In the wake of the events on Sept. 11, 2001, singer/musician Ari Ingber rediscovered a deep passion for writing music and he soon became aware this was to be where he wanted to take his life’s journey. It only took one phone call to find the perfect band member who he wanted to help carry out his music vision. The person on the other end of the line was his brother Josh.
With a clean and simple sound that’s still as infectious as any multi-layered pop single, their new album, An American Stranger, will surely please fans. They had created a buzz predominantly on word of mouth and through a series of people in the music industry who passed the album from one person to the next. It eventually fell into the hands of Tyson Ritter, singer of The All-American Rejects and head of the label Edmond Records. Both brothers took time to speak about the new album and their band, The Upwelling.
You guys had signed to Edmond/Doghouse Records before this album. Was the writing process different from your self-released EP?
Ari: No, we were entirely, pretty much do whatever you want. All the producers involved, we met with all of them and made a vision between us and them that we wanted this to be an artistic thing that we’ve been working to create for a long time.
It’s been four years since the release of the EP. Why did your album take so long to come out?
Ari: The EP got a lot of other bands and artists very excited about our band and we kept getting tour offers for a long time. We felt our strategy was not to pursue labels really, but keep working on the music, keep working on the live show. But we wanted at the same time a budget to make our first record in a really nice way. We didn’t want to make it the same way we did the EP, in the basement, we wanted a few more tools.
What made you decide to go with this label?
Ari: I think really it was Tyson from the Rejects, who we really love.
Josh: He ended up setting up his own label. He was shopping to have his own label that he could sign bands. We’re his first band that he signed.
How did you two come together to start The Upwelling?
Josh: We probably have two different perspectives of what happened because we were in different places in the world and in our lives when we decided to start the band.
Ari: I was in NYU and I wasn’t really considering a career in any sort of serious way. I love to write songs and I was in bands, but I wasn’t taking it very seriously. After 9/11, I was in that area of New York, I could see the World Trade Centers and for some reason I felt much more connected to making music my primary activity in my life.
Josh: I was living in D.C. at the time and so I was experiencing 9/11 on the Washington, D.C. perspective. Ari was calling to say he was okay and asked me to privately go away from mom and dad because he wanted to share something with me. He picked up the acoustic guitar and sang into the telephone two songs, ‘Ladder 116’ and ‘American Stranger,’ and he asked me what I thought of those songs. I thought they were the best songs I’ve ever heard. And he asked me to move to New York to start a band.