The D.A.
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The D.A.

El Paso, Texas, United States | SELF

El Paso, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Rock EDM


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



"The D.A. in the Studio"

Last Thursday I visited local producer Justin Leeah’s downtown studio to sample four songs off The D.A.’s upcoming album.

The beloved El Paso quintet is nearly finished with its 10-song debut, which has taken about a year to record and mix. The guys have laid down tracks piecemeal since last April, assembling a studio sound to match the bigness of their live incarnation.

Readying for SXSW season, they hope to have a single out in three weeks and to have the still-untitled album out in April.

The mixed and completed songs I heard — “The Book I Wrote,” “Tigers,” “Pastels” and “Old, Used and Scratched” — are tried-and-true bangers from the band’s electro-dance repertoire. On record, they pop with the same verve and lushness that has made The D.A. a name as bringers of the party these past three years or so.

Sitting there in Leeah’s orange-, red- and teal-walled studio, I heard all the hallmarks of The D.A.’s generous sound: dueling synth and trumpet; singer Tyler Dudley’s bark-yelp and surrealist lyrics (“all my friends are feral cats,” anyone?); rumpalicious disco-beat drums and quirky guitar and bass.

Leeah has done a bang-up job capturing the band’s many strengths. What’s reassuring is the prominence of Mike Frisbey’s trumpet, which is dubbed twice over in some parts for dramatic effect. Paired with Cesar Muñiz’s keys and synths, the brass adds punch here, melancholy there. The D.A. distinguishes itself as a band that can provide a party beat while infusing it with emotional depth and wrapping it in atmosphere. The Talking Heads came up in conversation; they’re a good referent.

Tyler and Steve Escarzaga switch off on guitar and bass, and their noodling ladens the songs with hooky idiosyncrasy. Drummer Evan Tremper’s beats are so affecting, I dare say they are manipulative. Tyler’s lyrics, which sprinkle you in the face amidst the ruckus like so much word confetti, cover the gamut of “friends, relationships, experiences, drugs and girls,” he says; one refers to a grade-school suicide attempt involving a tablespoon of toothpaste. Good times, good times.

The new album should be great; it’s basically The D.A. in a bottle. Their 2009 four-song EP was worthy, but based on my sampling, this one pulses with even more life. In addition to their SXSW shows in Austin, the band has booked three big opening slots at Low Brow Palace in March for: Nite Jewel (March 11), Toro y Moi (March 20) and Miniature Tigers (March 23). They will also open for Le Tigre offshoot MEN at Lips Lounge on March 30.

Here’s to their continued ascendance. - Whats up Pub

"Budding Music Mania"

The lights are dim as music fills the air and a lone dancer moves her body swirling a purple glowstick in the air. The back exit door guarded by a stiff lipped bouncer creaks open as guitar player Steven Escarzaga, 19, and lead singer and bass player Tyler Dudley, 20, walk in examining the mood of Club 101 nightclub where they will perform. The first act is drawing to a close and the five members of The Digital Analog waste no time in setting up their equipment awakening the ever present prickle of nerves in the pit of their stomachs.

“You get nervous at first and then it kind of goes away, it’s just jitters, you know,” Escarzaga said. “I have more of an issue with the really bright lights that are in your face, you can’t see anything.”

Drummer Evan Tremper, 19, with the help of trumpet player Michael Frisbee, 21, hauls in a large beige carpet wrapped around the toms of his drum set. Carefully, Tremper lays out the carpet and begins to assemble the many pieces. As keyboardist Cesar Muñiz, 22, dances to the final tunes of the previous band before beginning to set up his own special synthesizer keyboard and hooking up the convoluted assortment of cables.

The traffic from big name artists making their way to the Coachella Art and Music Festival has offered local bands, such as The DA, the opportunity to display their music and brought in business to the limited club venues. Yet, the El Paso music scene lags behind other cities, even its sister city Juarez, leaving much to be desired by the public, local artists and business owners.

“We’re in the middle of everything but for some reason bands don’t like stopping here,” Muñiz said.“I mean, your going to drive-by, we love music, minus well stop and play a show here.”

The group is composed of trained musicians, albeit their young ages, Muñiz said. All have been drawn to the music world from very young ages and have had formal education as well as the support of their friends and family. The different musical backgrounds of the five members adds to the flavor of The DA’s indie-dance-rock-electronic sound.

The mixture of Muñiz’s electronic sound and Tremper’s acoustic drums, the two original members, created the concept of digital analog. It wasn’t until eight months later that the group formed into what it is today with the addition of Escarzaga, Dudley and Frisbee. Nothing like Bon Jovi, the chemistry and relationship between the five members is of best friends, Tremper said.

Inspired by different types of music, Tremper’s main musical interest lies in the heavy metal punk scaw genre. He received his first drum set at age 12 and created his first band shortly there after in six grade.

“All of us had just started playing and we just wanted to make rock-n-roll, it wasn’t good at all, it was just lots of noise,” Tremper said laughing.

Escarzaga has taken a many of lessons in jazz and enjoys the Brazilian sound Bossa Nova. He began by playing the drums but later changed to guitar influenced by his cousin, said Escarzaga. Beastie Boys’ Sounds of Science album was the first CD he purchased and although they don’t play hip-hop finds the Beastie Boys instrumental work inspiring, he said.He also enjoys “Interpol,” “Talking Heads,” and “Hot Chips.”

Muñiz comes from an electronic background and has always been inspired by that type of music. He attended his first rave from the age of 12, dabbled with keyboards from an early age and besides his participation in The DA he is a DJ. He uses a synthesizer which changes his voice and sound, playing with the pitch and wave of keys, Muñiz said.

Frisbee’s training is in classical music as well as jazz. He began playing the trumpet in middle school and now continues to study music at UTEP. His musical inspirations include “Of Montreal” and jazz trumpeter “Chet Baker.”

“I started around seventh grade, I hated my art teacher so I had to move to something else and I picked music,” Frisbee said.

Dudley is also a music major at UTEP. Besides playing the bass he is the lead singer for The DA, writes and composes music for the group. He has the best ear because of all the school he has done, he’s a natural, Muñiz said.

“We are a collective of five very complete people,” Muñiz said. “Everybody plays what they represent and then it blends into thiscrazy little thing that we have, and that’s The DA.”

The relatively new band has had to opportunity to play with big name groups such as “Holy Fuck,” “Tugboat,” “The XYZ Affair,” “Sugar and Gold” and DJ Kavinsky thanks to the assistance and collaboration of Broken Hearts and Riot Concerts. These two collectives assist local bands in booking shows, getting recorded and bringing bands to El Paso which they can then play with.

“They really like us as a band, which is real exciting,” Escarzaga said. “It’s just awesome when people like this like you, they want to record you and get you out there.”

The experience local bands gain from the experience gained by playing with established groups is invaluable. They get the opportunity to talk with the bands about music, equipment and receive tips on how to improve their sound, said Frisbee. Bands get the opportunity to network and are invited to play in future shows or be invited to play with the bands out of town and expand their own audience.

For the most part the music scene in the border city has been exploited to its full potential only by Ciudad Juarez. Many world famous DJ’s and musicians have visited and performed in the bordering city, mainly because the electronic dance scene is much more prominent and because prices are more affordable then in El Paso. Proximity between the two cities has offered El Paso the opportunity to grow off of its success and develop its own music scene.

“We’re starting to get bigger too because the electronic scene from Juarez is spilling over into El Paso,” Escarzaga said. “We get a lot of big groups coming to Juarez, there is a big scene for it and it’s becoming conducive for big events in El Paso.”

Venues are a big problem local bands face. There are only two locations available for them to play at. Many clubs, such as Q8, The Rambling, The Horse, have gone out of business or have been shut down by the city. Bands need a new club that can facilitate the groups and promote the music scene, said Muñiz. Electronic music fans are left with no choice but to go to Juarez or possibly drive to other cities for big events because there is are not enough venues in El Paso.

“There are so many little restrictions that whoever is trying to build that business is having trouble with it,” said Muñiz. “The city should help us out a little bit, give us a hand. They help other businesses out and I don’t think they realize the music scene is such a big part of developing a city, look at Albuquerque.”

Testing the microphones signals the crowd to gather around, Muñiz gestures to the DJ on stage they are ready to begin, and as the music fades away Tremper strikes his drumsticks starting the show with the soft accompanying melody of the trumpet and guitar and Dudley’s voice over the PA system. The crowd dances to the music rippling through the air, flashing camera lights blind the group but their concentration is absolute. Relentless, the group rocked on even after initial problems with the sound system ending the show after nine electric songs.

The night ends late with the final performance of world renowned DJ Kavinsky. Far from the underground soirées at the Rex club in Paris or the ultra chic Pacha club in New York, Club 101 received the DJ with a teeming dance floor of screaming fans.

“El Paso is doing pretty good, it’s getting fun,” Muñiz said. “We just need to focus more on going to the shows and trying to support the locals. If not there won’t be bands coming through and we won’t grow.”

Working around their five very different hectic schedules, The DA finds time to practice two to three times a week with visions of one day making it big and taking their garage band to the next level.

"Everyone in the band is 100 percent," Tremper said. "We want to do this for the rest of our lives."

For more information, visit The DA. ( - Borderzine

""general kick-assery""

"the D.A. (local band, lotsa disco beats, trumpet, general kick-assery – they’ve killed it twice at Suck and Blow and have a show at McKelligon Canyon on Sept. 26). Check them out now, send thank-you note later."

ryan b. matinez
- what's up

""sturdy as redwoods""

One thing that awes me about The DA – which hit me as I watched their opening set for the Royal Bangs at The Garage Tequila Bar on Monday – is the diversity of their 10-song-strong set list.

Some songs made the crowd dance. Others were melodic. One reminded me of Wolf Parade or Sunset Rubdown. With each new selection it almost sounded like a completely different band, except for the common threads of Tyler D.’s voice and the recurring presence of trumpet and disco drum beats. What sounded like a vague nebula of awesomeness at the first two DA shows I attended is emerging as a collection of distinct songs, sturdy as redwoods.

I’m excited to hear how they come out on record. The band will soon lay down some tracks for an EP with Sonic Ranch sound engineer Justin Leeah. Good luck to them, and congratulations on their recent shows and upcoming tour. As for the Royal Bangs, I contritely admit that I left before they went on. It was midnight, on a Monday, which is the day before deadline, and I am old. May the gods of indie rock forgive me. - what's up

"Whats Up EP Review"

"Thank God for Aluminum,” the debut EP by local band the D.A., is a true revelation.The quintet has been around in various formations for three years, but only recently have they congealed and stepped things up with regular shows. The four-song disc, recorded at Sonic Ranch Studios with producer Manuel Calderon, shows a band on the cusp of something great. The tracks represent a fine sampling of the D.A.’s weird amalgam of indie rock and New Wave. The danceable “big woman” chugs with propulsive energy in a forward-moving battle between trumpet and drums. “Halfwords Mix,” with its chorus about “bad dreams and dirty sheets,” twangs with Modest Mouse-like melancholy. The remaining songs, the scrappy “Orange and Black” and the busy, pretty “Pheromones,” showcase the band’s well-crafted balance of shimmering synths, squiggling guitars and the occasional, cathartic vocal bark. The EP, so named because recycling cans paid for most of the recording expenses."" - Whats up pub

"The D.A. EP review on Robot Dance Music"

Recently, I was fortunate enough to see a show by The D.A. From El Paso, Texas. They’re a five part band that includes keys, bass, guitar, drums, and most notably a trumpet player that uses all sorts of weird effects. They’ve got a great sound, and great lyrics that give the sonic landscapes they create some substance. They just got done with a midwest tour. They recorded their newest E.P. at a little place called the Sonic Ranch. When I say little Im joking, because it’s probably the largest recording complex in the United States. The lucky bastards were able to record on the same Neve console that Motown records and later, Madonna used. Check out their E.P! It’s a pretty awesome Post Punk/Dance Rock record, and I haven’t stopped listening to it. They have been gracious enough to post the entire E.P. for our readers to download! -

"OddGila REVIEW"

This passed thursday I was able to check out THE DA for the second time in less then a week over at Cincinnati Bar, and they did not disappoint. With the release of their latest 4 song EP entitled “Thank God for Aluminum” and their SXSW showcase coming up very soon it seems that their set was tighter then ever. One thing I loved the most were the subtle transitions between songs. Party didn’t stop for a breather. There were times that infectious dance floor rhythms seamlessly blended into another sublime beat.
For those who are just getting turned onto this band its safe to say their music is flat out fun. Spanning too many genres to even try and name, these guys make good ol’ fashion danceable rock music. To me the biggest thing that should stand out in their sound to first time listeners of THE DA is the texture added by their trumpet player. After hooking into a number of effects, the sounds that come from the trumpet are eerie and beautiful all at once. Add some mean synthesizer , disco friendly guitar rhythms and pumping beats and you got some shit you can move your ass to!!! - Odd Gila


“Thank God for Aluminum,” the debut EP by band the D.A., is a true revelation.
The four-song disc, recorded at Sonic Ranch Studios with producer Manuel Calderon, shows a band on the cusp of something great. The tracks represent a fine sampling of the D.A.’s weird amalgam of indie rock and New Wave.

"audio file 126"

Last week I raved about the D.A., a local band whose mix of disco drum beats and guitar noodling evokes indie favorites like The Rapture, Tokyo Police Club and even RATATAT. They’ve been around, loosely, for three years but have been hunkering down and getting more serious lately – crystallizing their lineup, playing more gigs and planning out-of-city stints. - what's up pub







Born in the remote city of El Paso, Texas, The D.A. is a secret too good to be kept. The buzz surrounding this singular dance-rock quintet has been spreading since its formation in 2007. Over two releases, five tours and countless festival appearances and high-profile opening spots, this earworm juggernaut has been barreling forward, winning converts to a sound that tweaks the indie-rock formula with a flourish of synthesizer and trumpet. The music of The D.A. encompasses many contradictions: they’re electronic and organic, brainy and bawdy, smooth and knotty, instantly accessible and sonically complex. It’s a mindful sort of mania, fusing the rhythmic explosiveness of The Rapture, the quirky joie de vivreof The Talking Heads, the lyrical wryness of Modest Mouse and an instrumental blend like no other. The band, currently working on a hotly anticipated EP, will bring the noise to New York at CMJ Music Festival in October.

The D.A.’s ascent truly picked up in 2011, with two tours of the western U.S., sets during SXSW and a self-released debut album, You Kids! The 10-song release, produced by Justin Leeah (sound engineer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ It’s Bliz!), more fully captured their beloved live sound than their 2009 EP, Thank God for Aluminum. The album was well received by fans and kicked off the momentum of 2012, which saw a West Coast tour with fellow El Paso darlings Bulletproof Tiger.

In the past two years The D.A. has shared stages with the likes of Twin Shadow, Toro y Moi, Yelle, Foster the People, Crystal Castles, Holy Fuck, Miniature Tigers, Prefuse 73 and Nite Jewel. The band cut through the din of SXSW 2012 with five shows, including one at the Trophy Room in the heart of Sixth Street. In another festival coup, the band has graced Neon Desert Music Festival in El Paso not once but twice. The annual destination for indie and underground music is in its nascent stages, but already it draws huge crowds and big names like Moby, MSTRKRFT, CSS, Beach Fossils, YACHT and Classixx. The D.A. was rubbing elbows and sharing stages with the best of them. Don’t be surprised if you see their name at the top of the bill someday.