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PROVO — A local band is in the running for a national independent music award, just in time for the release of their first EP.
The members of Red Yeti say they aren't "just another college band." They plan to make it big, and it begins with winning a RAW award.
The RAWards, as the competition is called, is the largest indie arts award show in the world. The 2.5-month competition narrows the field of indie artists down to nine winners out of more than 10,000. If Red Yeti wins the contest, they will become the first in Utah to do so, according to lead vocalist Kimball Barker.
Voting takes place online, after which semi-finalists perform concerts in the hopes of being chosen for the award.
The band has gone through a lot of change since its formation — nothing out of the ordinary for a group of college students. Morgan Nowland can be heard on the drums in the EP, but Nick Blosil will be the drummer at the RAWards. Other band members have come and gone, but Barker and lead guitarist Isaac Lomeli say their sound has remained consistent.
"We're definitely more rock than folk, although we do feature folk instruments," Barker said. "Most bands don't have banjos."
Barker said Andrew Livingston, who plays the banjo for the band, has learned to adapt it to be played almost like a guitar. Their sound is similar to Band of Horses, but they say they wouldn't describe themselves as influenced by the Seattle rock band.
The band likes to invite other performers on stage at shows, including violinists and even trumpeters, in an effort to get as many artists involved as possible and to share their own art.
"I look at music as a way of influencing people and the world for the better. I want to make music that will help people excel in life and reach their full potential," Lomeli said. "That motivated feeling you get when you hear a good song? I want to be able to do that for people."
Look for Red Yeti's EP on iTunes and Spotify around the end of the month.
Lomeli said the group wants to capitalize on the recent successes of Utah Valley bands Imagine Dragons and Neon Trees to further the image of the area as being a music center.
"A lot of local bands are in the spotlight now, and we want to keep that momentum going," he said. "There are a lot of amazing artists in Utah, and with this momentum, we can make Utah the place where you can go big."
The group is taking the contest seriously, then — to them, it's not just another pastime.
"We take this very seriously, and we're very dedicated to promoting it," Barker said. "This is an opportunity to invest in our art, and we're grateful. We' don't want to be just another college band. We want to go for it."