local music scene south carolina
Another great band born out of Columbia, SC that has left a mark on modern and contemporary music. The members of this band have not only contributed to the sound and structure of Baumer itself but in tracing each members lineage I can’t help but be amazed at their total body of work both locally and on a world stage. Their influence on new and upcoming bands as well as contributions they have made in giving back to our musical culture through recording studios, engineering and recording talents, and the overall creation of new bands and original music simply cannot be overlooked.
Baumer's story begins late 2003 in Columbia, SC with guitarist Kenny McWilliams, who was working in his garage studio on a low–key solo project. McWilliams invited Nate Boykin down to his studio to try out some vocals over his project; the results were favorable and the two soon began collaborating and recording demos. However, what started as mellow acoustic guitars and lounge beats morphed into upbeat, danceable rock. The more McWilliams and Boykin worked together, the more they began surprising themselves. "It wasn't like anything we had done before," says Boykin. "We didn't really limit ourselves and we didn't really have an agenda."
What they did have was even better. Boykin's exceptional voice and pop–sensibilities combined with McWilliam's fluent beat programming and guitar work fostered a somewhat dark, infectious brand of pop music. As McWilliams explains, Baumer's peculiar, dark hooks are the result of his collaboration with Boykin. "I went through this whole stage where I didn't listen to a bit of pop music," says McWilliams. "When Nate and I first started working together, I was like anti–pop, and Nate comes in and he has a really good pop sensibility. The two of us working together is kind of what produces that because he writes some dark stuff too but a lot of that is me."
However, the pair wanted more: they wanted to make their studio project into a real live band. McWilliams turned to former band mate Caleb Weathersby to add live drums and voilá, Baumer was ready to rock. Baumer played its first show as a trio in May 2004, later enlisting bassist Chris Corley as a permanent member of the band. Baumer then put together a self–released, self–recorded CD, the debut of which was celebrated by a much talked about CD release party in their hometown. A chain reaction began. An ally of the band put a call into New Jersey based Astro Magnetics, a label owned and operated by the team at Eyeball Records (which includes Thursday front man Geoff Rickley). The people at Astro Magnetics were fed a taste of Baumer via Internet; the label perked its ears and asked for more. Before long Astro Magnetics was totally hooked on Baumer and a relationship was formed.
For its first official release, Baumer polished up the tracks from it's self–released debut, wrote a few more, and enlisted mega–producer Mike Shipley, (The Cars, Def Leppard, Devo, Kelly Clarkson), to mix the epic “Come On, Feel It.” While essentially Baumer's freshman effort, “Come On, Feel It” was in no way immature. Baumer had made an album as cohesive and concise as anything by a band with twice its experience.
2005 saw Caleb Weathersby leave the band line up and was replaced by Josh Kean on drums and later Chris Corley left and was replaced by Chad Rochester rounding out both bass guitar and keyboard duties. Tours with Mute Math, The Cinematics, Better Than Ezra, and Copeland, promotions such as shows benefiting the Invisible Children’s national campaign promoted by Eyeball Records and backed with a compilation release titled “Eyeball Awareness + Volume 1”, and Video shoots in California followed while the band ran the gamut all the while writing and structuring material for their next major release. In 2008 the band’s second release “Were It Not For You” delivered a collage of tastefully merged electronic rhythms with massive washing guitars. The hit song “Take What’s Mine” was featured in the motion picture and all national trailers for "Sex And Death 101", starring Wynona Rider. It was also featured in a national advertising campaign for AMC Television Networks.
On November 7, 2008, the band officially broke up, and played their last show in their hometown of Columbia, SC. Special burned discs entitled “Never Say Die” which included 13 various acoustic songs, remixes, and even brand new tracks were given out to honor those that had supported Baumer along their journey.
Kenny McWilliams – rhythm guitar (2003–2008)
Nate Boykin – vocals, synthesizer (2003–2008)
Caleb Weathersby – drums (2003-2005)
Chris Corley – bass guitar (2004–2006)
Chad Rochester – vocals, lead guitar, synthesizer (2005–2008)
Josh Kean – drums (2005–2008)