To see how much it means to people — it’s like a dream. As an artist you always want to make something like that that lives on and on.
Alex Ebert, May 2019
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros announced plans to release a remastered edition of their debut album “Up From Below” on Aug. 9. To help celebrate the 10-year anniversary, ESMZ will perform live the same day, Aug. 9, at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.
“It’s crazy to me that it’s been 10 years,” frontman Alex Ebert told Janglin Souls. “What’s even more amazing to me is how that album has continued to grow. To see how much it means to people — it’s like a dream. As an artist you always want to make something like that that lives on and on. What it really does is make me think about the days of making that album, the journey leading up to the writing of it, everyone involved, the camaraderie, buying the bus, everyone taking the leap, some of us quitting our jobs and jumping into this adventure full throttle. There was a time where we didn’t have a label to put it out, and our faith never wavered, it just got stronger.”
Ebert shared some of the band’s history on Facebook, calling it “an incredible journey.”
“I know everybody fucking says that but it’s been an incredible journey,” Ebert said. “I started making the demos for that album three years before 10 years ago, but I remember the whole time thinking ‘the band that will be this band (which is not yet a band and who’s faces I don’t yet all know) is an important movement.’ I don’t know that I would call it ‘important’ publicly, (although I just did), but privately (now publicly) that’s what I thought. The way it came together was super natural. Heath Ledger was going to put out the album. A lot of people don’t know that about our history, but Heath was our magic man. After he died I shit you not he started explicitly guiding me, postmortem, to find band members, to buy the bus, to try to start a label myself, etc. (more on the magic of Heath at another time)…
You see, when I was making the demos I was imagining a 13 piece band – I would do the trumpet parts with the kazoo and I would fix the ‘hey’ gang vocals by recording myself over and over until I could feel this imaginary crew around me… (Much later my mother showed me the first thing I wrote by myself, age 7 or so, which started ‘once there was a boy with a big strong crew’ – I’d been after the concept for some time). And then one by one the crew started to assemble itself. Christian, who I had known since I was three years old, would come over to the tiny little apartment and play some guitar. Stewart, who says when I met him I was entirely disinterested until he said ‘You know I play trumpet.’ Jade, my best friend over those summers, who popped up suddenly and shouted ‘Gimme the mic!’ and laid down ‘Alabama, Arkansa’ in a flurry over my yet-unnamed track. Orpheo in a teepee’s fire, Aaron and Nico and their studio in Laurel Canyon, Embry in his wizardry and Tay in his scowl and Josh’s jazz still working at the T-shirt shop, and Anna and her viola and Bryan from 10 years earlier and Nora with her accordion and Crash sleeping in a literal cave on the Frank Zappa property, all of whom joined in one auspicious way or another. The crew formed.
It hasn’t been all roses, the stress of the journey cracked us fissures. But it’s been largely glorious – I’m fucking grateful to the many crew – and YOU who joined us for the ride. TO THE YEARS TO COME.”
“Up from Below” was released in July 2009.
“We made that album with our hands, by ourselves, and that was definitely part of the charm of the sound,” Ebert said. “Whereas the original has this old sunshine glow, this new remaster brings out a lot of the excitement we were feeling while recording. It brings forward a certain energy that I think fans will appreciate now that they know the energy of our live show.”