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Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Alternative Rock




"CYLVIA by the band Cylvia: a midnight ride at full throttle in a musical Lamborghini"

Joyful, sophisticated, dense, funky, intelligent, addictive, crazy-quilt soaring rock. I never thought I would write a review with that combination of words in it, but they all describe, CYLVIA, the debut EP of Cylvia, a band that just might be best new LA band of 2015. Listening to this album is like getting behind the wheel of vintage Chevy convertible and discovering that it is really a Lamborghini and you are coming down the PCH at full throttle.

Cylvia was carefully assembled by Zach Villa whose instincts for music and talent are on the money. Seven superb musicians move together on this record like a single, living, breathing, rocking organism. The effect is almost scary if it wasn’t so much fun.

Front woman Lindsay Claire is the very definition of fire and ice. She morphs from punk to blues to white-hot burning rock with a personal touch honed from her work in theater and her family of musicians and performers. She blends perfectly with the diverse creations of founder Villa and the precisely integrated drumming of Eric Grivala and bass grooves of Justin Gagnon. Adding a ready-for-prime-time depth is the lead guitar of Manny Grijalva, keys by actress/musician Amy Landon, and Steven Good’s rhythm guitar and vocals – all cruising at the speed of sound with rock steady Villa and his guitar in the cockpit.

The EP starts off innocently enough with the title track, “Cylvia”, moved along by Grivala’s classy light-touch drumming and just-below the surface bassline and pastel-hued guitar picking. Zach comes in with shrewd lyrics imprint themselves on your mind with words that have an internal tempo of their own, like pop haiku. Just as you begin to think about the multiple meanings, the drums power up, the keys rise like a monster wave, the background vocals and guitar riffs reach for the sky and you are off and flying. The timing, arrangement, emphasis and tempo are perfect.

As you recover from “Cylvia”, Zach takes you to a totally different place in my favorite song on the album, “Desert”, which starts off with a clap-beat and fast-talking gospel-rock style full chorus vocals. A guitar kicks in, the funk beat lays down and your foot starts going and the joy moves up your spine and hits your brain and then it stops as and Lindsay Claire puts her woman-power moves on you with a nuclear-energy blues-belt in the furnace-hot chorus: Oh mama what have I done/burned my clothes and buried my gun. “Desert” rocks along shifting from funk beat to soaring rock to down and dirty hit you in the gut blues belts. And it all works – a unified whole of fast-moving funk beats and powerhouse voices.

The next stop in this funhouse mirror-maze of music is “Get Away” a slow burn of seduction pop with a message that almost makes you think you can follow the lyrics and get away from it all — until a wall of riffs, punk-themed drums and high voltage vocals hit you. Villa takes you into an internal rave, shooting electricity with guitars and Claire’s counter vocals echoing in the background before shifting into an earworm alt rock number with the infinite depth that only seven people with three guitars superbly interlaced can achieve. Stunning!

And then we take another turn with the gentle, almost Americana ballad “Lie to Me”, a plea for truth and certainty with love. I know I’m young and I don’t have plans beyond tomorrow’s sun/but you bring out the best of me that you make me want to plan for more than one. Zach took 4 years to write this song, and he put four years of relationship experiences – good and bad into it. As always , Villa’s signature style change takes over, shifting the mood and the tempo, although more subtly, with a piercing keyboard riffs that launch Claire and Villa’s give and take vocals into an new altitude of urgency and hurt. Once again the power of three guitars comes forward, with Manny Grijalva’s electric guitar riffs shoot sparks that catch fire while the rhythm guitars add a satisfying depth to the soaring chorus. The song is about lies but the music is truth.

“Love Ya” takes us back into the fun house with synths and speed-injected guitar riffs that create an alien landscape. Villa’s voice is twisted like the cackle of an evil clown as it pitches you into a metal head world, but one with wit. Propelled by Grijvala’s blurred-finger lead guitar and jackhammer baseline tightly woven with manic drums, “Love Ya” mainlines sonic energy into your aural veins that makes your head bob, your feet move and your ears grin.

The EP wraps up with “Hallowed Halls” , a fast-moving pop/punk platform for Claire’s gentle voice and the harmony she can Villa bring to the band. As always, the baseline snakes in and out and around fast-moving snare beats while the three-guitar section scaffolds the lyrics, and occasionally moves out with solo licks. And as always, there is a shift in mood, tempo and feel, but done so subtly that it deserves an immediate second listen. A perfect wrap for the EP – energetic, clever, familiar, unique, addictive.

CYLVIA lays down a marker for Zach Villa, Claire Lindsay and the band, setting a very high musical bar in a town where the talent is already some of the best in the world. “Desert” has all the markings of a break out single hit, and the entire EP showcases a monster talent that is only getting started. A Lamborghini ride on a funk rock musical highway. - Music Junkie Press

"People That Matter"

Interview: Cylvia is a seven member alt rock/funk/blues/pop band created by actor and musician Zach Villa after a move across the country from New York City to LA – a move prompted by getting tired of dragging his amps and guitar through the subway to gigs. It was a great move. He knew exactly what he wanted – a front woman co-lead, three guitars, a highly skilled drummer and keyboard player and well-blended backup vocals. He got the singer in Lindsay Claire. Quickly joining them were rhythm player Steven Hood, bassist Justin Gagno, lead guitarist Manny Grijalva, drummer Eric Grivalva and keyboardist actress/musician Amy Landon. Onstage and in the studio, the “magnificent musical seven” move together like a single living organism with Villa at the controls.

Patrick. When I first saw you and the band onstage I was blown away with how good you were. How did you get to be so good so quickly. It has only been a couple of years since you moved here.
Zach. I moved here I a couple of years ago. It’s tricky to keep a band going in New York City; it is especially tricky getting around with a large band – you saw how big my amps were, it is not fun taking them up and down subway stairs. So after I moved to LA, I just started looking around and realized that the band I had rolling around in the back of my head for months might be a possibility with all of the talent out here. It was sort of haphazard – I met my guitarist Manny, when I was seeing another band, and Manny told me about his drummer brother, who I loved when I met him. The rest of the band kind of came on consecutively after that.

Patrick. Did you have a strategy for putting the band together?
Zach. Yes. I am a big believer in manifesting what you want to see. I had in my mind a large band. I had been in trios and that was ok, but I missed a big live band. When I started giving birth to the band that became Cylvia I was after a huge sound that people were actually making live on the spot. And I wanted a co-lead. I thought I would love to hear more than one vocalist during a 45-min set, as a nod to Fleetwood Mac and other 70’s groups. The rest was sort of magic.

Patrick. It is magic and the album is full of magic surprises. My favorite song, which is full of magic and is “Desert”. It is wild funk, cool blues, Americana clap rhythm. Where did that song come from?
Zach. Where didn’t it come from? I think the start was the dual lead -- male and female. When we started writing, I said to Lindsay “what we need is a song that screams girl power”. She said yea, she could go for that. So we started with what is essentially a disco tune and it morphed into the current amalgamation of sound in the studio. It started as more 70’s disco than hard rock.

Patrick. The lyrics - Oh mama what have I done/Burn my clothes and bury my gun/I told you to run, let’s have some fun/Believe me baby you ain’t the chosen one.. Who is this unlucky guy and is he still alive?
Zach. You might have to ask her. I am sure it speaks to a number of gentlemen who have encountered her wrath when she was down.

Patrick. The title track, “Cylvia”, is a total change of pace. And it’s about a girl who teaches you bad habits. Who is Cylvia and what bad habits did you learn?
Zach. Oh man. Cylvia is one particular person for me, but for anyone listening to that song, it embodies the partner for you that is bad, but so bad it is good. You know you should leave, but you just can’t. The pain is too satisfying.

Patrick. Now that you are here and don’t have to schlep your amp on subways, what are you favorite venues.
Zach. Molly Malone’s and Hotel Café. Molly’s has a stage that an fit all seven of us with room to move. I love it.

Patrick. You mentioned you wanted a big sound. In your mind how does that differ from the wall of sound Phil Spector created?
Zach. Good question. They are different. “Big sound” is a general term. “Wall of sound” is specific – blaring guitars and of our sound choices, especially with the three guitars in our band. When I say big, I literally mean sizes – the sonic field is big, but you can discern what all the parts are. I hope people listening to our music can tell which instruments they are hearing, because we have made very conscious choices in trying to layer everything.

Patrick. You talk about the power of three guitars. Many bands have three guitars. What do you do that is unique?
Zach: It’s all about the choices of sounds as we are building the songs. It is easy for everyone to play a different version of the same chord. We take the time to have three guitars interlaced over the top of each other. We have a melody part; I am usually playing really weird solo parts, and Steven is usually playing something beautiful up the neck. There is a synergy to that. When you have three voices – three guitars- we try to be delicate with our choices. With three guitars and three different tones, it is a blend – it just works.

Patrick. How do you blend your instruments so they both stand out and combine into a whole.
Zach. That is just the magic of these people. I hoped for that. I didn’t plan for that. I think it is the instincts of the groups. I pride myself on arrangements – I am usually the guy in the room who says let’s put this piece aside and look at this and this on the forefront. I can’t take credit for the magic. It is the magic of their musical backgrounds.

Patrick. The song “Lie to Me”. In one sense it is a classic story of a heart torn between two lovers, one of the conundrums of love. But you bring a wisdom to it in the lyrics and in the use of the two voices to call and answer so we see the hurt from both sides. What is the story behind that song?
Zach. I wrote that song and it is from my experience. It is a very important song for me, and for the band – it really hits close to home for me. It was more than 5 years in the making from conception on a piano in a New York apartment to the version that it is now – and we really fought for that in the studio. For me it is the substance of an adult relationship, that they know that they are better together than alone. As you said, it is about the conundrum of the heart, because it is not always an easy choice; you do have to make sacrifices and choose to grow up at some point. And when you do it, is shocking and you don’t really know you are there until you are there. It is about two people who want to make that choice and are not yet ready to do it.

Patrick. What is in the future, I understand you are going to the studio work on a new album…what else is on your horizon?
Zach. Yes we are working on a full album now. You can expect to see us live in late March or early April. I will let you know. - Revolution 360

"Top New Videos"

Cylvia – “Cylvia” {Pop/Rock}

This video is kind of hilariously entertaining in a creepy, Theon Greyjoy kind of way (oh and wiping blood off black high heels is officially my new personal term of badassery). The group is based out of Los Angeles and you can check out the rest of their tuneage here. - Rex Manning Day music blog


Still working on that hot first release.



Cylvia is a 7 piece LA based PopRock band that just released their first EP. Described by Music Friday's Patrick O'Heffernan as '...Joyful, sophisticated, dense, funky, intelligent, addictive, crazy-quilt soaring rock.  I never thought I would write a review with that combination of words in it, but they all describe, CYLVIA, the debut EP of Cylvia, a band that just might be best new LA band of 2015'. 

The music is infused with sprinklings of Kings of Leon, Buckley, Mayer, St. Vincent, Arcade Fire, M83, Bruno Mars, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson & a huge dollop of straight up Cylvia. The music video for their single, also titled Cylvia, was released in June. The video utilizes long, unedited shots to take the viewers thru a story full of twists, turns & backflips.

 Cylvia is the brainchild of frontman Zach Villa. Shortly after relocating to LA from New York, he knew he wanted to start a band. He also knew he wanted a strong female voice in the band, a frontwoman. Armed with only that knowledge & a handful of songs, he set about assembling the group.

He first found his drummer & lead guitarist in a pair of brothers, Eric & Manny Grijalva. He then found his frontwoman, Lindsay Claire, while reconnecting with his fellow Interlochen Academy alum. Amy Landon was roped into playing keys. The addition of Steven Good on rhythm guitar & vocals changed the size of Cylvia in many ways. The band was now 3 guitars strong, capable of producing an arena sized sound. Steven also took over lead vocals on a few songs (a nod to that Fleetwood Mac influence) & at its full capacity, Cylvia produces a 4 part harmony wall of sound with Zach, Lindsay, Steven & Manny at full wail. The only trick left was finding the all important person capable of anchoring the band with Eric, a bassist. Enter Justin Gagnon, a bassist with funk and metal in equal parts flowing thru his veins.

Thus the birth of Cylvia. Of the 7 members of Cylvia, 4 are also professional actors which is reflected in the magnetism & strength of the live show.The acting & dance training of Cylvia's members infuse the live performance elevating it to an experience akin to riding a unicorn while holding hands with a pixie.  

They are currently playing numerous local gigs & have a Midwest tour planned for summer 2015. Keep an eye out for their EP & music video.

Band Members