Asper Courts a Wider Audience
by Adrian GomezKurt Sorenson doesn't mind balancing his day job with his music. In fact, it's become a science.
"It just works out," he said during a recent interview. "I like to think that it's all planned.
Sorenson plays piano in the Albuquerque-based band Asper Kourt. He said the band started about three years ago while the five members were students at the University of New Mexico.
"It all came together pretty fast," he said. "We decided to start a band and then we started marketing ourselves to all the local venues.
Ask Sorenson to describe Asper Kourt's sound and he pauses and says, "Lately, we've been saying indie pop rock.
Sorenson said the band usually plays gigs around town and when it was approached to play Project Acoustic, it was something they really wanted to do.
"We know Matt (Witkowski), who is one of the founders of the event," he said. "We heard a little bit about the event and its cause and were totally happy to perform.
Sorenson said Albuquerque has some great venues for bands starting up. Asper Kourt has played at Warehouse 508 and thinks it's a good idea to get the community involved.
"There's a huge need for these programs," he said. "While we haven't used the programs as much as others, it's important to keep them running.
Sorenson said despite the band members' school and work schedules, they find time to practice.
"We stick to once a week but we know we should be doing more practicing," he said. "Once the guys are out of school, I'm sure we'll be able to do more with music.
Sorenson said the band hopes to have its second CD out before Christmas. He said it was recorded in Seattle this summer.
For more information on the band, visit www.asperkourt.com.
Boitano enjoys life post-skating
by Shane MettlenThe show itself is a lot of work," said Boitano's manager, Linda Leaver. "We wish there was a downtime … [but] for cooking it's between seasons and time for coming up with new recipes and guests. Honestly, his life never stops.
Best Local Band Headed for Stardom
by Albuquerque the MagazineASPER KOURT Kevin Herig (vocals, guitar), Mat Beston (bass), Nate Boitano (lead guitar), Heath Warren (drums), and Kurt Sorenson (keyboard) are Asper Kourt, a group that made tidal waves of Albuquerque's music scene in the summer of 2007 - and hasn't stopped. Herig, the bands singer-songwriter, combines influence from his favorite musicians - Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, and John Mayer - to get a melodic, soft rock sound. In February 2009, the band's EP, Changing Times, hit the national stage. www.myspace.com/asperkourt
Courting Fame by Local iQ Magazine
High school buddies Kevin Herig, Nate Boitano and Heath Warren began playing music together several years ago in a garage on the same street for which their band would later be named, Asper Court. At first, the three simply jammed together in their free time, but after a couple months, they learned each others' strengths and styles and, after dropping the 'C' for 'K', officially formed Asper Kourt. Bassist Mat Beston came on full time in the summer of 2007, and Herig's piano-playing brother-in-law Kurt Sorenson was added to the lineup shortly after. With their shared love of music and unique effortless style, the newly formed band took the Albuquerque college scene by storm and, when listening to the group's laid back, lyrically poignant songs, it becomes clear why. Listening to a live set and speaking with the band briefly was all it took to convince this writer of Asper Kourt's unstoppable mix of talent and passion. While front man Herig plays guitar and sings very down-to-earth lyrics with a charisma reminiscent of Jason Mraz or Jack Johnson, keyboardist Sorenson adds a piano pop flare to their sometimes folksy mix of rock pop music that makes it very easy to love and a bit hard to classify. In a recent interview, Local iQ asked Asper Kourt to define their music in their own words. "I think for me it's hard to define our music in terms of genres," said bassist Beston. "I feel like we cover a lot of genres - acoustic, rock, pop, etc. - and what we play all depends on the venue, the crowd and the mood we're in at the time. Hopefully we have enough variation in our music that we can reach any person regardless of preference or age or culture or anything else." Over the past two years, Asper Kourt's flexibility has won the band many fans, both locally and nationally. After being crowned champion of UNM's "Battle of the Bands", Asper Kourt took their piano pop single, "Rain Before Shine" to a national online contest for college bands. After an intense back-and-forth battle with Penn State's So Long Pluto, Asper Kourt was named winner and offered a contract with Song Joust Records. However, something seemed fishy about the offer. After reviewing the contract carefully, the band eventually turned down the deal. "That was all around an interesting experience," said Sorenson. "After reviewing [the contract] and talking about it as a band, we decided that we could do better without their deal than with their deal. Ironically, it would have cost us a big chunk of money to have the deal work and we weren't ready to be spending our money on helping Song Joust get off the ground. We wish them the best, but it certainly wasn't for us." Even without the Song Joust deal, Asper Kourt used the momentum of their local and national contest wins to explore their musical style and carve a niche for themselves in the local scene. While booking shows has never been difficult, recently the group has gained more freedom of discretion in choosing which gigs to play. Even so, they have played over 70 shows this year including a main stage performance at the New Mexico State Fair and regular Sunday appearances at Nob Hill Bar and Grill. Most recently, Asper Kourt was named Albuquerque the Magazine's "Best Local Band Headed for Stardom," a title voted on by readers and fans. When asked what the designation means for the band, drummer Warren stated, "I think this is huge for the band. It's so gratifying to learn that there's a lot more people than just our close friends and family that are enjoying our music. We always say that with opportunities like this one, we never know what might come of it. Who knows what doors might be opened because of winning this. We're really excited to see what this could bring us in the future." It certainly seems that, for this young talented band, the future looks bright. While shopping for a more sensible record deal, the band has booked gigs all around the Southwest, shifting focus more toward expanding both its fan base and set list. Herig is constantly writing new music with collaboration from the band and they say they have quite a few new songs in the works. The six-song EP, Changing Times, is available for purchase at Amazon.com. With aspirations of playing bigger venues, an undeniable passion and talent for music and the modesty and work ethic of a young band on the rise, Asper Kourt has a rare and coveted combination of qualities that destine a band for stardom. So where do they see themselves in a year's time? Guitarist Boitano answered humbly, "I think ideally, we would love to get booked on a tour as an opening act for someone. We're ready to do this full speed ahead and see where it can take us. For the guys in the band though, what matters most is that we're still happy doing what we're doing. So, in one year, if we're doing nothing different than we are right now - having a great time, making great music with our friends - that would be awesome." Hannah Reiter 11/19/2009 Local iQ Magazine