Underground Cities is an instrumental rock band from Chandler, Arizona. They started in early 2009 with Brent, Bryan, Jacob, Jacqueline and Joseph. In January of 2010, they released “The Dalliance Album” which is now available on Phoenix based River Jones Music Label. While they might fit neatly into the “post-rock” category, their music never falls into the dull and repetitive pitfalls that many of their peers wallow in. Beautiful to the point of becoming sensual, their music rewards the listener with every spin of the disc. TDOA writer Amy talks to them about the challenges of climbing into your head.
TDOA: I hear a heavy Sigur Ros influence in your sound – how have they impacted your style?
UC: It’s hard to say how a specific band has impacted our style because we all listen to a diverse array of music. Sigur Ros is an amazing band and are definitely one of our favorite bands. There are quite a few Icelandic Post-Rock bands that we listen to. We’re always trying to keep the music interesting and I guess our favorite bands are somewhat projected in the way we write.
TDOA: Can you talk a little about the creative process of writing an all-instrumental album?
UC: At first, we wanted to make an album with little to no break in between tracks. So, writing just sort of became an incessant part of band practices. We didn’t really and have never really written “songs”. A lot of what we write ends up being a long piece connected in some way with other pieces and one long piece ensues from this non-stop writing.
TDOA: More on that – is it difficult to convey the intent when you don’t have words?
UC: Not really, we never really have intent to be honest. We just try to write what comes natural.
TDOA: How do you avoid just sort of “falling into the background” when you write instrumental music? What makes your songs impactful?
UC: It’s all about playing things that stand out rather than just playing along to what everyone else is playing. Making more poly-rhythmic parts can bring out an entirely new idea. I think the way we all play with each other makes more of an impact on our songs. We each have an individual style which seems to compliment the others.
TDOA: What can you tell us about the River Jones Music Label? What has your experience with them been like?
UC River Jones has been an awesome opportunity! He has helped us out quite a bit in areas that we couldn’t exactly help ourselves. Merchandise deals, and distribution have gone much further than we could on our own and he has helped out so much with promotion. We’re really excited to be a part of the River Jones Music Label family!
TDOA: What are your touring plans? Any exciting national or international gigs coming up?
UC: The plan is to finish writing and recording our new album by March of 2011. And we would like to start touring the west coast in promotion of that new album by April of 2011. And hopefully, if all goes well, we want to get to the east coast by the end of the year. We’ve made a lot of touring plans and we really can’t wait to start!
TDOA: What would you like to tell our readers about your music? I’m not exactly sure I can come up with the best description other than “ZOMG ITS AWESOME.”
UC: Haha! Well, thank you! We’re just an instrumental rock band, that’s really the easiest way to describe it. We don’t care much for tags and genres. But we’re always open to feedback and suggestions!
TDOA: How long have you guys been working together? How have you evolved?
UC: Well, we have all known each other for quite awhile and a few of us have played in previous bands with each other. We have all definitely evolved into more composed musicians since playing in Underground Cities. But we’re always learning and evolving still.
TDOA: What are your goals as musicians? What impact/change/whatever do you hope to make?
UC: We’re not looking to change or redefine anything. We just hope that people will enjoy coming to our shows and having as good of a time as we do. We’ll all be 50 and still playing music regardless if this band is together or not.
TDOA: Who can we compare Underground Cities to? Which bands do you think are in your category/genre?
UC: That’s a hard question to answer. If we had to name drop some bands, we would say that we are similar to bands like El Ten Eleven, Fang Island, From Monument To Masses and Broken Social Scene with a mix of bands like Explosions In The Sky and Sigur Ros. Post-Rock, if you want to categorize it.
To learn more about the band, visit their website: http://undergroundcities.blogspot.com