This article originally appeared Dayton City Paper
In a world of Music that seems to fit everything into cookie cutter genres Sound Rabbit isn’t afraid to think outside the box. Not only do they step outside that rock box, Sound Rabbit proceeds to dabble around with jazz, folk, and pop as well as a wide variety of other musical classifications. Synth meets steady guitar reminiscent of early Weezer on tracks like “Diminished Returns”. The very next track on Tree Trunk Airplanes, “Years Ago”, features a smooth strumming a tune more akin to Elliot Smith, while the track after that bubbles a bit like pop. All of this leads to some well varied albums which won’t wear out even after a dozen listens. Amongst my group of friends we have a term for bands who lack variety; same-y, and Sound Rabbit is anything but same-y.
Sound Rabbit will be playing at Peaches Bar and Grill in Yellow Springs April 13th. Although they have played here before it has been several years since their tour hit so close to Dayton.
Sound Rabbit hails from Boulder CO. They formed when solo artist Russ LePrie sought to start a full band that could perform live and eventually record. Joining LePrie to create Sound Rabbit was Chris Anton – lead electric guitar, Chris Beers – percussion and Jason Kapp – bass guitar. The album This Room Becomes A Crowd was released in 2007. The follow up Tree Trunk Airplanes came out in 2009 while their third studio album Don’t Forget to Remember is set to be released later this year.
For this third album, Don’t Forget to Remember, the guys of Sound Rabbit decided to do something a little different so they could really focus on the project. All four members of the band travelled to Virginia where they stayed in a cabin to do nothing but make music for ten days straight.
“We made 14 or 15 songs,” said Russ LePrie. “Being separated from everything we were able to really focus on group writing.”
As band without bounds Sound Rabbit seems to draw from a wide variety of influences, inspiration and experiences. “We just absorb everything we listen to,” said LePrie. “From pop radio to Brian Wilson, even John Mayer. We’ll listen to stuff like Jazz or Death Metal on the bus. Our influences are all over. Because of that we never really landed in a certain style.”
This openness to anything has gone past just the art itself it’s reached into business and charity where Sound Rabbit is progressively breaking new ground with their “Backstage Community” program. This is a membership based program that gives you inside information on tours, access to all their music and opportunities to glimpse behind the scenes.
“Really the influence was PBS television, how people become a member then contribute money to help fund their production of original content. It’s like you’re a non-billing shareholder,” LePrie explained. “We were like; what if musicians did that? We know there are fan-clubs and things like that, but you’ll pay $20-50 and that still won’t get you the next album. We were thinking; what if we did the whole enchilada? It’s a membership model. The fans pay $20 and get everything we produce that year and that includes if we go on tour we can get people on the guest list and things like that. There is no limit, if we make three albums that year you’ll get three albums.”
“Then we realized from that we have residual income where we could take revenue from what is traditionally the bread and butter of musicians like merchandise sales, ticket sales and CD sales, and we could donate money to charity,” LePrie said. “It became the prefect trifecta. The band is sustained by the fans and we also create this community. And society benefits where we are able to donate and do it quickly. When the earthquake in Haiti happened we were able to donate to Red Cross the next day.”
Although Sound Rabbit is a fearless band who seems willing to step out in any musical direction there are still some places they are strictly deliberate especially when it comes to where the money goes.
“You’ll notice we avoid any political giving. All of our donations are to universal charities,” LePrie pointed out.
The future is looking bright and exciting for Sound Rabbit. Their Backstage community Program is doing well and expanding quickly. LePrie told me; “At some point we’d like to include it with other bands where you sign up for X-bands backstage stuff and you get this other bands stuff too. I think we’ll probably add one or two bands within the next two years.”
Justin LePrie heads Sound Rabbit with exciting new ideas and an openness to all musical possibilities. As a team Sound Rabbit offers up a delightful mixture of music. They will capture your attention with every song but each one in a completely different way. All of this bodes well for the upcoming album “Don’t Forget to Remember”. For a sneak peek of those tunes simply come to the upcoming show where they are sure to play a few. For more information on the Backstage Community Program see http://www.soundrabbit.com/the-backstage/