Hello! Hello! Hello! Today we'll be interviewing one of the hottest acts in Athens... Underground Springhouse! Hope everyone enjoys...
Featuring Chuck Haas (rhythm guitar and vocals), Benji Holmes (bass), Jacob Sherwin (percussion), Andrew Ford (drums), Max Motley (keyboardist) and Mitch Davidson (guitarist) Underground Springhouse is a "hype-chill-rock-funk" group hailing from the wonderful college town of Athens, Georgia.
Let's get into the questions, shall we?
First, and how we always like to start off here at the Cult... what is everyone's musical background? How did you all get into music?
Chuck - I have no family members that play instruments. I had two close friends that played guitar, one being my cousin, and seeing them play really made we want to play also. I got an acoustic guitar for Christmas freshmen year of high school and the rest was history.
Ford - I started taking classical piano lessons when I was 8 and started branching out in middle school. In 6th grade I started teaching myself drums and guitar and have continued that until now, and I started playing in bands in high school. Chuck, Benji and I started our first band. I’m now a music major at UGA.
Benji - I started out playing drums at around 8 because my family had their own band when I was young so there were always instruments around, I picked up bass around my senior year of high school
Sherwin - Growing up, my parents have always been very supportive of the arts, leading to my sister’s interest in theatre and mine in music. I started taking lessons around the age of 7 and participated in band class from middle school through high school, being classically trained in orchestral percussion.
Max - My dad plays drums and my mom plays piano so I was encouraged to get into music early on. I took piano lessons when I was younger but I really became interested when I started playing in bands in high school and began to explore the music that I had loved listening to my whole life.
Mitch - My family has no musical background. I picked up the guitar when I was in second grade. I remember sitting up in my room trying with all my might to switch between two chords. At this point I thought I would never be able to play because it was just too hard. Just as I was about to give up my dad walked in and asked if I was playing a song by Jane's Addiction. I had no idea who that band was but my dad showed me the video and sure enough.. the same two chords. I instantly sat down and played the song. Anyways, I credit my father for the boost of confidence and getting me into music.
Jane's Addiction! What a great tipping off point to get into music. So, then how did we get here? How did Underground Springhouse, or USH, form?
Chuck - There wasn’t exactly a specific moment the band was formed. Benji, Ford, and I played music together in high school in our first band called Woodsong. It was really just for fun, nothing too serious. Then we all parted ways for college and I met Logan Harr at UGA. The two of us started playing acoustic shows mostly until Benji transferred to UGA, then Ford did the same, and we picked up where we left off in high school and called ourselves Underground Springhouse.
And the name? Totally unique. Where did that come from?
Chuck - I saw the phrase and thought it would be a cool band name if I ever ended up in another band. I held onto it in my head until I randomly said it on stage one night in a bar in downtown Athens. Everyone else just rolled with it, no questions asked.
We think hype-chill-rock-funk is the best amalgamation of our collective sound...You all get together, come up with a name and start playing some music, which you all describe as "hype-chill-rock-funk". That's a genre tag if I've ever seen one!
Benji - We think hype-chill-rock-funk is the best amalgamation of our collective sound and shines a better perspective on what we sound like rather than classifying us as a specific genre per say.
So how do you all come up with the music? What's that songwriting process like?
Benji - Typically Chuck or I come up with a song or a riff to be built around, what we’ve learned so far is that one can be mega excited about their idea but it's best received when a general structure is already built. Meaning that when it's time to show everyone what you got, at least have a vision to build around so that everyone can feel and be on the same page as you are so that the music goes where you envision it to go.
We wish to reshape the fabric of sound, space and time... also to appeal to the wooks tripping sackballs in the crowd.And in that process, what are you all trying to achieve? What's the reason for Underground Springhouse to exist?
We wish to reshape the fabric of sound, space and time - effectively transcending this dimension to exist only in the collective memory. We hope to stimulate the amygdalas in our fight for the sonic revolution - bequeathing a transformative level of dopamine and serotonin in the minds of the individuals who choose to traverse the tenderly melodic yet profoundly sophisticated jams we foster. Also to appeal to the wooks tripping sackballs in the crowd.
I can picture it now... a crowded Athens scene... drinks and fun and hype-chill-rock-funk coursing through my veins... damn, this acid I dropped before the interview was totally worth it! Okay, okay... if we all had past lives, what would all of your past lives be?
Chuck - a deep sea fisherman.
Benji - a tree cause i just be chillin.
Mitch - lewis... or clark...
Ford - probably a giraffe!
Sherwin - a merry prankster
Max - a plumbus
I had to look up what a plumbus was... and boy, I was not disappointed. I guess we need to ask some more questions, maybe? Tell me a little about the progression of the band... from that first show to Jam for Cam!
Ford - Well when we first started we weren’t nearly serious as we are now. We started out playing mostly cover gigs in local bars and for Greek events, and didn't have any original music released for a while. Then one day Charlie corralled us all to go record and that’s when we recorded and released Joyfell. That single resonated with a lot of people and its success gave us all the thought that we could continue to build on that success and really form this band into something amazing. From there we released our debut EP Tom Foolery, and we started to get cooler and cooler gig offers the more we played around town. Within a few months we started to get opening slots for amazing and legendary acts such as The Wailers, Magic City Hippies, Perpetual Groove and Steel Pulse just to name a few. We rode the momentum of those shows all the way to Jam for Cam this past fall and it was more than we could have ever asked for. If you had told us a year before that we would be playing in front of 8000 people in a year we would have told you that you were out of your mind. It was a really beautiful moment to see how all of our work had payed off and it made us realize how many people really rock with us like that.
And what's the plan now? Where do you all want to go?
Sherwin - To the moon! We’ve been extremely fortunate to have been given the immense opportunities that we have had thus far and we hope it continues! As far as the future of the makeup of the band, much like everything else, the times are changing. Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for him, our original lead guitarist Logan Harr has phased out the band and accepted a position in financial planning. While we will miss him incredibly, and that’s our homie for life, we are also crazy excited to announce our two new band members, guitarist Mitchell Davidson and keyboardist Max Motley!
The more the merrier! You all just released Selections from the Georgia Theatre on Spotify... what was special about that show?
Sherwin - The Georgia Theatre show was our first headlining show at our dream venue. Starting college in Athens as a musician, that’s the holy grail - playing the GATH. It’s important to us to have live shows out on music platforms because it gives our listeners a glimpse into how we really do things live, which may be quite different than the studio recording. Being a jam band is all about what you can do live and how you can expand on those ideas you’ve created in the studio, and this EP let’s everybody know what we’re about.
And then speaking about Spotify... Joyfell has over 550,000 plays! Crazy... how does that feel?
Sherwin - It’s unreal! Nobody in their wildest dreams could have predicted Joyfell’s streaming success and we’re grateful! With having all this time recently due to the Coronavirus, we’ve been fortunate enough to all still be living in Athens and be able to still play together and maybe even write some new tunes as well, keep an eye out for some new USH come fall!
New USH! Hell yeah!
Sherwin - Debut album is in the works. Won’t say when it’s gonna be released but we’ve been writing and working on new tunes for some time now.
And I bet you all are excited to get back to playing some live shows again in the fall...
Benji - Can’t wait, got some really cool things in store for the springfam!
You all are probably one of, if not the biggest, acts in Athens right now. That's a huge accomplishment for such a storied, musically rich college town. What are your guy's thoughts on the Athens music scene? Who do you all think is the best band in Athens right now, besides you all?
Chuck - I’m pretty sure Athens is the greatest city to start a band. Weirdness and expression is encouraged a lot more than some other places. Opportunities are all over the place with venues from tiny to huge. Caledonia Lounge, Nowhere Bar, the 40 Watt Club, Flickr, Georgia Theatre, Georgia Theatre Rooftop, and Classic Center are all venues downtown within a mile of each other. Not to mention the countless bars downtown that have bands as well as fraternity/sorority parties. There are tons of local bands and artists that are supportive and eager to collaborate and share music with each other. Even though none of us were born and raised in Athens, we’ve definitely adopted it as the band’s hometown since the Athens scene is what has helped us get to where we are. We’re all really grateful to have started up in Athens.
Max - That’s a really hard question, there’s so many unreal bands in town. I really dig this band called Hotel Fiction, which I believe is just a duo but it’s a cool alternative sound with some super catchy songs. But there’s so many great bands in town. Universal Sigh, Orange Constant, Sono Lumini, family recipe, all incredible bands with great musicianship that always put on killer shows, not to just group all of them together like that as they’re each pretty different acts but they definitely share the quality of being incredible live.
This town is a beautiful place full of beautiful people! Do you all take any musical influences from outside of Athens?
We definitely have our influences, but they’re all over the map because everyone’s taste is slightly different. The cool part is seeing how all our tastes intersect, we’ve all introduced other members of the band to genres they would have normally never listened to because no matter what the genre, we all seem to have a pretty similar feel for what we all think sounds good. We all love playing in new styles and getting outside our comfort zone, so the influences tend to be pretty fluid with whatever everyone has been vibing to as of late. I think the sound that USH has comes naturally from that mixture of influences when we all get together to jam or to write something new, and it continues to reshape itself and evolve which is really exciting.
Quick question... if you all could play any other genre than what you all play right now, what would it be?
Either reggae or sludge metal.
Sludge metal. Gnarly! I got the chance to see the Melvins live at the 40 Watt... those guys kick some ass for sure! Back to normal questions... do you all feel like celebrities around campus?
Benji - Not really celebrities, but we think it’s always cool when people in our classes recognize us and mention a show they’ve been to before, that’s always an awesome feeling.
Athens has had such a big impact on all of you, but how has USH changed your lives?
Chuck - I’ve always loved playing music, but it wasn’t until this group of guys got together and started making our own tunes that I really felt the magic and thought we could do this for real. 2 years ago I had no idea we would be where we are now, and hopefully I say the same thing 2 years from now.
Rapid fire now... favorite show ever played?
1. 1/24/20 Blue Room - Statesboro
2. Jam For Cam 2019
3. Sigma Nu Woodstock 2019
Looking forward to Jam for Cam 2020 and Woodstock 2020! Most funny memory from being in the band?
Chuck and Ford getting handcuffed on stage by Athens PD!
How Doors-esque of you all! Next, I expect one of you all to become a Lizard King 2.0! Aliens. Intelligent life in the Universe outside of Earth and humanity. Fact or fiction?
Fact. It’s almost naive to think we’re alone. Humanity has never even left the Milky Way. Why would we assume that in the endless void of space there are no other life forms? Maybe they’re so much more intelligent than us that they don’t even bother stopping to see us, just like we do the same to an earthworm or a fish in a pond. I mean the government did just admit the existence of nearby UFOs...
Finally, what's the absolute best thing about Athens, Georgia?
Tiddies.I couldn't agree more! And on that note... we'll end the interview. Thanks to all the goodfellas of Underground Springhouse for joining us!
Be sure to check them out here and here and start marking your calendars for some new music and some live shows and some great times in Athens, Georgia!