Provo electronic band Polytype had a rough beginning.
"We were still learning how to make electronic music, so our songs felt a bit unfinished at times," said singer Mason Porter, 24. "We were also still getting used to playing live with computers. One show we had a pretty big problem with the computer and it almost scared us away entirely from doing electronic music."
But they kept at it, and this week the four-member group released its debut album, "Basic//Complex."
In near-perfect timing, the quartet will perform at the Provo Rooftop Concert Series tonight, with other artists Joshua James and Jay William Henderson.
Porter and bandmates Jared Price, 23, and Jason Gibby, 25, grew up in American Fork, while guitarist Scott Haslam, 27, is from Bountiful.
Porter, who also plays samplers, is a Brigham Young University graduate. Haslam graduated from Utah Valley University. Gibby (samplers and synthesizer) and Price (bass and synthesizers) are still students at UVU.
Porter recently answered questions about the band and its goals.
How did you all learn to play music?
Gibby has a background as a jazz guitarist, studying jazz in college. Mason and Gibby had the same guitar teacher in junior high, but Gibby was a more diligent student. Mason learned a lot of his guitar playing and music theory from Gibby when they were in a band together during high school. Jared played bass in high school as well as French horn. Scott taught himself how to play guitar as a teenager. As far as electronic music goes, however, we've gone through a lot of trial and error. Making the album "Basic//Complex" was a big learning process and we learned a lot about making music along the way. Our producer Nate Pyfer was a big help throughout that process. And Mason and Gibby watched a lot of YouTube tutorials along the way.
What did you want to achieve with your music and recordings?
Our main goal is to give listeners something fresh, something they can think about. In the end, we want our music to move people, hopefully to do something creative. Basically, we want people to get the same things from our music that we get when we listen to our favorite records. When I hear something new that resonates with me, I get anxious to start making music. I wonder how people got certain sounds or why a melody is so infectious and I want to try making it myself.
Where does the band name come from?
The name Polytype was the result of a brainstorming session over Google Hangout while we were all at work. I think Gibby came across the term in some math literature. We wanted a name we felt we could make our own, so that when people hear it they only think of our music and nothing else. None of us had any kind of attachment to the word. It felt like something we could almost ascribe our own meaning to, so we chose it.
Would you rather go to a metal show or see the symphony perform, and why?
A symphony performance because I don't know if I could handle a metal show, not just the sounds but the intensity and heaviness of it all. But I've never been to a metal show so maybe I'd like it just fine. I think the others in the band could go either way, though.
Describe a perfect day.
A day where you get enough time with family and friends, enough time making music, enough food and enough sleep. Usually you get too much of some of those things and not enough of the others.
Provo Rooftop Concert Series
Joshua James, Polytype, Jay William Henderson
When • Friday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m.
Where • Top floor of the Central Bank parking terrace, corner of 100 West and 100 North, Provo
Admission • Free
Info • Find Polytype show dates at polytypemusic.com
Hear the album
O Polytype's album "Basic//Complex" is available for purchase at its website, www.music.polytypemusic.com.