The Breathing Tree comes back to life

On November 29, 2012

  • Local band The Breathing Tree has overcome much adversity while making its upcoming project, Traveller, which will be released on Dec. 21 and will donate proceeds to the Buffalo City Mission. Courtesy of The Breathing Tree

Local bands constantly struggle to remain relevant in the Buffalo scene. They compete with more popular bands as well as with each other for the headlining spot at venues such as Mohawk Place and Broadway Joe's. The Breathing Tree - a local indie rock band - has gone through it all and is ready to face anything else that comes in its way.

When the band was offered an opportunity to work on its EP with David Elkins, lead singer of emo-rock band Mae, the members knew they were closer to achieving their goal.

That was, however, until they realized they would need $5,000 to make it happen.

The Breathing Tree is comprised of vocalist Nicholas Stilb, guitarist and sophomore math major Bud Rozwood, bassist David Moore and drummer Jared Maholla. They created an account on Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects, to try and raise money to travel to Nashville to record with Elkins.

However, the band only raised $140 on its first attempt in September 2011.

While this discouraged the band, the members knew they had to stay positive and keep playing music to attain their goal, and in turn, put the completion of their EP on hold to focus on gaining more local fans and more attention.

Last July, The Breathing Tree finally traveled to Nashville and completed their upcoming EP, Traveller, after raising $2,515 through Kickstarter.

"We wanted to take a step back and really hone in on our material," Stilb said. "The opportunity to go to Nashville took time to pan out, but it became real."

Elkins and Mae have been a direct influence on all members of The Breathing Tree and was a surreal experience for them.

The Breathing Tree's two-year hiatus from writing new material was well worth it. Its debut album, Let Love Grow, received positive reviews from local Buffalo publications and helped them establish a fan base, but band unity was not as prominent. 

"All the songs on Let Love Grow were written on acoustic guitar without the band and then we added in everyone's parts," Stilb said. "On Traveller, we wrote the songs as a collective."

Writing the songs together led to maturation for The Breathing Tree; the differences between Let Love Grow and Traveller are notable. Elkins' presence added Mae's stylistic influence, which helped Traveller contain more depth.

While completing the EP was a huge stepping stone for The Breathing Tree, a few weeks after the members returned to Buffalo, they found out they would be playing at the CMJ Festival in New York City on Oct. 16. The band played among such acts as YouTube sensation The Midnight Beast, Lady Gaga's former band member Lady Starlight and David Elkins himself.  The three-day festival showcased over 100 bands and singers to the city of New York.

The average attendance of the festival is 20,000 people, and The Breathing Tree was honored to play in front of that large of a crowd alongside well-known acts.

While it was difficult with Rozwood and Moore enrolled in college, the entire band managed to make it to New York City to perform, despite all traveling separately.

"That's the reason why we mostly play shows on weekends or on school breaks," Rozwood said. "It's too much to tour all over the place when there's a pile of schoolwork waiting for me."

The Breathing Tree has never performed at UB but hopes to do so in the future. The band has a stable fan base at the university and would love to open for Spring Fest or Fall Fest if given the opportunity.

Rozwood expressed his distaste with how UB caters to only the main demographic of the student population. While this maximizes turnout, he said UB is a melting pot and every student deserves to enjoy what their student fees pay for.

Senior computer science major Jon Filipski would not be opposed to this. He has been to three Breathing Tree concerts and plans on going to many more.

"My favorite part of The Breathing Tree set is their fresh energy and how they're playing for the fun of it," Filipski said. "They're always willing to hang around after their set with fans and get to know them, and I love that."

The Breathing Tree's EP Traveller is slated to drop Dec. 21 and all proceeds will go to the Buffalo City Mission.



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