Despite having obvious musical chops, success has by no means been handed to Search The City on a silver platter. And much like a beautiful stone sculpture, this act's final shape was first cut with sharp chisels and pounded with heavy hammers, before being rubbed smooth with rough sandpaper. As your high school gym teacher always said: no pain, no gain.
This Detroit, MI band recorded their first Tooth and Nail full-length, A Fire So Big the Heavens Can See It, in St. Cloud, FL with James Paul Wisner, who has also produced Dashboard Confessional, Underoath, and The Academy Is. While making this CD, the band fought off small town cabin fever, was restricted to bicycle transportation, and even shared a lake with an alligator. But such ordeals are colorful stories for another time because these guys are simply thrilled (but not to death) with the finished product.
The track "To the Moon for All I Care" is one of the group's favorite new tunes. On the surface, one might assume it is based around what Ralph Kramden always told his wife Alice on the old The Honeymooners show. But as drummer Adam McMillion explains it, this song goes far deeper than that.
"The song is about our favorite movie, Danny Deckchair, which is about this guy that's kind of fed up with his girlfriend who is not very faithful. And his job is really boring, so he decides to attach these balloons to his fold-up deckchair and he flies away," McMillion says. When he finally lands, he's in a faraway town, miles from everything and everyone he knows. "He kind of gets to start his life over, and we always thought that's just such a cool concept," McMillion continues. In fact, this song's main character demands at one point, "Tell me about my future 'cause I already know my past."
Another noteworthy song has the intriguing title of "Detroit Is Built on Rumors". This one takes on some of the nasty rumors oftentimes spread about rock bands - even about nice guys like Search The City. "So this is what we're up against in this city of secrets," states its anti-gossip lyric. But even when confronted with obvious lies, this thoughtful band still finds room for a little self-examination. "In the bridge it says, "Oh my God, forgive me for who I'm not,"" McMillion elaborates. "All these rumors are going around," he continues, "but we're still not the people we want to be. We're still not the people God wants us to be. It's just a cry out; kind of a confession. We wanna be better. We realize that we're not who we should be."
These closely bonded band members, which also include Alex Sheldon (guitar), Jim Czech (guitar), and Josh Frost (vocals), draw artistic inspiration from many loud and noisy sources, then translate these harsher sounds into surprisingly melodic, highly emotional songs.
"We're more influenced by hardcore music than anything else," Frost says of Search The City's sound. "It doesn't show so much because we're pretty pop-y in parts. But collectively, we all love bands like Jimmy Eat World and bands like that." So how would they describe their unique style? "We'd probably say progressive rock or something like that," answers Frost.
Although the group is proud of their new CD, this band is truly in their element in concert. "Live is definitely Search The City's favorite thing to do," McMillion says without any hesitation. "It's a chance to release a lot of emotion. We all love what we do onstage where we'll just look at each other and just start laughing and smiling because it's so much fun. Playing live is definitely the best part about being in a band."
Search The City's original nucleus, Sheldon, Czech, and McMillion, came up with the band's Mapquest-like moniker while seeking out other musicians to complete their final lineup. "They named it that because they were looking for all of the different members, all over different cities," Frost explains. "That meant all over Michigan. And because I was living in Florida at the time, they just called it Search The City."
No doubt, Search The City succeeded in getting all their geographic coordinates correct.
"It feels right," Frost confirms. "The music feels right, and the friendships are genuine. There's not an ego barrier where someone thinks they're too cool. We all get along and just hang out. These guys are my brothers. I see these guys almost every day for nine months out of the year. It's the perfect job, to hang out with my best friends every day and play music."