By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Their music described as “melodic punk rock with a hint of rock ‘n’ roll,” San Diego-based act City Windows recently released their five-track debut EP ‘Oxbow’ via La Escalera Records.
‘Oxbow’ was recorded at Singing Serpent Studios with Ben Moore (Hot Snakes, Pinback, Tera Melos, Rocket From The Crypt), mixed by Dave Holdrege (Mercy Music, Lamb Of God, Story Of The Year) and mastered by Descendents’ Stephen Egerton.
Boasting a lineup with former members of Chicago’s The Sky We Scrape and Las Vegas’ Deadhand, City Windows’ sound blends punk, indie, metal and hardcore. The group is slated to play The Fest 19 in October 2020 and are eager to perform live once more.
City Windows is vocalist/guitarist Ryan Steele, vocalist/guitarist Lyle Pavuk, bassist Sean Sullivan and drummer Aaron Weislogel.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Steele about ‘Oxbow’ and more.
Music Bugle – How did you guys get your name?
Ryan Steele – We kind of all just started listing out some of our ideas for what we thought the project could be called and our old bass player we had at the time had it written down and we all just resonated with it.
Music Bugle – How would you describe San Diego to someone who has never been there before?
Ryan Steele – I would say it’s super chill. Solid music scene, great Mexican food and pretty rad shit to do outdoors. The weather is just incredible. All of us being from the East Coast and Midwest, we absolutely never take the weather out here for granted. Like, ever.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your debut EP ‘Oxbow’?
Ryan Steele – Putting the EP together was a long road. Aaron and I started playing and writing, like, four years ago. We went through a handful of players before really dialing in and lucking out with Sean and Lyle. We had tunes that were all like 85 percent done, but then once the lineup solidified, we were able to focus more on the material and what we truly wanted to sound like. Some songs we clipped and others we tightened up. The five songs we have on this EP are definitely the strongest songs we had when recording. It was a lot of work and the process dragged out a bit longer than I think any of us would’ve preferred. In the end though, we’re all really happy with the final product. Lots of very talented and amazing people involved with the making of this record.
Music Bugle – Being a part of other bands before you formed, how do you feel that contributes to what you do as City Windows?
Ryan Steele – For me at least, I think that all of the projects I’ve been in have all had their incredible times as well as teaching moments. I think by playing in various bands over the last, like, 20-plus years has really shown me to appreciate everything while it’s happening and not take shit too serious. We love playing music and we love hanging out with our friends and other bands and that’s what we all really agreed on when forming this group. No misconceptions, no stress, let’s just play our tunes and hope that they land with people.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and what made you want to start a fundraiser for the San Diego COVID-19 Response Fund?
Ryan Steele – Well, it’s thankfully not gotten any of us health-wise, but some of our day jobs have taken tolls. We were all in agreement that we wanted to get the record on Bandcamp for one of their donation days. Aaron got things all aligned with the San Diego COVID-19 Response Fund. We posted the record up for a day and raised something like $550-plus for them. We were happy to help those affected by COVID-19 in any way we could.
Music Bugle – What is it about live shows that you miss the most?
Ryan Steele – The bands. 100 percent the bands. Checking out a group playing either before or after you that you’ve never heard of – and they completely blow you away, is something that has always been the best part of playing shows. That moment of leaning over to one of the dudes and being like, “Fuck, this band is rad! We should do something else with them.” I’ve met some of my oldest friends that way.
Music Bugle – What does the artwork for ‘Oxbow’ signify?
Ryan Steele – Our dear friend, Hannah Corriveau did the cover art for us. I think it conveys the significance of difficult times in life and moreover, the avoidance of said difficult times and regrets. Removing toxic people and working collectively towards a goal with all the pieces in place. Trying to stay the course in life and trusting your friends and family in new ways as we all grow. I think to me, it also makes me think of staying fluid, being flexible and again, not taking everything so fucking serious all the time.
Music Bugle – Which song of yours was the hardest to write or compose?
Ryan Steele – Hmmm. Maybe “Ripley?” It has a lot of different sections in that song. I remember writing that with the group and being like, “Ohh, we should add in that thing we were doing last time right here.” It’s the longest song on the EP, but is always one of our favorites to play live because of all the fun dynamics and tempo changes.
Music Bugle – What’s the biggest challenge of being a band with four members?
Ryan Steele – Practicing. Schedules and kids and jobs and travel – well at least previously – definitely gets tricky. Now, throw a pandemic on top of that. Fuck you, COVID.
Music Bugle – Where has been your favorite place to play?
Ryan Steele – We all would probably say Tower Bar is our home court, but The Casbah was also pretty fun. We really dig The Space Bar. It’s always nice to have a good stage mix. Lots of pretty sick places around town. Hoping they all can ride this shit out and get shows going again in the not-too-distant future.