Wednesday, April 11, 2007

History of ROOM 1202

ROOM 1202 is a concept that dates back to 1995 when Omar and friend, John Beare were in a band called PRIMARY. Primary was a three-piece band that also included drummer Nick Whittaker. Together since 1989, they performed stark, moody music, mainly written by John, which blended driving bass lines with layers of lush keyboards. The band made two demo recordings and achieved moderate local success.

Primary broke up in December 1995, and the three members went their separate ways. John made a pilgrimage to Wyoming, while Omar began conceiving his own musical ideas. Over the next two years, Omar composed several songs, some of which found their way onto a tape. John returned to California and listened to some of Omar's ideas. After several months and much discussion as to what Omar would do with these songs, it was decided in December 1997 that he and John would resume their musical partnership under the name ROOM 1202, which was the name Omar had given to his project.

The first songs were Omar's electronic synthesized keyboards, to which John added bass guitar on some, and guitar on others. In January 1998, John composed his first song for the project, which was to be included on a four-track demo that Omar had already been working on. By February, the project was completed and compact discs were produced. On Feb. 6, 1998, ROOM 1202 made its live debut opening for a local band called Juno Scenario at Boyce's Billiards in Hesperia, CA. In just two months, the ROOM 1202 had enough material to perform for 45 minutes.

From there, the repertoire of the band grew along with its reputation. Playing local pool halls, garage parties and other nearby clubs, the band started to gain a respectable following. The initial run of 500 demo CDs sold out quickly, and by the end of 1998, ROOM 1202 had performed over 70 live shows.

Along the way, they decided to experiment with a live drummer. Aaron Messmer, the drummer for Juno Scenario, played drums during ROOM 1202s live shows between September and December. However, his departure to the military resulted in another personnel shift for the band.

Enter Tony Trujillo. Tony has been more or less a roadie for the band, always available to lend a hand when needed. His keyboard experience and drive to be in a successful project landed him a spot in the band as live keyboardist.

1999 and 2000 saw the band add another dozen or so songs to its repertoire, which was enough to enter the studio and concentrate on making a full-length album. With the September 2000 release of Afterimage, ROOM 1202 continued to solidify its place within the local music scene.

With its combination of dark electronic textures and melodic guitar work, Afterimage became a huge local success, quickly selling out initial pressings and receiving airplay on local radio stations. However, due to personal obligations involving individual band members, promotional interviews and shows were not scheduled and ROOM 1202 was not able to fully capitalize on their seeming imminent success.

Early 2001 was quite an inactive period for the band as a whole, with Omar continuing to compose music and John writing songs for his own solo project. Omar began an online campaign promoting ROOM 1202 on various MP3 sites in an attempt to bring the music to a much larger audience. By late summer, ROOM 1202 had become one of the most downloaded bands in the Victor Valley Area.

Reinvigorated by this, plans were made for new shows and on October 19, 2001, the band reunited performing a show celebrating Omar and John's 10th anniversary in music. Even after a year out of the collective local consciousness, almost 100 close friends and fans that had not forgotten attended the show.

In mid 2001 Omar also began corresponding with 80's electronic music icons RED FLAG, who helped ROOM 1202 land a spot opening for them at the world famous Troubadour in Hollywood. This show on December 29, the first in Los Angeles played before an audience that did not know them at all, was an enormous success. Promotional copies of Afterimage were snatched up in seconds and the band received an excellent ovation. It was an outstanding way to close out the year.

2001 also saw the release of two compilations of unreleased demos and live tracks, titled Outtakes and Oddities Volumes I and II, and in 2002, an album of experimental instrumental tracks penned by Omar titled .exit music for the lost and found. These collections were heavily purchased via download and were indeed very popular.

2003 saw the band performing sporadic shows, culminating with the band's debut at the historic Whisky A Go-Go in Hollywood, CA. The success of this show led to another need for change, and the family of ROOM 1202 began to grow. Aaron Messmer returned to the band to bring some sonic depth, and Robert Modica was added on guitar, adhering to the desire of John to return to his bass playing roots. Tony Trujillo departs, and Michael Buchanan is brought in as the new keyboardist.

2004 the group continues to work with its new format. Much time is spent re-working old and some new material, as well as many shows including opening for ORGY on their Southern California tour, and sharing the stage with CAUSE AND EFFECT. The band released "Compendium 1998-2003: The First Five Years" a compilation highlighting the bands achievements so far of their career. Mid year brought unexpected changes resulting in long time member John Beare to leave the group to pursue his own musical ideas. With John not a part of 1202, Omar is left with the decision as to where to lead the band. It is then decided to continue working on new songs in hopes to gather enough material for an EP highlighting the collaboration process with 1202’s new members. Michael Buchanan leaves the band due to personal reasons. Tony re-joins permanently.

2005 the band wins the “Best Electronic Rock” award at the Inland Empire Music Awards. Michael Buchanan returns. The band continues to work on new material, however is frustrated with result of the collaboration process brings another shift, asking guitarist Robert Modica to leave the band. Now a four piece, they will continue with an electronic format.

2006 the band is nominated for “Best Electronic Rock” category for the Inland Empire Music Awards, and starts recording the new EP titled “Movement.” Exhausted in working with several engineers and producers, it is decided that ROOM 1202 will produce themselves. This is the first recording using live drums, as well as using utilizing two studios, one for recording, and one for mixing. Michael Buchanan leaves again due to personal reasons, and the band continues recording and does sporadic shows for the rest of year as a three piece. Hopes to spark interest in ROOM 1202, Omar accepts collaboration remixes for the song WEAK from Beau Baker, keyboardist and drummer for Los Angeles based Depeche Mode Tribute band VIOLATOR, as well as from synth-pop/darkwave band CARVED SOULS. ROOM 1202 decides to release a new single in over two years available for the first time on iTunes in the early part of 2007.