It has been slowly fermenting for two years, but local rock trio Cosmic Brew is ready to crack open their debut album.
The group, consisting of Mason Burns on lead guitar and lead vocals, Kris Marsel on bass and Josh Visser on drums have been making trips back and forth from Kelowna every weekend, meticulously crafting their first EP, Cosmic Brew.
On sale March 15, the self-titled, debut EP will be available via multiple online distributors including iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play and Apple Music.
It’s a lot of online distribution, but they are still independent and self-produced.
“Hint, we need a record contract,” Burns laughed.
The album was recorded at the Centre of Arts and Technology in Kelowna with the help of producer Kayleb Burke, where Marsel had previously attended the audio engineering program. He was familiar with what goes into making an album and there was a lot of tweaking to get it just right. The band knew what they wanted. Some songs had nine versions before they were finished.
Refined down to six songs, the band wanted quality over quantity.
“That’s technically an EP. We could have put out more, but at the same time we’re thinking we want the best of right now and a good representation of what is now,” Marsel said.
The album covers the spectrum of rock ’n’ roll. Opening with hard rock and ending with a ballad.
“Every song has a different feel because they represent a different time in our lives,” Marsel said.
The production started in October, 2015 and the mastering was finished two weeks ago.
“It’s a lot longer than people think it takes,” Visser said. “It’s a lot more intricate.”
They take a heavy influence from their favourite era in rock, the early ‘70s and late ‘60s. Burns’ father describes their song Beach as “a cross between Led Zeppelin and the Beach Boys.”
They have also hit a niche in the Okanagan, specifically Penticton, with the mesh of fiery youth and an old-rock sound.
“We got lucky because there are a ton of awesome bands in Penticton, but most of them are more cover bands. There’s not too many bands that are doing original music that are younger. I think we’ve won over the older crowd too because we’re playing music they want to hear,” Visser said.
They are the quintessential garageband; forming in 2014 Burns put an ad out on Facebook for a bassist. Enter Kris Marsel.
“Within, I don’t know, two hours, he came to our garage, plugged in and we just hit one note and it clicked,” Burns said. “We’re still rocking in the garage to this day.”
The group ended up changing drummers a few times until Visser was thrown into the hot seat, playing one show prior to 2015’s Penticton Peach Festival opening for Canadian rockers 54-40.
There appears to be a rising tide around Cosmic Brew, especially after a big step up opening for Finger Eleven last year after winning a radio contest. Out of 25 bands, Cosmic Brew was voted by the public into the final five, which were reviewed by Finger Eleven themselves, picking Cosmic Brew as the winner, calling them ‘young guys playing good rock.’ They were the only band in the contest to enter a live recording.
“I guess they related to us,” Burns said. “We were all waiting because I was working. My dad was listening to the radio.”
Cosmic Brew joined Finger Eleven at the Kelowna Community Theatre in October of 2015.
“Nothing is really nerve-racking for me anymore,” Marsel said. “You know you’re going to be playing. It’s all about getting there and how it’s going to happen that’s the scary part.”
Playing in front of a crowd isn’t a problem for the group.
“You’re first guitar lesson, that’s the scary part,” Burns laughed.
They have accrued a bit of notoriety since that show, easily recognizable due to their classic rock ’n’ roll hair. Think Jimmy Page, with a little more length.
“Even if they go to Kelowna to this day, all they see is hair, that’s me and Kris and people say ‘you guys opened for Finger Eleven, you guys are sweet.’ They still recognize us,” Burns said. “Josh gets to hide, he doesn’t have the hair.”
Those who want to check out Cosmic Brew for free, the band are playing two sets, one at 3:30 p.m. and one at 5 p.m. on March 12 in front of the South Okanagan Events Centre as part of the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour.
You can follow Cosmic Brew on Instagram @comsicbrewmusic, or find them online at cosmicbrew.net.