Saturday, June 7, 2008


Columbia has fallen in love with Baumer, but is the rest of the world ready for thier dance infected tunes?


Photo and Story by Sean Rayford 

Sometimes accidents produce amazing results. Two anda half years ago Nate Boykin and Kenny McWilliams start-ed a joke that was never intended to even leave the studio. Eventually they added a live drummer and bass player–and Baumer was born. It only took a few months before theColumbia band was filling local rock clubs to near capacity. Everyone was talking about the band that had risen fromthe ashes of Courage Riley with the help of the singer from Tigerbot Hesh. At that time most regulars to the local music scene would have expected Baumer to have already sweptup the typically disappointing culture of music of the United States.

Perhaps single handily they would save pop music and Columbia would sit back proudly and say ‘they’re from here.’ Hootie and Crossfade would be left in a cloud ofsmoke.On their debut Baumer was even able to enlist the helpof super producer Mike Shipley (the Cars, Blondie, KellyClarkson, Devo). “Having a guy of that caliber working onyour stuff is amazing. He made it sound a hundred timesbetter,” says vocalist Nate Boykin.

“We started the band as a joke and side project and if youhappened to go to any of our early shows that was obvious that we were messing around. But then things got a littlemore serious when the label was interested and we signedwith them,” says guitarist Kenny McWilliams.It’s just taking a little more time thanexpected but slowly that experiment inthe studio has transformed into a worldwith a flashy music video, trips to LosAngeles, and even cell phone ring tones (a category that Billboard magazine now charts).This past spring the now five piece flew out to the WestCoast to work on a music video with famed director DaronDoane (Jimmy Eat World, Thursday, Atreyu, Underoath).

“We got there and there were donuts, bagels and muffinsand three big things of Starbucks coffee and we drink a lotof Starbucks on tour so it was killer,” says McWilliamsabout their experience shooting the music video for “TakeWhat’s Mine.” The new video will be included as bonus material alongwith a remix of the song on the re-release of Come On,Feel It, (September 12) theirdebut full length on AstroMagnetics Records. Doane found the set for the video in a town not too farfrom Los Angeles andintroduced Columbia’sBaumer to the process ofmaking a music video

“It was this crazy awe-some looking bar straightout of a movie,” saysvocalist Nate Boykin.“We were doing thesongs over and over. Allthese people standingaround watching you singthis one song. I had toprobably do the song 15to 20 times. It was superawkward,” says Boykin. The end result is a TRLworthy clip featuring a hot broad, piles of cash, and a yel-low ferrari just as slick as the songs on Come on, Feel It.“Daron was the man,” says McWilliams.“I think the plan now is to use this re-release as a build-up for the next album that we will probably be recording thiswinter,” says Boykin.“We’ve probably already written ten songs for the nextalbum. We’re still excited about the re-release and hopeful-ly we’ll be able to sell a few more copies and set up thenext album,” says McWilliams.

Originally released in September of last year people out-side of their hometown had a tough time finding the CD onstore shelves.“The initial idea with the re-release was that distributionwas kind of a mess on the last [release] and it wasn’t real-ly distributed any-where. Alot of thesales were onlinebecause peoplecouldn’t find itanywhere. Thatlooks good andmeans peoplewere looking forour record but notable to find it instores. So theywanted to rere-lease it and give itanother shot. 

We have a new distri-bution company and then the idea also was that we have a new publicistand to get her on board in time for the re-release,” saysMcWilliams.Baumer’s infectious tunes highlighted with Boykin’sinsane vocal range will surely be able to turn heads acrossthe country as the band gets the right exposure and peoplecan find the record in stores. For the time being, Baumer is Columbia’s big little secret. If Baumer can overcome theirdifficulties with distribution and find some success on theroad it won’t take long before the world finds itself holding Baumer dance parties in their living rooms.“

Touring has been the one thing that has plagued thisband. We’ve been through four booking agents now which is a ridiculous number for how little touring we’ve done,”says McWilliams.Until recently the band existed as a four piece and neverput too much thought to adding any additional members but this spring Baumer recruited Chad Rochester expand-ing and cementing their live sound.“

We eventually decided that we could make a biggersound if we had another guitar player. We could also gethim to play synth and the parts that we had tracked andwere playing along to we could do live and have a betterlive feel. We got to a point where we realized it would be ahassle but if we could make things just a little bit better it would be worth it,” says Boykin.Perhaps by the new year people will start to get it.

They’ll realize that pop music isn’t created on a Puff Daddy realityTV show. They’ll see that there isn’t a pop music formulacontrolled by the elite. Don’t miss the boat, it sets sail againat Baumer’s rerelease party September 9 at the NewBrookland Tavern.

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