How Denver Band Signs and Signals Make Meat and Potato Magic

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver's Signs and Signals are worth checking out.

Signs and Signals is a Denver-based rock band who released their debut EP Human Again at the beginning of July and then wrapped up the month with a UMS performance. Formed in May of 2014, Signs and Signals have been climbing the Denver music ladder at a noticeably fast pace. Within a year, they’ve conquered numerous Denver venues, were featured on 93.3’s Locals Only, released an EP, and made the UMS lineup. So we sat down with S&S frontman Jason Kelly to find out more about the band’s recent recording experience, their local success, and their upcoming plans for the fall.

Your sound is intriguing. A song like “Human Again” feels Incubus-inspired to me, but then I hear a catchy track like “Better Life” and it’s much more pop-infused. I know that some of you were in Soul Electric prior to this, which feels a little heavier than Signs and Signals. Tell me about the formation of Signs and Signals and your change in direction musically from your previous project.

Haha, you know, Incubus is [actually] a primary core influence for many of us.

[Signs and Signals] all began in March of 2013. [Myself] (vocals) and Brian (lead guitar) met up off of Craigslist and immediately began songwriting together. After sifting through different band members and playing shows as Soul Electric, our second bassist parted ways [so] we put on the brakes a bit to hone our sound and audition bass players. We tried out bassists and the amount of interest was overwhelming. [We] chose Dave because, quite frankly, he and Jimmy make meat and potato magic. With Dave, we found a new hard-hitting melodic sound, and so we renamed ourselves Signs and Signals.  

After a few shows as a four piece, everyone felt [that] the ultimate vision for the Signs and Signals lineup would be to eventually find a rhythm guitarist, that way [I] could focus solely on vocals.  After multiple failed attempts to find this fifth member, we dove into recording our first single, “Fight or Flight” at The Spot Studios. It was there that we met Joel Rekiel with BLDGBLKS Music Company. Joel directed a successful Kickstarter campaign [for us], which helped us raise over $6k to record our EP Human Again. In the middle of recording our third song, we finally found our fifth member, John Ensey. He jumped in with flying colors and wound up recording rhythm guitar on 5 of the 7 songs for the EP.

So now with John, Dave, and Jimmy crushing the rhythm section, and Brian [and myself] composing one catchy melody after the next, Signs and Signals has become a five piece rock band dream-come-true and we're all very optimistic about the future!

Speaking of your new EP, what was one of your favorite things (besides the awesome addition of Ensey) about the recording process?  

Our producers, Glenn Sawyer and Rich Veltrop, were a strong team to work with. Glenn has a great ear for adjusting parts and a creative insight for thinking outside the box. And Rich is the crushing critic who will go through every last note with a fine-tooth comb. I think it's safe to say we all grew as musicians from our recording experience at The Spot. When you are investing a lot of time and money, you want to give it your all and I believe we did exactly that.

What has it been like gaining relatively fast-paced success in the Denver music scene within a year’s time?  

A recent Twitter fan listened to our EP and told us, “Your guy’s music sounds like it’s meant to be.” Those words- "meant to be" -give me goosebumps because there is definitely some kind of magic happening here. Like so many musicians out there, we have all been in several different bands and none of those have had the potential that this one does. In the grand scheme of things, it's always good to recognize where you're really at, raise the bar, and keep chipping away at your goals one step at a time.

Sound advice. Give us one word to describe your experience playing The UMS:

Life-changing.

Sweet! So what’s next for Signs and Signals? A music video? A tour? Both? Give us the deets!  

We definitely have touring on our minds, but as it is, we are hardly even known in our own city. We plan to keep sharing our music, play shows, and build a local following before we set out into serious touring. Maybe next year… we have an open mind and a lot to do.

So there’s our bit with Signs and Signals! Looking at their track record, we think these guys are moving faster toward a local fan base and a tour than they realize. So keep an eye out for their upcoming shows! And listen to them rock out here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.