Hudson band holding on to hometown roots
Spread out across the living room of their Hudson home, Yam Haus makes it clear that they're more than just the four guys on the cover of their album.
Sitting alongside bandmates Seth Blum, Zach Beinlich, Lawrence Pruitt and Jake Felstow on a Monday afternoon is just part of the "village" that has made their soon-to-be-released album possible. There's studio owner Jordan Erdman, producer Mark Heimermann, street team member Oprah Wood and manager Patrick Veilleux, all filling their own roles and seats in Yam Haus.
"We've been getting so lucky in terms of support and people asking how can we help," Pruitt said.
After two years of bringing the family together, the band will be debuting their first album this month with a release party on June 15 at Amsterdam Bar and Hall in St. Paul.
"Stargazer" is a 13-track debut album that explores love and the bigger picture beyond one's self. Writing in the pop genre, Pruitt said the band wants to stay out of a niche and be open to share their music as much as possible.
"It felt really relatable just right off the bat," Felstow said. "Songs you can connect with no matter where you are in life."
The songs available online now have already connected with almost 200,000 listeners.
The path to this album started in Hudson, where Blum, Beinlich and Pruitt all grew up. The three started playing music together in high school. In the past few years, new opportunities presented themselves.
"Enough things just kept happening," Beinlich said.
The guys met Erdman and Heimermann, who brought a seriousness to what they were doing. It wasn't long before Yam Haus felt they could pursue their music in a real way.
The band also brought on its final member, Felstow, who was more than willing to take a leap of faith and join in.
"Jake is the piece that made it real," Pruitt said.
Yam Haus treats the venture like a family, with the bandmates even living in the same house together in Hudson, appropriately referred to as the same name.
"We all just kind of jumped in," Pruitt said.
Now that Felstow joins the others in calling Hudson home, none of them have any plans to change that.
Hudson serves as the base for all of the band's efforts, with the album itself being recorded in Erdman's Sevens-Gate studio in town. The band travels to the Twin Cities for shows, and even to Los Angeles for photo shoots, but their work, and their roots, stay based in Hudson.
"We refuse to move to the city," Pruitt said. "That's what planes are for."
With how connected the world is, Pruitt said people don't yet realize how much can be done from a small town.
"I would love to be a giant band where 'Oh where do they record? They record in Hudson, Wisconsin off County Road F,'" Pruitt said.
Their dedication to their hometown has been repaid in kind. Yam Haus has played shows throughout town with crowds turning out, and are selling their merchandise downtown at The Purple Tree.
"We've felt so much support from Hudson," Beinlich said. "It has been amazing."
They've also earned the backing of one key support group - their parents.
The band members know their goals may seem like a crazy dream to some, but they're not giving up.
"We think it's possible just through leaning on each other and doing things right," Pruitt said.
With help from a couple of their retired-3M dads, they're focused on the band almost as a business, with weekly meetings and yearly goals.
Blum said a little confidence is required to step out and share what they've created, but people have shown that they want to be a part of a group that's looking to make a difference.
"It's been really encouraging to see that it is just a matter of opening up to what's around you and be aware of it and see all the people and stories that are within your reach," Blum said.
The passion of each member of Yam Haus is easy to see as they talk about their music, and added to it is a drive and discipline that shows they can go the distance. It's no surprise that others want to help them get there.
"There's something special going on here," Veilleux said. "I just wanted to help in any way I could."
Though the June 15 album release is the culmination of two years of work, for Yam Haus, it's just the start.