SABALS RIDE THE WAVE OF THEIR RISING SOUNDS

February 25, 2015
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2 mins read

Named for a subtropical species of palm, Sabals is a four-piece indie rock band from Orlando with a brand-new, label-funded EP and high hopes of playing for the man instead of working for the man.

“The easiest answer is that we will become busy enough with Sabals to quit our day jobs,” Beth Bynum (vocals/guitar) says of how the quartet’s future is shaping up. “Beyond that, it’s probably traveling the world.”

The official Sabals formation story is a bit foggy. In 2010, Beth met now-husband Dan Bynum when the two were living in Los Angeles. They connected on multiple levels, spending the next few years writing and recording songs together.

“Dan and I met through a mutual friend when I was playing in a folk-Americana band called The Branches,” Beth says. “When that project ended, I pursued a solo project. Dan has always been an incredible recording engineer and producer, so, before Sabals, we really just worked on recording together.”

In 2013, the Bynums relocated to Dan’s homeland of Central Florida. A year later, they met Jessica Vacha, a drummer and a veteran of the Orlando music scene. In April 2014, the threesome expanded on the already-evident acoustic stylings of Beth and Dan and formed Sabals — recording their debut EP Covered In Red just a few months later.

In less than a year, the trio became a quartet — adding Trė Hester on bass — and they’ve been developing a signature sound consisting of acoustic-meets-electronic compositions, soundscapes and heartfelt storytelling usually reserved for traditional, classic singer-songwriters.

They also just dropped a brand-new EP, Premonitions, which was funded by Eye Four Records and recorded at North Avenue Studios in DeLand.

“The four songs are all so diverse, but I think the underlying elements are congruent and I love how the record flows,” Beth says. “People always tell me they get a very spooky, dark sort of ethereal feeling when they listen to our songs, which is absolutely what I am trying to convey in the songwriting and production.”

Beth, the band’s principal songwriter, writes the lyrics and “skeleton” of each song on her acoustic guitar before bringing her ideas to the table. “Then we all develop the song and soundscapes as a group,” she explains. “Many great songs have come from just jamming on an idea and letting the song unfold on its own.”

“Blistering,” the debut single from the new EP, was released on Nov. 4 and has received international attention from music blogs as well as radio play on Seattle’s KEXP. “I wrote [the song] sort of by accident a few years ago while playing electric guitar at our old practice space in L.A.,” says Beth. “The style is more punk-influenced than anything, but we really worked to make it fit our sound.”

A self-described “indie-electronic, female-fronted band with dark and spacey melodies and very big and present vocals,” Sabals took about a week’s worth of time — spread out over a few months — to record Premonitions.

“We had the songs written and worked out as a band ahead of time, so tracking was pretty smooth,” says Beth. “We did add some extra synth and vocal parts once all of the main tracking was done. It was a lot of fun developing ideas with David Plakon, who engineered the record. He has a great ear, and he challenged me vocally in the best way.”

Sabals staged an official release party at Will’s Pub in Orlando on Feb. 19; they travel up to Jack Rabbits on Monday, March 2 for the band’s first-ever Jacksonville show.

When the four musicians aren’t tooling around North and Central Florida for gigs or rehearsing for upcoming engagements, they’re grinding away at day jobs (librarian and waitress included) and putting together new material.

“We’re writing songs faster than we can record them, so I’m sure another release will come out in the fall,” says Beth. “Other than that, we’ll be touring as much as possible. It seems like traveling as a band is such a great way to experience new and unique places, and it’s great to have something we can share with those places when we get there.”

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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