By Rod Bastanmehr
“The major chord at the end of a tragic movie.” That’s how the UC Santa Cruz-based band the Audiophiliacs chose to describe their sound. Though an unusual way to state the basis for their innovative musical stylings, the Audiophiliacs are anything but conventional. And if their debut album, “The Audio Files” (which launched with a performance at Joe’s Café on Friday, Jan. 11), is any indication, the Audiophiliacs are just getting started.
“Before recording ‘The Audio Files’ we did a bunch of recording in our apartments,” said Stefan Ross, the band’s lead vocalist and, as he put it, “pseudo-manager.” “We had a lot of fun doing it, actually. Scott Barnebey [drums, back-up vocals, guitar] had a soundboard that we would run a couple microphones into and we could do multi-track recordings right there in the Cowell apartments.”
Having performed together for nearly a year, the band is made up of Ross (lead vocals), Rebecca Feuerlicht (guitar, back-up vocals), Craig Moriwaki (bass guitar, back-up vocals), and Scott Barnebey (drums, back-up vocals, guitar). “Of course we were just running [the songs] onto a soundboard and not really producing them, so none of them really even came out that well, but it was a ton of fun,” Ross said.
The Audiophiliacs maintain a positively original sound, but Ross is still quick to name his musical inspirations. “Stone Temple Pilots, the Beatles, Incubus, Porcupine Tree, Collective Soul, Barenaked Ladies, John Mayer, Third Eye Blind, and other similar bands,” he said.
Even fans of the band are able to pick up on these various influences. “Their style is unique, and I love the route they’re going with their music,” said Lesley Javo, a third-year UCSC student and fan of the band. “When I read on their MySpace page who influenced them, I was able to see hints of [those bands’] music. But they’re still incredibly original.”
The band may have begun just a short while ago (January 2006), but their evolution as a group is clearly marked by their experiences. Much of the overall essence of the Audiophiliacs can be traced back to one simple element: growth. “Our style comes from all the music and all the experiences we’ve encountered as individuals and as a band, so in that sense we are taking that and processing it into a new statement of what we want to portray,” Ross said. “Our goal is to create purely original music that describes us and presents us as who we are as musicians and songwriters, but we never try to fit into any specific genre.”
Fans agree. “They stick to what they know, which is music,” first-year Taylor Jules said. “When you hear it, it’s more than just a song—it’s their love of music and the industry as a whole. They are, at the root, still fans.”
Although Ross clearly states that they don’t simply adhere to any one genre, their presence is arguably molded by the state of current or past music. When referring to the current music scene, Ross is quick to point out that “the music industry today is rapidly changing. … With the rise of the Internet and the creation of [online companies], it has become completely feasible for a band to contract out the different tasks that a label would have once performed.
So what’s next for the Audophiliacs?
“We are all very dedicated to music as an art and hopefully if we all end up in a similar geographical area we will be able to keep playing together as a band,” Ross said. “There is definitely a lot more music that needs to be a written and a lot more songs that need to be played. It is hard to say at this point what we will all choose to do once we finish our college careers.”
And judging by the success of “The Audio Files,” the more life experiences the better.
As Ross put it: “We are much like that last bit of music you might hear during a tragic movie something that tells you everything is okay and that there is hope for the future yet.”