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Philadelphia Band 'East Hundred' Releases New EP “The Spells”


When I spoke to Brooke Blair, guitarist of local band East Hundred, their new EP The Spells, was thisclose to being finished. Their release partyEast Hundred is this Saturday, at Johnny Brenda’s from 9:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.  

East Hundred, one of our Philadelphia bands, formed in a basement in 2004. Brothers Will (drums) and Brooke Blair recruited Brooke’s then girlfriend Beril Guceri for vocals. Rounding out East Hundred are Susan Gager (keyboards), and Dave Sunderland (bass). Brooke and Beril eventually broke up, but the band flourished with their heartache inspired songs.

In 2009, they released Passengers, which garnered great reviews in both local and national indie music press. XPN named them the July 2009 Artist to Watch and the band performed at the XPoNential Festival that year, which is where I first saw them play.  
After two years of touring, the band wrote their five song EP, and they have been recording, mixing, mastering and now a little remastering in time for Saturday’s show. Everyone who attends the release party will receive a card that enables them to download the EP.

Mr. Blair explains, “We co-produced… we have a pretty strong idea of what we’re doing. All the songs are demoed out in our little studio prior to going in [to record].”

The band has been building their fan base the indie rock way though patience and touring.

“We have day jobs…pretty flexible day jobs which allow us to do little tours” and accommodate the early morning coming back from a gig in NYC,” Blair states.  

Currently, band members work in the restaurant industry, one of them is a dog groomer, one temps at Urban Outfitters, and Mr. Blair works in an auction company.

“They are all pretty supportive in their own ways,” he says.

With the music industry trying to evolve, Blair thinks there is some strength in remaining an independent band.

“We just wanted to keep recording and releasing with whatever budget we have.”

That philosophy provides the band total creative control over their work, which might not be the case when working with a label.  East Hundred’s songs have been placed in two MTV shows and was used in the movies Company Man and Prom. That provides, “A little money to help things along,” Mr. Blair adds, “It was so much easier when you’re 22.  You don’t have as many bills and responsibilities. At this point, it takes a little more to be on the road and to do it comfortably. It costs a lot more, it’s just break even. If you don’t have tour support it’s a difficult thing.”

While several successful bands come from Philly, playing in New York City increases a band’s chance of getting noticed by a label, advertising agency, or filmmaker.  

“We are lining up some summer time NYC shows, we focus heavily on Philly and regionally as much as we can,” Blair emphasizes.

Mr. Blair recognizes that they are not yet at the point where they can walk away from those day jobs. To be a full time musician, he says,  “that would be a pretty awesome thing. That’s the goal.”

Get your tickets to Saturday’s show here. Turning Violet Violet, as wells as Steve Goldberg and The Arch Enemies will be playing.


Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com

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