Runaway Symphony
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Runaway Symphony

Moscow, Idaho, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Moscow, Idaho, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Indie




"Runaway Symphony in Warner Bro's movie, "Father Figures""

Runaway Symphony's song "Lie Awake and Dream" will be featured in Warner Bro's movie "Father Figures" starring Owen Wilson, Christopher Walken, Ed Helms, and Glenn Close. -

"Runaway Symphony in 2018 feature film, "The Reason""

Runaway Symphony's songs "American Blood" and "The Journalist" will be featured in the 2018 movie "The Reason" starring Louis Gossett Jr and Tatyana Ali. -

"Get Swept Away by Runaway Symphony's "The Fall of Man""

A waterfall of cascading violins, guitars and drums flow into the lifeblood of ‘The Fall of Man’ by US folk/rock band Runaway Symphony, from their latest album American Blood. It is their debut alexrainbirdMusic feature but based on this track, I don’t think it will be their last! The violin is a beautiful instrument which always makes songs sound more grandiose and emotive, but it somehow seems even more special in this genre. The track has also got some some lovely late-winter vibes which definitely help at this time of this year. Enjoy the song and have a great weekend; also don’t forget to tune into my live stream on Sunday at 3pm GMT to get an exclusive listen of my upcoming compilations! - Alex Rain Bird Music

"Sound, Phrase & Fury Feature Runaway Symphony"

Indie-rock band Runaway Symphony could not have picked a more suiting name. With songs infused with anguish and emotion, bleeding over a bed of delicate and ghostly harmonies, the quartet have created a remarkable collection of alluring symphonies.

Poetic and reflective, the band beautifully capture the complexities of the human condition, tugging at even the most buried and protected heartstrings. With memorable tracks like “The Fall of Man” we’re instantly hooked into their dark and moody musical world. - Sound, Phrase & Fury

"Running South Album Review"

There’s always some comfort in aural familiarity. Settling in with an album that you know isn’t going to throw curveballs or bizarre sonic detours. Music that hits the expected dynamic marks in ways that feel organic to it’s genre but not entirely predictable. It’s what keeps a great many people attached to the repetitions of pop radio and drove classical composers working in the later 20th century away from mathematical, atonal exercises and toward the idea of repeated themes and minimalism. People instinctively like what we know.

The problem is that too often, especially in indie pop-rock, genre markers become tropes. The same ideas being produced again and again, untempered by wit or invention: rise and fall dynamics, earnest lyrics of heartbreak, chanting “whoah oh” bridges. And interestingly enough, it seems the earnestness is often the most divisive aspect. After all, one’s heart-strings can only be tugged so much before they are strained and it all becomes cloying. Crafting songs that are truly moving without being sappy is an increasingly difficult juggling act.

If the key is balance, then Runaway Symphony are successfully walking the beam on their newest release, ‘Running South.’ In fact, from the sound of it, they want it to be your new favorite record. It aims to hit all of the warm, emotional sweetspots that your favorite records hit: heartbroken lows, emotional highs, uplifting messages (“this world is not a disaster!”). The album isn’t in a buzzy new genre and it doesn’t do anything the listener hasn’t heard before. But being familiar isn’t the same as being tired. The fact that the band can create something that uses the recognizable (i.e. chord changes, song forms, instruments) and still manage to surprise is greatly to their credit. Second track, ‘Lie Awake and Dream,’ feels like many longing, acoustic songs that have come before, beginning with pinging guitars and delayed textures before the warm strum of an acoustic guitar takes over. However, the sweetness of the chorus hook that works in both the context of the chorus and the slow building bridge truly lifts the song. It is this gift for memorable hooks and melodies that set them apart from many bands that ape the same kind of cascading sound to manufacture emotional walloping hits. Here, the big payoffs are mostly hard-earned, and the band is at their best when they allow their penchant for strong melodies to combine with their powerful arrangements and become something transcendent.

As a whole, ‘Running South’ sounds pretty sure of itself. Right off, ‘Scarlet Heart’ sets the tone, repeating it’s conflicted mantra of, “this is the life I chose” vs. “these are the lives I stole” over reedy organs and steadily building drums. The record manages to weave an impressive sonic consistency, using strings, glockenspiel and other textures to complement the core makeup of pristine guitars, inventive drums, piano, and vocal harmonies. And when banjo driven ballad, ‘Butterflies,’ gives way to an ambient instrumental transition or ‘Spirits,’ and ‘Wolves in the Woods,’ reveal that they are essentially two parts of the same song, separated by a dramatic string interlude, the listener begins to see just how much craftsmanship is on display. The lyrics in the aforementioned songs tell a dark story, where the climax conjures biblical imagery as a kind father figure steps in to protect the troubled story teller, singing, “this one’s mine!” These guys are great players and writers, and these elements work extremely well, lending the band the musical and emotional credibility needed to earn their big moments, and forgive their lesser ones.

Admittedly though, when the curtain is pulled back far enough for their influences to peak out, pinpointing how similar the record can sound compared to other anthemic indie pop bands like Death Cab for Cutie or Stars can dent it’s power. Latter track, ‘Rubicon,’ matches ‘Transatlanticism’ era Death Cab almost verbatim in its outro. These moments can make it feel as if the big eighth note builds, grinding guitar outros or cries of “I don’t want to live alone” happen out of obligation. Runaway Symphony are better than that. The record really fires when it feels like the musical ideas present themselves out of the emotional trajectory of the song, rather than a need to check off a requirement.

If these guys can continue to inject actual, heartfelt moments into their anthemic brand of indie pop-rock, they should have no trouble making it to a stage big enough to match their musical ambitions. For now, those listening to ‘Running South’ will be trying to no avail to get some of these songs out of their heads. Or they might not try that hard. There is after all, comfort in familiarity, and this is a record you will be happy to get familiar with.

PS: I have seen these guys live, and they put on a powerful show. I would recommend going to see them do their thing, opening for Sallie Ford at the Bartlett on December 18. - CollectPNW

"Secret Show Recap"

Travelling from Moscow, ID, Runaway Symphony shared a powerful and energetic set that mixed the southern rock style of Band of Horses with the emotional rise and fall dynamics of bands like the National or Antlers. While their music definitely deserves a larger stage, they never overpowered the room. Their anthemic set created moments of transcendence for the fifty or so listeners packed in the tiny loft. - CollectPNW

"Interest expands in Botkin Bonners Ferry song"

It's been circulating around the Boundary County Worldwide Community. And yes, believe it, there actually is a Boundary County Worldwide Community. Some would call it Boundary County Nation. That includes those of us who live here, but also folks all over the United States, actually all around the world, who once lived here, perhaps went to school here, owned property here, passed through here, or who once called Boundary County home. And through the silent, raucous web of the internet, through friends, or via friends of friends, they continue to stay in touch with Boundary County life.

But we're wandering off topic here. Starting over . . .

It's been circulating around the Boundary County Worldwide Community. One word-of-mouth by one word-of-mouth at a time. One Facebook post, one Twitter tweet at a time.

We decided it's time to bust this thing wide open, so here it is:

Have you seen the new music video Bonners Ferry, performed by the group Runaway Symphony, featuring Boundary County resident Daniel Botkin?

That's the question going around. The video, currently counting 2,500 people who have seen it, is on YouTube.

(Click anywhere on this blue box below to watch the performance of the song Bonners Ferry):

The full, complete story is right here.

And that story starts with Daniel Botkin, whose family moved to Boundary County from Oregon when he was age seven. He and his siblings were raised on a farm in the Porthill area.

"I spent much of my childhood outside, either working on the farm or exploring the woods we lived by," said Mr. Botkin. "For the most part, life was pretty isolated; my family was removed from the sounds and busyness of civilization, and we didn’t watch TV or listen to much radio, so we were sheltered from the influence of pop culture—which I’m really thankful for."

The children in his family were schooled at home, although Daniel and his brother participated in the sports programs at the middle school and at Bonners Ferry High School. Daniel played on the football team and the track team. "Sports were kind of the counterpoint to my homeschooling, and taught me things like social skills, teamwork, and how to face adversity."

Daniel is essentially self-taught as a musician. "I never had a formal lesson, I never practiced a scale, but there were instruments in various parts of the house, and I really just experimented with the way they worked," he said. "I played notes, and combinations of notes, and eventually chords like I was learning words. I think I actually understand the mechanics of music better than if I had taken lessons."

At age 17, Daniel moved to Moscow, Idaho, to attend the University of Idaho. There he studied graphic design, an interest he has had over the years. It was around this time that he first started composing music, and first met the members of his future band, Runaway Symphony.

"Runaway Symphony started in 2010 as a project between brothers Chris Lowe and Jason Oliveira (both from Moscow), and myself," said Daniel. "The three of us had played together in other settings, and we were good buddies with similar taste and a lot of passion and enthusiasm, so we decided to team up and see if we could create something beautiful."

AJ Stevens, from western Washington, was in the Palouse area at the time, and began spending a lot of time with the band, running sound and helping with mixing some of the songs. He eventually joined Runaway Symphony as bass player. Later Jarin Bressler, from Coeur d'Alene, joined to play keyboards.

"My main role in the band is lyricist," said Mr. Botkin. "I write the words to our songs, and usually start writing the music, but most of our songs come together as a collaboration, and that’s an important part of what we do. We want our music to be something that brings people together and creates community and common ground, and I think that mentality has to be there in the songwriting."

The story on Runaway Symphony: Mr. Botkin describes the band as indie rock/folk. As lyricist, he hopes to put together music that tells a story, and does so with conviction. "One of the things that really concerns me about my generation is the total lack of content," he said. "It’s frightening, really, the stuff that’s on the radio these days. There’s a song that simply repeats the command to 'wiggle' in the refrain. And there's a dance anthem that’s in a language no one understands."

"Most of today’s music is either about selfishness or, more often than not, nothing at all. It really upset me for a while, like ‘why is this popular?’ But I realized recently that this stuff isn’t just unique to my generation, it has been going on for a while, and will probably continue indefinitely; and even though that’s a little bit sad, it means there is a huge demand for stories. It means that artists and writers who have deep conviction can offer something that those without cannot: a narrative."

Runaway Symphony has played gigs ranging from a trailer park in Oklahoma (on Halloween, no less), to the Doe Bay Fest in Olga, Washington, performing with Eric Hutchinson at the University of Idaho’s Palousafest, and playing Washington State University’s Springfest, which featured Snoop Dog.

One of their craziest gigs occurrred once when they were scheduled to play at the Garland Theater in Spokane in the middle of winter. They had to leave Moscow late due to a church event that same evening. They weren't on the road long, headed to Spokane, when their van broke down. Fortunately, there was another vehicle traveling with them. Grabbing their most essential band gear, they piled into the other vehicle, and eventually arrived at the Garland.

That is when they discovered their performance was following a burlesque dancing act. At midnight, when their turn to perform finally came, they discovered something else: apparently most of the audience must have come just to see the burlesque show. "By the time we played our set, everyone but the sound guy and a few stragglers had gone home. The sound system was terrible, and to top it all off, we had to drive back to Moscow that night."

Daniel Botkin composed the song Bonners Ferry. It was written last year, in the weeks before the band was scheduled to perform in concert in Bonners Ferry at the Pearl Theater. "I was trying to think about ways to connect with the folks, ways to express my love and appreciation for my old home, so I started working on a song about Bonners Ferry."

It wasn't until the band was actually traveling from Moscow to Bonners Ferry for their performance that Mr. Botkin told his fellow band members about the song he had written, a song about a small town, with what he thought seemed to be a fairly narrow focus and narrow audience. "It’s kind of a personal song, so I was a little bashful and reluctant to show it to the band, but we started talking about our set during the drive up, and we discussed the possibility of playing it as an encore."

After his band mates had heard the song for the first time, literally while on the road, driving in their van up to their Bonners Ferry performance, they put together its final assembly of parts and harmonies. "I sang it to the guys as we drove north on 95, and they came up with some really tasteful harmonies."

"At the end of our set that night, we walked off stage, sang the chorus once through to make sure we all had our parts, and went for it. It was a really beautiful moment, one of those rare occasions that you just can’t rehearse, where everything lines up in a magical epiphany, where the music does exactly what it’s supposed to, and art, for an instant, shows us something about our own story."

What kind of a reception has the song Bonners Ferry had? According to Mr. Botkin, "We got a lot of really positive feedback after we performed the song that first night, but I wasn’t sure if we would ever do it again. It’s just such a specific song, and is so tied to a specific place, that I wondered if anyone outside Boundary County would care for it. Oddly enough, the decision to perform it for one of our Ballard Session videos [which is where the YouTube video of the song came from] was kind of last minute as well, but it ended up coming together really nicely, and once the video was up, we started getting positive feedback from all kinds of places."

And now you know the story of the Runaway Symphony song, Bonners Ferry. If you have heard the song, and if you know Boundary County, you may well agree that the song, in its quiet way, does much to capture a feeling about the place we call home, and captures something about the mystical reason why folks--the Boundary County Worldwide Community--never really wants to let go fully of its ties to our home.

Runaway Symphony continues to play in venues around the Northwest and around the country. They anticipate scheduling a future appearance at the Pearl Theater in Bonners Ferry, although the specific details of a local performance are still being put together.

Runaway Symphony official website:

To watch the YouTube video of the song Bonners Ferry, go to this link: - NewsBF

"Kitt Bender: My Show with Runaway Symphony"

Most of the shows I play in the Seattle area, I play solo and rarely get to share the stage with other acts.

Last night I got to play an event with a band from Moscow, Idaho called Runaway Symphony. My gear was packed up in the back of the room to make a quick exit after I played my set… just in case

What happened next was a pleasant surprise. Runaway Symphony started, and I couldn’t leave. Their song transitions were thoughtful, their harmonies were tight, the arrangements were tasteful, and the melodies had a great flow to them!

I stayed through the end and enjoyed the entire set quite thoroughly.

Check them out. -

"A symphony of success at 40: Moscow band headlines Moscow Food Co-op’s anniversary carnival"

Cotton candy, a potato toss and a beer garden will fill the Moscow Food Co-op parking lot Sunday as Runaway Symphony, an indie, alternative and folk rock group, plays to the masses.

Headlining the Co-op’s 40th anniversary outdoor celebration, the Moscow band will play an hour of music, which drummer Jason Oliveira describes as both folky and cinematic.

“Each song is a really epic story with narrative qualities in the lyrics,” Oliveira said.

Lead singer Daniel Botkin, who is the main writer, said Runaway Symphony can go from quiet to exploding in a matter of seconds. Dynamics are key.

“With our music, we don’t want to fall into the popular genre, but we don’t want to be so specific that we leave everyone out,” Oliveira said.

The band met about five years ago and has been playing since the summer of 2010. While the band formed almost by accident, Oliveira said, there was no reason to part.

Members include Botkin, Oliveira, guitarist and Oliveira’s brother Chris Lowe, mustache-sporting bassist AJ Stevens and sometimes-member and keyboardist Jarin Bressler. The band ranges in age from 22 to 28.

And for the past two years, the crew has been working to record an album, which is due out in October.

“We have different songs come together in different ways,” Botkin said. “I bring it to the band, we put it together and write. What we enjoy the most is the writing process.”

Oliveira said the music starts one way, and then evolves into something completely different.

“We’re taking something raw and making it refined,” said Lowe, guitar.

From recording the album in Oliveira’s basement, to T-shirt, poster and pallet-light design, Lowe said the band is a DIY kind of group. The pallets were a cheap way to light the stage and sync with the music, but now it’s become part of the aesthetic.

Lowe said the band has been offered gigs overseas, and the members just need to agree on their destination. Iceland and U.K. are on the list.

“We’ve been offered a lot of things, “ Lowe said. “We try to take it one step at a time.”

For now, the band plans to play in Moscow at events such as Rendezvous in the Park, the Co-op Carnival and an upcoming show at the Nuart Theater with Learning Team on Sept. 26. They will play on the University of Washington campus this month and at Gonzaga the next.

Opening bands for Runaway Symphony’s Co-op Carnival performance include Tom Drake & Undiscovered Country and the Moscow Peace Band.

Beer and cider, provided by Moscow Brewing Company, Paradise Creek Brewery and Whisky Barrel Cider Company, will be served near the stage. Children can access a root beer garden with ice cream from Sticky Fingers Farm. Other food includes vegetable kabobs, bratwurst, giant pretzels, cotton candy, popcorn and caramel apples. The organic offerings are all less than $3, except for Oh Beehave Wheat ale — a 22 oz. bottle of Paradise Creek’s creation for the Co-op’s anniversary.

“The carnival is old-timey,” said Tiffany Harms, Co-op advancement manager and carnival coordinator. “Hokey almost, so adults can enjoy it, too.”

Games include potato toss, ring toss, a “Hay There” dig pile for young children and other Co-op Kids activities, while a photo booth, memory wall and face painter will be on site.

“This is probably the biggest event our Co-op has had,” Harms said. “It’s a celebration of the past, but also a way to look on and welcome new people.”

Beyond new members, the Co-op has also welcomed a new general manager, who Harms said will introduce the evening and begin the Co-op annual meeting, a 15-minute talk about finances, before the music begins.

“Our Co-op has this weaving past — a lot goes into what makes it what it is. So many people who have given their time, and (the carnival) is a way to focus on saying ‘Thank you.’”

More information on the Co-op carnival can be found online at Music and live studio recordings of Runaway Symphony can be found at - Inland 360

"Show with Eric Hutchinson"

Vandal Entertainment was delighted to have Runaway Symphony open for Palousafest this year. The band's energetic stage presence kept the audience entranced and involved! Their lyrics are very thoughtful and their sound was fluid and tranquil. - University of Idaho

"Runaway Symphony Concert"

Friday night, July 26, was a very good night to be in the audience of The Pearl Theater for the band Runaway Symphony from Moscow, Idaho, featuring Bonners Ferry native Daniel Botkin. It was the last evening in a week of scorching summer days and a night so warm that the ceiling fans provided little help. Still the enthusiastic almost-full crowd including balcony was easily distracted the very second the music started. Their first musical set began with Daniel performing three solo songs including a beautifully clear and honest rendition of Josh Ritter "Idaho". Then the entire four member band continued with an assortment of impressive original pieces which resonated perfectly inside the Pearl's tall walls.

But perhaps no moment in the show was more moving than the band's encore performance when all four emerged from the side of the stage, descended the stairs, and quietly stood together at the head of the center aisle to sing a special musical homage to our very special town of Bonners Ferry, with lyrics written by Daniel:

Far up north

Where the curve of earth recedes

Far beyond equator's reach,

Where the winter goes to sleep.

There's a place

Where my growing bones found root

And my growing soul found truth,

Where I gave my days of youth.

Walk with me to the river,

Up where the water bleeds from the snow.

My faithful friend awaits, and I've missed her--

She isnt much. She is my home.

Bonners Ferry, Idaho,

Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

She hides behind

A wall of solid Selkirk pine

And a veiling valley line;

She's a treasure few can find.

Walk with me to the river

Up where the water bleeds from the snow.

My faithful friend awaits, and I've missed her--

She isn't much. She is my home.

Bonners Ferry, Idaho,

Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

The song's debut performance was delivered in beautiful harmony and with a simple but strong beat. The heartfelt lyrics coupled with the band's proximity to the audience hushed the crowd for several minutes, then eventually brought them to their feet. - The Pearl Theatre Newsletter


Still working on that hot first release.



The songs on Runaway Symphony’s 2016 sophomore release, American Blood, unfold like chapters in a novel, weaving an orchestral folk odyssey through rich harmonies, dynamic instrumentation, and vivid story-telling.

The album opens with a bass and drum-driven anthem about venturing into the unknown, which serves as an apt introduction from the North Idaho natives who wrote and recorded the entire LP from cities scattered across the continental United States. But make no mistake; the songs are far from autobiographical. Tackling subject matter from postmodernism and the American dream to the Incarnation of God and the personal accounts of peers, American Blood tells a story that both challenges and inspires, and masterfully establishes Runaway Symphony as a leading voice in folk songwriting. 

Their self-produced 2013 debut album, Running South, was met with unforeseen and widespread acceptance, and garnered an immediately devoted fan-base. The band released an EP, Titans, in the summer of 2015 before beginning work on American Blood.

Runaway Symphony has shared the stage with Colbie Caillat, Eric Hutchinson, Sally Ford, Joe Pug, and is featured in Warner Bros’ 2017 feature-film, Father Figures, starring Owen Wilson, Ed Helms, and Glenn Close. 

Band Members