Hometown: Santa Ana, California
Web site: http://www.aushua.com/
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Southern California quartet Aushua shapes big ideas into outsized anthems — making music that’s a feast for the body, mind and soul. In barely three years, the Santa Ana-based foursome has gone from scrappy do-it-yourselfers who recorded their initial EP in a college chapel to polished performers who’ve earned a reputation in Los Angeles clubs as a band that can deliver sonically and emotionally.
Aushua (awe-shoe-uh) traces its roots to a friendship struck up by singer Nathan Gammill and bassist Phil Newyear. Within months, Phil’s younger brother, Eric, had joined to play guitar, to be followed by the youngest Newyear, Lee, on drums. Gammill and the band of brothers set to work on the “Hold On!” EP, released in late 2006. That EP’s rough-hewn but melodic music — and its follow-up, “No Harm Done” — earned notice from several L.A. media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times’ Buzz Bands column, the Orange County Register and radio stations KROQ-FM and (now-defunct) Indie 103.1.
It was a great start toward realizing a vision Gammill had been developing since he was a youth in Costa Mesa. “I was raised listening to artists like Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne, but it wasn’t until I discovered the boldness and intensity of early U2 that I got away from the juvenile music I’d been fed by my friends,” Gammill says. “I learned to sing listening to the Unforgettable Fire album and some Rufus Wainwright, but since then I’ve always listened to a lot of female songwriters for influence. I think they are really more in tune with sentiment and the poetry of song.”
In 2009, Aushua is busy making its own verse — a debut album that is informed by the ravenous musical appetites of four twenty-somethings who are as likely to groove to the Talking Heads as they are Nina Simone or PJ Harvey. The recordings, under way in out-of the-way warehouses in the Orange County cities of Anaheim and Orange, are as much about big ideas as they are big sounds.
“The whole record is an inner dialogue — as a people, we've rebelled against everything we can, so it’s about taking a stance, now, about pushing for something,” Gammill says. “I’ve been around a lot of people who are jaded … great writers or artists who aren't working in a creative field, because they’ve never been really pushed into anything, or doubt their relevance. I could be one of them, but we have a unique opportunity to make something beautiful..”