One night last summer, A Static Lullaby frontman Joe Brown was trying to kick back at home and watch a music awards show on television, but with every trophy that was presented, his mood got worse and worse. The pop and R&B honored were innocuous, unchallenging and they lacked any sort of emotional resonance. In other words, they were the exact antithesis of what A Static Lullaby hold sacred.
"The way pop music is now makes me sick to my stomach," Brown grumbles. "There?s no substance and it?s not heartfelt at all. Why subject a million people to something that says nothing?"
For A Static Lullaby, making music isn?t an avenue to success or a path to riches, it?s a means of survival, a way to confront chaos and hypocrisy without having a mental breakdown. The impassioned songs on their second album, Faso Latido, reflect the band?s sincerity. "We really want to show people that music can be real and it can make you think and even change your life," Brown says. "The more people that get that message from us, the better."
The group?s commitment to their art shines through in an array of songs that transcend simple classification. Faso Latido is a striking blend of energy, volume, rage and blissful melody that exposes the band members? diverse tastes and reveals how much they?re developed as musicians since their 2003 debut, Don?t Forget to Breathe.
"Being in this band for three years and being on the road so long has caused us all to grow immensely," Brown says. "After we got off tour last year, every dude in the band went off and tried to find what makes him click with music, and how we want our music to work out, and it all came together with this record. I haven?t heard anything else that sounds quite like it."
Anyone who values emotionally turbulent music will surely bond with Faso Latido, which draws from pop, punk, metal and rock without attaching itself strictly to any one form. And, instead of adhering to conventional verse/chorus song constructs, A Static Lullaby dives into more uncharted waters. "Calmer Than You Are" starts with an enticing hook that juts through a scratchy guitar volley, and builds with urgent, near-tribal beats. "Faso Latido" overlaps melodic howls with feral screams and features a spoken-word mid-section over a rhythms that rips, tumbles and flutters. And "Godbless You (God Damnit)" is largely atmospheric, driven by a mid-paced beat and tuneful vocals gliding over vaporous guitars and a bobbing bass line.
"When we did And Don?t Forget to Breathe, we were just a bunch of anxious, pissed off teenagers, and I guess we wrote a pissed off album," explains Brown. "We?re not always so angry now, and we just want to explore all these different possibilities for this kind of music."
Musically that meant experimenting with vocal harmonies, piano embellishments and point/counterpoint dynamics, but it also meant writing about something more immediate and original than destructive relationships. So, Brown recalled ruminated over the past two years, put pen to paper and captured the dizzying environment of being a band on the road. "Faso Latido" is about the attraction of urban squalor and how ugly the world looks during the day and "Cash Cowbell" addresses exploitation in the music industry. "Sometimes over the past couple years we?ve just felt raped and dirty and gross," Brown says. "I wish I didn?t have to see that side life because it makes me lose a lot of respect for people, and it makes me numb, but that kind of thing is on a few different parts of the record."
Brown formed A Static Lullaby three years ago with guitarists Dan Arnold and Nate Lindeman, bassist Phil Pirrone and drummer Brett Dinovo, who all went to high school in Chino Hills, California. At first, the musicians were in different bands, but when Brown was a senior, they decided to get together and jam. "The first practice we had was awesome," gushes Brown. "We were so stoked. The songs were coming fast and we were really excited about the music we were making. We all thought it was the best s*** ever, so we quit everything else we were doing and just went with this band."
Just two weeks after its inception, A Static Lullaby amassed enough material to play their first gig. Soon after, their unique blend of hardcore, emo, ska, metal, and epic rock made them one of the hottest unsigned bands on the Orange County circuit. The group recorded and self-released the Withered EP, then in the summer of 2002 A Static Lullaby were signed, and entered the studio with producer Steve Evetts (Sepultura, Hatebreed). In a few weeks, they recorded their debut And Don?t Forget To Breathe, an album that showcased the band?s creativity and set the groundwork for Faso Latido.
A Static Lullaby spent 18 long months on the road supporting the album, and shared stages with such acts as AFI, My Chemical Romance and Brand New. At first, the excitement of being on tour kept them pumped, but after a while, the guys started getting stir crazy and their relationship became strained. Following one skirmish too many, Dinovo decided to quit the band and go back to school. "It was crazy because he was my best friend," Brown says. "He was a major part of writing. It was like we lost an arm or a leg and had to rebuild."
The first two weeks spent writing new material without Dinovo was pretty awkward, but then A Static Lullaby hit a groove. Before long, they had more songs than they could fit on an album. Then, it was time to find a drummer. Instead of holding auditions, they decided to work with someone they knew, so they hired session drummer Sammy Siegler, a friend who played in seminal hardcore bands Youth of Today and Gorilla Biscuits. A Static Lullaby entered Indigo Ranch studios in Malibu, California last year with Siegler and producer Lou Giordano (H?sker D?, Sunny Day Real Estate, Taking Back Sunday). At first, they weren?t sure how they?d vibe with the veteran producer and family man, but their reservations were soon forgotten.
"We totally loved working with him," Brown says. "Lou was a laid back guy, but he was real supportive and had great ideas. It was good to know there was someone who had our back and wasn?t ready to pounce on us."
After recording Faso Latido, Brown and his bandmates were just starting to consider what to do about finding a new drummer, when Dinovo approached Brown at a show and said he wanted to come back. "He said, ?You know, we started this thing together,?" recalls Brown. "And I could just tell that he wanted to play drums again. He said, ?I?m ready whenever you are,? and that?s all it took."
With their original lineup back in place, their second album on the shelf and a slot on the Taste of Chaos tour--which also features The Used, Killswitch Engage and Senses Fail-- A Static Lullaby are ready once again to throw up a middle finger to complacency and convert the masses to their form of sonic revolution.
"We?re gonna stay on the road a long time and play for as many people as we can," Brown says. "We?ll play any tour we can get because it?s really important for us to share what we?re doing with other people who love music as much as we do."