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The Breathing Room: ‘Daytrip’

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A collage with a photo of four people sitting on a bench with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
The band 'Breathing Room' sitting on a bench with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. (Left to right) Caleb Phair, Sean Spangenberg, Tori Leonhardt, and Garrett Barley. (Photo courtesy of Kirstin McWhite/Collage by Lakshmi Sarah of KQED)

The Sunday Music Drop is a weekly radio series hosted by the KQED weekend news team. In each segment, we feature a song from a local musician or band with an upcoming show and hear about what inspires their music.

“For the last seven years, we lived in a house in Berkeley, and that’s kind of where all this sort of came together,” said Garrett Barley, member of the band The Breathing Room. Three of the four bandmates live together. “It’s a very collaborative, kind of equal partnership,” he said.

Barley and band members Sean Spangenberg and Caleb Phair all met at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill while they played in the jazz program together. Then Tori Leonhardt joined, first as a roommate.

“We interviewed a lot of really weird people as roommate searches can go,” Barley said. “We clicked pretty quick.”

Their current album took a while to record as the band members each have jobs. “We didn’t necessarily have the luxury to sit down for like two weeks and be like: ‘alright, everyone’s taking this time off and we’re just gonna record,’” Barley said.

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He said occasionally it gets complicated to deal with roommate stuff, band stuff and being friends, “but at the end of the day, we all love each other a lot and that makes it pretty easy to figure things out.”

For the song “Daytrip” the initial inspiration came from a Southern California music festival called Desert Daze in 2019. Much of the music they had been writing before was slower, but they wanted to incorporate “some groovier songs.”

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The keys melody interweaves with the guitar melody and the bass and drum, “everyone kind of crafted their part for this song,” Barley said. “The coolest thing about music is when you can revisit it many times and notice something new every time.”

He describes the song as having a “hypnotic groove” the band created through improvisation grounded in deep support the band has for one another.

“Finding relationships that support you where you can kind of grow with people, that’s the goal,” Barley said. “We all trust each other a lot and feel very safe sharing ideas.”

The band’s members include Sean Spangenberg, Tori Leonhardt, and Caleb Phair. On this song, Saam Kahnzadeh provided additional percussion. The song was produced by Jason Kick.

The Breathing Room will be performing at Bandcamp’s record store and performance space in Oakland on September 30. Hear their music on Bandcamp.

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