When a band describes their songs as “no two songs sound the same,” you almost have to roll your eyes. But with a group like Dormant, an intricate local rock outfit featuring members of other past bands, you can rest assured that they’re telling the truth.
The band, consisting of Dylan Jones, Dylan Baumgartner, Brandon Beer, Harrison Sade, and Easton Hawk, describes their sound as progressive rock/metal and their noodling guitars and distorted riffs keep them squarely in both those slots.
“We use progressive rock/metal as a blanket term since we all have very broad influences we bring to the band,” Jones said. “That’s one reason no two songs sound the same really.”
Dormant pulls off the sometimes-difficult task of having guitar parts that are equally as catchy as the vocals. At times, Sade’s vocals are reminiscent of Balance & Composure, a post-grunge band out of Pennsylvania. B&C’s brand of alternative stole the heart of every punk-millennial that was into ’90s music upon arrival. Balance & Composure is a noted influence for the band, along with groups who focus a bit more of complex parts and dynamics like Protest The Hero, Closure in Moscow, CHON, and Dillinger Escape Plan.
Some of the mentioned bands are a bit heavier than Dormant, especially with regards to the vocals. Sade takes the route closer to Protest the Hero at its calmer moments but again with that grunge tinge that can help separate bands from each other. Instead of pushing his voice into a scream or a snarl, he keeps the melody clean while pushing it out.
On songs like “Everything Happens So Much,” the number one song on the band’s Spotify, Sade starts low during the verses but ups his register and effort during the chorus, making it memorable and adding the hook that makes the song so good. The song is a perfect initiation when getting into the band; not only does it give you a clear starting point with a well-produced sound, but it’s also a banger to boot. It’s not as heavy as some of their other songs like “Horizon,” where the distortion is tuned up and the instrumental breakdowns dominate.
Exploring the spectrum
“We have been exploring both sides of the spectrum recently,” Jones said. “Some songs have an upbeat-punk vibe while others have a more laid back yet heavier sound.
“When we first started writing songs, they had more of an ‘instrumental jam’ sound, with less structure/theme brought into consideration. When the current lineup started practicing together, the opportunity of what we could sound like became the main focus. We find the sound is more of a cohesive, dynamic, group effort now.”
Dormant officially began in 2015, but Jones and Harrison began playing together as early as 2009. Their band, Smoke and Mirrors, eventually morphed into Dormant after Baumgartner and Beer joined the band in 2013 and they rebooted what was already a group with momentum.
This current lineup includes Jones and Baumgartner on guitar, Beer on bass, Sade on vocals and saxophone, and Hawk on drums. Together the band practices each new song and reflects on what could change and they see each one does live. Unlike a lot of music, the songs are written on guitar first to establish the vibe and feel before everyone else contributes to their parts.
“We like writing and performing music for musicians that is still accessible for the general audience,” Jones said. “Our lyrics range from personal experience to abstract storytelling, with the music correlating. We have a few tracks that remain instrumental to explore other soundscapes.
“Sometimes we go into it wanting to portray a mood or style. Other times the songs work themselves out. We are currently putting the finishing touches on a larger three-part conceptual release, as all prog bands should.”
The saxophone provided by Sade adds a different yet welcomed sound to the traditional prog characteristic. It seems in recent years the addition of instruments like the saxophone (see Metavari’s uber-cool vibery) or the trumpet are being added into music for pure musical betterment despite some preconceived notions.
For a while, ska music had basically ruined the possibility of a trumpet or trombone appearing as a band is setting up before a show and there not being a Reel Big Fish cover later on.
With concert and marching band being an integral part of a lot of musicians early musical careers, it’s no surprise that after a few years people become reacquainted with their previous instruments and they make their way into modern music. It’s a nice change-of-pace when stringed instruments, keys, and drumheads aren’t the only sounds blasting from a bar stage and the band is getting along through it all creating what they love.
“We just really enjoy writing and playing music together,” Jones said. “As long as we can continue doing that, we will be happy.”
You can hear Dormant’s debut EP Symbiosis streaming on all major platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and Google Play, as well as at https://dormantband.bandcamp.com, where you can hear and download all of their previously released demos.
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