Alex Caplow and Sam Lee have known each other since they were toddlers, and they grew up playing music together "pretty badly."
Over time, however, their talents improved and so did their fortunes -- to the point where they're current band, Magic Man, has a hit single, "Paris," and a buzzed-about first album "Before The Waves" that landed the group an opening spot for Panic! At the Disco this summer and now a co-headlining run with Smallpools.
"It's interesting to trace back our musical origins and see how we've evolved," says band frontman Caplow, 24, "Back in high school we played a lot of epic, post-rock, guitar-based instrumental music, these long, triumphant songs. And Sam wrote a lot of ambient music.
"We knew we always wanted to write music that makes you feel something. When we started writing Magic Man songs, they just became more structured pop songs at their root, so we just sort of took it in that direction. I think we were a little surprised, because it was so different, but we really liked what we were coming up with."
Magic Man debuted in 2010 with the independently released "Real Life Color," but after signing with a major label (Columbia), the quintet and producer Alex Aidi had grander ambitions for "Before The Waves."
"The first songs we wrote we more low-fi, bedroom pop, based on the tools we ad," Caplow recalls. "We'd never done music like that before. Then when we started playing those first songs live we realized we wanted to flesh them out a little more, have more of a rock band vibe and not be like a karaoke duo singing over backing tracks.
"So we invited our friends to join the band and started playing with louder drums and stuff, and it really took on a whole other life."
And while "Real Life Color" has "sort of been erased from the Internet," according to the singer, fans are still finding it in the wake of Magic Man's recent success. "It's sort of fun to watch fans who've been introduced to us through out current music do some digging and find that older, hidden album," Caplow says. "It's become part of the story. And you get some people who talk about how they prefer "raw Magic Man before they got into the power stuff," just 'cause it sounds cool."
Magic Man, Smallpools and Waters
Wednesday, Oct. 22. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.
Tickets are $25.50.
Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.saintandrewsdetroit.com.
Send your thoughts and comments to