The Ourtunez Backstage Pass is a series where we introduce an independent artist from Ourtunez. This week, we talked to Them Strangers, one of our most diverse bands. Listen to their songs on Ourtunez.com.
Many established artists struggle with the concept of changing up their style without sacrificing their identity. Some stick with the same technique, but their music can be repetitive. Others change it up too much, and lose their core fan base. Then there’s that select few. The ones who keep it fresh and interesting but stick to their roots. Them Strangers is that band.
Them Strangers is made up of two guitarists from the Yosemite mountains of California, Marshall Henry and Spencer Scott Holmes. They met after high school and started a glam metal band called Kabuki Shocks. After inconsistency at the drummer position and one member moving away, Henry and Holmes needed a new direction to take their music. “This is how Them Strangers began. We were listening to Eddie Vedder’s solo work and Tom Morello’s Nightwatchmen albums and saying man this is great! But also its simple, just vocals and guitars pretty much. Why don’t we try that. So we wrote some simple acoustic songs and that was the start of our trip into other genres for inspiration,” said Holmes.
Henry and Holmes have come a long way since their hair metal days and have become more diverse. The songs on their first, self-titled album (which can be found on Ourtunez) range from rock to pop rock to folk and everywhere in between. Their sound has that authentic indie vibe, especially with the soothing vocals from Henry. “The diversity to us, is our selling point. It could be a make or break for some but I like the idea of having an albums where the music is always changing. Another influence of ours is the Gorillas and change is apparent in many of their songs,” said Holmes.
The music industry is changing in today’s technological environment and artists must adapt to get their music out there in new ways. Holmes recognized this and used his other talents to get Them Strangers’ songs to the public. Outside of Them Strangers, Holmes does freelance video and animation. He creates all the music videos for Them Strangers and believes more artists should take advantage of this tool.
One video Them Strangers recorded was a cover they did for “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors.”Turning Japanese is just an awesome sounding song and just about everyone’s heard the original before. Plus we love 80’s music and Japanese culture so much. Making the song heavier, yet keeping the pop element, and throwing a ton of solos in was the key ingredients to our version. You can see our hair metal roots in that one too, especially with the video.” They want to do other covers in the future, including “Finger Bang”, a song from South Park. “A bit of comedy is always good in music. That’s why I think that bands like Steel Panther, Star Bomb, Austrian Death Machine, Arnocore, and Weird Al are so amazing!”
Them Strangers have new music in the making, about a half an albums worth. We couldn’t be more excited for more music from this versatile duo.
-Nino Munaco (firstname.lastname@example.org)