Local indie rockers Avery Rosewater seemed to appeared on the scene out of nowhere around the end of last year with the release of their impressive debut single “Havana” and a New Year’s Eve gig opening for The War On Drugs. However that is not entirely the case. The group is made up of four close friends and neighbors who have been around the city’s indie scene for awhile in various projects. Avery Rosewater is lead by Julien Rossow-Greenberg (of Arches, and a few solo releases) on lead vocals and guitar, Kevin Kearney (Arches) on drums, Kevin Comly (Gold Julius) on bass and Jordan Mrazik on guitar. With a gig coming up on February 7th at Kung Fu Necktie opening for Laser Background, The Key recently caught up with the new four-piece via email to find out who exactly Avery Rosewater is.
The Key: What made you all want to form a band together?
Julien Rossow-Greenberg: Kev and I had some songs that we wanted to flesh out with a full band. We asked Comly and Jordan to play because they’re our best friends. We just wanted to rock out in the basement.
TK: Why/how did you decide on the name Avery Rosewater? Is he a real person? Based off a real person?
Kevin Kearney: Eliot Rosewater is the name of the main character from Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, which is one of my favorite books. No one wanted to use Eliot, so we came upon Avery…somehow.
TK: I know Julien was/is in Arches and releases solo stuff and Kevin was/is in Gold Julius…what are the statuses of those bands/projects?
JRG: Gold Julius is definitely still happening for Comly. Arches is no more.
KK: Comly’s releasing a seafood opera. Look out for it.
Kevin Comly: That’s not a joke, the seafood opera is definitely happening, it’s just going to take several years to materialize. Materialize isn’t even the right word, because it’s sort of a way-of-life thing, not an actual…thing. I’m also working on a way to present Gold Julius in a live setting, which will be soon and 100% real.
TK: So is Avery Rosewater everyone’s main project now?
JRG: I guess…Not really…we play as different bands in other combinations. Jordan and the Kevins play as Fireside Chats. They’ve never released a song and have only played one show I think, but they’re awesome and have a bunch of really great songs.
KK: Jordan and I also have a band called Bass Jam. Comly and I are trying to get a 90s radio-rock tribute band going for the spring – might call it Two Princes. We’re trying to start as many bands as possible.
KC: I joined The Quelle Source a few months ago as a fresh bassist, but they’ve been together for years. My brother is the keyboardist, which is awesome, I love playing with him. It’s good stuff, check it out, new record soon.
TK: What do you guys do besides playing in Avery Rosewater and your other projects?
JRG: Jordan is an architect. Kearney is a high school English teacher. I work in IT. Comly works at a coffee shop with some serious characters, most notably Bennett Daniels.
KC: Yeah, I’m just serving hot brown beverages mostly. We also definitely like to play as much softball as we can when it’s warm out. Quizzo and Karaoke. Kevin is one of the best Karaoke performers I know. We do a lot of brunching on the weekends, too.
Jordan Mrazik: We definitely don’t do any brunching.
TK: Julien, I know you run Treetop Sorbet Recordings. Is it hard being in a band and also running the label?
JRG: The label is sort-of on hold right now, and won’t come back unless Hippie Johnny lets me put out their LP. It’s a limited-run operation and has a very modest fan base, so, no, it’s not a ton of work. I started it to put out music I enjoy and never had grand aspirations beyond that. Brendan Codey‘s Casco was a big hit, by my standards at least. It gets really hard when I have to go to the Post Office on Dickinson St. in South Philly and the line is out the door. That place is the worst. But no, it’s not hard doing both.
TK: What have you learned while running Treetop Sorbet and working with other bands that you have brought to Avery Rosewater? How will it help this band progress?
JRG: I don’t know if we’re planning for some sort of large-scale “progression”. We just like playing with each other. We might do a long weekend, but we’re not really concerned with touring. Right now we’re just working on our songs and playing shows in Philly. We’re happy to just drink a pot of coffee and play in Kev’s basement.
TK: There is a strong guitar-pop influence in the band’s music. Who are some of your biggest influences on Avery Rosewater’s overall sound?
JRG: Tom Petty.
KK: Holding out for a cover of Derek & The Dominos’ “Bell Bottom Blues”.
KC: “Low” by Cracker.
JM: Maya Deren
TK: You guys played with War On Drugs on New Year’s Eve at Johnny Brenda’s. What other Philadelphia bands are you guys listening to?
JRG: The new Nightlands record is really cool. There are new Drugs and Kurt Vile records on the horizon. We have a bunch of friends who make great music: Brendan Codey, Cough Cool, Hippie Johnny (if they ever release anything), Laser Background, The Neighborhood Choir. There’s this band called The Interest Group, they’re gonna be famous one day. Also, Honey Radar.
KK: Push-Ups — they sound like a lost SST band to me. Cristian, their bassist, played in Arches with Julien and myself, so maybe I’m biased. Oh well, I think they’re great.
KC: I’m constantly listening to every band that Julien mentioned. I also like Purling Hiss, The Chairman Dances, Seamus Browning, Norwegian Arms.
JM: I’ll always listen to Dr. Dog.
TK: What is your favorite venue to play in the city and why?
JRG: Johnny Brendas is awesome every time. Great sound, great crowds, great lights, and Mediterranean platters.
TK: You guys released the single, “Havana” right before the holidays, where were you when you wrote this track? What was the influence to write it?
JRG: My girlfriend and I want to go on a warm weather vacation so bad.
TK: Are there any plans for a video for “Havana”?
KK: If someone wants to film us eating at Pho 75, then yes.
KC: That’s such a great idea.
JM: Yo, don’t let me catch you brothin’.
Avery Rosewater plays Kung Fu Necktie with Laser Background on Thursday, February 7th. Tickets and information on the 21+ show can be found here.