Lesson7 is just a little more than two years old, but the band has worked hard to get their name out there in that time.
The Des Moines band has done well in battle of the bands (second place at Bombay Bicycle Club), played street parties and gigs you might not expect, like farmers markets. They’ve hit the road and built a following. And they’ve done it all without an album for fans to buy.
That changes this week.
Saturday the band plays a CD release party for its self-titled debut album. Appropriately enough, it’s a seven-song disc that summarizes the band’s unique sound.
The band’s unique sound is due in part to its two vocalists. After the better part of a decade rapping, Brian Clark decided to put together a band. Members fell into place, like Jimmy Bishop on guitar, his brother Mike Bishop on bass and Bryan York on drums. And then there was Michael Hojati, a second vocalist. Clark had intended to front the band, but once he heard Hojati sing he decided Lesson7 needed two vocalists.
“Michael came in and we didn’t know what to do,” Clark said. “But he sang so well that we couldn’t let him go.”
The band works Clark’s hip- hop style and Hojati’s soul/rock influence into songs. Some songs feature one of the vocalists more heavily, with the other taking on a smaller role, while others are split more evenly between them.
The band built its following and developed its sound through a series of house parties. Different crowds would cycle through week after week as the members of Lesson7 honed their style. The band ended up in the unique situation of selling out their very first public show at House of Bricks in 2010, thanks to the different party-goers all showing up.
The band has spent the last two years playing live and working on material for the album. They’ve learned lessons along the way. Their early vow never to play covers was broken when they realized that a three-hour show is hard to fill. Sometimes a song the crowd knows will help to win it over.
When they do covers, the band tries to make things unique to their style, like adding a hip- hop verse to Stone Temple Pilot’s “Interstate Love Song” or their own take on “Love is Strange,” probably best known for its use in “Dirty Dancing” (and its recent sampling in Pitbull’s “Back in Time”).
“We can keep a large demo moving throughout the night,” York said. “We’re not just doing hip-hop or rock or blues or continuously doing covers. We keep things moving and changing, and that feels good.”
Saturday’s show won’t just be about Lesson7. They do plan to do two sets, one playing the album straight through, and a second with other material, including some new songs. There will be art, along with music by DJ Flash and Come Unity.
“We’re trying to make it a show — an event — and not just us playing another bar show,” Hojati said. “ We wanted to bring out some people whose music we love, a brother band like Come Unity, and salute the people who have helped us along the way.
And with “Lesson7,” the band will have a product to push at shows beyond the music. They’re already working on material for another album, and the five-piece band has goals: They want to be signed to a label and play music full time. They hope this album will help them along the path.
“We all got into this band with one objective, we want to make it,” Clark said. “Some of us have been doing this for a while. It feels like if this doesn’t work, it could be my last time.”
Lesson7 CD release party
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Wooly’s, 504 E. Locust St.