Dead City Beat
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Dead City Beat

London, Ontario, Canada | SELF

London, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Band Alternative EDM


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"DEAD CITY BEAT: Careering."

It’s still too early to categorize Roberto LoRusso’s work as Dead City Beat. Nearly 10 years in LoRusso is still exploring. The territories are clear Dub, Post-Punk, Noise and Electronics, but there’s no genre-exclusivity at play. This is an intuitive primitive expression operating under a DIY punk aesthetic where the imagination is paramount.

I recently caught up with Roberto to discuss the ongoings of his Dead City Beat.

I know you mentioned you’ve been working within the Dead City Beat for nearly 10 years now so take us back to the beginning.

Well, basically, I started the project back in around 2002 as my previous band, Sanseiru, was starting to slow down. Our drummer had moved for work which meant he could commit less time to the band. Once he moved it just wasn't possible anymore. To be fair, we had been together for 9 years by the time we broke up in 2004 and I was finding it harder to effectively write in that style anymore. I felt I was becoming ideologically stuck by the limitations of working in one genre.

And from your previous band how did you decide where you wanted to take your next outing, which of course, is the Dead City Beat?

…I looked through my record collection and realized that every band that I thought was really great went out of their way to sound nothing like the music that was going on at the time. In fact I was actually quite frustrated back then because I felt that London, in particular, was extremely conservative, even within the indie music scene. So many bands sounded exactly the same as these really great bands from whom they plagiarized the sound and aesthetic.

Of course, not all the bands in the city fit this bill, but we're talking about at least some of the abundance of Folk acts, Punk acts, maybe some Metal and Indie Rock...

‘90s Hardcore is a particularly fine example. After the 80s, punk started turning more melodic with bands like Dinosaur Jr., Husker Dü, and the Replacements. From there, bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Texas is The Reason became associated with a style of punk known as Emo. Not like the bullshit tripe that it devolved into, but a true-to-form emotive interpretation of punk rock. The more aggressive side of that early Emo was Hardcore which eventually devolved into Screamo. What I found frustrating, especially at the time, was that there was such a regimented orthodoxy to this genre, the scene basically turned into this elitist clique which behaved no differently than the mainstream cliques they so desperately wanted to dissociate from. Any deviation from the accepted parameters of the genre and life style associated with it was not at all embraced, and on occasion, met with hostility.

And this attitude, no matter what the ‘genre’, routinely meets the end of the productive and interesting first wave and leads to simply put stale music…

I guess in turn that's what I loved about the Constantines. Brian Webb (playing next weekend at Oh! Fest) and Doug MacGregor were in a band called Shoulder, which were amazing and extremely well respected within the hardcore community, but they realized that hardcore was stagnating and chose to do something different. As a result we got the Constantines, which in my opinion, stood out because they set out to sound like no one. Yeah, you can hear Bruce Springsteen and Fugazi... yeah you can hear Tom Waits but the synthesis was something new and refreshing.

So I’m guessing this admiration for the Constantines helped you figure out where you wanted to go? What were some of the acts that you admired that led to your Dead City Beat project?

One of my favourite records was Public Image Ltd.’s ‘Second Edition’. Outstanding record!


Here is John Lydon (‘Johnny Rotten’) from one of the most influential punk bands of the 1970s, the Sex Pistols, and then starts this new band that combined punk, new wave, and dub into one.

Which of course at the time what Public Image was doing really hadn't been done. It’s easy to see without having aped the style that this would be a touchstone for you. What else finds its way into yr stew?

The Jesus and Mary Chain. Their first record, Psychocandy, is the reason why I play guitar. The dichotomy of the white noise and the catchy pop song just did it for me.

So you’re listening to some of your favourite albums, but, of course, you want to do something unlike these albums, something that expresses what you wanna say. So how do you do that?

I decided that I was going to let the project evolve from some key elements. One, there must be noise. Two, The drums must be huge. Three, the beats and the bass have to drive the song. Four, there must be melody. Five, it has to be pretty and angry. Six, electronically generated sounds should obey the tenets one, four and five.

Dead City Beat joins Babysitter and TV Freaks (to listen and download songs from each of the bands check the Soundcloud at the bottom of this article) for an All Ages Early Show 7-10pm at APK (340 Wellington at the Corner of York and Wellington) this Thursday September 15th. Admission is $2-5 PWYC.

Below, Roberto LoRusso picks the hits. Here's the Dead City Beat Playlist: - London Fuse


Internet releases only



Dead City Beat was formed circa 2001 by London, Ontario-based musician Roberto LoRusso. LoRusso started in the London music scene around 1989 playing in local bands until he founded Scratching Post with Toronto-based musician Nicole Hughes. LoRusso and Hughes shared songwriting duties during the very early period of the band’s formation but the working relationship did not last and LoRusso and Hughes parted ways in 94 just before the release of their first EP. LoRusso returned for a short stint but as guitarist (a change from his traditional role as the band’s drummer) for a brief tour out east but left the band permanently at the end of the tour. LoRusso’s most notable songwriting achievement with the band was the single “Blood Flame” that saw some success on radio and Much Music.

After LoRusso’s departure he formed Sanseiru (Sifter) with Jay Millette (pre Black Halos). Sanseiru had a nine year tenure but did not experience significant national success, largely as a result of the band’s inability to tour. Millette left the band shortly before the release of the first album to seek greener pastures in Vancouver and soon after joined the Black Halos. Sanseiru disbanded in 2004 after nine years, releasing two full-length albums. It was during this time with Sanseiru where LoRusso began focusing on recording.

In 1995 LoRusso, along with several other local musicians, started a local independent record label called Bubblegun Records. The label put out a number of 7 inches, full-lengths and a compilation CD that featured a number of local and national artist including a track from a newly-formed Thrush Hermit.

At the time, most local studios were either affordable or good but never both. It was out of necessity that drew LoRusso to recording; starting with 4-track demos for label mates and friends, including the first demo E.P. for the Constantines. As LoRusso’s experience grew so did his studio. From a basic 4-track with a handful of mics to the fully functioning studio it is today.

As LoRusso’s production skill evolved so did his song craft. Eventually LoRusso began to treat the studio environment as an instrument. As Sanseiru began to wind down, his more experimental work as Dead City Beat began. Initially, focusing on post punk and dub, it eventually evolved into several genres including noise, heavy rock and electronic.

Over the past ten years, Dead City Beat remained largely a studio project with no plan to ever take it to the stage. In part due to the complexity of some of the tracks but more so as a result of the time constraints associated with his career as a high school physics teacher. In late 2010 LoRusso recorded a local band, Say Domino, who attended the high school where LoRusso taught. As a result of this chance collaboration these young musicians strongly encouraged LoRusso to perform this catalog of work live, even going as far as booking a show for him before he had a chance to even say yes.

LoRusso’s return to the local music scene has been well received and with every show his fan-base has steadily grown. The live set of Dead City Beat is a solo act comprising of a mixture of live and pre-recorded instrumentation. All the material is composed and tracked in his London, Ontario studio and performed live with help of his Macbook Pro, his Hiwatt, his Traynor, and a Tsunami of effects.

LoRusso’s main influences are varied and range from the 60’s rock of the Beatles, The Stooges and The MC5, to 70’s punk and dub of the Clash, Neu!, and King Tubby, 80’s alt of the Jesus and Mary Chain and Sonic Youth, 90’s post rock of Slint and the Jesus Lizard, to the countless millenium artists his engaged and enthusiastic students have shared with him over the years.