Phaxanation & the Dust Kickers
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Phaxanation & the Dust Kickers

Pomona, California, United States | INDIE

Pomona, California, United States | INDIE
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When Adrien recorded his first EP with us in June Phaxanation was a one man band. Proud of our combined efforts he quickly pressed the EP as a quality vinyl record and gathered friends to form a band. Now he’s back with Enrique Poveda (drums, bass) and Daniel Huizar (bass, guitar, organ) as an official power trio. Phaxanation is unique in that they are the only band to take advantage of our Studer A80 tape machine. Adrien believes in the sound of tape and what it can do for his musical vision. He certainly doesn’t have to convince us, we’re firm believers in the magic that analog tape brings to the recording process. Further tracking/mixing takes place next week. - Compound Studio


Hello Adrien, and welcome to Retrophobic. First of all I'd like you to introduce the band, giving us something about its "history"...

I originally had the idea to start the band a little over a year ago for a show I wanted to play. I had some songs previously written and recorded where I played all of the instruments, but playing them live meant that I needed to find some other people if I were to play guitar and vocals. Enter bassist Daniel Huizar and drummer Enrique Poveda. We’ve all been great friends for about 6 years or so…since we were in high school, and we’ve all played in separate bands, but for some reason the idea to ask them to be in my band didn’t hit me until the three of us were already in college. They agreed to play with me for that show and I showed them the songs I wanted to play. It was cool too because we worked so well together that after that show we began collectively writing new material when we hung out. That’s when I asked them if they wanted to be an official band and they agreed.

I really like the way you take the psychedelic matter and do it your own, introducing variety ad moodswings... how did you start to get interested in these kind of sounds?

My interest in psychedelic music all came from a little California based band called Innaway. I was introduced to them when I was in high school and I fell in love with the sounds they were able to make. I loved the fact that they were able to create music that when you listened to it, you felt…well high. I was never one for drugs or any intoxicating substances and I found it really cool that you could simulate those feelings with music alone. It was after I found Innaway that I knew psychedelic music was the type of music I wanted to play. We even cover one of their songs in our live set…it’s called “Threathawk.” Great song.

Are there some major musical influences for the band?

Oh yeah. Innaway is probably one of the biggest for me. Along with them, other contemporary psychedelic bands I’ve fallen in love with in recent years include Darker My Love, Crystal Antlers, Tweak Bird, and the Black Angels. To add to that, I’m also really into blues rock like the Black Keys. Even older acts like Led Zeppelin are a pretty bit influence. I guess my musical tastes are kind of diverse, in that I don’t just stick primarily to psych stuff.

...and non musical influences contributing to create the "imaginary" of the band?

Well, when I originally started the band, I had just gone through a really bad breakup with my then girlfriend of a few years and so all of the songs were about her and that situation. I liked the way all of the songs had a really sad, almost distant sounding quality to them. Writing that music and playing it was actually a way to get past that whole situation and move on for me, but I found out that I enjoyed writing music primarily about love. Even friends have joked around now that they hope something similar happens to me soon so that some new Phaxanation material gets written! It’s not a touchy subject at all, but I’ve really found that I’m intrigued by love and human relationships- specifically those of the romantic kind.

Let's talk about recorded matter... you have a 12" vinyl EP and a new LP on the way. Obvious to say that I love the choice of vinyl. I know you're going to start your own label, and this is utterly brilliant, it's very moving to see young guys to go and get it their way in a world that is very superficial about music... could you tell me something more about your album and the label?

The first album, the 12” vinyl EP that we currently have encompasses the songs I recorded after the three of us had been a band already. They’re on the album along with me, but the songs changed slightly because they play some things slightly differently than I had previously, and I liked that because I never wanted this to be a singular project. I had always intended it to be a group effort. Our new album that we’ve already finished recording for, which is called “Where the Two Intersect” only has material that all three of us have written together. The songs are finished, mixed, and mastered, and we’ve played all of the songs live, but due to uh…funding problems, I haven’t had the chance to release the album yet. It’ll be released eventually, and definitely on vinyl…probably sometime this summer. The record lable, Robot Maintenance Records, was an idea I’ve had for a really long time. I originally started it to put out our first EP “The Future’s Coming” and after that I realized that a lot of my friends were in rock bands as well, and so I approached them with the record label. Since then, we’ve had two releases on the label: our own 12” EP and then an EP by my friend Albert’s band Crater Creator. Upcoming releases include our own upcoming album…it’s just hard for a college kid like myself to start and fund an independent label from scratch, but you wouldn’t believe the kind of local success we’ve had. I’m really amazed and proud at all that we’ve been able to accomplish as a label.

Is there a sort of "circle" of new psych bands in California right now, something like a pounding new "scene" including Phaxanation?

There’s been a huge resurgence of psychedelic bands in Los Angeles, California in the past 4 years or so. This includes bands like Innaway, Darker My Love, Tweak Bird, and Crystal Antlers. And what’s so cool about this is that since I had followed them from the beginning, I saw them grow and evolve as bands; getting signed, growing in popularity, and getting their tunes heard and I kind of used that as an example for the my own music. I’m just one “generation” behind them it seems, and so they’re essentially my mentors even though all of these guys are only like 8 years older than me.

What about the future plans for Phaxanation?

Well, we plan on releasing that album this summer. On top of that we’ve been looking to do a mini-tour of the United States. Also, there’s been some super secret talk that we may be on the bill for 2011’s Cochella bill, which is a huge music festival that takes place every year in Indio, California. For the time being, we’re going to continue playing shows and hope that people enjoy our tunes and understand the idea behind it all. - Retrophobic


Diversity is the name of the game when it comes to Phaxanation & The Dust Kickers. First, there’s the fact that the Pomona-based indie rock trio are actually multi-instrumentalists (see “Members and Instruments” section above—we’ve counted seven different instruments amongst three dudes). Second, they’re not afraid to explore sounds of both the present and past (member Enrique Poveda notes an influence range from Zeppelin to the Arcade Fire). And lastly, they don’t even stick with one name. Case in point, the band’s MySpace has been somewhat temporarily renamed to “Phaxanation & The Snow Kickers” in light of our local mountains’ recent blanket of white stuff.



But one thing that’s a constant amongst the trio is that they’ve stuck together for nearly year, after initially forming under what was to be a temporary arrangement.



“At first it was going to be a one-off kind of project specifically for [a] show, but we all enjoy playing together so much that we decided to become an official band and write more material,” says frontman Adrien Parker. “We’ve been friends for years—since high school, actually—but the idea to play music together didn’t come about until we were already in college.”



They’ve recently landed spots throughout their hometown, including forthcoming dates at the Fox Theater in March (they’ll actually be on the roof!) and at Cal Poly Pomona in April. And Parker even launched the Robot Maintenance record label, in an effort to spread the band’s tunes and to assemble a collective of like-minded artists.



One of the releases in the works, aiming for a summer debut, is a split EP with the Dust Kickers’ “brother band,” Cowards Like Lions, which Parker explains is actually just “us switched around playing different primary instruments.” So, does this whole “musical diversity” thing ring true? We’d like to think so.



“Never being part of the hardcore, punk, metal, and all other scenes Pomona has gone through, we are striving to do what we like doing most and hoping people like us for our unique sound,” says Poveda. Can’t fault ’em for that. - IE Weekly


Discography

2009 - The Future's Coming EP (Robot Maintenance Records)
2009 - "Strangelove" - The Future's Coming EP (88.7FM KSPC Radioplay)
2010 - 88.7FM KSPC Live Performance
2011 - Now & Then LP (Robot Maintenance Records)

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Bio

“Diversity is the name of the game when it comes to Phaxanation & the Dust Kickers” says Waleed Rashidi of the Inland Empire Weekly. This statement is amazingly appropriate considering that the three guys responsible for the tightly bound beats, trippy fuzz tones, and atmospheric indie-rock are actually multi-instrumentalists. Count 10 instruments amongst three dudes. On their most recent record “Now & Then” they never limited themselves, making the arrangements as complex as they felt necessary by adding layers of very subtle instrumentation with vintage organs from the early 60’s, tracks upon tracks of guitar drenched in tape-echo and analog spring-reverb units, and get this- even saxophone!

It’s a somewhat different story when they perform live. Three dudes can only do so much in a live setting, however instead of opting to have other performers fill in the potential gaps, they instead put on a much, much heavier spectacle by turning the volume up to it’s breaking point and making the vibes as intense and “touchy-feely” as possible. “Certain songs are very emotionally draining for me to play live due to the lyrical content since I mainly write about overly depressing personal events.” says frontman Adrien Parker. “But that’s why we jam and blend songs together. We like to take ourselves as well as the audience through an emotional rollercoaster.”

Citing Pomona, California as the city in which they grew up in, Phaxanation & the Dust Kickers consists of childhood friends Adrien Parker, Daniel Huizar, and Enrique Poveda who claim that they’re doing exactly what they want with this project. Their record label, Robot Maintenance Records, was founded by the trio shortly after the formation of the band in a successful effort to assemble a collective of like-minded artists and as a way to release their music without compromise. Lack of compromise is perhaps the cardinal reason as to why it took Phaxanation & the Dust Kickers roughly 2 years to finish “Now & Then.”

“It’s not that we’re slow songwriters,” Parker says. “We just wanted to make sure everything met our standards before we showed it to anyone else.” For example, the trio laid down their whole album in an entirely analog fashion, recording to 2” tape instead of using digital recording software. “Recording to tape makes our songs sound very special, I think.” says Parker of the recording process. “The only downside to doing things this way is that it’s more time consuming and it’s a little more expensive.” But that’s a risk Phaxanation & the Dust Kickers were willing to take.

Songs like “Can’t Win” describe some of life’s most depressing situations in the most carefree, spirited manner, while “Open Your Eyes” shows that the band is perfectly capable of diving headfirst into experimental noise-rock and in the blink of an eye, flawlessly snap right back into the whole desert-rock vibe present in “The Days When We Used to Walk” without error. The album’s title track “Now & Then” seems to convey messages of personal loss, nostalgia, and feeling slightly wrong in the head but not giving a damn about it. “Hey, we’re having fun with this and that’s really all that matters!” states Parker.