Skilled artisans


POSTED: Friday, May 08, 2009

The word “;sloppy”; is not in the musical vocabulary of the young, local indie rock trio known as Our Distance.





        » Where: thirtyninehotel

» When: 9 p.m. Tuesday


» Cost: $5 (21 and over)


» Info: 351-9812


or visit hsblinks.com/9d


Our Distance




Whether in the makeshift recording studio of a Kaneohe home or playing as part of a predominantly hardcore punk concert lineup, the threesome of Stephen Agustin and brothers Tyler and Tait Ferge has distinguished itself with an exploratory sound filled with a near surfeit of ideas both lyrical and arrangement-wise that still manages to stay focused.

The guys like to call what they do “;artisan music,”; and they are skilled in what they do as a group.

As part of an amorphous local rock scene filled with cliques, Tyler Ferge, joined by his band mates on their home turf at the Starbucks in Windward Mall last Saturday, remembers their planning numerous shows where it went “;hardcore, hardcore, hardcore, artisans, hardcore, etc.”;

Plus, shows like that are 21 and over, which blocks out a portion of their fan base, he said.

Well, the same will be true for their upcoming Tuesday gig at downtown's thirtyninehotel, but the bulk of the audience should be as like-minded as them, since Our Distance will be showcased as part of the ongoing “;Kaleidoscope”; indie music night promoted by Ara Laylo.

One thing the band wanted to emphasize is that “;we're not emo,”; said Tait Ferge, “;or a Christian band,”; even though the guys are part of the Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay congregation and play as part of a worship band on Fridays.

The band released at the beginning of the year their debut, titled “;Cartography,”; a carefully arranged album that's equally thoughtful in its packaging - all cardboard and complete with a fold-out map.

“;It was inspired by a colonial America map that's in my room taken from the 1600s,”; said Agustin. “;The land masses are oddly misshapen, where much of the new land was a metaphor for treacherous travel and risking death. I look at it as a underdeveloped truth that's skewed in some way.”;

Agustin writes his heady lyrics with the inspiration of the greats of Russian literature, like Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Christian existentialism.

With titles like “;The Firm and Stable Earth,”; “;Our Proper Element”; and “;The Universe and All Its Secrets,”; this is pretty earnest music, but to reiterate, it's the structure and discipline of Our Distance's textured arrangements that keep things in line and grounded.

Despite much of “;Cartography”; being new to the public, the album's songs were written at least three years ago, so much of what the band plays now is new and has yet to be recorded.

“;We've moved on,”; said Tyler Ferge. “;We've grown up since those earlier songs.”;