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LAVOLA – Calling all Masochists
Free Music Link: http://lavola.bandcamp.com/
Notes: "Name Your Price" for these great tracks!
Think back seven months ago. How much has changed in your life personally or professionally?
When we think of how much can change in just seven short months in our personal lives we may think not much. To a band, or the members in that band, seven months could mean everything. The reason why I am choosing to say seven months specifically is because it was only seven short months ago when I received LAVOLA’s Leaving Paris EP in my inbox to be reviewed. This was my third review for Indie Music Reviewer and I was blown away by what I was hearing: powerful, mind blowing, with just the right amount of passion and emotion. After the countless times I’ve listened to Leaving Paris since that first time I am still moved and inspired. Amazing music can do that. It never seems to lose its “magic touch.”
Now the beautiful thing about IMR is how we connect with the musicians we cover and we care about what happens even after the review gets published. For LAVOLA, after their review (which came out in December of last year), the New Year brought many changes (including new band members), more recognition and great opportunities for the band to grow and get their music heard. After opening up for some big name bands like Taproot, and The Kills; LAVOLA is definitely making a name for themselves in South Florida. They were even named “Best Local band of 2012” by Florida Weekly publication (among many others). If all of this wasn’t enough, they wanted to take the time and share their journey with the readers of IMR. They answered questions in between going to school, working, playing shows and recording new music. This is an interview you don’t want to miss out on reading.
KC: Was creating music something that always came naturally to you? How old were you when you knew this was what you wanted to do?
Julian Cires: I’ve been writing music since I was 13 and even before I had an instrument to transpose anything sonically tangible, I’d often construct harmonies in my head to pass the time (and still do today). Once I began teaching myself guitar, I sort of found my vice to further enable reclusiveness. It’s amusing to think back on the numerous completed albums I had completed in 8th grade, drawing the album art during class. I’m not nearly as prolific now, haha. Somewhere a long the line my musical OCD kicked in.
KC: Your lyrics can be very cryptic and different people listening may interpret the meanings of your songs in different ways. What inspires you when writing?
JC: There are numerous catalysts that inspire me to write lyrics. And it may go without saying that all of the songs are intensely personal. On a related tangent, I’ve always had an obsession with fiction. On two separate occasions, I attempted to write a novel. 6th and 7th grade respectively, haha. I eventually studied Creative Writing in Tallahassee and as a result wrote A LOT more, inside and outside of schooling. I’ve always believed that fiction, utilized as a medium of honest expression, could illuminate, resonate and help piece together things we struggle to fully grasp.
I believe that the cryptic nature of my writing is indicative of this sentiment. For the most part, the lyrics I write in LAVOLA, and the pieces of me that I express are thinly veiled behind fictional narratives. But that’s not to say that they didn’t happen. On a certain level, they have. Sometimes literally, sometimes through a metaphor. Trapped deep down, there is a core that resonates. It’s always interesting to hear fans of the music tell me how they get my writing and how it’s helped them on a personal level, be it breakups, loss, etc. It’s gratifying, of course, but most importantly it’s reaffirming in that the core catharsis exists within these surreal fantasies, despite the perspective or interpretation.
KC: Since Leaving Paris the line-up of the band has changed. Why the change in line-up?
JC: At the start of the New Year, I sought out a new drummer and bassist just in time to open for The Kills in Fort Lauderdale. In Revolution live, actually. I remember being nervous before the first full band rehearsal, which was a few weeks prior to the show. We immediately ran through The Queen is Dead, and were blown away by how musically tight the three of were right off the bat. And it only got better from that point. I’m pretty sure celebratory drinks were had after that practice. The dissolution of the old rhythm section had been a long time coming. Partly, a natural drifting away/musical exploration and growth But most importantly, the transition was really quick and he best thing that’s happened to this project, so far.
KC: With the addition of Gene Pandolfi and Jeff Rose what can you say about the songs LAVOLA is working on at the moment? Will there be another album coming up in the future too?
JC: We’ve tracked three songs so far. Performance wise, Gene and Jeff add a musical dynamic that I never realized was absent before. Specifically, Jeff brings a versatile and intricate sound to Lavola, rhythm wise. Every time I hear Jeff drum, my brain short circuits. As far as bass is concerned, Gene brought balls. New and seasoned fans a like have noted how much better this line up sounds, which is even more reaffirming. Personally, a glaring difference I’ve noticed between the new lineup and the old involves both Gene and Jeff being multi-instrumentalists. Gene has played guitar in slew of bands and has his own songwriting project called Black Seal. Jeff is currently recording his own solo album. So despite me bringing in new material that’s already written, for the most part, both of them figure out their parts to accompany. Then, all three of us give constructive criticism on how to better the song. Be it Jeff suggesting Gene play a certain part staccato, or me suggesting Jeff to ride the crash on a certain part, or Gene suggesting how to intro a new song. Though I’ve done the songwriting, it feels more like a band, during practice, instead of me dictating how to play each part of a song, which is what occurred a lot with the past line up. Within the first month of performing as a band, both Gene and Jeff were making suggestions on how to structure certain parts, too, which is huge in the LAVOLA world. I’m surrounded by songwriters now, whom approach this project on a more creative level. It no longer feels like a labor to articulate the musical direction of a song. I barely need to articulate anything anymore, and that is the sort of chemistry that’s finally in the band now. That chemistry is definitely evident on the recordings. We’ll be sharing them soon enough.
KC: In addition to a new line up, 2012 has also brought some great recognition LAVOLA’s way. What goes through your mind when you hear your band has been named best local band for 2012?
JC: I still feel extremely appreciative for the recognition, crazy opening gigs, and most importantly, the people that understand the writing. What goes through my mind, exactly? I guess excitement with a hint of surprise. I have an inherent tendency to isolate and most of my time is spent on writing. The recognition from the outside is a shock in that sense. It doesn’t have much bearing on what I am doing, but it puts a smile on my face every time.
KC: With many bands and musicians using resources like Kickstarter to help fund album recordings and national tours, is that something you would consider doing somewhere down the line? (If no, why?)
JC: When I first heard of Kickstarter, I thought it was brilliant concept. And I still do. It’s a thin line between fundraising your musical project and panhandling. But if done thoughtfully and creatively, both fans and the artist benefit. Personally, I’m used to just working for any band expenses. Partly by playing a ton of shows, mostly by dipping out of my own pocket. Though, I have considered starting a fundraising project for a music video. For The Queen is Dead, to be specific.
LAVOLA can be seen performing pretty frequently around the Fort Lauderdale area. If that’s in your neck of the woods you owe it to yourself to see them live. New music is on the way as well; in the meantime stop by their Bandcamp page and give Leaving Paris as well as some other demos a listen.
Thanks to the band for taking the time to answer some questions and giving us a glimpse into the brains behind LAVOLA. It’s an honor to have the chance to be involved in your journey! We can’t wait to hear the new music you are working on!
Genre(s): Art Rock/Indie
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
Band Members: Julian Cires: Vocals, guitar & songwriting, Gene Pandolfi: Bass, Jeff Rose: Drums
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