You Are I Am
You Are I Am
Renk plays both piano and acoustic guitar, while the other members -- drummer Jesper Kristensen, bass player Mik Heimburger, guitarist Thomas Hjorth and guest guitarist iZLER -- add their own creative expression to these riveting arrangements. “I believe that we’re all part of a greater humanity,” Renk says of the group’s songs. “We’re not trying to use our music to make a political statement or to advocate one cause or another. However, I do think it’s a shame that we only have this one opportunity to enjoy and experience our time on the planet, and therefore we shouldn’t waste it by treating each other badly. So, if our songs can put the listener in a reflective mood and offer some sort of positive message along the way, then all the better.” If the You Are I Am’s new music is any indication, You Are I Am may accomplish that purpose.
The material resonates with an emotional intimacy and passionate embrace that recalls the honesty and heartfelt conviction of Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson as well as the searing, anthemic urgency of modern stadium rockers like U2, Radiohead and Coldplay. “My songwriting is actually intuitive,” he suggests. “My brain understands how to put together the chords and the melodies but I really think that I’m more of a conduit. I actually get the sense that these songs are out there in the cosmos and that they somehow pass through me so I that can expose them to the world.” It’s not surprising then that the EP came together quickly.
Co-produced by John Goodmanson, well known for his work with Death Cab For Cutie and Nada Surf, and Renk himself, it was recorded over fourteen days this past December at Renk’s own Velvet Buddha studios. Drums, bass and piano were recorded live in three days, followed by vocals and guitar overdubs. The music also reflects Renk’s earliest influences. “I was always drawn to this essential British Rock sensibility,” he recalls.
“I loved bands like the Beatles and Pink Floyd. When I was growing up I learned a lot about classical music but somehow I always gravitated towards my older brother’s Beach Boys and Led Zeppelin albums. More recently, I became interested in groups like Oasis and Radiohead.” In fact, music has always been Renk’s lifelong obsession. He began playing piano at the age of 4 ½ and remarkably, wrote his first song at the age of ten.
“Music seems to be the only thing I’ve ever been drawn to,” he insists. “When I was a kid, my parents had to turn on the radio at night to help me to fall asleep. I remember being in church and suddenly I’d be humming a song out of nowhere. My mother would literally have to tell me to shut up!” After high school, Renk was able to pursue his passion by touring with various bands, eventually ending up in Toronto, honing both his music and his performing skills.
After a couple of years, he returned to his hometown of Los Angeles where he continued to play in a succession of different groups. All the while, Renk began acquiring an enviable reputation in West Coast music circles for his proficiency as a writer, producer and arranger. Through word of mouth, other artists began seeking his services, a list that came to include rock artists such as Helmet, Chris Daughtry, Gavin Rossdale, Three Days Grace, P.O.D., Augustana, Matchbook Romance, Ben Moody of Evanescence and Kara Dioguardi. It was while gigging with a group called the crumb bros.
that a friend brought their album to the attention of Matt Pinfield, then a vice president of A&R for Columbia Records. Although the company expressed interest in signing them to their roster, internal problems within the band ultimately scuttled the agreement. Undeterred, Renk put out the call for other musicians with similar musical leanings and before long, You Are I Am was born. Fortunately, good fortune was not far behind.
When his manager, Joey Simmrin, who also counts CBS Records’ Will Dailey among his clients, casually played some of You Are I Am’s material for the CBS Records brass, the reaction was instantaneously enthusiastic… so much so that one of the executives’ wives had to plead with him to play it in his car because that was all she was hearing around the house. Within two hours of the signing, Renk and You Are I Am were onstage at a CBS showcase performing their songs for CBS executives, show producers and music supervisors. “Being signed to CBS Records is an amazing opportunity,” Renk effuses. “There’s no other medium like television when it comes to reaching the masses.
To think that our music will be able to reach so many people is an incredible dream come true.” Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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