Observe See Urchin

Robert Checkal

Photo by Dave Ranucci | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

A tea kettle whistled. Singer Amelea Canaris stood up and headed into the kitchen to remove the kettle from the stove before returning and asking if anyone else wanted tea. Before anyone could even answer, Sarah, who plays guitar and glockenspiel, started searching her pockets and excitedly offered Canaris a very important decision.

“I have cranberry blood orange and organic mint fields!” Sarah Lomske said as she pulled out two tea packets.

The other members of Kent-based band See Urchin laughed at the random scene that had just unfolded before their eyes.

See Urchin is composed of six members, all of whom say the main goal of their band is to have fun. While they’re serious about their music, they still work together to bring show-goers a unique, personal and, of course, fun experience.

Something for everyone

The members of See Urchin focus on being a live band. As such, the band constantly has the proverbial wheel spinning to implement new ideas for its shows. The colorful band uses colorful backdrops, colorful face paint and colorful wardrobes as strategies for their ideas.

The members of See Urchin say it keeps them in good spirits, and the result is always something different.

“One time we played at Turnup (Records), and the place was packed,” bassist Beth Lomske said. “We were celebrating a few friends’ birthdays, so we decorated with streamers and made cupcakes for everyone. We rigged the ceilings so that when we pulled a string, balloons and confetti came out.”

Members of See Urchin said they go to shows quite often, and they like to imagine what a band could’ve done to make their experience a little more fun or personal. As they gather information, they consider what their band has done before and how they could do a show differently for fans who see them more often. After everything is considered, the random card is played.

“I want to start playing in a poncho,” drummer Zack Motrunecs said.

Most of the other members laugh with a sense of awareness about the topic, but Sarah and pianist Rachael Kemmett laugh merely for the humorous comment. That’s when Josh Goran, percussionist, electronicist and keyboardist ran out of the room, downstairs, back upstairs and into the room – carrying ponchos.

Sarah and Kemmett were astonished and suddenly understood why everyone else was laughing a little differently before.

“We’re almost going to be playing in ponchos,” Goran said with a smile.

The brightly colored ponchos came from a warehouse in Cleveland where Motrunecs got six for free. They may make an appearance at Saturday’s show.

See Urchin said it sets up as close to the front of a stage and as close to each other as possible. They said energy is important, and being closer to the crowd and closer together makes a better show. They hope to bring enough energy to make their ideal show – where people are dancing and having fun.

“There’s always at least one person dancing,” Goran said. “It gets us in good spirits.”

Something different>

Similar to the way in which See Urchin’s unique shows are aimed toward getting everyone involved in a good time, their music is brought to life with something unusually entertaining.

“Our music appeals to everyone because it has a little bit of everything,” Lomske said.

The band said they write and perform their music without any inhibitions. They claim nothing is too cheesy or too ridiculous, and making it fun is their main priority. Without pressure to maintain songwriting in a certain genre, the band blends various styles of music to create a sound different from anything being released right now.

“For one song, we stop playing, wait for the applause, and then go into a metal band ending,” Goran said.

“Works every time,” Motrunecs added.

Although only one See Urchin member has classical training in the instrument he or she uses for the band, the members have generated buzz all around Kent – so much so that they’re putting the finishing touches on their first album.

“We wanted to find someone who we’d be comfortable (recording) with, so we chose Pat McNulty,” Goran said. “I’ve recorded with him before.”

The band members said the recording process went quickly, and since July, they’ve been putting the finishing touches on mixing. The interesting part of the recording process for See Urchin was that they decided to record everything all at once instead of overlaying the different tracks put down by each member. They said they decided to record each song as one solid track because they feel they’re a live band rather than a studio band.

While most producers in the music business might find it difficult to record a band all together, McNulty got each See Urchin song down in about 2-2 1/2 takes.

They credit their fast-paced recording sessions to See Urchin being composed of six friends who are comfortable with each other. So, whether they’re in a room together playing music, making food or doing an interview, they complement each other exceptionally well.

Something organic

“Which one of these ciders should I use?” Lomske yelled from the kitchen.

“Not the one labeled ‘Zack,'” Goran responded. “Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you that I picked you up some cider earlier.”

“Oh, Josh, I could kiss you right now,” Motrunecs said as he jumped up, ran into the kitchen and returned to his seat with an entire gallon of apple cider.

“He runs on cider,” Goran said.

See Urchin’s members said they’re focused on being the best people they can be. They try to contribute as little waste as possible to the environment around them.

They screen print their own shirts, use bikes and are resourceful. They’re making their own album art, cutting it out and folding it themselves. The band is even looking for a diesel vehicle to run on vegetable oil for their upcoming winter tour.

Once the members have solved how to run their vehicle, they have to worry about how to run themselves. That’s usually when they call their friends to come over for a potluck or bike somewhere for a picnic. Most of the members are vegetarian or vegan, but they don’t mind if someone happens to be a carnivore.

“We’re all really excited about food,” Beth said. “We all cook together.”

After dinner, the band members don’t find it necessary to drink or do drugs. They said they aren’t pretentious and are open-minded to those who do partake, but most members just choose not to.

In choosing to be sober, fans can expect not to find sloppy band members or messed up tunes.

“I think our shows are better for it,” Goran said. “I think we’re all laid-back, non-judgmental people.”

Kemmett agreed.

“We’re all just into (being) healthy,” she said.

There’s just something different about See Urchin. As the six members of this impartial, distinctive and creative band start out on their journey, they have a few things to guarantee for themselves and their fans – fun times with good people, food and music.

But, as usual, they are still thinking of ways to delight their audiences.

“Our shows are only going to get cuter,” Goran said.

Contact all reporter Robert Checkal at [email protected].