Jan 232008
 
Authors: Aaron Kelly

The number two has always had a significant role in history.

Two is always better than one, rock paper scissors is best two out of three, and it takes two to tango — or in the case of the local dance-rock band Ask You in Gray, rock a packed venue.

Fort Collins natives Nick Wichman, 22, a senior graphic design major and Trey Tatum, 23, form the duo, which will be releasing their first LP this Friday at their headlining show at Everyday Joe’s Coffeehouse on south Mason Street.

The band takes on the unique style of blending synthesized tracks with a dance undertone, including an upbeat cover of Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago.”

Bearing gifts of glow sticks and a copy of their new album wrapped in a pair of puritan tighty whitey’s, it was clear the holiday spirit had not left the two men.

Tatum and Wichman’s individual inspirations include groups like Freeze Pop, Sufjan Stevens, Muse, and Postal Service, all of which influenced the two and their overall outlook towards music.

One of their biggest challenges so far has been forming their own sound.

“We basically had to establish who we are. Focus on us,” Wichman said.

Nick’s old band, Syless Hope, could be seen as an almost complete opposite from his current collaboration.

“It (Syless Hope) was too heavy. Needless to say there are differences between loud rock and a synthesizer keyboard,” Wichman said.

Ask You in Gray came to the decision to construct their sounds from scratch.

“It’s like putting pieces of a puzzle together,” Tatum said. “We build a song from the ground up.”

After performing more than 20 shows, mostly open mic nights in Fort Collins, the guys have expanded their venues to Denver, Greeley, and Windsor.

“It’s hard to get fans to travel, so our main fan base is here in Fort Collins,” Wichman said.

Although Tatum and Wichman have played at Joe’s before, this is the first time they will be hosting a CD release party at the coffeehouse. The show is free, with a suggested five-dollar donation.

The lavish life of a rock star is still foreign to the two young men, who struggle to make ends meet while still keeping up with the band.

“We’re broke,” said Wichman. “We try to put on parties, but the money is a factor,” said Tatum.

In their free time the two do what most guys in their early twenties do — play video games.

Rock Band, a game in which the players go through a simulation of being in a band using guitars, drums and a microphone, is one of their favorites.

“It (Rock Band) is pretty ridiculous,” Wichman said.

Staying sharp by practicing is somewhat difficult since Tatum lives in Denver, but the guys find time to practice at least once a week.

The two are confident that their success will not determine their longevity.

“It’s not in our heart to get a lot of recognition or to stay small. We just want to go where our music takes us,” said Wichman. “We just want to form relationships.”

The two really stress the fact that their shows are all about the entertainment of the crowd. Wichman and Tatum pass out glow sticks to audience members to give the crowd a sense of interaction.

“Our shows are all about having fun and if you ever come to one of them our performance reflects that,” said Tatum. “If people are having fun, rocking out, then we have done our job.”

Staff writer Aaron Kelly can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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