Bear MTN debuted its first EP “The Getaway” last Friday.
Amid the pandemic, a lot of people searched for distractions to bide their time. Some dove into work while others finished Netflix.
To each their own. This is a no judgement zone.
But the Bear MTN duo decided to “get the band back together” to distract themselves with a new project.
Josh Fidler and Aaron Baker, the two guitarists in Bear MTN, were in a central PA rock group called Colab a decade ago.
When Baker moved back to the area from New York City six months ago, it was the perfect opportunity to reunite.
“It really became something to keep us occupied during this time,” Baker said. “It was natural to get together and jam again.”
Over the next six months, they spent hours in Fidler’s home studio collecting interesting guitar riffs, vocals, and themes to edit together The Getaway EP.
Don’t listen on shuffle
The Getaway is a short album with eight tracks clocking in at just over 20 minutes.
The tracks can work as standalone songs, but Bear MTN suggests listening to it as a whole rather than just the parts. It’s a narrative.
“This is unique in where it started and where it ended up,” Fidler said. “It started more simplistic, but it has more depth than what we originally thought.”
From the first track, you can hear that they already play around with catchy guitar riffs and vocal effects. Baker described their sound as garage rock or blues rock.
“The process was basically record everything we did,” Baker said. “Then we would mix it, rearrange elements, and play it again with the changes before the final recording.”
Baker called out “See It Through,” the fourth track, as one piece of ear candy that people remember when they listen.
“There are 10-15 layers of Josh’s vocals at the beginning, and it was something that stood out to us early,” Baker said. “We thought this might just be an instrumental, but that changed halfway through.”
Vocals are not the focus of the recording, but Baker said it’s just enough to move the narrative.
‘The Getaway’ Narrative
In keeping with the thought of listening to the whole album at once, Bear MTN sees The Getaway as storytelling through song.
“For me, it was like a coping mechanism for the winter,” Fidler said. “It was a release to create something non-specific. I like to think of it as a themed rock opera of sorts.”
Baker said the original thought was to release it as one 20-min song, but they both said they didn’t think that would play well.
“I like to look at it as a heist situation,” Fidler said. “Two people getting involved in a heist with money and a car chase with a release of freedom at the end.”
Baker said they set up rough guidelines as they built the EP. He said they agreed there were no wrong turns in the studio, and they stopped when it wasn’t fun anymore.
Neither is a professional musician by trade. Fidler is a local chef currently crafting innovative fare at Mela Kitchen at Jack’s Cider House. Baker is a 3D-animation artist.
“It was an escape for us, and the songs play out like two people escaping their current situation,” Baker said. “When we would get stuck, we would think about what would be happening at this point of the movie.”
Bear MTN: Let’s get visual
Since Bear MTN is just Baker and Fidler on guitars with an assist on drums from Leighton McCleaf, they wanted to find an innovative way to showcase the songs visually.
Baker used his animation talents to create canvases to go along with tracks. Similar to those animations that go along with songs when shared from Spotify. You can see these on the band’s Instagram.
“The tone of the animation helps you feel the general vibe of what is going on in the music and what we’re picturing in our heads while listening to it,” Baker said.
Down the road, Fidler said he has a vision of a 20-minute animated short film about the album.
However, that dream might have to wait as Baker is moving back to New York City right after the album’s release.