“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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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: