“Seas Drain Into Space” – 2008

For many years, our album “Seas Drain Into Space” only existed in physical form. But now it is available EVERYWHERE:

In 2007 we wrote most of the songs from Seas Drain Into Space. Then in 2008 we recorded them. These years were special, charged with love, optimism, determination, and purpose.

There was a lot of work to be done, but we were ready.

Liam Doyle
Justin Birchard
Jeff Goluszka

In 2007 we moved out of our previous studio and into a new spot just down the road. The best thing about this building was that we could rehearse, record, and live all under the same roof. We called it “Seven Sided Studio” or usually just “The Studio” for short.

The property was beautiful. It sat along a busy highway, but it had a spacious yard with ample trees, vines, flowers, and wildlife. There was even a peach tree!

Previously this building had been an office. It wasn’t zoned residential, but we got permission from the owner to live there “on the down low”. We also got permission to remodel the inside.

This rare and unique opportunity was granted by my boss– the new owner of Apple Graphics: Keith Hempel. We can’t thank him and the Hempel family enough for all the generosity they have shown us over the past 15 years.

Before we moved in, there were three weeks of dirty, dusty, DIY renovations. It was a lot of work, but it was exciting!

I drew up the plans, then Liam and my brother Andrew lent their expertise and enabled us to execute the design. After a lot of demolition, we built new walls and door frames. Then we installed a new window and electric line.

After the construction was complete, we started recording immediately. We didn’t care that there wasn’t a kitchen, we didn’t care that the bathroom was barely functional. There was no time to waste! Music needed to be made.

We had several goals for the year:

  • Record a full length album
  • Play at least 50 shows
  • Book our first DIY tour out of state

Of course, we also had to contend with “real life” — day jobs, chores, and learning how to exist as 26 year old “adults”. It was a tricky balance. There were ample heartbreaks, victories, challenges, laughs, and tears.

It was beautiful, but it wasn’t easy. Together, we figured it out.

Here are some photos from the SDIS recording sessions:

We began recording in December 2007, and the album was completed in June 2008. The art design, recording, mixing, mastering, and packaging were all done in-house.

During this period we did several out of state tours and played many of our favorite Chicago venues for the first time: Double Door, The Abbey Pub, and Quenchers. We also had the opportunity to play live on several radio stations and an indie TV station:

We played (and hosted) a lot of house shows and frequented loving local venues like Oasis Cafe in West Chicago:

In 2008 we recorded our first music videos. The first was a low-fi version of Pocket of Change that I recorded solo on my lunch break at Apple Graphics:

Next we invited our closest friends and fans out to the studio and filmed a live show. This “290” video was directed and produced by our good friend Chad Headley:

The final video we recorded that year was for “Moonshine” and was once again directed and produced by Chad Headley:

We can’t emphasize enough how impactful and helpful our friends, family and community were during this period. We had a street team! We had pizza parties, softball games, water balloon fights, barbecues, and disc golf meetups!

You helped us assemble merch, you were at every show. We love you and we can’t thank you enough:

Ashley Wolf, Andrew Birchard, Chris Darby, Jeff Stogis, Nate Kalish, Lisa Holloman, Andrew Massih, Derek Sepeda, Amy Aiello, Stacy Stell, Andres Acosta, JD Mathys, Jake Jeter, Andrew Brueck, Kimber Aita, Stacy Roberts, Eric & Ivory Schwab, Chad Headley, Beans, Chris Shern, Sarah Hein, Matthew Potts, Nicole Schafroth, Jodi Doyle, Rory Doyle, Kiel Doyle, Ali Doyle, Michele Doyle, Alison Weir Speckles, Suzanne Szafranski, Ryan Zieche, Eddie Ortega, AND SO MANY MORE.

We kept each other grounded in an absurd world

Thank you for taking the time to revisit this era with us. We’re playing these songs live again! And some new ones you’ve never heard. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for all the latest.


We’ve got a distance left to run. Many more songs. Many more shows. We truly hope you’ll keep in touch.

“Apple Sanctuary” Songs from 2005-2006

The next Facing Winter compilation is out now!

It’s called “Apple Sanctuary” and contains 11 songs from two of our EP’s:

“Apple EP” recorded in 2005
“The Sanctuary EP” recorded in 2006

We rearranged the original track order and added a touch of remastering. You can hear it here:

In 2005-2006 our world was expanding. Jeff Goluszka, Liam Doyle, and I were practicing, recording, and playing shows nearly every night of the week. We had a shared vision, we were pushing hard, and we were having a lot of fun along the way.

Jeff Goluszka, Justin Birchard, and Liam Doyle in 2005 at Apple Graphics in West Chicago, IL.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The story of “Apple EP” begins with a small print shop in West Chicago. I worked there, and the place was called “Apple Graphics”.

This wasn’t a “Copy Machine” type of place like Kinko’s or Office Depot. This was a gritty, messy, industrial print shop, with a steampunk vibe:

Everything was analog.

All of our Facing Winter merch was printed at Apple Graphics including album covers, posters, stickers, t-shirts, etc.

The printing process started with developing film in a dark room. After that, we burned the images onto metal plates. The plates would fit around a cylinder on the printing press. This cylinder would “stamp” the image onto each sheet as it fed through the press.

Here is the cover art for “Apple EP” that we printed at Apple Graphics. The hand-drawn artwork is by long-time friend and co-conspirator Jeff Stogis:

Dustin Lapotka drew our poster with black ink. I colored it, and then we printed it at Apple Graphics.

(I’ve still got a stack, DM if you want one!)

At Apple Graphics, we mixed our ink by hand using a scale. There was a specific formula for each color. When the presses and bindery equipment broke-down, we repaired them ourselves. We were fiercely independent. No corporate ties. Just a small team of people working towards a common goal and trying to keep “the ship” afloat.

Between 2004-2006 the shop had five employees: Andrew Birchard (my younger brother), Alberto Ayala, the owner Michael Potts, and I.

I can’t emphasize enough the monumental role that Apple Graphics has played in my life over the past 20+ years. The business has changed a lot, but I still work there, and Chris Shern does too! Liam Doyle and great friend Matt Potts have also been among the ranks.

It was amazing to be able to work with my brother Andrew everyday for several years. We were close as kids (home-schooled!) and we have remained close ever since.

Until he moved out of state, Andrew came to ALL of our Facing Winter shows and has always been one of our biggest supporters.

Felipe Alberto Ayala Morazan (aka Alberto) has also been a big part of my life. A boss and an “uncle”. A friend for many years (and still today). Alberto is a kind man. Always willing to help my brother and I in whatever way he could. After more than 35 years at Apple Graphics, Alberto retired in 2023. I worked with him for more than 20 years!

And finally, Mr. Potts. He was the owner of the print shop. And not only that, he was a father figure for me. He helped me and cared for me in ways that very few adults ever have. He trusted me and I trusted him. He wanted to see me thrive. He enabled me to grow and find myself. He allowed Facing Winter to practice and record in the warehouse whenever we wanted!

Mr. Potts passed away in 2005. It’s hard to believe how long it’s been. I still think of him frequently. For reasons well beyond music, he still has a significant impact on my life today.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The warehouse at Apple Graphics is where we recorded “Apple EP” in 2004/2005:

We worked hard, but we also spent a lot of time relaxing. During our down time, if we weren’t wandering the streets of West Chicago, we were likely hanging out in the shop, playing cards or various other games.

Our great friends Nicole Schafroth and Matt Potts were almost always there with us:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In 2006, we got our first private, dedicated rehearsal space! It was in Glendale Heights, IL (not far from Chicago) and we named it “The Sanctuary”.

It felt so good to have our own space that we could control. The building was dilapidated, kinda disgusting, and the neighborhood was sketchy. But we loved it so hard. And we made the most of it. We spent the vast majority of our evenings there in 2006. Rehearsing, recording, and playing cards.

“The Sanctuary EP” was recorded at this location. And it will always have a special place in our hearts.

Here is the hand drawn artwork created by Jeff Stogis:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In 2005 we were mostly playing in Chicago and the burbs. Frequently with great friends Chris Darby and Them Damn Kids:

In 2006 we did our first out state tour thanks to longtime friend and songwriter Nate Kalish.

By the end of 2006 things were starting to get real. It felt like we were becoming a part of the scene in Chicago, the suburbs, and beyond.

Jeff, Liam, and I were best friends. We were tight musically and personally. A true team. Many more good things were on the way…

Thank you for following along with our story. Can’t wait to share the the next chapters! Lots more music still to come. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to us anytime:

“Ghost Trains from Fermilab” Songs from 2003-2004

The latest Facing Winter compilation is called “Ghost Trains from Fermilab” and contains 10 songs recorded between 2003-2004. We’ve put a lot of time and thought into this track list, and all the songs have been remastered for 2023. You can hear it here:

You may be wondering- What’s with the name?

Liam, Jeff, and I brainstormed and collaborated for over a month before we settled on it. Here’s why we chose “Ghost Trains from Fermilab” as the title:

During 2003-2004 Jeff, Liam, Matt Potts, Dan Horyn, and I would frequently sneak into Fermilab late at night. The property is MASSIVE. Literally the size of a city:

There was a particular area we liked to hang out. At this spot, there were tracks, and trains would rumble through slowly as we mused about life, love, music, and supernatural things. In the end, some of us came to accept the possibility that if there are ghosts, there may also be “Ghost Trains”.

The lore doesn’t end there.

For many years Liam and I worked for a print shop that produced “Engineering Notepads” for Fermilab. One side of the sheet was presumably for writing notes and equations. The other side was graph paper for math and physics. We called them “Fermipads”. Each pad contained 50 sheets and a cardboard backer. Liam would print them, then I’d collate and glue them. I’d usually keep a few for myself because I love graph paper and blank books. The next day I’d drive to Fermilab and deliver them. I loved getting stopped at the security checkpoint and being able to say “Yep, I belong here, important delivery!”

I frequently daydreamed about what the scientists were doing there. There was (and is) a palpable amount of mystery and magic about that place. Was it true that the Soviets once (and maybe still do) have nukes pointed at it? Whatever they were doing there, it seemed likely to change the world.

I have STACKS of journals, poems, and lyrics written on Fermipads. Many of the songs from this compilation were written on them. Here’s a song I started writing in 2004, some of you may recognize it:

In a strange twist of fate, I’m back in the neighborhood of Fermilab after being away for many years.

I met some cool new friends not too long after I moved back here. Turns out they are physicists, and they work at Fermilab. I am not a superstitious person. But also, I love it when life makes me stop and think “Wait… this feels like more than just a coincidence. Something else could be going on here”.

It’s easy to forget how strange and magical the world can be. That’s why this compilation is called “Ghost Trains from Fermilab”.

And by the way, this album was partially recorded at the print shop where we produced the Fermipads:

Oh. You’re still here? Well then I’m going to tell you even more about this compilation.

Everything was up in the air in 2003, and it was one of the most tumultuous years of my life. But the one thing I knew for sure: I needed to keep writing, recording, and playing shows.

Most of the songs on this compilation were never officially released, instead they were passed around on CD-Rs among friends and at shows. (Anyone still remember what a CD-R is?)

20 years after these songs were written, I find myself in similar life circumstances and back in the same neighborhood. Many of the lyrics feel just as relevant to me now as they did back then. I still know with certainty: music will help me understand the world around me, it will help me understand myself, and it will help me heal.

At the time, music didn’t feel like a choice, it felt like something I had to do in order to survive. My soul needed it. I played as many open mics and shows as I could in and around Chicago.

Towards the end of 2003 I helped Liam Doyle learn to play bass. I had previously been having trouble keeping people in the band. So I figured, why not just be patient and wait for my best friend to learn an instrument? I didn’t care about current skill. I cared about dedication and chemistry.

By 2004 Liam was a legitimate bassist. The first two songs Liam ever recorded were “For Real” and “Scientists“.

The next thing that needed to happen was to secure a drummer. Just like with Liam, chemistry and dedication were the two most important things to me.

Jordan Hill had previously recorded drums on several songs and had performed many live shows with me. Some of his best work can be heard on this compilation: “Prepared” and “The Test“. But Jordan was planning to move to California, and I knew he wasn’t a long term solution.

Turns out, Jeff Goluszka was the solution (as he often is). He didn’t have as much experience as Jordan, but he was (and is) one of the hardest working, most passionate, and dedicated people I have ever met.

Jeff didn’t play drumset on this compilation, but you can hear his hand percussion on “For Real” and “Scientists“.

Edward Bembinster also had a significant role on these songs. He did not play any instruments, but he helped record and mix many of the songs including “For Real“, “Scientists“, “Prepared“, and “The Test” .

Jason Sipe had major contributions on this compilation too. But our lives were taking different paths. The other bands he played in were having a lot of success and he was touring frequently. In spite of this, he managed to record some AMAZING basslines on “Summerset“, “Prepared“, and “The Test” .

This compilation represents the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. I would no longer be playing solo. There would no longer be an uncertain roster. Because now my two best friends were in the band! We were teammates in the truest sense of the word. We were focused and passionate, and we were ready to take on the world.

There would be many more songs to come.

Thanks for reading/listening/caring! If you’ve got something to say please feel to reach out to us:

“You’ll Find Us There” – Songs from 2002

A few weeks ago we released another compilation of early songs called “You’ll Find Us There”. You can find them here:

2002 was an intense year of change for me personally, and for Facing Winter. The first half of the year was much different than the second half.

Dan Perdue’s other band Sleeping At Last was starting to have major success. They got noticed by Billy Corgan and he got them signed to Interscope Records! Understandably, Dan had to step away from Facing Winter. I felt so happy for him, but also it was hard to lose him as a bandmate.

Spoiler: Dan and I are still great friends and he still contributes to Facing Winter <3

In the early part of 2002, Jason Sipe and I were inseparable. We were constantly writing, laughing, recording, and exploring Chicago and the suburbs. Jason recorded the electric guitars on Working Title and Morning Starlight, as well as acoustic guitars on Good Mourning.

Jason’s other band “Matthew” was starting to have a lot of success, and they needed a fill-in bass player for a European tour. I was invited to join them! It was a 12 day tour through 5 different countries. It was an amazing trip for so many reasons. Photo highlights include our session in Paris for Rolling Stone!

After the trip Jason continued having great success with Matthew, and so we weren’t able to hang out as much. But this certainly wasn’t the end of Jason’s contributions to Facing Winter.

Musically, it was whittled down to just me. But I doubled-down on Facing Winter. During the second half of the year I was playing open mics religiously in Chicago and the area. Sometimes 4-5 nights a week. I had a particular partner in crime: Liam Doyle.

Liam hadn’t started playing bass yet, but during this time he was one of my biggest supporters and best friends. We spent SO many nights wandering throughout Chicago and beyond. Even though Liam didn’t contribute musically to these songs, I could not have done it without him by my side.

My favorite song from this compilation is Venture Further. Even all these years later, I can still feel it. And I think it’s a song I may start playing live again soon.

Many of these songs were on an album originally released as “Just Invisible”. Here is the original artwork drawn by Lara Earhart:

The next compilation will be released in November and will include songs from 2003-2005. Stand-by for the exciting debuts of Liam Doyle on Bass and Jeff Goluszka on Drums!

Want to talk more about these songs? Have a question? A comment? Hit us up anytime:

facingwinter at gmail

“Take Shape and Run Away” – Songs from 1999-2001

Hey. This is Justin. I want to share some background and details about Facing Winter’s story. And also some big news!

Today Facing Winter has released a new compilation called “Take Shape and Run Away“. These ancient songs are more than 20 years old! But we’ve added a fresh shine, and all tracks have been remastered.

Longtime friends may recognize favorites like “Lost” and “Will It Be The Last Time” which were performed regularly for many years.

You can find “Take Shape and Run Away” on Spotify, Bandcamp, and YouTube.

This is just the beginning. We’ll be releasing more compilations and albums regularly for the rest of the year. More than 70 songs bout to drop!

“Take Shape and Run Away” contains songs that were written by Justin Birchard and Dan Perdue, with important creative contributions by Ed Bembinster, Jason Sipe, and Jordan Hill.

How did Facing Winter begin?

It was Fall of 1999, Dan and I were 18 years old. We’d been friends since early childhood and had played in several bands together as teenagers. We were both starting to “grow out” of our previous bands, and it was time for something new. Dan came up with the name of the band. I loved it immediately and never looked back.

Heavily inspired by Radiohead, Sunny Day Real Estate, and The Prayer Chain, we wrote three songs: Travail, Blue Cycle, and Breathe Deep. These were recorded at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb by Nick Kettman. If you listen closely, you can hear the noise of the tape looping around the reel. It was a magical recording experience that we both remember fondly. Here’s the original artwork for the album, created by Dustin Lopatka:

These are the photos from our first photoshoot (photographer unknown):

During the year 2000 I wrote three songs that were never officially released: Wait For Spring, Rain Song, and, Tainted Eyes. Maybe you will recognize the riffs in Wait For Spring? This song was later stripped and used to create two new songs. We decided to include these three on the “Early Morning” compilation because they’re an important part of our story.

In 2001 Dan and I recorded and released “EP2” which included three new songs: Lost, Will It Be The Last Time, and 010101. We brought in longtime friend Jordan Hill to play drums on two of the tracks. The songs were recorded on 2″ tape and mixed by Edward Bembinster at 35th Street Studio in Chicago.

EP2 was also the first time we collaborated with Jeff Stogis for art direction. Here is the original insert from EP2:

Facing Winter collaborators in 2001:

After EP2, the band went through a big transition. Dan Perdue’s other band Sleeping At Last got signed by a prominent label, and so we temporarily parted ways for a few years. During the last half of 2001 I kept writing and recording. I partnered with Edward Bembinster, Jordan Hill, and Jason Sipe to record Dichotomy and Evade. Dichotomy is nearly 13 minutes long, it was recorded and engineered by Edward Bembinster.

And now you know the legend of “Take Shape and Run Away”!

Thank you for caring about our music and our story. Please stay tuned for more. The next big release will be 8/31/23 and will include songs recorded in 2002.