The Alternating Currents
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The Alternating Currents

Oakland, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2019 | INDIE

Oakland, California, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2019
Band Alternative Art Rock

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"The Electrical Sounds of The Alternating Currents"

In electrical terms, "alternating currents" are electrical energy that alternates in direction of flow, switching periodically. In the post-punk/psychedelic/art rock scene of Oakland, The Alternating Currents are a band striving to infuse the noises of the Town into their music.

As with the electrical concept, the band's creative flow moves in various directions, but always out of Oakland. The four Bay Area transplants in the band — Ruben Diaz, Augustus DeVandry, Joe Miller, and Eric Park — have been based in Oakland for the better part of two decades. They are devoted to their community, where they collaborate with local producers, videographers, artists, and photographers.

"We all love the flow and diversity of culture here, small communities of music thrive under these circumstances," said Diaz, singer, guitarist and songwriter for the group. "We just love being involved in it."

But the band's connection to the community is deeper than just the people who are a part of it. The sound of its music draws profound inspiration from the places and things around it.

"I'm influenced by the sounds of Oakland in the free melody that moves around the town," Diaz said. "Whether it's the bass flute sound of a Bart train heading underground by 7th Street in West Oakland, or the cacophony of breaking glass from my neighbor's endless recycling of bottles and cardboard, I try to find harmony in the mundane — like the G note drone of an air ventilation system or the avant-garde poetry of strangers talking on their cell phones as we pass on the street. I'm trying to embrace random inspiration while reflecting on the paths of a rich musical history. Oakland has an immense history in blues, soul, R&B, funk, hip-hop, rock, and punk; I'm trying to embrace that muse that comes up from the asphalt."

The band's music embraces the dissonance of daily life in the Bay Area, encouraging experimentation with sound. Its two released singles, "Invasive Daisies" and "Kingdom How" both feature the intense, controlled vocals of Diaz atop strong guitar and rhythm tracks. Both songs are taut, well-produced, three-and-a-half minute rock blasts, blending psychedelic instrumentation with post-punk energy. It's a sound you might expect from a band whose very name comes from electricity.

"Invasive Daisies" starts with a fierce guitar riff and quickly moves into an ominous melody of guitar and bass guitar. The song features an elegant key change as the guitars seem to battle themselves, switching between a calm lull of melody and an acute series of riffs. The ominous lyrics sing of nature in distress, with good things represented as turning harmful.

"Invasive Daisies on my wall / Sweet Dulcet browning on my soul / the moon is sick and tired / of the dandelion sun / the rising skeletons / and churning worms / and sub-atomic bomb / down in the garden bed / come and whisper madly I am dead."

The song's striking video features shots from the Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in the Oakland Hills and has a running motif of Day-Glo pink flowers and grasses, evoking the colors and moods of late-Sixties psychedelia. Masked individuals walk through labyrinths and hold black and white balloons, as if a Beatles video were filmed in The Village from the surreal late-Sixties TV show The Prisoner. The video was directed and edited by Matt Robeson of Oakland's White Light Prism.

The band is working toward the release of its first full-length album, NUN, from which it will play songs in an August 3 show at San Francisco's Amnesia Beer And Music Hall. The band's new record is in the process of being recorded and produced by engineer Alex Laipenieks at Owl Sight Recorders in Temescal. Like Diaz, Laipenieks is a firm believer in the analog processes of recording and mixing music. The record was recorded using all analog equipment with 1 inch 8 track tape.

The 14-track double album will consist of two vinyl records with cover art designed by Joshua Nissan King of Oakland. Diaz believes vinyl provides deeper, more immersive experience with the music.

"I wholeheartedly believe in vinyl," Diaz said. "In my opinion, music as an artform needs to be tangible. Being able to hold onto the record, look at the album art and drop the needle is half of the experience with the music."

Outside the studio, the musicians have a vast array of other passions and commitments. Diaz was a solo folk performer for six years but is now involved in Oakland's coffee scene, while also working on various electrical projects. Lead guitarist DeVandry went to school for engineering, which he throws into his work with electrical equipment and aural experimentation. Drummer Miller, a woodworker who is involved in the cannabis industry, does studio work with other groups and has played with Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah, among other groups. Bass player Eric Park has worked on other musical projects with artists such as Peacers and FUCKWOLF.

The band rehearses in the basement of Augustus Vandry's West Oakland home. A typical rehearsal includes pizza from Amazona's and a case of beer. - East Bay Express


"The Alternating Currents Bend Genres With New Track “Invasive Daisies”"

The Alternating Currents are a Post-Punk, Psych, Art-Rock group from Oakland, California. The band consists of outsider-folk musician Ruben Diaz as key songwriter and vocalist, Augustus DeVandry on Lead Guitar, Eric Park on Bass, and Joe Miller on Drums. Originally formed in 2016 with just Diaz and Miller, The Alternating Currents have fortified their sound with DeVandry and Park to become an established collective. Some have said that the band is “post everything,” supplying a thread between popular and experimental music with their expansive songwriting. The Alternating Currents are supporting their first 7” single “Invasive Daisies/Kingdom How” available through RERERERE Records, as well as their first music video for ‘Invasive Daisies,’ Directed and Edited by Matt Robeson (White Light Prism). The band’s first full length album, entitled “NUN”, is due in Fall 2019.
The Alternating Currents have blown my mind with the groovy, bluesy, dirty track “Invasive Daisies”. High energy from beginning to end,“Invasive Daisies” is a timeless hit. DeVandry provides howling, ravenous guitar. Diaz stuns with practically ethrael vocals, Park holds down the low end with thunderous bass, and Miller provides earth quaking drums of the highest magnitude. With precise lyricism and a rhythm section throwing down tight grooves it’s hard to believe the band is only four guys. Upbeat and addicting, “Invasive Daisies” is a song that anyone can listen and relate to, or just jam out to. The song gives off an old school funk vibe, while still keeping things psychedelic and modern. It’s hypnotizing rhythm keeps your interest, while the lyrics let your mind wander. The guitar chords are spectacular throughout, the drumming is precise with hard hitting high hats and the groundbreaking sound of Ruben’s vocals will have you craving more.
Hi guys! How did you come up with the name The Alternating Currents? How did you all meet?
The Alternating Currents came to us because it fit our puzzle in so many perfect ways. Originally the band was alternating in members and instrumentation, while it also fit in the unsettled syncopation of rhythm that we try to achieve in our own unique way. In the most direct relationship, Ruben and Augustus are very involved in electrical engineering and experimenting with our equipment.The band exists like Nicola Tesla believed, we are all awash in a great sea of Alternating Currents in varying spectrums, and we are but antennas and conduits receiving transmission. We all met through different groups we’ve been playing around with over the past 10 years or so, sometimes cross pollinating but always remaining friends with a deep respect for each other’s musical sensibility. Ruben and Joe started the nucleus of The Alternating Currents playing as a duo when Joe began playing drums during one of Ruben’s solo shows. Augustus was living at the house where they would rehearse and was absorbed into the band by melodies he’d been building to develop the sound further. Eric joined to fill in for the first bassist, and stayed in when it was apparent that his contribution layered the songs with a perfectly memorable and hypnotic drive.
When you’re not making music, what do you all do?
When we’re not making music, Ruben works on instrument and amplifier repair as well as additional work in illustration and Art Direction. Augustus works on electric mechanical projects, modifying and building guitars, effects pedals and guitar amplifiers while also studying fitness and physical healing. Eric spends his extra time performing with his other project Fuckwolf as well as being a session musician and caring for dogs. Joe spends his time working in the cannabis industry and building woodworking projects.
Can you tell us about the meaning behind the lyrics in “Invasive Daisies”? What inspired this song?
Invasive Daisies was inspired by daisies that my fiancé pointed out growing outside of our bedroom window. They were so delicate and beautiful in subtle purple, white and yellow, with such foreboding associations of death and ‘pushing up daisies.’ I couldn’t help but attach the flowers to an aggressive and unbalanced meditation of passing on. The song Invasive Daisies is a lifetime, pulled through landscapes and situations symbolized by flower varieties and inorganic relationships. The song crawls into your bedroom takes you for a ride through a macabre life and leaves you underground, to be usurped by daisies in search of a desperate catharsis in the Bardo. Ultimately blossoming again and spreading like a beautiful virus.
What’s the main theme of your upcoming album “NUN”?
The main theme of ‘NUN’ is death and rebirth. It was written over a very challenging time in my life where I lost a great number of loved ones and mentors. It’s about a mercurial group of work pushing reflection, introspection, growth and appreciation for a life as tumultuous as is necessary for growth. NUN is the Egyptian god which represents the primeval watery mass surrounding the world from which at creation, all life sprang. Noon is a warrior who’s glass is half full, blazing with strength and potential, the farthest part of the day from either end. I suppose in summary, the record is about embracing the potential and that hard times pull out of you.
What other bands would you compare your genre of music to?
We would compare our music to The Talking Heads, Smashing Pumpkins, Televisión, David Bowie, CAN, Captain Beefheart, The Flaming Lips, The Velvet Underground, Syd Barrett, and Brian Eno. We’re focused on genre expanding as much as possible but often are called a post-punk, psych, art-rock outfit. - Buzz Music


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

The Alternating Currents are a Post-Punk, Psych, Art-Rock group from Oakland, California.
The band consists 
of outsider-folk musician Ruben Diaz as key songwriter and vocalist, Augustus DeVandry on Lead Guitar, Eric Park on Bass, and Joe Miller on Drums.

Band Members