John Harmon (Vocals, guitar) and Shane Seals (Guitar, vocals) met at Berea College, where they were both majoring in art in the early 90's. Taking advantage of the acoustics in many of the large art buildings on campus, they spent many nights writing songs instead of painting or sculpting. Making their debut performance under the name 'Jacob's Ladder', they performed an acoustic set at the annual Earth Roots Festival in 1994 with the help of percussionist Drew Stanberry. Not knowing how long this partnership would last, they recorded a demo at Shane's parents' house during finals week. This modest recording gave them the opportunity to play frequently throughout college at festivals and various events. After graduation they went their seperate ways, but soon re-grouped in Berea and began performing at local clubs and bookstores. They soon secured a weekly spot as the 'house band' for a local club and began experimenting with their sound, adding electric guitar and processors. Their crowds were thin, and their songs were long, but this gave them the opportunity to shape their sound and gain experience in a club atmosphere. Just as they started to gain momentum, Drew decided to leave the band for other prospects and John and Shane were faced with the task of replacing him. Based on their recent musical direction, they decided to expand the lineup into a full band. They joined forces with former 'Planet B' members Art Cohenour (Drums) and Josh Eller (Bass) and freelance percussionist Glenn Quiggins. They immediately began rehearsals and continued to gig locally. Within six months, they entered the studio and recorded their debut CD under the new name 'Chiaroscuro'. An opening slot for Blessid Union of Souls served as their release date, and they spent the rest of the year promoting their new recording. This included showcase performances at the New Music Conference (New Orleans) and at the Harvest Showcase (Louisville, KY). Upon gaining a local following, Chiaroscuro began to incorporate their namesake into their live performances, using the dynamics of their music to inspire a visually interesting stage show. Banners, props and candles were used to create an atmosphere as thick as their musical one. As new songs were written, influences from world music to trip hop were apparent. Their next release, the 'Nothing At All' EP, showed the effect of playing in clubs with a more aggressive and ambitious sound. The EP featured live recordings of new favorites as well as a new studio recording of the title track. Percussionist Glenn Quiggins then left the band under mutual frustrations. After continuing copyright problems over the name Chiaroscuro, the band changed their name to 'Attic Down' and reentered Barrick Recording Studios in late 2000. Capturing the energy of their live performances was a priority for this project. The independently financed recording went slowly, but the resulting songs are their strongest to date. Arrangements were carefully constructed around John's powerful vocal melodies and the length of the songs were considerably shorter and more focused than their debut release. Attic Down was stepping out from the shadows of Chiaroscuro. Continuing to reach for a wider vision, 'Metagroove' member Evan Lainhart was enlisted for a brief time to play keyboards and percussion. At the same time, due to personal decisions, Josh Eller decided to leave the band (under amicable circumstances) and perfomed his last show with Attic Down at the Camp Buzz 8 festival. After a few months of auditioning bass players, former 'Triaxle' member Benjamin Salyer agreed to fill the open position. Benjamin and Shane played together in their first band 'Point of Union' and looked forward to continuing a chemisty formed years earlier. With a new lineup in place, Attic Down released their self-titled CD in 2003, continuing to challenge themselves to produce music that is accessible, yet engaging. Scott Combs -New Music Review.
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