Thursday, April 14, 2016

Harmony in Disharmony

8:01 AM

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Experimental band Dissonänce has a distinct sound that is a result of each member's individuality.


Let me start this piece by saying that for this interview to happen, I had to hang out at Mow's Bar at around four in the afternoon. That's right, in broad daylight. Staying in an area that I know to be normally shrouded in darkness (more or less) and just as normally filled to the brim with people was the first surprise of the day: it was bright out, and there were only around 12 of us in the room. The only “normal” thing I saw was the full band set up in the usual bandspace of the bar.

This brings me to the second shock of the day: Dissonänce.

Though a full set up was normal to me, this particular one was already different. The usually yellow-lit stage was instead bathed in a deep red light, with all members of the band dressed head to toe in black.

Already I knew this was going to be a performance like no other. But even then, that’s more than an understatement. The three-song set was the kind of rock show I’d only heard my super cool music friends talk about: it was hardcore, filled with face-melting guitar solos, haunting vocals, and intense, brain-imploding drums. These are all terms I learned from School of Rock, though I’m sure they are more than accurate descriptions of what Dissonänce’s music is like to my uncultured ears.

By the end of their set and unplanned jam session, I was stunned. I had never heard music like that before–I had heard similar sounds from thriller TV shows and movies, maybe. Seeing it live, presented in such a hauntingly fresh way, was extremely new to me. When I voiced this to the band, bassist/manager/PR extraordinaire, Seb Soriano, asked me, "But did you like it?"

And before I could even answer, he continued, "Because murders can shock you, but you don't necessarily like murders."

He made a good point. A really unnecessarily graphic point, but a point all the same. (I think now’s a good time to say that Seb likes to analogize their band with violence. Lots and lots of violence; like murder, and having your car attacked by a lion in the middle of nowhere. Though if you listen to their SoundCloud, you’d probably see why.)

When asked how they would describe their sound, they all gave each other a knowing look, before Seb laid it out for me: cosmic cinematic ritual film music. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a band that openly described their music as ritual music, and knowing the band put it together themselves made it even more special and hardcore.

I came to discover that Dissonänce was also the kind of band that hardly ever has the same members at every set nor do they even use the same arrangement of their songs more than once. Their reasoning behind this is that their music is constantly evolving, so much so that they describe their music as “sonic play-doh” (another new phrase!).

The band started as a duo of current lead singer Dana Blase and former guitarist Ryoku, then evolved into a full band. They then started doing music that was rock, and then some that was reggae; then electronic; then had other changes that would eventually lead up to “whatever the hell this is”, as Seb would say (and the rest of the band would affirm).

Hard. Friken. Core.

Despite having shifting band members every so often – save for Seb, lead singer Dana, and percussionist Bob – no one set of members has matching personalities, let alone has tastes in music that sync (from all kinds of jazz to John Mayer, to rap to classical music, you’d wonder how a cosmic ritual came out of this group).

Each member is their own distinct entity, and that in itself proves they embody their band name too. In case you didn’t pay attention in your grade school music class, “dissonance” usually refers to a lack of harmony among musical notes. Despite this blase definition, Dissonänce is the exact opposite: they are harmony in disharmony. Their distinct sound is a direct result of each member’s individuality; and that is definitely not a bad thing.


To find out more about Dissonänce , their cosmic ritual film music, and have your brain rocked to shreds, come by Mow’s Bar this April 15 and help them fund their EP! Doors open at 7 p.m,, entrance fee is at Php 200 with a free drink. 

Article by Mandy
Photo courtesy of The Polaris Project
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Mandy Cruz is a 21-year-old Humanities student who loves looking at corgi butts more than she probably should. She also likes reading, musical theatre, and being your quintessential Tita of Manila, hija.

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