Open Windows
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Open Windows


Band Rock Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Open Windows of Opportunity"

“Everybody scream,” Zaq Suarez whispers into the microphone. It’s the beginning of band practice, and the four members of Open Windows are in a shed behind Suarez’s house. Orange whiffle balls hang from strings attached to the ceiling, and a plastic bat is pinned to one of the walls, splattered with fluorescent paint. There’s a sporadic display of soundproofing materials haphazardly arranged on the walls accompanied by a hockey mask that brings back memories of bad horror movies. A couch in the back offers a seat to anyone wanting to listen any given day practice takes place, an audience that can expect more than what meets the eye.

Michael Wheaton, Glenn Goodwin, Steve Brett and Suarez are the people behind the music. They describe their sound as “ego and empathy ‘doin’ it,’” but that can easily be modesty talking. What they produce is the perfect opening for one of those foreign films that wins an award for the soundtrack- songs that are accepted during hallucinations; portals that can transport one to somewhere safe and welcoming.

Open Windows is a harmonious mix of inspiration from progressive rock to folk instrumental. They leave out the mediocre lyrics of broken hearts and girlfriends who bring teenage angst and bring to life the emotion not heard in sellout artists. The indie flow has enough variety to avoid becoming redundant, and the individuality found is the only thing that can be considered consistent.

“We want to be song to song,” Suarez said. “As long as we are representing ourselves, then let it sound like whatever it sounds like,” Wheaton added.

Though their motive goes against the grain when it comes to aspiring musicians, all the members of the band are content with just playing music that they think is good.

“It’s not our goal to get signed to a major label; that’s definitely not the end;” Wheaton said. “[We all decided], let’s be in a band to make music that we think is good. We want to share it with people.”

Nothing or no one is overpowering in comparison; there’s nothing too harsh or awkward on the ears- but at the climactic point of songs like “Snozberry Jam,” it’s an overwhelming feeling that overtakes the body - the kind that shouldn’t be stifled, to be felt more often than not. The Jam is three parts, assembled like a story that disproves Freytag’s pyramid. There’s an introduction, a rising action, and the climax. There’s this excitement that comes along with the instrumentals, and one would assume that the song would die down slowly, a repetition of the introduction to tie everything together- but it never comes, producing a shadow that resembles the crest of Damien Rice’s “I Remember” with the speed of Modest Mouse and the demand for attention that all great musicians have without saying a word.

There’s a small southern feeling, a jazzy twang that immediately renders attention- sort of a blues with force. Suarez makes things interesting with occasional dispersed onomatopoeias. Whether it is a cymbal clashing or a guitar riff, there’s always something that keeps the listener at attention in the best way possible.

Vocals are split between Brett and Suarez. Suarez’s vocal part in “You’re the Cure” is a guttural projection of Dallas Taylor (Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, original UnderOath). Percussion overwhelms the speakers, and it’s a minute of raw rock and roll. Suarez goes again into character after a moment of instrumental relaxation- but only a moment. The transitions are smooth and clean, and much like other songs, it finishes strong.

In contrast, Brett’s vocals are a reminder of Billy Corgan (Zwan, Smashing Pumpkins) in “Memory is a Convex Mirror.” The song tells a tale of soulful distinction. Wheaton, the guitarist among other things, brings forth a Theremin, an alien-like instrument with a sound of its own amidst Explosions in the Sky instrumental breakdowns… and then they pick up the pace - a solo that brings reminders of 90’s rebel movies. Beats like this come on so fast that it’s startling, but never disappointing.

The band first glimpsed its future a year ago, when Wheaton and Suarez had a poetry class together. At the time, Wheaton and Suarez were doing their own solo works, and decided to jam on a whim. That same night, Suarez joined Blacklight Mantra, a band that has been highlighted by WPRK earlier in the year. For awhile, nothing took place, until Mantra decided to disband. That day, the two decided to play again, and soon met Goodwin in October and Brett in November - their first show being on Nov. 7. The band went into their first show with 45 minutes of material, a compilation of individual works that came together as nothing short of inspiring.

“We usually don’t talk when writing,” Suarez and Wheaton agreed. “We just play and go with it. It’s all pretty organic.”

Goodwin, drummer and youngest member of the four, still attends University of Central Florida, and still has the time to provide Open Windows with talented drumming.

“I manage this and school by prioritizing and sacrificing. I used to be on the UCF rugby team but I had to quit due to the time restraints. School definitely comes first to me and all the guys know that so it works out.”

“We think very highly of ourselves,” Suarez said in a way that is hard to differentiate between sarcasm and seriousness. However, all the band members have an uncanny way of getting along, a palpable chemistry that is sure to produce commendable results.

“We have so much respect for each other,” Wheaton said. “Everything is really natural, nothing is forced.”

With this attitude comes a unique sound that carries throughout their play list - the goal still not to make it big with the help of selling souls.

“We’re all pretty committed at this point,” Wheaton said. “We want to ride this as long as we can without putting ourselves in a place to be controlled by outside forces.”

The next show scheduled is April 19 in Underground Bluz. For sights and sounds, visit their MySpace at - The Sandspur

"Open Windows' Opens Doors"

Open Windows, an eclectic rock-indie quartet, finished its debut album, Lanterns, in Orlando, Fla. and was looking to relocate to a city where the band could move forward in its endeavors. Since arriving in Asheville a few months ago, a chance vacancy at the Root Bar yielded a surprise first show, a relationship with the Hookah Bar was forged through regular open mic visits, and most recently, a headlining gig at BoBo Gallery set Open Windows' sights on upward motion.
Open Windows. By Lydia See.

The band's show at BoBo Gallery featured another recent Orlando import, Amy White, a longtime friend of the band and all around solid musician. White played two short sets of breakout originals, startling covers (Elliot Smith, Blind Willie Johnson, Modest Mouse, Led Zeppelin), and performed a few beautiful duets with Open Windows' vocalist and bassist Zaq Suarez.

Open Windows' sets featured songs from the borderline psychedelic rock-folk Lanterns, played articulately, but with a deeper resonance and panache than on the record. "Mockingbird," is a crisp and soulful song with haunting vocals from Suarez and a tight percussion line from Ben Woodward. "You are the Cure" (identified by the band as "sort of our epic song") featured Steve Brett's rich and sonorant vocals and Michael Wheaton's intense guitar work: a climactic end to the first set.

The second set began with "Mere Existence," a delicate acoustic song written and performed solo by Brett. The set advanced with building energy, and presented a few album tracks (like the upbeat, twangy, rock heavy "Sandcastles of the Hermit Crab Kings") and several new songs, written after the band's arrival in North Carolina.

Open Windows' new arrangements showed immense progress in their recent development as a band: They seem to be letting go of a degree of structure and allowing the songs to evolve naturally. In their newer tracks, such as "Strings," the shoegaze and psychedelic influence is evident, and this adds a gritty darkness opposite the polished tracks from Lanterns. "Misty Mountain Tops," a multi-layered instrumental and "Into the Ground," an atonal harmonic jam, are comparable in quality to their other music, though stylistically wider-ranging, possibly a positive influence of the spectrum of music they have been exposed to in Asheville. An encore of a jazzy drum and bass-style song with a strong rhythm line finished off the succinct yet varied show, a survey of what has been and what is to come from this dynamic band. - Mountain Xpress (Lydia See)

"Open Windows Just Let In A Hurricane"

I don’t know why Mother Nature is punishing us native Floridians with this frigid weather, and I don’t know how much more I can handle. Walking down Pine Street and feeling my eyelashes shiver isn’t exactly my idea of a good night, but if I had known that what I was about to witness had the power to induce such fervor, my numb toes would’ve taken a backseat.

The last time I saw Open Windows was in their makeshift practice room, a converted shed decorated with old couches and a plastic hockey mask. Their sound was impressive enough then, an amateur band with wide eyes, booking shows at the dimly lit bars around town. Bassist/vocalist Zaq Suarez promised me a progressed sound, a definite growth that avalanched since my last rendezvous in the awkward shed. I’m ashamed to say that I certainly did not have what materialized in front of my eyes in mind.

It’s approaching midnight and the grungy too-cool-for-school hippie behind me keeps blowing his all-natural cigarette smoke in my ears, his pseudo-political rants disturbing my focus on the sound check. There aren’t too many people here, a big difference from the semi-popular bands that shimmy through Back Booth on a national tour. With any luck, the gentlemen of Open Windows will hail a larger audience; it’s surprising they don’t already, since their sound is one that can easily be appreciated by all.

Open Windows is comprised of the aforementioned Suarez, Steve Brett on guitar and main vocals, Michael Wheaton on guitar and Ben Woodward on drums. Their lyrics aren’t mainstream “woe is me” or pretentiously intellectual; rather, they can be described as a simplified relay of the world’s hidden optimism. In a “love song that goes out to girlfriends, rainbows and litters of baby kittens” Sandcastles of the Hermit Crab Kings has a blues-y acoustic vibe, Suarez’s alto voice so nonchalant and mellow. It’s a nice contrast to Brett’s indi-esque voice, a clean comparison to Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins.

These guys are in their own world when they’re on stage, to the point where it’s more like they’re playing behind a screen and the audience is eavesdropping secretly on an epic jam session. Their breakdowns took me by surprise, and their influence of Explosions in the Sky is evident by the instrumentals lasting for more than a few minutes. This is what I’d listen to if I was having a bad day. Two minutes of Wheaton’s fingers burning the guitar strings, Woodward’s percussion mastery and the ardor of Brett and Suarez’s vocals and I’m lifted.

They may be unsigned locals, but Open Windows has the potential to be more than an Orlando favorite. Their next show will be at Tanqueray’s on Jan. 30 with another local band, Handicap Bleu. For a taste, visit their MySpace- and listen to “Mockingbird”.
- Metromix Orlando


Three Song Demo (September 2008)
Lanterns (July 4, 2009)



In the winter of 2006, Michael Wheaton and Zaq Suarez met at a college poetry workshop. Through the semester they had become fans of each others work, and one day after class, they decided to jam together. They were both excited about each other's approaches, but that same night, Suarez auditioned and found his way into another project. Through that time, they became close friends, and Suarez had encouraged Wheaton to play his weekly open mic at a bar called Underground Bluz in Orlando, Fl. Wheaton would show up some weeks, spend twenty minutes playing instrumental songs, and hop up on stage to play with other songwriters, hoping to find the right people to start a project. It never happened.

In October of 2007, Suarez's project disbanded, and immediately he called Wheaton. The two conceived the idea for Open Windows that month. The idea was to start a band that stressed music and expression first and foremost -- an outlet to create art through music that is not to be restricted by any certain paradigm. They never would want to become pigeon-holed by what they had already created and who they had already been. With their first drummer, Glenn Goodwin, they started working on songs that they had been writing before the band.

One month later, Steve Brett decided to play his first open mic, serendipitously, on Suarez's night at Underground Bluz. Suarez and Wheaton were impressed by his originals and selection of covers, which included a searing rendition of Paranoid Android by Radiohead. They asked him to show up for a practice one afternoon, and although skeptical, Brett was impressed by the arrangements they had been working on. Brett immediately decided to come to subsequent practices, where the three of them would bring in and re-arrange songs that they had each been working on for themselves. Through this time, they had all become huge influences on each other.

Another month later, they had their first show. One year, over twenty five shows, four drummers, and a recording experience later, they were still searching for the missing ingredient. Ben Woodward called Suarez in August 2008 after mutual friends in a band called Mirror Pal informed him of the open spot. Woodward was reluctant at first, but after hearing great praises about the band, he showed up for a practice shortly after, and immediately everyone knew that something great was happening. They played their first show together in September 2008 at The Social in Orlando, Fl.

After the band started redifining their songs with Woodward on the drums, it became apparent that they needed to start working on a quality album. Ambitiously, they joined forces with Jason Gloria of Diatonic Productions and began the recording on their first full length LP. During this time, the band decided that if something was going to happen for them, they had to take the responsibility into their own hands. This included plans to relocate out of Orlando, Florida. Since, it was not enough to the band to throw together a simple recording of their songs, layer upon layer, idea after idea, tone after tone, they finished up work. They called the album "Lanterns," and set up a string of performances in the area in order to make enough money to fund the album and move on from their town.

In an intense July 2009, Open Windows followed through on plans for the move and said farewell with four final emotional performances that were met with overwhelming support from fans and friends. On July 17th, the morning after their final farewell show, the band packed up their bags and belongings. Together, they drove to their new home in Asheville, North Carolina.

Currently, the band lives together on the mountain while continuing to spread their name and work on new songs for a new full length.

Their music is their biography.