For folk band Seryn, 2014 was a transition period. At the beginning of the year, the group of young Dentonites was forced to shuffle its roster after losing two founding members. Then, in the fall, the six musicians left the North Texas college town and headed east for Nashville. These unexpected obstacles delayed the release of Seryn’s sophomore album Shadow Shows, as its members worked on performing as a cohesive unit.
But now with waves of change at bay and a solid lineup featuring Trenton Wheeler (ukulele/vocals), Nathan Allen (guitar), Aaron Stoner (bass), Jenny Moscoso (banjo/guitar/vocals) and recent additions Jordan Rochefort (drums) and Scarlett Deering (violin), the band has never felt more situated for success.
Part of that has to do with Seryn’s new home base. During a recent phone call, Wheeler admits he and his band mates thought they could “be a band from anywhere.” Who needs the big city when you have the Internet, right?
Seryn had already made decent headway, captivating writers at Paste Magazine with its live performance and earning the title of best show at 2011’s South by Southwest. But when a friend and music promoter suggested Music City as a fitting environment for Seryn, the prospect of an established industry and more convenient tour launch point were, eventually, enough set the plan in motion.
“Most of us were pretty against [the idea] for a while, and then I remembering waking up one night and I couldn’t stop thinking about Nashville,” Wheeler recalls. Guitarist Allen relocated in September and the rest of the band followed in October.
Seryn’s first priority for 2015 is putting out Shadow Shows, which listeners can expect on Feb. 17.
Sonically, the album is beautiful. Over the course of nine songs, band members layer heartfelt lyrics and effortless harmonies atop an upbeat folk-pop foundation. Like a summer storm, the album swells, intermittently bursts with energy and then retracts in more solemn moments.
Thematically, Wheeler says Shadow Shows explores the cycle of life, death and rebirth. It’s an accurate depiction of what Seryn experienced while writing the album in 2013, he adds, weathered and nearly penniless from two years on the road.
“We nearly broke up at a few points,” he says. “We struggled through to figure out what to do creatively, what to do financially, what to do personally.”
Where Seryn’s debut, This Is Where We Are, chronicled the band’s coming together, the band tried not to disconnect from that synergy in the follow-up album. But out of hardship came songs, such as “Headache” and “Ivory Black” that acted as mantras for a newly adopted ride-or-die mentality.
After a tumultuous last year, the move to Nashville has reinvigorated the band, Wheeler says. In fact, Seryn is eager to seize the momentum, write new material and get back in the studio.
“It’s all or nothing,” Wheeler says. “We’re not trying to make a name for ourselves in Nashville, we’re trying to make a name for ourselves period.”