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You can’t break City Windows with a Velvet Divorce

“We were able to do the video for, like, $100 total”

City Windows – made video from iPhone footage
City Windows – made video from iPhone footage

Ryan Steel lived in San Diego from 2002 through 2005 before he ended up in Chicago, where he played in The Sky We Scrape from 2008 until 2015. It was during this tenure that he got a heavy dose of the road via multiple U.S. tours and a couple of multi-month excursions overseas. “Those were really long stretches, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world,” he says. “You get an opportunity to see different parts of Europe and different parts of the world that are off the beaten path, and people bring you into their homes and cook for you, and you kind of just flop on their floor. There was a lot of extensive touring in those days, which was great, but I was really fucking broke.” Once he ended up back in San Diego, he found a drummer in Pennsylvania-by-way-of-Las-Vegas castaway Aaron Weislogel. While in Vegas, Weislogel had played in a three-piece called Deadhand that juggled punk and hard rock with occasional Randy Rhoads-style guitar flourishes.

It took them a couple of years, but by the end of 2018, they had all the pieces in place for what would become City Windows, a punk rock outfit that veers heavily into melodic hardcore. They spent 2019 playing around town at venues such as the Kensington Club, Soda Bar, and the Casbah. They had some nice momentum going into 2020, but of course, that was put to an abrupt halt by ye olde global pandemic.

Not that Covid could break City Windows. “I wouldn’t even consider it a break,” says bassist Sean Sullivan. “We just got together less. We Zoomed a lot and just planned for the release of the Oxbow EP. We released it during the pandemic, and there was a huge backup with vinyl. I think it took us a little over a year from start to finish.”

The band also got cracking on forming the basis of the songs that would make up their debut album, Velvet Divorce. Guitarists Steele and Lyle Pavuk had plenty of time on their hands to noodle around on their instruments and capture random riffs on their phones. These recordings would form the core of the “riff vault” that the members sifted through to eventually piece together the core of Velvet Divorce. “We’re very collaborative,” Pavuk says, “but we just pull things apart and try different things. It can be challenging at times, because I know I get attached to some of the music that I write. But I always know that, by the time we’re done with it, it’s gonna be this well-built collaborative effort that has bits and pieces of all of us in it.”

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Sponsored

The album serves as the band’s initial run with this full-on collaborative process, as the songs on Oxbow were crafted by Steele and Weislogel (and other musicians) before Pavuk and Sullivan arrived on the scene. They both play on the EP, but they weren’t cooking up the songs from the start. According to Weislogel, “Since this was written as a four-piece for the first time, with all of us together, I think we were just really excited to get our own ideas out and have it really be something that we constructed as a group. That was the more exciting and driving part of it — that from day one, we knew that this was the first thing that was really a representation of all of us, and what our collective ideas sound like.”

City Windows had just finished shooting a music video when they spoke to the Reader —the second of three planned videos for the album. The first, “The Price to Pay,” landed on YouTube in July and features a mix of performance footage from their practice space, and puppets depicting politicians, corporate leaders, and news anchors on a fictional news network. The puppet footage was shot overseas in front of a green screen by a freelancer named Mike O. “We were able to get all the other assets from free, public domain type websites,” Weislogel adds. “So, we were able to do the video for, like, $100 total. We recorded everything on iPhones, and it was all just done between the four of us, which we are very proud of.”

Upcoming Event

City Windows, Decent Criminal, Ricky

  • Friday, August 25, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
  • Kensington Club, 4079 Adams Avenue, San Diego
  • Age Limit: Not available

More

Besides the videos, the band is looking for gigs after spending so much time off-stage working on finishing the album. “We’re just trying to get on a bunch of shows to try to get this album out into the world so people can hear it,” Sullivan says. They’ll play the Kensington Club August 25, on a bill that includes Decent Criminal and Ricky.

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City Windows – made video from iPhone footage
City Windows – made video from iPhone footage

Ryan Steel lived in San Diego from 2002 through 2005 before he ended up in Chicago, where he played in The Sky We Scrape from 2008 until 2015. It was during this tenure that he got a heavy dose of the road via multiple U.S. tours and a couple of multi-month excursions overseas. “Those were really long stretches, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world,” he says. “You get an opportunity to see different parts of Europe and different parts of the world that are off the beaten path, and people bring you into their homes and cook for you, and you kind of just flop on their floor. There was a lot of extensive touring in those days, which was great, but I was really fucking broke.” Once he ended up back in San Diego, he found a drummer in Pennsylvania-by-way-of-Las-Vegas castaway Aaron Weislogel. While in Vegas, Weislogel had played in a three-piece called Deadhand that juggled punk and hard rock with occasional Randy Rhoads-style guitar flourishes.

It took them a couple of years, but by the end of 2018, they had all the pieces in place for what would become City Windows, a punk rock outfit that veers heavily into melodic hardcore. They spent 2019 playing around town at venues such as the Kensington Club, Soda Bar, and the Casbah. They had some nice momentum going into 2020, but of course, that was put to an abrupt halt by ye olde global pandemic.

Not that Covid could break City Windows. “I wouldn’t even consider it a break,” says bassist Sean Sullivan. “We just got together less. We Zoomed a lot and just planned for the release of the Oxbow EP. We released it during the pandemic, and there was a huge backup with vinyl. I think it took us a little over a year from start to finish.”

The band also got cracking on forming the basis of the songs that would make up their debut album, Velvet Divorce. Guitarists Steele and Lyle Pavuk had plenty of time on their hands to noodle around on their instruments and capture random riffs on their phones. These recordings would form the core of the “riff vault” that the members sifted through to eventually piece together the core of Velvet Divorce. “We’re very collaborative,” Pavuk says, “but we just pull things apart and try different things. It can be challenging at times, because I know I get attached to some of the music that I write. But I always know that, by the time we’re done with it, it’s gonna be this well-built collaborative effort that has bits and pieces of all of us in it.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

The album serves as the band’s initial run with this full-on collaborative process, as the songs on Oxbow were crafted by Steele and Weislogel (and other musicians) before Pavuk and Sullivan arrived on the scene. They both play on the EP, but they weren’t cooking up the songs from the start. According to Weislogel, “Since this was written as a four-piece for the first time, with all of us together, I think we were just really excited to get our own ideas out and have it really be something that we constructed as a group. That was the more exciting and driving part of it — that from day one, we knew that this was the first thing that was really a representation of all of us, and what our collective ideas sound like.”

City Windows had just finished shooting a music video when they spoke to the Reader —the second of three planned videos for the album. The first, “The Price to Pay,” landed on YouTube in July and features a mix of performance footage from their practice space, and puppets depicting politicians, corporate leaders, and news anchors on a fictional news network. The puppet footage was shot overseas in front of a green screen by a freelancer named Mike O. “We were able to get all the other assets from free, public domain type websites,” Weislogel adds. “So, we were able to do the video for, like, $100 total. We recorded everything on iPhones, and it was all just done between the four of us, which we are very proud of.”

Upcoming Event

City Windows, Decent Criminal, Ricky

  • Friday, August 25, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
  • Kensington Club, 4079 Adams Avenue, San Diego
  • Age Limit: Not available

More

Besides the videos, the band is looking for gigs after spending so much time off-stage working on finishing the album. “We’re just trying to get on a bunch of shows to try to get this album out into the world so people can hear it,” Sullivan says. They’ll play the Kensington Club August 25, on a bill that includes Decent Criminal and Ricky.

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