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"Love your Local Band"


Intrepid is the
word that most readily comes to mind in describing the motivations of singer-song- writer Asher, frontman of the local band Our Satori. The characteristic strongly and consis-
tently manifests both in the experiences he seeks and his willingness to express his emo-
tions in his lyrics. Picking up the guitar in June of 2000, Asher
played solo for about six years, taking restaurant gigs, parties, playing on the street, “whatever I could get,” he says. His first disc, 2006’s
Neptune’s Satori, an intimate collection of acoustic, alt-rock ruminations, started a buzz
about town, but where the expectation might have been for Asher to strap in and start pro-
moting himself, the young musician instead, took off to Europe, sans companions, for two and a half months. It was there, steeped in
exotic isolation, that Asher, who attributes his staunch independence to his birth sign, the feisty loner, Aquarius, really came to grips with
his longing for community. “I was sitting in the desert of Turkey and
watching this beautiful sunset,” he recalls. “I’d just checked out this ancient town, and I was so sad and lonely ... That was one of the
biggest things I learned—how much I appreciate community and being able to share moments with people.”
Establishing that connection with others, the ability to share an experience, says Asher, is
a huge part of why he writes and plays. “When people come up and tell me ‘oh, you did a great job, I really liked your sound,’ I’m always
grateful for those comments,” he says. “But when they say they were listening to the words and it actually helped them in some way, that
makes me feel better than anything.”
While many songwriters use their lyrics as a platform to dwell in reflection, Asher’s songs tend to hook into an immediate emotional moment (a choice to be made, feelings to be
admitted) and then employ a strategy
of calm reasoning that leaves the
chaos of that moment behind in
favor of a soul-settling, big-picture
perspective. Says the songwriter, this
approach comes from the band’s
philosophy and namesake, satori, a
Zen Buddhist term
meaning “to reawaken to each
moment” while maintaining a state of “continual awareness.” In truly capturing satori, Asher’s songs are often written “in a matter of
minutes.” Concerts are also an opportunity to observe satori. “They’re a moment of aware-
ness and escape, and a journey into this moment right now and right here,” he says. “People can come and enjoy themselves. They can escape from the bullshit they experienced
today and that they’re going to have to experience tomorrow.”
The band formerly known as Asher’s Satori has in recent weeks recast itself as Our Satori, a formal recognition of bass player Aaron Glass
and percussionist Mike Pinette, and a group identity that Asher says has existed for quite some time. “It’s always been Our Satori. It’s
always been more than just me.” The band plans to release a live EP soon, and as such, will record the entirety of this Tuesday’s gig in the
hopes of harvesting “two or three performances that we’re really stoked on.” Asher has promised that all those in attendance who sign up for the band’s mailing list will receive a free copy of the recording. “We
just want a lot of energy to be in that room,” he says, “because the more people are there, the better we’re all going to sound.”
- Goodtimes


Remember to Breathe (EP)



Our Satori is an independent pop/rock jam-band from Santa Cruz, California. The group formed in 2007, where they quickly developed a dedicated local following for their feel-good vibe and engaging live performances. Their musical style has been compared to the likes of Jack Johnson and Dispatch. Santa Cruz music journalist Garrett Wheeler had described their music as "upbeat and catchy, like something off Jack Johnson's Brushfire Fairytales, though without the hush whisper that has become Johnson's trademark," also adding the distinction that "Satori is no Jack Johnson rip-off, as they transform from laid-back pop to straight-ahead jazz-rock with a dynamic level Jack Johnson has yet to accomplish." In the word's of lead-singer and guitarist, Asher Stern, "Our Satori is a collaboration of good vibes, great tunes, and a never-ending process of re-awakening to each moment as it comes—a moment of relief from your sorrows, paranoias and daily stresses—a moment of passion and excitement where you are able to settle into the chill energy and lyrics if you want. Or if movin..and groovin.. is more your cup of tea, we will get your booty shakin.. and bakin..." The band's live performances are an essential part of the Our Satori experience. "Our audience greatly affects our performance in that they are there with us and circling the energy back as we are too. It is something that is shared by everyone for that moment, hence the name..." says Stern. The word "Satori" is a Zen Buddhist term, which means awakening to each moment as it comes. As Stern explains, "That is what our music is for us... re-awakening to each moment as it comes is the most fun and honest way for us to express ourselves musically. It is also something that brings people together for a cause. The cause is always to be here and now. Music can take you away from your problems and your sorrows, even if it is just for the moment that the music is playing." They have gained rapid local attention for their regular performances at local Santa Cruz venues, received critical acclaim in Santa Cruz newspapers, and were invitated to appear and perform on the local Palo Alto television show American Songwriter hosted by Becky Saunders. Having established local success, Our Satori is now on a mission to broaden their fan base beyond the local Santa Cruz scene. In March of 2008 the band performed in five California cities. They have recently been in the studio completing their debut EP, Remember To Breathe, which is scheduled for release on January 1st. The band is currently planning to embark on a cross-country tour of the U.S. beginning in January of 2009 to promote the forthcoming EP. The band's critical acclaim and undying support from local fans might lead one to believe that the band is likely to receive the same positive reception from a national audience after the album is released, and that this is just the beginning for Our Satori.