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Nyceria

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"Band Goes Dark For Haunting Video"

Local hard rockers Nyceria have always had big dreams of taking over the world, one riff at a time.

Now with the release of their new music video, the Bakersfield quartet is moving another small step closer to fulfilling that goal with a boost from some reputable names in the industry.

Filmed and directed by Ricardo Moreno of Silver Culture Pictures in Los Angeles, the video for the band’s song “Scathe” is a slickly produced music short that resembles anything they show on MTV or Fuse. It’s dark, disturbing and could easily be wedged between a “Headbangers Ball” rock block of Metallica videos.

But the story behind how this group of friends ended up in the office of busy music producer Luigie Gonzalez, who helped spark the project, begins in the garages of Bakersfield eight years ago.

Originally formed by brothers Aaron and Adam Crowell, along with buddy Matt House, Nyceria literally started from the ground up. They played no instruments and had no previous musical knowledge other than to claim as an influence their favorite band, locally grown Korn. Soon it was decided that Aaron would sing, Adam would sit behind the drums, while House thumped the bass. Wood-shedding daily, they became proficient enough to call themselves a band — or at least above-average noise. During that time, future guitarist Alex Pennock had just arrived in Bakersfield, following his then-girlfriend from Idaho. After the relationship dissolved, Pennock was approached by the guys to join the group, rounding out the line-up. But after two years, just as they began to build a local buzz among young fans anywhere they could find a power outlet, they abruptly broke up.

“That period apart really ate at me,” said Aaron. “Because I really can’t picture myself doing anything else than working with this band. This time if we were gonna do it, we agreed to keep going until we’d done it all.”

“I hadn’t seen my family in years,” added Pennock. “If I hadn’t met these guys, I probably would have left a long time ago.”

'... it’s really not that metal’

After setting aside their differences, the band began refining their rough edges into a solid rock outfit, heading into the studios before hounding local radio stations for some airplay even as formats began embracing a more indie alternative sound.

“This town actually has a lot more metal fans than you think,” said Adam, “But if you listen to our stuff, it’s not really that metal. People just need labels sometimes and that sometimes hurts bands.”

But Los Angeles music producer Luigie Gonzalez happened to be a fan of heavy metal and of Nyceria’s music in particular after being given a sampler of their music by colleague Mike Burns of entertainment website A&R Select. Gonzalez took a listen to their original demos and decided to retool their entire sound.

“Nyceria was a special case,” Gonzalez said. “I usually don’t work with bands that don’t have a label, but I had a feeling they were really trying to get out of the garage. They were spending every little dime that they had on studio time and promotion. They just wanted to become better and that’s something that I encourage a lot and why I chose to work with them,” Gonzalez said.

Without a major budget, Gonzalez and the band entered his studio last October.

“The first day was traumatizing,” said Pennock. “He listened to our album and said it sounded like shit. What he did was simplify everything and fine tune what he liked.”

A few months into the sessions, Gonzalez reached out to video director Ricardo Moreno to see about a possible treatment for a song of his choice.

“He called with the guys in the room on speaker phone,” Moreno said. “Of course I’m going to say yes. He sent me all the songs, I listen to them and there was one that got my attention. The band had very little money, but the music Luigie produced impressed me. They were also very persistent and some of the nicest guys.”

The group met with Moreno to discuss the concept and location and then consulted Craigslist, which led them to an abandoned home used for film shoots.

“I wanted to do something dark and surrealistic,” said Moreno. “I told them about the process and budget. We couldn’t do big set-ups or ideas. We just needed to represent what the song is about. That’s how we did it.”

Joined by a makeup artist, plus friends and family, who helped with hauling equipment and catering, the bond shot “Scathe” in seven hours in the sweatiest of conditions. Starring not just all four members in performance mode, it also features Crowell’s kid brother Eric and friend Gordon “Stitch” Jackson as young and old versions of Aaron, who plays a lead role in the storyline. Using props taken from Moreno’s home, the video takes place in what resembles an isolated room with just a table, chair and small wooden box filled with random objects representing various stages of life.

“The guys put everything into it with a lot of trust,” said Moreno a veteran of high-profile productions for Mexican artists Cristian Castro and Marco Antonio Solis, among others. “I put my work into it. When you take a project, you have to put 100 percent regardless of money. It was a good atmosphere.”

“I was blown away the first time I saw the video,” said Crowell. “We wouldn’t change anything about it.”

The video can currently be seen on YouTube and has been getting rave reviews from fans, many of whom are discovering the group for the first time. Both Gonzalez and Moreno plan on working again with Nyceria in the future.

“They’re very authentic and humble with a lot of integrity, and in this business you rarely get to work with bands like that,” Moreno said.

The band has a few gigs lined up beginning with a show, Dec. 6th at Fishlips. “Scathe,” can be requested locally on KRAB Radio (106.1) by calling: 661-842-KRAB.

“People are itching for something new, and we’d like to give it to them,” Crowell said.

Check out the band’s official website at nyceria.com, and go to YouTube to view the video for “Scathe.” - Matt Munoz / Bakersfield Californian


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