Race to Neptune

By: Jennifer Ortega

No one has ever called us generic before,” says Brian Maier, lead singer and guitarist of Race to Neptune, as he sits alongside his respective band members at a coffee shop in Fort Collins. He’s talking about the handful of recent reviews on their debut album Oh Contraire, which has ranked them a solid average of four out of five stars by critics across the nation. If there’s one thing Race to Neptune strives to avoid, it’s certainly falling anywhere on the line of average.

Their debut album release marks the culmination of a series of half a decade’s worth of hard work for Race to Neptune – featuring Maier, drummer Vanessa Freese, guitarist Zach Berger, and bassist Ken Cavanaugh – whose sound is an intertwined mashup of ‘60s psychedelia and ‘90s nostalgia rock. “I think what separates us from prior bands is that this one is the most pure and raw sounding in every form of the definition of rock and roll,” says Maier about what makes them unique.

Freese began playing songs with Maier in her basement after meeting at a house party. The pair ended up making a series of posts on Craigslist, seeking a bassist and guitarist. Their band was primarily founded through acquaintances. However, they did not get their official lineup until 2014 when the duo met Berger and Cavanaugh.

Since then, Race to Neptune have been continuously playing live shows and polishing their new material for the debut album release. Oh Contraire was recorded and produced at Spot Studios in Lakewood, CO, over two hard sessions. Arguably, Race to Neptune’s most popular song from the album is “Wanderlilly,” certainly the most listener-friendly.

Maier and Berger are the primary writers for the band. Maier sampled many of his own songs in the past, but the group is now actively working as one cohesive unit towards new material.

“It’s grown from learning Brian’s songs to everyone contributing more now. We structure it, and Vanessa and Ken are more of ‘What if we try this?’ and they have some awesome ideas,” Berger says about how the band has evolved as a whole to the entire process of creating a song — specifically their next two anticipated tracks which they have worked on over the last month.

To continue remaining dynamic and evolving, Race to Neptune has officially erased their whiteboard of plans and are primarily focusing their energy on all their creations. From expanding their repertoire to the way they put on live shows, Race to Neptune, despite the frustrations of creating new material, simply want more options and ways to rock out.

With hopes to continue on this path of progress, Race to Neptune have recently signed a six-month campaign plan with a publicist who chose them as one of the five out of 6,200 applicants to represent. She has previously worked with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The Lumineers, comparing Race to Neptune to a polished Nirvana.

“I hope we can expand while staying and keeping the things we got going. Stay recognizable,” Berger says.


Show: April 7th, 

Downtown Artery, 8pm, all ages, with Turvy Organ



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