Spirit Vine, “City Daze”

Sjimon Gompers

Single artwork by Daniel Gibson, climbing up the lattice with Spirit Vine's Aaron Bustos, Gabriel Pacheco, Jacqueline Cingolani and Jalise Woodward. (courtesy of the band)

The haze and heat of Summer in Los Angeles is recreated and relayed in Spirit Vine's premiere of “City Daze”. The Echo Park quartet of Jacqueline Cingolani, Aaron Bustos, Gabriel Pacheco, and Jalise Woodward have been working with The Icarus Line's Joe Cardamone to create the complicated, personified and raw character of a mythic take on LA for the forthcoming Ascender LP. Taking note of the album's name, these 4 spirit warriors elevate their sound to heights that juxtapose the urban landmark of the U.S. Bank Tower's 73 stories with the magical pyramids of Mexico fueled and fused with the group's own righteous style of tribal rock mysticism.

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From the immediate fluttering guitar licks over the bass line, it becomes clear that this is not your Lovin' Spoonful type of “Summer in the City”. The guitars dart and dash down the downtown haze from the smoke vapor of joints as the skyscrapers crowd in close like bordering walls and monumental ziggurats. The condensed and compacted gestalt of paranoia is sung out as Jacqueline illustrates the brewing claustrophobia like, “there's no way out, there's no way out, LA haunts you.” Faint qualities of Cardamone's Icarus aggressive axe churning can be heard as Aaron, Gabriel and Jalise kick out the grueling sound of metropolitan escape maneuvers. Cingolani keeps it controlled-yet-frantic as the band creates the labyrinthine aural-anxiety intensities of, “walking through a maze.” And after the cloud of raging dust clears, the strange feelings and questions remains whether or not you truly can escape the clutches of the city and if and when you do; does the city really ever escape you?

Jacqueline Cingolani talked to us about the forthcoming album, inspirations from ascending the pyramids of Teotihuacan, working with Joe Cardamone, recording a love and hate letter to LA, band collectives, making music with it's own type of mysticism and bloodshed, and more.

“City Daze” really beings that LA heat with a song that closes in with drilling guitars like towering buildings connected to an umbilical chord of endless bloodstreams of freeways. Is this song more of an LA Getaway type of motion or Get Away from LA kind of freneticism?

“City Daze” is actually a love letter to this city. I guess it feels like sometimes you can love something and completely hate it at the same time so it's playing more with that idea. I also love the idea of leaving LA for a change or because shit has hit the fan and then coming to the epiphany that the problem wasn't the city, it was you. This city gives us everything we need and ask for, but when it doesn't do as we say we flee. The problem is, when we run from her she never let's us truly leave.

How was the recording of Ascender? And is there some kind of mystic connotation to the album title like, “ascending chariots”?

The recording of Ascender was not only the experience of making your first record but a lesson in editing. You know when a song is done, but when you keep hearing it over and over you just want to keep adding and filling the space up with all of these ideas. Joe Cardamone, from The Icarus Line, who produced the record had to keep snipping at those layering ideas and what came out is a really raw love and hate letter to LA. Joe really pushed us to edit and work towards a more raw quality. My voice was pushed to the extreme in that session and it made for a better singer.

We named the record after a trip back from Mexico. We were ascending the pyramids of Teotihuacan and surrounded by centuries of mysticism and bloodshed. Literally as we were climbing the steps, rising above the land surrounded by these magical pyramids, the whole concept felt right into place. It felt like the beginning of our ascension into music filled with it's own version of mysticism and bloodshed.

Being an LA band, give us some stories, dispatches, and tales of the random and weird from the Sunset Strip.

We never go out to the Sunset Strip sadly. We generally keep to Echo Park. It's a very bad habit but we can't break it. We throw parties at the Spirit Vine house and generally end up having the party permeate on the street. Guitars and all night jam sessions are a constant. We look at bands and music like a kinship. It's important to support people and their dreams. It's one of the main things that keeps the indie circuit running is continual artists supporting other artists.

What's the state of the LA rock scene right now?

I think the state of the Los Angeles music scene is going to see a lot more collectives. Bands are starting to run as their own mini labels by bartering and trading talents among the bands. Instead of a label fronting thousands to record band A's record, Band A's friend in “that one band” band B will do it and in trade band A will shoot a music video for band B! It's efficient and you are supporting other artists!

Sprit Vine's full-length Ascender will be available in September from Manimal Vinyl.

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