Julian Cires started his project LAVOLA six years ago after graduating from Florida State University. Raised by influences ranging from Radiohead to Circa Survive (and sounding a lot like singer Anthony Green) that converging sound has stuck with him throughout his musical journey, eventually resulting with the current lineup of the band – including violinist Emily Dwyer, bass player Paul DeFlilippis and drummers Jeff Rose and Sage Duvall, who both play live in the band as a double-drumming duo.
Why, double-drumming? A lot of people might not consider this at live shows, where put together the drums make force through a sort of “wall of sound,” dubbing effect. Especially while filming in a warehouse smaller than your mother’s garage, like the Infinite Channel does, it gets loud.
However, the band seems to keep it sharp yet hold their same goal intact: to awe their crowd with intense poly-rhythmic shows, with violins doing a better job than a rhythm guitar might in its place. And it works for them; Lavola are an experimental alternative rock band, and they certainly want to keep it that way.
“I’ve been in bands before but not one quite like Lavola, where it actually felt like it mattered what I did and what I wrote,” said violinist Emily Dwyer. “Not to say that it hasn’t been fun to play with other groups in the past, it’s just this has been a huge impetus for me to feel more creative and feel like I can actually express myself.”
Dwyer has also recorded with bands such as Surfer Blood and as a part of several local orchestras but found a home with Cires’ LAVOLA. Drummer Sage Duvall plays live with the band every so often but continues to represent is progressive drumming through his other bands, Raggy Monster and MoonRunes. The band hopes to keep using the double-drumming effects on their next LP.
It’s blatant that the band’s music derives from the sounds of post-hardcore and mid-2000’s MTV-era rock; it is melodic and at times metaphoric, and abrasive in its art, and for Cires it relates to a South Florida and Central Florida scene he grew up around – one that has somewhat disappeared after having had a prime moment ten years back. With LAVOLA there’s a reminder that the sound still exists, just waiting to curve-ball you.
Talk about how you began this project
Julian: I started the band with demos in 2010 and the band actually existed as a performance group from end of 2010 to 2011, and it’s kind of been a rotating cast. So these dudes have been in multiple generations of Lavola. Jeff was in it, the second generation in 2012, and he’s drumming with us now. Sage, our second drummer, does it sometimes through this double dragon sort of business. The ideas are there, the songs are there, and whoever wants to play in it- it’s sort of like a bunch of friends playing some music live, so that’s how it kind of exists.
Did you originally want violin to be a part of the band?
Julian: Oh, absolutely. At our very first show, which was technically at Respectable’s, I wanted to have a violinist in there. And the couple of violinists I had worked with were kind of flaky and had actually never got to performed with us. So Emily joined the group before our latest album, This Book is My Cowardice, and ever since then it’s kind of filled out the sound a little bit. She helps writing the melodies and kind of gives it another dimension to the songs. That was always the initial idea- it just took a couple of years to actually find someone dedicated and awesome.
Emily: It’s definitely nice to feel appreciated. Not just the musical stuff you do, but also the words that you write. With a lot of the other bands I had a great time playing with them, it’s just there were the parts that were already written to be played and with this band I feel like I can just be an “asshole” if I really want to.
What made you want to work with double-drumming?
Julian: That was Sage’s idea I believe. And that’s more of a recent thing.
Sage: It was my idea. I just wanted to do something really crazy and fun. Lavola’s the only band that is chaotic enough, that I personally know, to sustain something like that. And I was just like, “You down to break every venue we play in?” I think we’ve pretty much done that ever since.
Do you think that has worked with your sound in general?
Julian: Obviously I was concerned before the very first practice that it would be a little too much, and theoretically it is a little too much. It actually filled out the sound perfectly. They’re really tight drummers as well; if they weren’t it would sound like shit. It’s worked out. We’ve done it a few times and we’re happy to have done it with this set for the Infinite Channel.
Talk about the music you have released
Julian: We have an EP called Leaving Paris and the album This Book Is my Cowardice. And there’s a little four-song demo I did called Black Sea of Trees, which is just me playing instruments before I had a performance group.
Emily: For me it’s Dashboard Confessional,every single time someone asks me that.
I do hear that a little
Emily: Good, cause I love them and they’re my favorite but also Anberlin.
(the artists and songs on this playlist were chosen by LAVOLA)
Julian: We all have varied influences and even though some of the songs were written before various members come-and-go, I think you can kind of hear it in the performance a little bit.
Emily: What everybody brings to the table his what they love.
Sage: as a drummer, specifically, I’m really into progressive rock. So like King Crimson and anything with John Theodore, including new Queens of the Stone Age.
Jeff: Anything that pretty much combines pop song structure with experimentation of any sort like that. I like when things are listenable but maybe the band got to the end result by some way that you never think or like bringing weird instruments into the mix, stuff to keep it interesting. I think the double drum thing keeps it interesting, I think the fact that we all play multiple instruments and can hang out in the studio and bounce ideas off each other definitely helps and has made it a real pleasure to be part of the band and to collaborate with these guys.
Would you say that you play South Florida or Central Florida more?
Julian: We play south Florida at least once a month I would say, if not a little bit more. We began performing in south Florida a lot. Emily and I are more centralized, we play Orlando a lot even if its duo acoustic shows. It’s made it easier to play more out of state as well, like little tours here and there in Texas and NoLa and stuff like that. I mean South florida definitely still feels like our home for sure, though.
Do you see a difference between the scenes, and in comparison to years ago?
Julian: Yeah, for sure. Having been forming since 2010 it’s definitely been interesting to observe the transition in Florida. It’s funny- ‘cause Lake Worth, West Palm, Miami, they all have their own niches and so they thrive almost on their own. And even when bands cross-pollinate, which they do obviously a lot, it’s just interesting to see how tight knit the communities are within there.
Sage: I think it’s awesome and it’s gotten a lot better. I’ve lived here for a little over four years. When I first moved here I started playing in some sort of questionable bands but I feel like it’s opened up a lot more. There’s a lot more venues. I think venues are willing to pay more and work with the artist more and I think that things, like Unit 1 and Infinite Channel, really help to build up not only the camaraderie but also the representation of the scene in general and the exposure. I think it’s improved a ton in four years and i think it’s awesome. I’m from Maryland and lived in Tennessee for a while and both of those places had terrible music scenes. People talk a lot of crap about it but I think it’s got a lot going for it [Florida] and I’ve never lived in an area with more variety or more talent than this. So I think I think it’s amazing.