Like its far-off namesake, which has been reclassified as a dwarf planet, Beyond Pluto refuses to stick to a single designation. The band, first launched as a hip-hop project in 2006, has since undergone a drastic evolution, emerging as an atmospheric pop-rock trio on its latest album, Adaptation.
Like its far-off namesake, which has been reclassified as a dwarf planet, Beyond Pluto refuses to stick to a single designation.
The band, first launched as a hip-hop project in 2006, has since undergone a drastic evolution, emerging as an atmospheric pop-rock trio on its latest album, Adaptation.
"We've gone through a lot of changes in the band. We actually went through seven different members and somehow stayed together," said singer T.J. Brown, who joined drummer Carlos Torres-Ortiz for an early February interview at a Bexley coffee shop (guitarist Shane Kelson completes the crew's current lineup). "We've had to reinvent ourselves so many times, but we've still stayed true to who we are."
Brown traces much of the group's current sound to the 2012 addition of Kelson, crediting the guitarist with deploying his instrument as more of a textural element, coloring songs with space station whooshes and chiming effects that twinkle like distant stars.
"We talked about the name being Beyond Pluto, and how it was missing more of a spacey vibe. We were like, 'What can we do to make it more ethereal, or [to introduce] more of a weightless kind of feeling?'" said Brown, who joins his bandmates for a record release show at A&R Music Bar on Friday, Feb. 19. "I've got ideas all day long of things I want to do ... but the main thing is to keep going and keep pushing and keep staying creative."
The singer, for his part, said he's always been uniquely driven, be it in the recording studio or on the baseball diamond. In high school, the frontman was among the smallest students in his class - "I was five-foot, 95 pounds and getting picked on all the time," he said - but he approached baseball with a bulldog mentality.
"I was a really good ballplayer, and I knew I was good, but the coach just saw me as the little guy," he said. "That pushed me harder because I wanted to prove a point: I'm better than what people might think of me. That's what I feel like I'm trying to do all the time with music. It's never satisfying enough. You want to push it beyond."
As a result, sessions for Adaptation stretched on for well over a year, with the three musicians taking additional time to experiment and obsessing over the smallest sonic details. On multiple occasions, the band would set a deadline only to see it expire.
"There's that element of wanting it to be so perfect, so we finally had to hunker down and say 'No more editing,'" Brown said, and laughed.
And though the frontman admitted to feeling a sense of relief once recording ended, it wasn't long before that familiar restless sensation started to bubble up. "I'm really happy it's finished," he said, "but now I'm interested to see the next thing we do."