Saints + Lovers
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Saints + Lovers

Band Alternative Rock


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"Saints & Lovers interview"

Saints and Lovers - by Vicky U. Lee
brothers, inmates, little kids?

The most impressive three-piece band you will ever encounter, brothers Scott (lead guitar) and Doug (drums) Meola and adopted brother, Dennis Cahlo (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, bass), have joined forces as Saints + Lovers to create a sumptuous sound that Phil Spector could only do with a full orchestra.

How long have you all been doing music?
Doug: We [Scott & Doug] started playing guitar and drums respectively when we were real little. We took private lessons and made noise in the house ever since we were old enough to do it.
Dennis: When I was in middle school, I was in chorus. My voice was so high, I was in the first soprano section with all the girls. I used to get made fun of all the time. Then-I used to want to direct movies-then I picked up the guitar and it was so much fucking easier. It was just instant.

What's your songwriting process like?
Doug: We never labor over songwriting, it just flows. And Dennis writes all the lyrics.
Scott: Dennis can come up with amazing melodies that are finished on the spot, I've never seen anything like it. Plus, everybody does what they do well, and we all accept what the other one does.
Dennis: We don't really have our hands in each others'… pants. And I think we've all had experiences where we've been very frustrated. Now we're in a band where we can do whatever the fuck we want-the inmates are running the asylum.

The EP is beautiful, but I was really impressed by the fullness of your sound live.
Dennis: We hear a lot of criticism, "You need a bass, you need background vocals." But working with those limitations actually makes you sound fuller, because you're finding ways to say, "All right, how are we going to make this sound big without a sampler, without a backing track, without anything?"

How much do you think about style?
Scott: The Realistics really downplayed style, and the band we [Scott & Doug] were in was out there-glam, makeup, like David Bowie weird stuff. So when Dennis and I got together, I was like, "I'm downplaying it, I'm tired of all the weird shit."
Dennis: And I was like, "I'm putting on a dress!"

What about the backlighting?
Dennis: People say, "I had to kind of turn away because the lights blinded me," and I'll say, "Great!" Because then you're really listening to the music, you're having a more sonic experience than visual.
Doug: We wanted to have almost an anonymous appearance, so that it doesn't matter how cute the guitar player is.
Dennis: [to Scott] Very cute. And people are always like, "You know, if record labels come out and see you guys with the backlighting, you're never going to get signed."
Scott: If someone doesn't want to sign you because of your backlighting, there's a problem.

How much do you think about "making it"?
Dennis: In New York, you have to starve, you have to live in a crappy apartment, you have to suffer. Because then you've really earned your stripes. If you've been in a band for six months and get signed to Columbia, go fuck yourself. Go on tour and eat peanut butter out of a jar with a plastic fork, then get your record deal.
Scott: But if we get a record deal right now, we're okay.
Dennis: Yeah, I wouldn't mind. But we've paid our dues. And other people's dues, too.

So what's the next step?
Scott: Madison Square Garden.
Doug: World domination.
Dennis: Remember what we said about record labels? [Moves in closer to the tape recorder] We really want to get signed.

Tell me a fun band story. Pressure's on, go!
Dennis: What about the time… like, two shows ago at the Mercury?
Scott: We had already gotten to the Mercury, and Doug was going to park.
Doug: I had a rental van for all our gear. I went two blocks from the Mercury, I'm making a turn, and a lady pulls out and smashes right into me. And I'm like, "You're kidding me." I'm standing in the middle of the street, the woman's yelling at me, nobody speaks English except me, and I got a gig to play! I had to wait for the police to come. An hour goes by, all this is rectified, I'm driving down the street and I pull up to park, and I scrape against another car. It was like Spinal Tap.
Dennis: Then we had this amazing show! When things go wrong, we have amazing shows, so we're always hoping for some high drama.
Doug: But as serious as our music is sometimes, we're like little kids.
Dennis: We laugh so much. I don't care if you're the darkest band in the world, if you can't laugh with each other, just quit. - The Deli magazine

"Stille/Saints & Lovers"

With their excruciatingly beautiful shoegaze rock, Saints and Lovers captured the hearts of many New Yorkers, including Sarah “Ultragrrrl” Lewitinn, who released one of their EPs on her Stolen Transmission label. This resulted in the band being voted as one of the two bands of the month at The reason why Saints and Lovers have such a dedicated and glowing fan base is because the hype isn’t inflated – it’s legitimate. Mesmerizing guitar work and Dennis Cahlo’s gliding falsetto vocals cast an entrancing spell for a pleasing blend of Keane, U2, Hope of the States and Paloalto. Their much anticipated full-length debut Stille delivers charming, expansive songs, where the strength of throbbing, sparkling guitars and pounding drums mingle with a sweet, nostalgic air. When Cahlo wails the chorus of “Let Me Drown,” it makes you want to drown right along with him in a dreamy, swirling pool of atmospheric guitars and piano. —Nancy Chow

- The Deli Magazine

"Saints & Lovers live show"

The basement bar where Fat Baby has its shows, despite two large and obvious “exit” signs, still feels very illegal. I know it can’t be, but it is something worth noticing. This illegality made it cozy. So cozy in fact, that I could see Scott Meola, guitarist for Saints + Lovers, playing a Fender Stratocaster written in small letters on the neck of the guitar. You can get spoiled by that kind of intimacy, especially when the band can completely fill up the space so much with great music.

And speaking of being spoiled, this music is something worth noting, to say the least. Their music is based off beautifully layered guitars so it sounds as if it has more members that it really does. If you were to stand in Fat Baby that night with your eyes closed, you would never know you were listening to only three people. They have been compared to Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound technique, only this is the live version and could make someone think of early U2 before Bono decided to put his music second to saving the world.

They are definitely a rock band, but not music one can dance to because it’s so melodic. Believe me, if the indie kids could have danced to this, they would have. Indie kids always dance when the music allows for it, no matter how crowded the room and how many people end up wearing the beer they spill. But that’s what different about this music – it’s not every other band out there.

Saints + Lovers is a three piece band of lead singer/guitarist/keyboardist Dennis Cahlo, guitarist Scott Meola and sibling and drummer Doug Meola. Again, we see the loss of the bassist with yet another band. If you are a bassist in a band and have an attitude problem, Saints + Lovers are just another example of a band who could make it without you and your bitchiness. Saints + Lovers comes to us from former band The Realistics, where Dennis Cahlo and Scott Meola used to be lead singer and guitarist, respectively [S + L note: Scott was never in The Realistics]. They used to be known as The Sons of Sound, and smartly changed their name. They formed in early 2004 and had a successful residency at the wonderful venue Piano’s and are now resuming said success at Fat Baby throughout the month of February.

The thing is that their 40-minute set seemed very short because the songs were so long. In total, they only played eight or so songs. Songs seemed longer because very simply, they weren’t three and a half minute ditties, but also because the notes that were played were musically more drawn own notes, not quick, staccato notes that we have become so accustomed to when hearing a rock band.

The band had a great energy, and you could tell this only by each band members physically flexibility when they played, bending in every direction to suck out every sound from their instrument as possible. Saints + Lovers didn’t talk to the audience at all during their set, except to say that they were about to play their last song. It was a nice change from the regular band banter, which can get old quickly. It was surprising to me, this lack of talk, as there wasn’t a “hello,” a joke, an introduction, a plug, or even a “thank you.” If only other bands were so focused on their music. - Nicole D’Andrea for Loose Record

"Saints & Lovers"

There is something magical that happens when Dennis Cahlo sings. The atmosphere around you tingles as you close your eyes and let the beautiful, lilting vocals swirl around your body. Saints and Lovers fill their music with romance, energy and emotion, creating songs powered by the human condition, teetering between delicate melodies and driving guitar lines. - Loose Record

"Saints & Lovers"

Saints + Lovers (Formerly, The Sons of Sound) - God fucking bless this band. In about one years time this will be your absolutely favorite band of all time. Equal parts of early U2, current Muse, and the Secret Machines. I spent the whole show either dancing around in a sober waltz or just watching in pure amazement. Mind you the band opened with "Atmosphere" by Joy Division. It was almost as if they were like "Hey Sarah! Did you wear your Depends Adult Under Garments tonight?" Nothing about this band was understated. Everything was over the top in total bombast and beauty and fine tuned greatness. - Ultragrrrl





Born from the ashes of two of New York City’s most exciting bands, the Saints and Lovers story begins with the auspicious meeting of Dennis Cahlo, formerly of the Realistics, and V guitarist Scott Meola. Sharing a love of noise, minimalism, and a music-as-art aesthetic, the two musicians bonded immediately. Meola’s ghostly, layered guitar work was the perfect complement to Cahlo’s supernal voice. After an initial exchange of ideas, Cahlo and Meola began rehearsing for a residency in New York. The duo stood out from the pack with their unearthly sound. After an amazing reception throughout the month, the next step was the addition of a drummer. Scott’s brother Doug joined the fold and rehearsals began in preparation for their first full-band show at NYC’s Mercury Lounge.

With the addition of Doug’s Sturm und Drang drumming, the Saints sound bloomed. The original ambient echoes of Brian Eno, U2, and Jeff Buckley took a new form. Now there were mentions of Sigur Rós, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Led Zeppelin, My Bloody Valentine, Spiritualized, David Bowie, The Cure, Slowdive, and Joy Division. With Cahlo’s beautiful falsetto drifting over a dense fog of otherworldy noise, audiences found themselves in disbelief that three musicians could create such a mammoth sound.

In 2006, Saints and Lovers embarked on the creation Stille, the band’s first full-length album. Recorded, mixed, and produced entirely by the band, the album marks the maturation of Saints and Lovers’ songwriting ability and sonic scope. Songs like “Let Me Drown” and “Anywhere But Here” recall the feel of some of John Lennon’s solo work and The Cure’s The Head On the Door, while “The Warning” may be the most prophetic opening track since U2’s “Zoo Station.” Early reviews have likened Stille to albums by U2, Coldplay, and The Cure. Stille stretches out far beyond the terroir of the band’s 2005 EP release, Atmosphere (Stolen Transmission), illuminating the shadows of what has come before and whispering of untold possibilities to come.

With the addition of a new “live” member, keyboardist Gina Lee, the band continues to perform in New York, opening for great acts like The Raveonettes, The Bravery, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Dears, and Morningwood. Marrying beautiful melodies with dissonance, volume, and bombast, Saints and Lovers has created an incredibly unique sound. Sarah Lewitinn of Spin wrote, “In about one year’s time this will be your absolutely favorite band of all time.” In increasing numbers, fans all over New York and beyond agree that they’ve stumbled onto a band that is truly original—one that truly matters.