The Hubs are a four-piece alternative rock band from Bakersfield, California. The band is set to release their debut EP titled “Welcome to Beyond” this April; we recently interviewed lead guitarist Tyler Ochart and vocalist Benjamin Montoya to get the inside scoop on the band’s formation, the Bakersfield, CA music scene, and the band’s decision to record their initial offering live.
How did the band meet and begin playing together? What’s the meaning behind your band name?
“I (Benjamin) met Adam at a community college: I was taking shelter from the rain and playing blink-182’s ‘Dammit’ with my acoustic guitar. Adam saw me and put two pennies in my guitar case (his “two cents”) and the rest is history. We played for about 3 months before beginning to take things seriously (with multiple lineup changes) when we found Tyler on Craigslist (a year and a half we started The Hubs). We were amazed by his lead guitar skills and when our temporary bassist decided to leave, Tyler brought in his best friend of 18 years. To me, a hub is a center of a certain thing; all things lead to a hub.”
What can you tell us about the Bakersfield, CA music scene?
“Unfortunately the music scene in Bakersfield has lost its way. There are constantly shows going on at local bars and venues where no one shows up; the support here is basically family. You end up playing gigs for your family and maybe five people who are family members from other bands. It’s a sad issue here in Bakersfield, as even the local bands leave immediately after they play and don’t stay to support other local musicians. We hope to lay the groundwork with other musicians in working to bring back an art that has been forgotten in this town.”
Who are your biggest musical influences collectively as a group?
“This is a really hard question to answer, as we all have different influences: Berto, our bassist, loves Japanese rock, along with Tegan and Sara and Rammstein. Ben is a fan of blink-182, New Found Glory, and Weezer. Adam, our drummer, is mainly influenced by anything that you can bang on. I (Tyler, lead guitarist) am a huge fan of Weezer and early 90’s rock.”
What life events or experiences inspired the writing and recording of “Welcome to Beyond”?
“The whole EP was about us taking the next step as a band, and “beyond” has to be one of my favorite words in the English language because we never know what’s out there. I don’t want to die without making my mark in this life and that is what inspired me.”
What influenced your decision to record the album live as a band?
“Everyone in the band felt that for now a live EP would be a good start for us. When we play shows we always have so much energy and a rawness to us that during practice we don’t have. We may act goofier during practice because no one is watching us, but during a show our music is in-tune and emotionally driven. (Sometimes) an over-produced album can ruin that, and we wanted to capture the raw energy in our recordings. We even felt that musical errors in the album were okay because it would add charm to our music; we make mistakes live, and that is normal for musicians, it is realistic of musicians and of human beings. Weezer’s “Pinkerton” album (which wasn’t recorded 100% live) accurately captured that rawness and energy of performing live, and in our opinion it is one of the best records ever made.”
What are your musical goals as a band for 2014? Do you have any upcoming performance dates scheduled so far?
“As a band we hope to become more musically in-tune and to write new material together. Adam and Ben had material before Alberto and I (Tyler) joined and that is what is on our EP (minus ‘Rut’ and ‘Live Fast’). We hope to mature as both a band and as friends and continue making music that grows along with us. We have no shows as of yet, but as soon as our EP is out we will definitely play a release show!”