn you are out, so the last one standing gets to
choose a cover. One night the fight went on till morning so we said
"Forget this, let’s just do a night of disco tunes." We learned 13 Disco
songs and threw a Disco dance party in Breckenridge.

*In terms of cover tunes can you talk about any spectacular successes and
failures?*

Halloweens have been fun. In 2006 we did Willy Wonka. In 2007 we did a
set of 80's covers under the name Glam, make-up, hair spray, the whole
nine; a success and failure all in one night. This year on Halloween we
performed songs from the Star Wars sound track as part of a Disco Star
Wars theme.

We have hacked quite a few cover tunes along the way and would rather not
discuss them.

*How often do you rehearse? What do you focus on when you get together for
rehearsal?*

We rehearse as much as possible seeing that we live together. But our
main focus in rehearsal is to talk as much trash to each other as possible
and really pick at each others playing. Each of us then tells each member
how they should play their instrument. Ending in another indoor butter
knife fight and onto the next cover.

*Can you talk about some of your performance highlights thus far. Is there a
gig (or gigs) that stand out? Why?*

Playing the Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO have been great gigs, we have
played there three times this year and it's like a vacation for us. The
sound, the crew they have, and the bands we get to play with are all
great. Opening for Omega Moos (Members of Umphrey's McGee and New Deal)
at the Fox this past month was a highlight because we are huge fans of all
the musicians and their respective bands.

Our first show in Breckenridge with Dewey on June 9, 2007 was an extreme
highlight for us. That time of year is mud season in the mountains so
there are no tourists, just locals. We had just come back from months on
the road and the bar wasn't expecting anyone to show up. When we went on,
the place was at capacity with people even dancing on the sidewalks and in
the streets. The crowd was so loud after every song and after being on
tour playing in front of no one night after night, we felt at home and on
top of the world. Breck has continued to support us with large crowds,
ever since.

There's a festival just outside of Moab, UT every memorial day weekend
called Desert Rocks. In 2007 we played from about 2:30am to 7:30am and
this past year we didn't get started until about 5am and we don't really
remember what time it was when we finally stopped. There's only one big
stage at the festy and all the campgrounds surround the stage, so even in
the wee hours of the morning there's still an insane amount of energy
emanating from all around.

We are also looking forward to our upcoming Holiday Shows in Denver at
Owsley's Golden Road on Dec. 26th and 27th and our New Years Eve
performance in Breckenridge at Three 20 South.

What about a studio or live release, where do things stand there?

Our first studio album was released on Oct. 31, 2008, which was paid for
largely by donations from our supportive friends and family. It is
self-title and self-released. We recorded it in 6 days at our friend Steve
Corroao's studio apartment in Nashville, TN where he attends Belmont
University. We are just happy to have a studio album so people can listen
to Yamn wherever they go. There is much discussion now about a new album,
it is just a matter of time and money but it's going to happen soon. This
time we will take more than 6 six days to record, that is certain.

*Any final thoughts to folks across the country who may be hearing about you
for the first time from this piece?*

Support your local music scene! When you can, grab your friends and come
party with Yamn. ..Third Rock!

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