Mount Pressmore was formed in the late summer of 2011 in Austin, Texas. The initial lineup included Thomas Shaw (Fender Rhodes and vocals), Kris Studebaker (drums), Alex Sefchick (bass), and Tom Ray (guitar). Led by Shaw, the quartet began by exploring afro-beat and jazz fusion compositions, but soon found themselves digging into their rock and roll roots and evolving into a sound boldly described as “Chop-Pop.”
The extensive musical background and education of all members of the band has allowed Mount Pressmore to go well beyond traditional rock and pop to create a unique sound that has been compared to Frank Zappa, Steely Dan, The Police and Talking Heads. Somewhere between progressive and pop, Mount Pressmore have established their own brand of sophisticated rock, acknowledging their wide influences and striving to add their singular statement to the ever-changing landscape of popular music.
Mount Pressmore pride themselves on their live performances. Their shows display a tenacious dedication to craft, and one can expect consistent virtuosity from their studio recordings to the stage. Their critically-acclaimed debut album, “Enjoy,” establishes this precedent: recorded live in East Austin Recording studio over an initial period of three days, with backing vocals provided by renowned Austin songstress Erin Ivey and production overseen by James Stevens, the album prompted one critic to assert that, “there’s a feeling to ‘Enjoy’ that the listening point of its peak encompasses much of the entire American songbook.”
“Enjoy” was a labor of love, honed over a year-and-a-half of regular rehearsals and shows, which marked the entrance of Mount Pressmore into the Austin live music scene. 2012 saw their first performances at the now-defunct Headhunters, followed by regular appearances at the Red Eyed Fly, on Austin’s historic Red River Street. Since those early shows, the band has continued to evolve, sharing stages at notable venues such as The Roost, Mohawk, and Stubb’s with some of the finest musical talent Austin has to offer.
The band now find themselves working on their next album, “The Masked Battle.” Befitting the group's continuing evolution, “The Masked Battle” will be an entirely self-produced effort. Mount Pressmore have embraced every aspect of the album’s production, and they plan on releasing “The Masked Battle” sometime in 2015.
"It might be too soon to tell, but I’ve got the sneaking suspicion that Mount Pressmore might be poised to take over the whole damn city. Equal parts dancey pop, soul and rock, Mount Pressmore creates a soundscape that’s always interesting. Throw in the occasional pseudo-nonsensical lyrics that border on the poetic, and you’ve got all the quirk you need to carry you into ATX glory." - James Roberts, The Horn