Multi-Dimensional – Detroit’s Carter Erickson Straddles 2 Creative Worlds on New ‘Columbia’ EP

Carter Erickson performs at a MusicTown Detroit open mic night.

As an emerging hip-hop artist, Carter Erickson travels between two different creative dimensions – Detroit and Columbia.

In Detroit, he combines catchy beats, raps and melodies with personal experiences to share with growing crowds at open mic nights and DIY shows.

In Columbia, Erickson becomes the main character, Booker DeWitt, from the “BioShock Infinite” video game and battles racism and elitism in the namesake fictional dystopian society.

Together, those two creative dimensions lay the foundation for Erickson’s latest EP, “Columbia,” an immersive six-track hip-hop, role-playing game-like (RPG) experience that dropped last week on all major streaming platforms.

“These songs are based on real-life experiences that I’ve had, but they also coincide with certain elements of the game,” said Erickson, aka Eric Carter. “When you play the game, you don’t know what the character looks like because it’s first-person. For me, this EP is more about how I felt playing this character.”

Downloading ‘Columbia’

Columbia EP

Immersed in his musical RPG world, Erickson takes Booker DeWitt to another level on “Vanishing Point,” the first sci-fi, synth-filled single from “Columbia.” He combines Booker DeWitt’s persona with Kowalski, the main character from the 1971 cult car film, “Vanishing Point.”

“They both feature two guys who have nothing to lose and are working toward this goal. All in all, they both don’t get there,” he said. “At the end of ‘Vanishing Point,’ the main character needs to get to California by 3 p.m., and he’s got this beautiful 1970 Dodge Challenger. In ‘BioShock Infinite,’ a guy has  been tasked with trying to find a woman’s father. He eventually learns he’s her father, but in a different universe.”

Erickson’s sonic travels continue through “The Handbook” and “Cha$e” and allow listeners to draw deeper parallels between his personal experiences and “BioShock Infinite.”

On “The Handbook,” Erickson introduces a slow, introspective jam about how actions have consequences, whether good or bad. “I thought it was something everyone could relate to cause as humans we all have run ‘what-if’ scenarios through our heads regarding one thing or another, and sometimes the perpetual regret we live with and/or die with no matter the outcome we choose.”

For the “Cha$e,” Erickson opens the EP’s closing drack with deep synth beats reminiscent of early ‘80s Atari music. The track was influenced by an earlier portion of the “BioShock” video game series that intersected with Erickson’s life.

“When I first played it, it was almost like a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ kind of moment, which is wherein it intersects with life. You know, one day you’re eating cereal watching Saturday morning cartoons, and the next thing you know, you’re graduating high school and/or college, and then life pretty much happens,” he said.

“When I wrote ‘Cha$e,’ I wanted to define this same approach with the harsh instrumental, but the lyrics sort of glide over it, and this is like a metaphor for life and people. Meaning, life can be tough, but as long as you keep a positive outlook, everything will be OK.”

Continue reading “Multi-Dimensional – Detroit’s Carter Erickson Straddles 2 Creative Worlds on New ‘Columbia’ EP”

Adventures with Vultures Explores Alt Rock Sound on New ‘Back to Normal’ Single

Adventures with Vultures has released their latest single, “Back to Normal,” which features a new alt rock sound.

Adventures with Vultures is bringing a new normalcy to acoustic indie folk rock.

The Plymouth singer-songwriter, aka Matt Sauter, combines his down-to-earth indie folk rock roots with lush new alt-rock growth on his latest single, “Back to Normal,” which drops today.

Akin to Kings of Leon and Mumford and Sons, Sauter’s catchy 4.5-minute single features his signature raspy vocals backed by brightly-toned guitars and pulsating drum beats. “Back to Normal’s” clever lyrics include an infectious play on words ranging from “cooking dishes” to “growing lawns” to “breaking fences” to “painting songs.”

“It’s a concept song, first it was kind of like a joke, I was writing it and trying to sing everything backwards,” said Sauter, who wrote the track while attending the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME). “The chord progressions are churchy and powerful, and once we got a full band with it, it became this super, big and powerful song, and we’ve been playing it live for a year now, and it’s one of our fan favorites.”

That live fan favorite also features the talents of Dan Sauter (bass), Jon Staten (drums) and Jimmy Showers (guitar), who now serve as official band members for Adventures with Vultures. He also worked with Jake Rye of Social Recording Company in Adrian to produce and mix the track.

“We go in there with Jake, we plug in, and we play our shit loud,” said Sauter, who originally started as a hip-hop artist and honed his drumming skills while growing up in Plymouth. “We’re going for an early 2000s indie alt rock sound with these new songs.”

Adventures with Vultures’ Matt Sauter

Originally, Adventures with Vultures started as an emerging indie folk solo act for Sauter, who released his brilliant, introspective four-song debut EP, “Junction,” in 2017 through Original 1265 Recordings, an independent label owned by CND America, DIME’s parent company.

Sauter expanded the project into a full band after playing a growing roster of live dates in Michigan and going on his first national headlining tour last year. He’s also transitioned from being part of Original 1265 Recordings to becoming an independent, do-it-yourself (DIY) artist.

As a DIY artist, Sauter recently launched a GoFundMe campaign to help support releasing new music as well as an upcoming tour. To date, he’s raised nearly $2,000, thanks to his burgeoning fan base, and sponsoring additional casino bus and golf outing fundraisers.

“Being a DIY artist is more community-based, and it feels more organic,” he said. “With the support of our fans, we’re going to release a new single every three months for the next year.”

As a next step, the band will release a new video soon for “Back to Normal” and return to the studio in April to record their next single.

Adventures with Vultures also will perform a series of upcoming live shows, including April 13 at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor with LVRS and Jackamo, April 26 at New Way Bar as part of Ferndale Spring Fever and May 24 at Mac’s Bar in Lansing with Joshua Powell.

“We’re going to keep course, we’re going to do our thing, but we want to be part of SXSW’s Michigan House next year,” Sauter said. “We’re going to keep the name growing, and people keep telling us to come back down to Nashville and Milwaukee. Every year, more and more keeps happening, and as long as we stay on our path, we’ll be pretty fucking happy.”

One Year and Counting – The Late Station DIY Venue Celebrates First Anniversary with Ypsi Show Tonight

The Late Station will host a special one-year anniversary show tonight in Ypsilanti.

A special celebration of Ypsilanti’s emerging do-it-yourself (DIY) music culture will take place tonight at The Late Station.

Hosted by After Hours Radio, the 8 p.m. show will commemorate the DIY music venue’s one-year anniversary with a stacked lineup featuring Liquid Thickness, Varsity Letter, Dis Orda, Tequila Deer, and Vest and Tyler.

It’s the ultimate mixed genre show filled with funk, acoustic folk punk, hip hop, post-punk, EDM and chiptune. Eclectic lineups are one of The Late Station’s specialties – the venue accurately reflects the diversity of music, sounds, approaches and performance styles coming from one of Michigan’s brightest music scenes.

“There’s this aspect of community that organically happens here, and it’s been great over this past year seeing similar faces in the same location,” said Greg Hughes, bassist for After Hours Radio, an Ypsilanti-based progressive groove-heavy indie rock trio. “I love seeing so many people coming back to the same stage experiencing different lineups and shows and having so many different talented artists perform here as part of it all.”

Along with bandmates Nate Erickson (vocals, guitar) and Mark Dunne (drums), Hughes started The Late Station in 2018 after performing at University of Michigan co-op open mic nights as a college student and experiencing the Chicago DIY music scene.

“When I was living in Chicago, they have a very vibrant DIY scene there, and there are lots of venues like The Late Station there where they’re not necessarily big houses with students living in them,” Hughes said. “It’s musicians or artists who want to create their own art space specifically devoted to their craft. After I moved back here, I just wanted to recreate that.”

To date, After Hours Radio has hosted 24 shows at The Late Station. For each show, bandmates, friends and volunteers help book shows, promote events, run the door and assist with gear. The band also accepts donations from attendees at each show to help fund shows and other venue-related needs.

For tonight’s show at The Late Station, After Hours Radio is accepting $5 donations to help pay for venue repairs, including the iconic sign by the stage. Donations can be made through PayPal or at the door.

Tonight’s show also allows After Hours Radio fans to embrace the versatile artistry and musicianship of the show’s five special guests. Here’s a quick look at each artist and what they’ll be bringing to tonight’s performance.

Continue reading “One Year and Counting – The Late Station DIY Venue Celebrates First Anniversary with Ypsi Show Tonight”

Five Alive – After Hours Radio Reflects on Band Anniversary, Hosts Show Tonight at Club Above

Five years ago, the University of Michigan’s co-op scene led to the formation of an emerging Ypsilanti band.

U-M’s Nakamura and Luther Buchele co-ops introduced Greg Hughes and Nate Erickson, co-founders of After Hours Radio, to a burgeoning underground, do-it-yourself (DIY) music community in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor.

Together, Hughes and Erickson cut their growing musical teeth performing at co-op open mic nights and formed After Hours Radio, a progressive, groove-heavy indie rock band, in 2014.

“The high energy and large crowds at co-op parties drove the band to write catchy grooves and riffs that co-oppers could dance to,” said Hughes, bassist for After Hours Radio. “This funk-inspired element flavored our initial indie-alternative style, which was influenced by open mic nights during the band’s infancy.”

Hughes also sought inspiration for the band while working as a late-night college DJ at WCBN-FM (88.3), a U-M student-run radio station. He used a “freeform” approach for the station’s programming and believed a similar philosophy could be applied to After Hours Radio’s musical approach.

After Hours Radio co-founders Greg Hughes (left) and Nate Erickson (center)

“‘Freeform’ describes a perspective that doesn’t conform to a traditional setlist structure restricted by genre and embraces mixing different musical styles,” he said. “We’ve gained a strong sense of improvisation that has translated to the way we find influences for our original songs.”

That fluid musical approach resulted in the band’s self-titled debut EP in 2015 and the “What Happened?” EP in 2017. With Hughes and Erickson (vocals, guitar) at the helm, After Hours Radio went through several lineup changes, including several drummers, and expanded their sound to encompass keys, synths and other electronic effects.

Last year, the band launched their own DIY music venue, The Late Station, in Ypsilanti to showcase local emerging artists and musicians across a variety of genres. Bandmates and friends help promote events, run the door and assist with gear at The Late Station.

“I got acquainted with the whole DIY culture in Chicago, and I was so enamored with the scene there that I wanted to become more involved in it,” Hughes said. “That’s where the direct inspiration for The Late Station came, and we all decided we were going to move to the same location and start our own space.”

Today, Hughes and Erickson will celebrate the band’s evolution with a five-year anniversary show at Club Above, 215 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor, and feature special guests Stop Watch, Approachable Minorities and Summer Like The Season.

“We decided to celebrate the band’s anniversary with a special show because we thought five years for any band was a big milestone,” Hughes said. “Almost none of the local bands existing when we started are around anymore, and most lasted just one or two years.”

For the show, After Hours Radio will play an extended setlist that encompasses the band’s entire career and feature visuals from GSW Art & Design, a southeast Michigan-based visual art, web and graphic design firm. It’s also a valuable opportunity for After Hours Radio fans to embrace the artistry and musicianship of the show’s three special guests.

Continue reading “Five Alive – After Hours Radio Reflects on Band Anniversary, Hosts Show Tonight at Club Above”

Brilliant Disguise – 3 Michigan Bands to Perform Halloween Cover Sets at Ypsilanti’s The Late Station

Three Michigan bands will go undercover to perform classic tunes Wednesday during a Halloween show at one of Ypsilanti’s burgeoning DIY underground music venues.

Strange Flavors, The Sneeks and Liquid Thickness will cover songs from The Black Keys, Mac DeMarco and the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtracks at The Late Station starting at 8 p.m. Former Critics and Complainer will be unable to perform as No Doubt.

“All these bands chose their own covers, and they’ll be doing complete 30-minute cover sets,” said Greg Hughes, the After Hours Radio bassist who co-runs The Late Station with his three bandmates. “I started recruiting bands a little over a month before the show, which is a lot to learn in a short amount of time for a true Halloween costume cover set.”

To get in the Halloween spirit, some bands will wear costumes to impersonate artists while others will come as they are. With costumes and holiday-themed wear, Strange Flavors, The Sneeks and Liquid Thickness will ensure the crowd grooves to spooktacular cover sets.

“We will be encouraging the crowd to wear costumes, that’s kind of the whole idea,” said Hughes, who’s been booking shows at The Late Station since February. “It’s an informal welcoming space that serves as a platform for different kinds of artists and genres.”

Continue reading “Brilliant Disguise – 3 Michigan Bands to Perform Halloween Cover Sets at Ypsilanti’s The Late Station”