DT3 Acoustic Sessions: not an Airplane

So we had an idea here in the Digital Trends office.

It was simple enough to begin with: Why not use our media room — which at the time was home to a pair of TVs, a few video game systems, and a foosball table — and do something special with it. But what? It was time to think outside of the box. Someone suggested turning the room into a soccer field following the World Cup. It was a plucky idea that involved the right type of outside the box thinking, but ultimately it was deemed to be a very stupid idea.

So we began to think of what we really wanted to do, and the idea of turning the room into a make-shift studio. Asking bands to come in and play a few songs for us sounded incredible, but also difficult. Sure it worked for Kevin Costner, but if we took the time to build it, would they really come? And even if they did, would it be worth it? Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Just look at Eddie Murphy’s career.

It took a few days, some new furniture, some paint, and a bunch of recording equipment, but the room was soon ready.

Things could have gone two ways. First, the band could sound amazing, opening the door for a new trend here at the office, and initiating the DT3 Acoustic Sessions. Secondly, it could be disastrous, and we would likely have an angry band and a Hulked-out CEO ready to kill us all. Thankfully, it was the first, and we managed to have a session with the phenomenal up and coming band not an Airplane. Check out the results below, and we think you’ll agree.

The Modesto, CA based band not an Airplane is hard to define. One minute you think you can label them as bluegrass, then a brief changeover and they sound country. The next song you feel sure that they are folk, then a drum beat convinces you that they are rock. They defy convention and manage to blend several genres to create a unique sound.

The quartet consists of Nick Shattell (Vocals, guitar), Daniel Edward Harris (Vocals, Banjo, Guitar, Dobro), Jared Neilson (Vocals, Upright Bass, Violin), and Chris Haupt (Drums). The name of their band is in reference to a song from the Ohio-based indie rock band Guided by Voices, but as not an Airplane began to develop their own style, the name had less to do with Guided by Voices, and became an entity of its own. It is an in-joke of sorts for the band, and probably the most frequently asked question they get.

Following the release of their album “Things and People” in May, the band has been on the road ever since, touring the West Coast. Playing anywhere from 5 to 10 shows per month — sometimes more — not an Airplane will be on the road for most of the summer and fall before returning to the studio to record a new album. You can check out their tour schedule on their website, www.notanairplane.com, and if you have the chance to see them, you should take it while you can.

We were lucky enough to have them stop by our Portland, OR office after a show in Tacoma, WA and before a performance in Cottage Grove, OR, and we were able to convince the band to play a few acoustic sets to help us christen our newly studio-fied media room. The results were fairly amazing. But don’t take our word for it, check out the videos.

In the video clips below you can get an idea of what not an Airplane is all about- it is easier than explaining exactly which genre they are in. Whether you want to call them bluegrass, country, folk, or anything else, they play great music. And that’s all that really matters.


“As He Moved Away”

“Please Don’t Make Me”

“Love and Pretty Things”

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