A native Houstonian, Brian Barett returned to the Bayou City after college. It was here that he reunited with an old high school friend and band mate, guitarist Trace Sisson. That same year, Barett and Sisson met Omar Lopez, and the three decided to play music together.
Bassist Kenneth Conlon and keyboardist Frank Vasquez were then added to the ensemble, freeing up Lopez to focus on his vocals and developing the showmanship of a front man. Six years and three albums later, the band is finally seeing some success.
Lost Element was formed in 2010, and the group spent its first year writing and cutting its teeth on what Barett calls “crappy shows.” But in 2011, the band released debut EP Back Again, which caught the ear of local radio star Rod Ryan.
“He took the time to come speak with us and tell us he thought we had something,” Barett says of the lead morning DJ on 94.5 The Buzz. “We instantly clicked with Rod, and more than anything we liked him as a person.”
With Ryan’s help and influence, Lost Element was presented with a number of opportunities they would hot have otherwise been exposed to, namely the radio personality’s 10-year reunion show and four stints at The Buzz’s annual Bud Light Weenie Roast festivals.
“When you’re a band that pours your blood, sweat and tears into this for years, it really means a lot to have someone there like Rod that believes in you,” Barett says. “It's important that you surround yourself with good people in this industry, and Rod is exactly that.”
Back Again even won Lost Element “Best New Band of the Year” honors from The Buzz. Hoping to capitalize on the spark, the band spent the next two years touring the world and honing is sound, which Barett says they really discovered in 2014 when the group began working with producer Bryce Bordone.
Though the band's brand-new EP, Stereo Dream, is technically their third release, Lost Element prefers to consider it a fresh start with a refined sound. It’s only seven tracks, but Barett says that somewhere between 20 and 30 songs were written during the years it took to craft.
“There were quite a few ‘transition’ songs written that, even though they didn't make the album, played a key role in transitioning our sound into what it is today,” Barett says. “The last song that was written on the EP was written over a year ago, so most of the tracks have been written for a while.”
But the time was well spent, and the finished project sounds big. It’s the kind of pop that builds into epic, uplifting choruses that implore listeners to sing along and sway their heads back and forth. And at its heart, Stereo Dream is an album about chemistry — the chemistry shared by the band and communicated to fans.
Fresh off Stereo Dream's completion, Lost Element is currently working out details for a tour to promote their new work. In the meantime, they have three upcoming performances in Houston: tomorrow night at Warehouse Live's Green Room; April 30 at the UT Health Stomp Out Stroke Festival; and May 29 with the Flaming Lips and Lucero at White Oak Music Hall.
“Each one of us was inspired at one point by a band that mesmerized huge crowds in arenas and large pavilions,” Barett says. “These experiences are unforgettable. They stay with you and allow you to relive the wonder of that day, even if for a moment, and we strive to create these very experiences for our fans, old and new alike.”
Lost Element and Houston's the Wheel Workers open for Mobley this Wednesday, April 13, at the Greenroom at Warehouse Live, 813 St. Emanuel. Doors open at 7 p.m.
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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business.
Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.