Strawberry Runners
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Strawberry Runners

Denver, Colorado, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Pop Indie




"Strawberry Runners P-sides Demo"

Gloriously imperfect and scratchy, the P-Sides Demo by Denver, Colorado’s Strawberry Runners starts off with “Slip In.” Initially sounding like melodramatic ‘50s pop with a folky undercurrent and sauntering rhythm, the piece works towards a climax of triumphant guitar and jangly background noise. Singer Emi Knight provides a melodic focal point to the piece with her soaring vocal, while male vocalist David Runge sings the contemplative opening verses of second track "Blind Contour Lime.” Once Knight joins Runge in a gorgeous harmony, the piece is set to head straight into a positively jubilant finale. Instrumental “haahooh" meanwhile, built around a throbbing, buzzy melody and screechy background ambiance, concludes this brief release in an almost disarmingly low-key manner.

Recorded live at a band practice via Iphone, this demo might not seem like the perfect representation of Strawberry Runners, but really does capture the very essence of their brand of amiable pop music. Since there’s no amount of production magic to get distracted by, it's very easy to appreciate the songwriting craft on display in these lo-fi recordings. While P-Sides is probably not entirely essential, it's a tantalizing, near perfect introduction to the band. I’d definitely recommend it. - Scene Point Blank

"Get Psyched"

A couple weeks ago, I played a show with a songwriter named Emi Knight. She played beautiful folk/pop songs on guitar and banjo. I got a CD of her current band "Strawberry Runners," which has some really great pop songs in full-band form. Their 2nd song "Yo Grrl" is the absolute hit. The song starts out innocently enough, with some warm accordion and fuzzy guitar. But after a brief bridge/solo, the guitars dive into feedback and the 2nd verse kicks in with a tambourine and Steve Miller Band-esq bassline and it seriously has to be one of the most jubilant and catchy musical moments I've ever heard. - Michael Cantor - If You Make It

"Get to Know a Denver Band: Strawberry Runners"

While the ambient indie pop quartet Strawberry Runners have been together for two years, it seems the group has really founds its stride in the last six months since settling on the current member lineup. Starting on September 1, the group has released thirteen new tracks (on three separate EPs), all of which demonstrate the creative depth and striking talent of the group. All four components of Strawberry Runners spoke with AXS in this exclusive interview.

AXS: Are you Denver natives? If not, where is everyone originally from?
Strawberry Runner: Tomas and Eli were both grew up in Denver, and Emi and David grew up in Indiana.

AXS: What brought Strawberry Runners together?
Emi Knight (guitar, vocals): Magic?! Well, Eli and I met at a ladies group meeting and have been talking about playing music together ever since, Tomas and I played in another band together – Mega Gem, and David and I met in Vermont at Goddard College (just like Phish) and got really excited about playing music together once he moved here.

AXS: How long has Strawberry Runners been together? What have you learned during that time?
Emi: Strawberry Runners has been a band for almost two years, however we had a revolving door of members for the first year and a half, which has provided a ton of learning opportunities. Oh sheesh…I could probably write a book on what I’ve learned from this band, but I’ll try to keep it brief!

Bands are for buds! (and buds=RESPECT): What I mean is, chemistry is important. When trying out new members, trust yer gut. Imagine spending weeks or months at a time in confined spaces/stressful situations – i.e. on tour – with this person. If any strong emotions come up that you feel uncomfortable with, check it, maybe that’s something you don’t want flying around at band practice, shows, or on the road. Fun is an essential ingredient in performance, creativity, and problem-solving, so naturally, it’s important that you can get along and have fun with the folks you’re making music with. I treat my relationships with bandmates with as much respect and responsibility as I treat my relationships with employers, friends, family, and partners. In fact all of these relationships have a lot in common, with just a few variables. Looking at band relationships, if you’re in it for the long haul, it’s convenient to have compatible aesthetics/taste, goals/vision, lifestyle, and general ethical code, and if you don’t have these things in common, you better be willing to talk about it: speak up, listen, and be flexible.
Cultivating a few core values can be useful: patience, resilience, grit, dedication, gratitude, and big dreams, right?
Share the burden: Regardless of what kind of music you play or what level of professionalism you’re working with, there’s a lot of work involved with running a band. It’s important for band members to honestly assess levels of investment and to determine roles and responsibilities early on, or else one person will likely assume all the work, they could get burned out, other members won’t feel as invested or included, and that’s a bummer all around. I like to check in once in awhile just to make sure everyone’s cool with their level of responsibility. Plus, it’s way more fun when everyone gets to contribute, and has a sense of ownership in the band.
Make friends with other bands: Who knows, maybe they could help you get on a show, festival, comp, label, etc. down the road, or maybe you’ll just end up being buds, hangin’ out, releasing splits, and touring together.
Always be good on your word, and always show gratitude to the people who contribute their time, effort, and love to help you out. You want to make friends, and build a good reputation, so whether they’re sound people at shows, bookers, promoters, recording engineers, album artists, photographers, press writers, blog writers, interviewers, fans, moms & dads, sweethearts, roommates, or neighbors, bottom line is respect! It takes a village to raise a band baby, and we’re all working hard!

AXS: Where was your first show in Denver, and what was the experience like? Who else did you play with at the show?

Emi: Let’s see, I think our first show was at the Skylark but it was a secret first show. We jumped on the bill real last minute and we didn’t tell any of our friends about it. We called it a test run, we just wanted to make sure we were ready for our first show, you know – shake out the jitters. I wasn’t too nervous because not a ton of people showed up, and I didn’t know any of them. I just remember being really methodical about everything. Our first show together in this formation actually happened a couple weeks ago at the Hi-Dive. We played with Saintseneca and Busman’s Holiday. I think it’s safe to say it was my favorite show so far. It was beautiful.

AXS: Have any Denver musicians inspired Strawberry Runners?
Emi: Mega Gem, Doo Crowder, Princess Music, Laura Goldhamer, Chris Adolf's former projects, The Love Letter Band and Bad Weather California, umm I received a Papa Bear CD as a gift when I was still living in Indiana, and it made me want to move to Denver, The Horse Latitudes - Bonnie's great.
David Runge (guitar, vocals): Nathaniel Rateliff, Bad Weather California, and Princess Music for sure. Those folks really crush compositions.
Tomas Campos (drums): DeVotchKa, Air Dubai, Earth Wind and Fire, The Motet
Eli Saragoussi (bass): I got to see Sawmill Joe and Tyler Lee Holter for the first time the other night and was blown away.

AXS: What projects are Strawberry Runners currently working on?
Emi: We’re working on new full-length album and some videos!
David: I'm really excited about working out a really diverse type of live show. I think we can do so much more than just play a set of songs.
Eli: And epic costumes!

AXS: What inspired Strawberry Runners’ three-song EP, P-sides Demo?
Emi: Well, it all started a couple nights ago at practice, when Tomas was like, “hold on, I’m gonna record it on my new iPhone this time,” and the rest is history.

AXS: What else is Strawberry Runners involved in locally, either as individuals or as a group?
Eli: I play in three other bands, am about to graduate with a biology degree and make lots of art and clothing. I work as an assistant for a couple of local artists and figure model for various art groups/classes around town.
Emi: I paint and show my art sometimes, I currently have some work up at Studio Colfax and Same Café (a group show with two other artists including Eli), and I’m working on illustrating a children’s book. I’m also in school at Goddard College studying Creative Storytelling and Interpersonal Trauma. I work as a nanny for an incredibly sweet and warmhearted family, and on the weekends I either spend time goofing off with my partner Oliver and his family, or I work on projects or big meals with my housemates.
David: For money, I work as a finish and fine carpenter, which is great. I enjoy working with my hands. During the rest of my hours, I play with two other music projects, one with my friend Kerstan Wallace (which is an awesome multimedia set called Bits and Bytes) and another with my friends Mark Anderson and Jason Hass-Hecker (which is a strictly recording based project with my own songs). Every Sunday morning, my partner Claire and I take half the day to get fancy coffees and spend time together, which is super sweet. Other times, I try to divide my time equally between making things in my garage, cooking nice meals for my awesome friends and riding my bike places.
Tomas: I also play in the band Mega Gem which is very fun because we are working on an album. I work on a podcast writing and reading lines. I also enjoy spending time with my nephew.

AXS: Does Strawberry Runners have a goal in mind for the sound the band produces? Are there certain influences or themes the band tries to inject into its own music?
David: Man, I don't know. I think we all have a good sense of what makes a good show and try to really tighten up those aspects of our songs. Dynamics, movement, and harmonies are three things I feel like we're constantly drilling.
Emi: Have you ever heard of the Cackle Sisters?

AXS: For someone who has never seen or heard Strawberry Runners, what would you tell them to entice them to watch your set?
David: I would tell them that we're a group of darling kids that play beautiful and intense pop songs that will make you love things. Also, Tomas is the most animated and lovable drummer I've ever seen.

AXS: What would your ideal live show look like?
Emi: Well, first of all, it’d be all ages. And I’d love to play with Belle and Sebastian. But it’d be fun if it was more than just music … maybe, puppets? And definitely food – pie and raspberries and sparkling cider! Enough for everyone.
Eli: I would love to play in a tiny crowded space in the winter with the audience spilling into us...lots of colors, video, costumes, dancing.
David: I was hoping you'd ask! I'm super inspired by my friends and family back home who make up a group called Know No Stranger. They're like a friendly art gang who does a wonderful show every year called Optical Popsicle that involves music and puppets and animation and overhead projectors and dancing. Oh, man, I get so excited about everything a show can be. In a word, Vaudeville. I love playing songs, but I also love making shadow puppet shows and choreographing silly dances, so I could see those being a part of it, too. I think my ideal show would be a collection of really positive and creative people helping to craft an experience for the audience that would be harder to define than just "show."

AXS: What shows are you looking forward to over the next few months?
Emi: Oh! We’re playing a show on Saturday, December 6 at Cube Fest.
Eli: I'm looking forward to seeing the Thee Oh Sees at the Gothic. Oh! and Ariel Pink is coming in February!!
David: I'm also psyched to see My Brightest Diamond come to the Larimer Lounge on December 2.

AXS: What do you enjoy most about Denver’s music scene, and why?
Eli: Denver is full of musical sweeties. You can't get much better than that.
David: Man, everybody here is so friendly. I think the main thing for me is the amount of collaboration. Like, people will want to play in a band with you and that actually means putting a set together and practicing for shows. When I was in Vermont (the last five years before Denver) I found that playing music with someone usually just meant jamming. People here are so into producing something new and exciting.
Emi: Ditto to David! Denver’s music scene is so vibrant and inclusive! People are producing music that’s totally game-changing, but they don’t walk around with too much of an ego about it. I felt deeply inspired and warmly welcomed into the music scene from the start and I’m always excited to hear what’s coming up next! - Alli Andress

"Strawberry Runners - Live"

The most difficult task in this world may be to juggle strawberries whilst tightroping on a hot day around Denver. The Strawberry Runners are one of my favorite new local groups, this EP occurred only three months after they formed, and of course they’ve grabbed Denver by the tuckus since then. I got the pleasure of witnessing them play this weekend at the “classiest” joint in Denver “The Lions Lair”. I am now a proud owner of their EP, and two of their awesome homemade buttons! Emi’s voice is so sweet and innocent, reminding me of Jessica Jalbert (I have a feeling those two would get along splendidly). Her and Brennan Mackey (keys/banjo/vocals) make a great team too! Strawberry Runners are easily becoming one of my favorite live shows in Denver.

Check them out: - Anna Smith

"The Lonliness of The Long Distance Runner"

Continuing the theme of being horrifically jetlagged and being wide awake at 4am I just picked this one out of the review pile. This is a set of 3 songs by a band from Denver, Colorado who used to be called Summer Salt and I recall them being a little more on the indie pop scale than this. Strawberry Runners go for more of a lo-fi, bedroom-y thing and even gave us the choice of reviewing any one of their recent 3 recordings. I've gone for this one as it's the most recent. They also said they would love to be "reviewed by DIY mag" which was interesting and although I am unable to help them with that, I can, however,write a review on Collective Zine instead. As the first track opens it's clear this is going to be lo-fi and downbeat. Emi's vocals are nicely gentle and a little distant. It's a little shoegaze-y too, this one, and that noisier side carries on into track 2 before the hazy "Haahooh" drifts in. It's worth mentioning that although the last track has no words, the lyrics on the other two tracks are interesting and show a bleaker side. It's ideal music for the small hours. If you like this, you're in luck as they have been busy lately and there are two other releases on their Bandcamp page to check out. - Collective Zine


Strawberry Runners EP - March, 2013 - Wild Baby Records



Strawberry Runners is a band of babes based in Denver, CO. Their music weaves catchy tunes and thoughtful instrumentation through the evocative vocal melodies of songwriter Emi Knight. Her powerful and poignant lyrics conjure detailed portraitures of her experience growing up in a small town in the Ohio River Valley. She often tackles issues of family trauma and abuse. Her willingness to share these dark and deeply personal experiences, transforms them into defiant and poetic moments of growth, and draws listeners deeper as they find themselves reflected inher innately human stories. However, you might not catch the captivating authenticity and vulnerability of the lyrics at first listen, because at heart Strawberry Runners are suckers for sick pop tunes and hooky melodies.

Emi has been writing and playing music since she was 7 years old. She grew up listening to her parents Judee Sill, Paul Simon, and Woody Guthrie records, and singing church hymns. Emi stumbled into the DIY
punk music scene of Bloomington, Indiana, where she honed many subtleties of her writing style - integrating the melodic and folk-storytelling influences of her childhood. Some of her long-standing musical influences include Mirah, Belle and Sebastian, Guided by Voices, The Pixies, and The Weakerthans.

All of the members also play in other bands including Mega Gem, Hair Cult, Cardboard Cities Collective, Summer Salt, and Princess City.

Band Members