Indie-pop band Strawberry Runners is scheduled to perform at the 2016 Underground Music Showcase tonight, Saturday, July 30, capping off a string of high-profile local dates. You might want to make sure you catch this set, however, as the Denver-based band is about to become less Denver-based. Primary songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Emi Night, who's lived in Denver for five years, is moving to New York on Monday, August 1.
"My central reason for moving is that I want to be closer to old friends, family and my boyfriend, and I’ve always wanted to live in New York," Night says. "The catalyst occurred a few months ago, when Tyler [Morse], our bassist, let me know that he would be moving on to other projects and wouldn’t have time to play with Strawberry Runners after this summer. For the last year, I had been kinda putting off moving to NY to focus on playing with the guys out here, and when Tyler decided to leave, I realized I couldn’t spend more time rebuilding and putting off my move."
While Night heads east, her main collaborator, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Davy Timm, will remain in Denver. The two plan to maintain their collaboration as Strawberry Runners, and already have performances scheduled for a weeklong tour around Colorado, including Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins, at the end of October.
"Denver is a home base for me," Night says, "and because so many of us are still living in Denver, we’ll be out here a lot more often than other touring bands would."
Night has always been the primary driver behind the project, and will seek other musicians to collaborate with in New York.
"We will be saying farewell to Tyler after UMS, so the first thing I’ll do when I get out east will be to start looking for someone to play bass," Night says. "We’ll be a cross-country collaboration. I’ve observed in the last year that it really isn’t unusual for bands to work this way. For the last year or so, we’ve been shifting into this new phase, focusing more and more on touring, and once I move, that will be the predominant arrangement for playing together. So instead of weekly practices and playing a bunch of local support shows, we’ll get together to rehearse/write for a week or so before heading out on tour, and we’ll spend most of our time together on the road."
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The move to the East Coast will afford certain opportunities for the working musician. "The hardest part of playing music in Denver has been the city’s isolation geographically," Night says. "It’s really difficult to tour from or around Denver, because there aren’t many big scenes outside of Denver, which leads to long, grueling days of driving to reach the next big scene. I’m looking forward to being within and surrounded by a lot of very creative and musical cities."
While Night is looking forward to moving, she has plenty of gratitude for the Denver music scene and says there's much that she'll miss. "The venues — playing the hi-dive or Larimer Lounge, the house shows, the back yards, the basements filled with so many amazing, talented, inspiring bands and people," she says. "The creative, generous and patient folks at the studios we’ve worked with, especially Evergroove, where we toiled tirelessly on our upcoming album with Brad Smalling, and Ghosthouse Studios, where we spent hours upon hours cutting endless demos and, of course, our cass-single, with Rich Goldberg."
Night notes that Denver offers some advantages to musicians that may be harder to find in other markets. "One thing we tried to take advantage of in Denver were the many opportunities to support really great national touring bands at local venues," she says. "I think that will be different in New York, and onward. Most of all, I’m going to miss the bands, and the friends I’ve made through playing music out here. I hope that Denver sweeties will feel free to hit me up for a place to stay or to set up a living-room show once I’m out there, so that we can keep the ties strong. There’s very little I won’t miss."
Strawberry Runners perform at midnight on Saturday, July 31, 3 Kings Tavern at the Underground Music Showcase.