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Creativity marks this Medford band

Creative enthusiasm is behind the music of alternative pop and rock band Apple Siders, a group of five young men who met while attending South Medford High School. Primary songwriter and rhythm guitarist Sean Siders started the musical venture when he decided to record an audio CD for his senior project in 2010.

"It was an EP called 'Reaching Out,' " says Siders. "I recorded instrumental and vocal tracks in my room and at school using a 12-track digital recorder."

Siders says he dubbed his small recording company King Monty Productions, after the family cat.

Later, Siders teamed up with keyboard player Bryce Miller, bassist Mitchell Winters, lead guitarist Micah Jones and drummer Elijah Jones.

"We play a lot of different instruments," says Siders. "Everyone in the band does a little percussion and a little singing. It's better to be with a group of creative people, rather than a bunch who aren't enthusiastic. It helps push me creatively."

Apple Siders will perform at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 6, in Bear Creek Park's amphitheater, off Siskiyou Boulevard and Highland Avenue, Medford. Admission to the outdoor show is free.

The group independently released a professionally produced CD, titled "Sounds Human," in January.

"We recorded it over Christmas break at Mountain View Productions in Grants Pass," says Siders. "We went into the studio with a lot of ideas for my songs. We had so many ideas that it became chaotic. We learned how to be specific with the sound — when it was OK to be a little spontaneous or experiment with it. We knocked out the drums first, and by the end of the week, Bob Pagano of the studio was doing the mixing."

Tunes on "Sounds Human" draw from influences such as indie folk band Bon Iver, alt-rock band Coldplay and guitarist John Mayer.

"Our guitar player is in awe of John Mayer," says Siders.

Apple Siders' new CD, "We the Seasons," was released June 24 on www.applesiders.bandcamp.com. The new songs include three by Siders and one by Micah Jones, and the four-song set has more of an acoustic sound than the earlier album.

Now a freshmen at Southern Oregon University, Siders is studying percussion and world music under Terry Longshore.

"One of the songs, 'Chariot,' explores African miramba music," says Siders. "I got that from playing in the SOU percussion ensemble. The Zimbabwe culture plays a spiritual music. That's what I found really cool about it."

Using his Roland Boss DR 1200, he recorded the marimba parts for "Chariot" in Longshore's office. The rest of the work was recorded again in Siders' room at home.

"It took awhile because we didn't have the advantages of a studio," says Siders. "We recorded one instrument at a time."

"Tomorrow," the tune by Jones, is another that stands out on the new CD, says Siders.

"It's catchy," he says. "The other songs are personal, revealing and emotional, but Micah's song is bright and poppy. His songs have that feel-good vibe, like John Mayer."

Jones and Miller graduated from SMHS this spring and will leave in the fall for Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and the University of Oregon, respectively. The remaining band members will look for musicians to replace them.

"We're not picky about the instrumentation," says Siders. "It's more about enthusiasm, good showmanship and positive attitudes."

The Bear Creek concert is part of the State Farm Summer Concert Series. See a full lineup of concerts at www.playmedford.com or call 541-774-2400.

Apple Siders takes a break in Lithia Park. The band, left to right, features Micah Jones, Elijah Jones, Mitchell Winters, Bryce Miller and Sean Siders. - Photo by Mandy Valencia