Stephanie Sokol for The Pit
The vocal harmonies and music of the Denver-based band Petals of Spain is eerily similar to the Bohemian Rhapsody-rock group Queen, with a hint more brass background instrumentals reminiscent of Sublime.
Nic Hammerberg, Hunter Hall, Mason Shelmire, Dylan Johnson and Taylor Imbrogno of Colorado are the five “petals” that make up the group, who has been together for five years and toured throughout Colorado.
Each musician has been involved in music since they were young. Nic and Hunter met at age 13, while touring Europe to perform in Colorado Children’s Chorale and all of five consider themselves “theatrical,” having performed with operas, musicals, choirs, collegiate music schools and jazz ensembles.
“It depends on the season, but music is our fuel- literally & figuratively,” Hammerberg said. “There’s something very special about music and how it seems to evoke a plethora of emotions.”
One key characteristic in the band’s songs is strong energy. Overall, Petals’ music is upbeat and lively, something Hammerburg said comes from “a little Ujjayi breathing, coffee and an excitement to be alive.”
One of their tracks, “I Gotta Know,” examines a time in Nic’s life when the girl he loved left the country, and he started to examine the idea of monogamy in every facet of life. While it has emotional themes, the feel of the music remains happy, like many of their other songs.
“‘Taking Me High’ is definitely a favorite (song) to play,” Hammerberg said. “Not only can you get your disco hips on, but the song was written as a tribute to Robin Gibb, written shortly after he passed. The title “Taking Me High (Robin Fly)” was our way of saying thank you, and rest in peace.”
“New favorites of our own are in the EP we’re workin on. We’re all over the board on favorites of another artist, but for me I might say Feist’s “Mushaboom,” or Rufus Wainwright’s, “Go or Go Ahead.” Incredible songwriting with soundscapes to die for. I’m guessing Hunter might go with Queen, Mason with Red Crimson or Paul McCartney, Dylan with something sick per usual, and Tyler with MGMT. I’m not sure we’d all agree as Petals, on a favorite song. That’s why working together is so marvelous.”
Petals of Spain listens to a variety of genres, like classical music, jazz, pop, classic rock and other current musicians. But they also find inspiration elsewhere— including their own minds.
The band hopes that each listener will gain a personal experience when listening to their music.
“When inspiration hits you, you don’t want to lose it! More recently I’ve come to accept that if you (by you I mean we) can’t remember it, perhaps it’s not worth remembering,” Hammerberg said. “Some of our better compositions have come from pure subconscious, while others are methodically thought out- sometimes, both. I’ve read and been told, when answering, ‘how would you describe your music to people who have never heard it before,’ to have a specific, poignant answer that sticks with people. I’m more interested in your perception. I’d describe Petals as music, rich with harmony, and ever-improving strong hooks. The “genre” is limitless.”
Petals of Spain said they have recently been making big connections, and facing the biggest opportunities they’ve been given in the past five years, including New York producers and coast-to-coast tours. In addition, they are currently working on an EP, following the release of several singles.