The Gloriously Intriguing Reveries of The Living
Meet The Living, an alternative rock collective from the Bay Area whose music is destined to captivate the senses and set your imagination in flight. Featuring a kaleidoscopic amalgamation of progressive rock, metal, shoegaze, and pop, The Living is ready to challenge music conventions with their own rapturous brand of auditory intrigue. Highwire Daze Online recently caught up with guitarist / vocalist Derek Barnes to find out more about The Living and their gloriously exhilarating reveries. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in The Living, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Derek, I sing and play guitar in The Living. This version of the band formed in 2015 in San Francisco but the earliest origins of the band trace back several years ago in Pasadena in Southern California.
Where is your band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We are based in San Francisco and rehearse in the Tenderloin district of the city. Between SF, Oakland, and the south bay, the music scene is very active. With the high price of concert tickets for national acts, you can go to 10 local shows for the price of 1 national act and really see bands discover themselves and hone their act. A few awesome local bands are Mount Desert, Blackwulf, Figure Head, and Once and Future Band. An amazing band that is unfortunately no longer around is Giant Squid. Highly recommended!
Select two songs on your Self-titled debut and what inspired the lyrics.
The first song we released off this album is “Delay,” which is my take on the emptiness of no-strings-attached sexual relationships and how it’s a cyclical, emotionally unfulfilling experience. I’m also very proud of the lyrics in the song “Deceiver” which deals with self-image and losing sight of yourself. It’s about wanting to change who you are while simultaneously feeling beholden to what you see in the mirror. Most of the lyrics on the album are a bit introspective.
Who produced the album and what was it like working with them?
Jack Shirley at the Atomic Garden in East Palo Alto engineered the album. We blocked out a few days at the very end of 2016 when everyone would be out on holiday vacation and knocked it out. Jack was fantastic to work with. I had been a fan of a lot of the recordings he’d engineered such as Deafheaven, Oathbreaker, Wreck & Reference, King Woman and I really wanted to work with him. I absolutely love his approach of getting the entire band in the same room and capturing the live feel. He really emphasized that we not sweat the small stuff and to think big picture which totally informed the human sound of the album. When we left the studio on day one of recording, 75% of the record was done. He’s extremely efficient without trying to rush you and without trying to change the way you sound. On top of that, he’s just a very down to earth, humble dude who is an absolute pro.
What could we expect from a live The Living show?
You can expect a very passionate performance. We love any opportunity we get to play live and to hone our act. You’ll get to see a several different genres molded together. You’ll see a lot of sweat. Like a lot.
Has The Living ever played here in the Los Angeles/OC area or plan to do so in future days?
We’re planning on making our way down to LA in either October or November! Stay tuned for that.
If The Living could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
All of them. Pink Floyd would have been pretty sweet, though. They nailed the marriage of visual elements and sound and that would have been extremely inspiring to see.
If The Living was invited to appear on a David Bowie tribute album, what song would you do and why?
There are so many. In the past, we talked about doing a Heroes cover. It’s such an elegant song that really pulls at you. I’d love to do a cover of Aladdin Sane. The song has an extremely eerie feel that appeals to me. But even something as recent as The Stars (are out tonight) would be awesome. We’re all pretty big Bowie fans.
If the music of The Living was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
It would have to be a vegan donut since Julian, the other guitarist, is vegan. If we look past that, I’d say Struffoli. Google it.
We are in the process of promoting the album which will be out on 9/22. You will be able to get it on iTunes (preorder available on 7/21), Spotify, and most other major digital distributors. Physical copies can be ordered on our website as well as at our shows. We are doing our first tour of the west coast beginning 8/12. Tour dates can be seen on our website, www.thelivingbandofficial.com. Other than playing a ton of shows, we’ve already begun to work on ideas for our next album which we are super excited about. There is a lot in the pipeline for this band.
Any final words of wisdom?
Thank you to everyone who has supported us!
Jason Zaru – Drums
Julian Balestrieri – Guitar
Jeremy James Shepherd – Bass
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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