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Not From Here

Day One Symphony heads out on the road with Dredg

By Todd Inoue

DREDG PUT LOS GATOS on the rock & roll map. THE DONNAS link directly to Palo Alto. STRATA claims Campbell. And what band comes to mind when outsiders think of San Jose? SMASH MOUTH, by default.

DAY ONE SYMPHONY's DAVID KNIGHT lets out a sigh. Just like a fingertip swirling in a cup of chili, vocalist and guitarist Knight feels like a lonesome, decomposing oddity swimming in a meaty tide pool that is Man Jose.

"I feel detached from the music scene even though we're part of it," Knight says. "There's a lot of San Jose bands who aren't really striving to do something new. Maybe they like retro-sounding music, or like rock music. To each, his own."

Day One Symphony is about forward progress. Their music is dark, atmospheric and ethereal—informed by MUM, DJ SHADOW and RADIOHEAD—using guitar, bass, synths, drums, samples, loops and a Rhodes. The San Jose band celebrates the release of its new album, AVICIOUSCIRCLE, with a show at the BLANK CLUB on May 7 (cosmic friends DELTA ACTIVITY and AUDRYE SESSIONS open).

Day One Symphony—drummer STEVE BARRY, bassist JIMI BARTLETT, guitarist and Rhodes pianist DANNY HELLEVIG and Knight—entered the studio in 2004 with Gordon Gurley. They spent three days a week for three months recording what would be AVICIOUSCIRCLE.

"Musically we've grown a whole lot," he says. "I think there's an incubation period for bands. After a certain amount of time, you communicate with each other. We're finally at the point where the writing is equal. We wrote the songs as a band. Rather than have one person bring in something, we started with some simple ideas and made sure it was equal. It's taken a long time for the process."

Thematically, Knight says AVICIOUSCIRCLE is more unified than the band's 2004 sampler. "Instead of doing something upbeat and happy, we wanted to be a little more honest than that, not cover our feelings in happy major chords," he says. "A lot of music has been written over the last year and a half, things haven't gotten any better in the United States. It's dark because it's a dark time."

The CD will also be fitted with some tech-savvy extras—videos, instrumental music, lyrics and photos. It also has a feature called Web Extend where fans can connect online to a directory and access additional media added after the release.

Immediately after the Blank Club show, the band packs up and drives straight to Cleveland to begin a two-week tour of the Midwest and East Coast with Dredg. The bands share a fondness for odd time signatures and artfully constructed music. "I think if there's any audience that'd be down with us it'd be Dredg's because they're pretty progressive and liberal. Anyone that likes Dredg will dig on what we're doing. The arrangements are more involved and the music is dark in that vein. There's a quality of art to it."

It'll be Day One's first experience living and playing on the road. They've Mapquested the routes and borrowed Strata's tour van. How about stocking up on crystal meth for that drive? "I'm trying to procure an espresso machine to feed us some caffeinated fuel," he says. "We're not a meth band. The strongest drug we do is caffeine."

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From the April 27-May 3, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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