On a crisp autumn evening in Indy’s Emerson Heights neighborhood, the members of BYBYE file into their dimly lit practice lair, greeting each other with a slap on the back before getting straight to business. They've got serious work to do, as they're set to unveil their debut album on Oct. 31, a date quickly approaching for the experimental soul rock band.
For the group’s pair of founding members, though, this point has been several years in the making.
Marty Green (formerly of Indianapolis’ Sardina) and David Wessel (formerly of Boston’s Bon Savants) first met back in the early ‘90s, during what Wessel describes as “the old Herron School of Art days.” After briefly playing in a band called O’Beige with drummer Jason Cavan (later of Marmoset), the two eventually found themselves in different cities.
This didn’t stop them from working together on music though. Wessel recalls, “Marty was living in California for a while, and I was living n Boston, so we would send 4-track tapes back and forth.” Green would eventually return to Indy in the early ‘00s, with Wessel following suit about a decade later.
“When I moved back here [in February 2013], I think I looked him up the day I arrived,” Wessel remembers. “That’s just kind of always what we’ve done together is write and record a lot of music.”
With nearly two decades of collaborations to pick apart, the two began sorting through all that they had created together over the years.
Wessel says: “It started as a recording project between Marty and I. He has such a songwriter’s perspective of everything, and I was using Ableton a lot with synthesizers and stuff. So it was kind of just a merging of that.”
In these early days, the two would record each song track by track.This process continued once Nick Peoni – nephew of State Street Pub owner Jimmy Peoni and former member of Street Spirits
— joined the group.
“It sounds kind of cheesy, but a lot of the songs are happy accidents because it seems like the shit that makes it [into the finished versions] isn’t the stuff that you record that night and think will be there,” Peoni reflects.
After crafting several tracks, BYBYE decided to start working on an official album, drawing from the best of their loosely structured recording sessions.
“We just started recording our ideas, and that kind of mutated into, ‘Let’s make this an album,' ” Wessel says.
The trio wound up recording at numerous locations in the city.
(Promo tracks posted on Musical Family Tree)
“We have hundreds of recordings that we did over a year, and that made this whole thing come into being,” Green says. “It really started off as just Nick, me and Dave, and we went from place to place to place and recorded the whole album in like eight different places, from small apartments to the back of Vibes Music.”
Wessel explains that oftentimes BYBYE songs simply start out as a seed of an idea. For example, one song that will not appear on the band’s upcoming album was actually inspired by a jazz-fusion band he heard at the Chatterbox one night. “The whole time I was there, I was like, ‘Oh man. I wish Marty could be here to see this,” Wessel says. "So the next day we’re hanging out and I’m explaining my experience to him. Marty sits down on the organ that he had in his practice space, and he just comes up with a left-handed bass line on the organ for the song. We started tracking it, and ended up developing a whole song around my story about seeing a band at the Chatterbox.”
Drummer Cody Davis (The Bonesetters)
has been added to the lineup, in addition to multi-instrumentalist Sam Shafer (Bonesetters) and auxiliary percussionist Brandon Basore (Digital Dots, Jessica Albatross). All three are enjoying their time in BYBYE so far.
“It has helped me to become a better performer, which was something I really wanted to work on,” Shafer says. “These songs were already established, so it’s like trying to cover the different pieces of the songs. I’m jumping on different instruments, and it’s a lot of fun for me.”
“There’s no pressure to stay on the drum kit,” Davis says. “I can get up and play bass. I can play synthesizer and keyboards. I can play percussion or guitar. I can just sing and mess with my vocals with the MIDI controller.”
Wessel is ultimately hopeful that this genuine love for exploration will continue.
“We don’t want to fit into a standard mold of what bands are supposed to do,” he says.“We try to stay away from that, and just do what we enjoy doing.”