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Songs, Smiles and the Sun.

Hello everyone…

Avian Sunrise was on the road and we couldn’t have had more fun. We created memories with a great band composed of amazing people called The Icarus Account. I wrote this blog while on the road and I hope you all enjoy it.

Go ahead and youtube Ben Rector “When a Heart Breaks” as you continue reading.

“I woke up this morning
And I heard the news

 I know the pain of a heartbreak
I don’t have answers
And neither do you
I know the pain of a heartbreak…

…I heard the doctor
But what did he say
I knew I was fine about this time yesterday
I don’t need answers
I just need some peace
I just need someone who could help me get some sleep
Who could help me get some sleep.”

It is a cold morning and the asphalt is wet. The trees are dripping from last night’s rain and the grass is as slick as can be.  I am sitting by the window listening to this song looking out at the gloomy day and a lot of things begin to be put into perspective [for me].

We all go through hard times. We lose loved ones, go through emotional breakups and have been picked on. There are financial woes and health concerns. It is easy to lose sight of the beauty that surrounds us, but I assure you it doesn’t go away.

 It is important for us all to remember that no matter how hard things are, you have loved ones around that care about you and are there for you. No matter how hard things are, your favorite song is still on your iPod. No matter how hard things are, the grocery store still sells ice cream to cheer you up.

With that being said, let us all take today and really take in all the beauty that surrounds us —- A great song, a smile, a cool breeze or the warm sun, a hug or a kiss. Life is good.



I have always found it fascinating how one simple thing can bring a tsunami’s worth of memories to the forefront of your brain. This can happen through any one of our sensory mediums, and when it does it can bring with it the barrage of emotions that, previous to said moment, you’ve probably thought were part of the past. This happened to me the other day - when the background of my sister’s laptop was rifling through her 50,000+ pictures and she was showing me a picture of our cat she took… and then BOOM.

Both of our jaws hit the floor, and the chill shot up and down my spine. 

You’re probably wondering why (unless you are a close family friend of mine), and I feel moved to give you insight as to why this picture/moment/happening sent me on a memorial journey right back to the very start of Avian Sunrise. I’ll try my best not to get long-winded, as so many of my close friends know I can be at times.

The very first song we ever wrote as the band Avian Sunrise was for the girl to the right of the cat. Her name is Lyndsey and she is my youngest sister. That song was our attempt to tell her things get better and she can break the chains of depression that have held her captive for so many years. Reality is, she never heard it in person.

And the very first time Avian Sunrise performed publicly was at her wake, then the funeral, followed by a generous fundraiser that the Pike Fraternity held (to which they so graciously put the earnings towards Lyndsey’s funeral).

Not exactly your typical first couple of shows. The question hits every single person who has ever lost a loved one - how do you move from this? I was staring this question face to face at 5am on the front porch the morning after she passed. In the deathly calm darkest part of the night I heard rustling in the bushes right by my feet and I don’t think I have made it from outside to inside the front door as fast as I did. Heart racing, I turned on the porch light. It was a cat and I immediately felt so stupid. My moment of spiritually yearning for a sign, completely ruined by a stray cat. Or was it?

I woke up at noon and walked downstairs to see a furry foreign creature curled in a ball inside our house by the front window. It was the exact same one that nearly triggered an aneurism 7 hours prior. And the cat has been with us ever since.

Meet Puppyman (Luke gave her this name):

Now I’m not a believer in reincarnation (that Lyndsey’s a cat); but you have to admit - their eyes are scarily similar. This creature has been such a joy to have, and I believe she was the first stitch to the gaping wound. 
What has followed nearly 4 years later is so hard to sum up. All I can think about is the incredible light that followed that dark time. We as a band stand behind this idea:  that things get better. Hardships are hard, and heartache takes time - but collectively, these instances can serve to define the very core of us as humans. Avian Sunrise spawned from a tragedy; and all of us couldn’t be happier to have lived with the good that has come of it.

SXSW Mug Shots

Peaks, Valleys, and a Massive Thank-You

I can’t help but feel so incredibly blessed. This morning our Kickstarter wrapped up, and thanks to everyone who continues to support our dreams (regardless of whether you donated or not!), we met our goal! I assure you these new songs will be like nothing you’ve heard from Avian Sunrise up to this point. 

Day in and day out, each of us are trying to achieve something. Whether it be to pass a test, write a song, or just make it through one more depression-filled day; we all set out to meet these goals (consciously or subconsciously). One thing I took from the Kickstarter process is that we can’t expect to do it alone. We are constantly spinning and fine-tuning our webs filled with friends, family, God, dogs, cats, iguanas, etc. The strangest thing about it is that in most cases, human tendencies are to try and conquer things on our own as if we have something to prove to those around us; and thus disregarding the webs we have altogether. 

We’ve said this time and time again, but without our friends, family, God, fans, and people who support and believe in what we are doing, we simply would NOT be able to sustain and keep this dream afloat. 

Words prove to be hardly adequate in trying to explain how excited I am to wake up and live out this dream one more day—to get back into the studio and get these new songs out to you all. We will be heading out to Baltimore April 1-12 to record 4-5 new tracks; you can hear a few snippets of some of the newest material by clicking here

In the next month, there will be frequent updates on our Facebook and social media sites to keep everyone in the loop on how the process is coming along. We’ve got a show list coming together nicely, and hopefully we’ll be hitting your city soon.

Until then, keep waking up motivated to achieve what it is you’ve set out to do…and in the lull’s, hardships and valleys — trust that these valleys are only defined by the peaks that surround them; and you don’t have to walk the valleys alone. We’ll all get there soon.


Reading Music: A blog about a blog…

Similar to most kids, I began taking piano lessons when I was about 8 years old. That lasted for 5 years until my piano teacher found a new job and I was left to decide whether to A) Find a new teacher, or B) Stop taking lessons. I chose the latter of the two and barely touched the piano again until my junior year of high school. At the age of 16, Youtube tutorials became my best friend as I learned how to play along to my favorite songs. Shortly after, I began writing my own music. Within all of this though, I didn’t pick up sheet music. Yet I acknowledge that without initially learning it, I would never have been able to write the music I have so far. So without further ado, I will introduce you to my overwhelmingly talented brother, Jesse VanderWeide, as he describes his idea of reading music much better than I ever could: http://jessevanderweide.blogspot.com/2011/08/reading-music-means-to-end.html

One more thing: We are recording an EP this spring and have started a kickstarter to help fund our upcoming project! Check it out! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/aviansunrise/help-avian-sunrise-record-a-new-ep

Rock on,


Progression and the concept

Hello everyone,

We are trying to use Tumblr more often and keep everyone up to date on Avian happenings, our lives, and thoughts.  It is my turn to divulge.

It is Sunday and I find myself reflecting on this frigid winter morning.  These last two and a half odd years have flown by.  It seems like only the other day that I started to jam with some friends in a small basement room during college.  I would have never expected to put the ever elusive ”real life” on hold for something like this, but couldn’t be happier that I have.

There have been so many struggles leading up to where we are now - financial woes are constant - finding a way to pay for yourself to live while giving everything you have to music is such a daunting task.  To be honest the only thing that has held all of this together has been the support of family, friends, and fans.  It seriously is the driving force. 

We have started writing some new music, I’m finding myself more and more excited to show others.  We got a peek at the music video for Bravery earlier this weekend and can not wait until we get it posted, we will have some cool news to announce along with it as well.  Ultimately there is a lot on the horizon.

I will leave you all with an inspirational quote, conjured up from a google search.  I find it relevant to myself, and applicable to most situations in life. 

"Plan for gradual improvement, not spectacular leaps…A slow and steady stream will, in time, erode the hardest rock."  David Campbell

Don’t get down, keep at it, and ultimately pen15 yourself in the process.

I hope the Bears win today, and have a good Sunday!

P.S. - this is a good song, good lyrics - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSPdgoAM0b8


Harry Potter and Other Things

It is getting cold. I find it harder to crawl out of bed every morning…and I am nearly freezing before even reaching the light switch. This feeling is to be expected and quickly accepted by the fact that in deciding rooms at our new residence, I did choose the downstairs. With a swift and theatrical right-to-left whip of my self-installed accordion door, it takes only one quick glance to an entire basement room full of musical equipment to remind me of just how lucky and blessed I really am.

Since moving into this house in Sioux Falls, everyone in the band has stayed very busy. Even with the show list dwindling to almost nothing in the last month, the Avian Household has been all but quiet. The second weekend in November, we teamed up with an incredible up-and-coming film director, Andrew Kightlinger, and his talented cinematographer, Doyle Holden to shoot a music video for the song Bravery off of our latest album. This was our first go-round at a music video, and we wanted to make sure we did pen15 right. The little bits and pieces that we’ve seen thus far in the editing process has gotten us all quite giddy to release this to all of you. Expect to see it in the next month or so. I have uploaded a picture of the Wurlitzer upright piano we acquired from shooting the music video — I am excited to own one of these for writing purposes.

As of late, we have been delving back into the writing process…heavily. This time around we are a year’s worth more mature as people, musicians, and family in a sense. I don’t take any of you who are reading this to be ignorant or blind to the idea that anytime you take on a group project or work with more than just yourself at something, it can get very interesting very quickly — and we are loving this. Seeing out every idea, no matter how crazy or out of context it may seem has proven to create moods in these new songs that we have yet to tap into.

For instance - the most recent song was definitely inspired by the new Harry Potter movie. And The Walking Dead (a zombie television series). We tried writing from a movie soundtrack standpoint on this one, and so far we are pleased with the direction. I recall as we were setting our instruments up, Luke began playing an ambient guitar riff that was immediately followed by Paige’s drumming. the song has since developed into quite a monster from just these skeletal pieces; with siren noises, vocal layering, fuzzy bass, and string pads. I’m pretty sure I can quote Paige saying “I love this song so much.” I will keep you posted on the new songs as we are writing them — and may even include a few snippets; either live or demo recorded.

Currently I am joined by Luke, and together we are torn between 3 things:  Do we watch the snow fall, play Little Big Planet, watch a movie, or write a little bit? So many options for a Saturday afternoon. I hope you all have an enjoyable, worry-free weekend.



Listen to songs off our new album here!


We have had an overwhelming response to our music the last couple months due to our placement on The Real World and the release of our new album Silence in the Sound. Thank you to everyone who has supported us through purchasing our music/merch, coming to our shows, sharing our music with others, and sending us encouraging words. You are the best.