Kyre and Tylre Wilcox experienced a prototypical Southern California upbringing in their hometown of Encinitas. School, the beach, action sports, and music were all constants in the two (of five) siblings’ daily lives.
But unlike many of their peers, the brothers got a significant head start in their future careers at an early age.
Kyre (26) started playing bass before he had a driver’s license and has been a founding member of local rock bands Full Revolution, Ocelot, and Featherstone. Tylre (22) first started thinking about shooting video when he was just 13 years old after being invited to hang out at Vista skateboarding meccas like Bob Burnquist’s Megaramp and Tony Hawk’s Vert Ramp.
Now he travels the globe shooting for NHS, Inc., which handles Santa Cruz skateboards and Independent Truck Co., among others, and also has worked on videos for the likes of Marilyn Manson and Lil Yachty.
But it was the older Wilcox’s idea to have his little brother shoot the Ursa Polaris Sessions, a video series dedicated to showcasing San Diego’s best musical acts, after partnering with longtime friend and local musician, maker, and studio owner Andrew Ware.
Also Encinitas-born, Ware owns and runs the Ursa Polaris studio and plays with Kyre in Featherstone.
“Andrew and I have played music together since the third grade,” said the elder of the Wilcox brothers. “I really felt like there was a need for a cool video series in this area and this seemed like the perfect way to do it.”
The three-man team has modeled the professionally shot run of performances on things like NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts and Jam in the Van’s mobile series. Their Ursa Polaris Sessions release a new video every Thursday and have already featured some of San Diego’s best and brightest acts.
Debuting in April, veteran rockers Earthless, Jake Najor and The Moment of Truth, Gene Evaro Jr., and Sure Fire Soul Ensemble were the first to participate in the weekly series.
Fresh from opening for Lee “Scratch” Perry and Rick Ross, Ocean Beach’s Boostive are the latest addition to the Ursa Polaris Sessions roster and there are plenty more in the works.
Twin jazz maestros the Mattson 2 and L.A. singer Lost Boy Crow are set to record sessions with Ware and the Wilcox brothers. And while Lost Boy Crow won’t be the last of non-locals to participate, it’s only through the support of a handful of San Diego-based/connected companies that the process has been able to continue.
Former local Nick Pourfard’s Prisma Guitars, Vista’s Booze Brothers Brewery, QSC Audio, and Vessel Drum Co. of Encinitas have all lent support to the project, while Scott “Blowie” Lehman of San Diego’s Blowhole Sounds has handled all of the mixing.
And it’s expanding. A split 10-inch vinyl with Earthless and the Mattson 2 is also in the works, made possible through a partnership with Prisma Guitars and handmade packaging designed by Ware himself.
Wilcox and Ware are set to appear with Featherstone at the Belly Up on June 27, but plan to take their Ursa Polaris Sessions as far as it can go.
“The real mission statement of this project is to connect the community,” Kyre said. “We want to co-create something that brings joy and also sparks creativity to all who watch it. I know how inspired I am when I see a band performing live — either in person or on a video. This seems like the perfect way to do it all.”