[Locals Only] Wry Observations From the Rye Douglas Band
Huntington Beach’s Rye Douglas has been playing music for a couple of years, but the Rye Douglas Band have only existed as a full outfit (with singer/guitarist Douglas joined by bassist Adrian Sanchez, keyboard player Dominic White, guitarist Ian Perez and drummer Steven King) for a bit more than six months. In that time, a combination of hustle and solid tunes—ranging from the heavily Radiohead-influenced “The Waiting” to those packed with ‘60s-esque harmonies such as “My Blurry Sight”—has landed them high-profile gigs at Orange County venues such as the House of Blues in Anaheim and the Yost Theater in downtown Santa Ana. And they’re continuing to move up the coast; we catch them a couple of hours before a show at the Mint in LA, one day before a date at the Biko performance space in Santa Barbara County.
OC Weekly: With a name like “Rye Douglas Band,” it sounds like it might be a solo project.
Rye Douglas: We all collaborate. I promoted it as the Rye Douglas Band on MySpace for more than a year; we acquired more than 12,000 fans. That’s why it was called that—because it was just me doing the songs. Then I got the band together. It’s not just me writing and telling them exactly what to do.
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You did briefly change your band name to My Blurry Sight, though, and then changed it back shortly after.
Douglas: It was just easier because people already knew [Rye Douglas Band]. Once we did change the name, I felt that we fell back a little bit. But I definitely don’t want people to get the impression it’s just me, and it’s my thing, and that I run the show.
By new, local band standards, you’ve had a pretty successful 2009.
Douglas: We got a warehouse, and we made it a venue. We just met so many people. We got in contact with Bill Bennett [manager for the Living Suns and managing director of Sweet Relief Musicians Fund]; we became friends with bigger bands and just hung out with that whole crowd, working hard. Our hard work showed to the other bands. Even though we hadn’t been a band for that long and hadn’t acquired a huge fan base, they figured, “Why not throw them on the bill?”
But there are a lot of bands in Orange County that have a similar sound and a similar intended audience. Do you think it’s difficult to distinguish yourself here?
Ian Perez: I think we offer a different sound than a lot of the bands playing around the Costa Mesa area right now. There’s a really strong resurgence of the whole surf-punk, ’60s vibe. We have a little bit of that, but we try to make it a little more modern.
You’ve dubbed your music “psychedelic rock,” which is a genre that seemed to be forgotten but has been revisited recently. What led you in that direction?
Perez: It’s kind of our background. I grew up listening to Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd. Even a lot of modern stuff—Radiohead, Beck’s newer work. I’ve always been more interested in dark music.
Douglas: I always listened to Beach Boys, Beatles, that kind of stuff. I definitely like the big harmonies, for sure.
Rye, you play keyboards in another local band, Make Moon, and toured England with them earlier this year. How was all that?
Douglas: I learned a lot from those guys; they’re also hard workers. London was awesome. It was definitely hard work and stressful, but it was a great experience.
Rye Douglas Band with Vanaprasta, Charles’ Mansion and Let ’Em Riot at Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-0600; www.detroitbar.com. Tues., 9 p.m. Free. 21+.
Hey, Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, contact info, high-res photos and upcoming show dates for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 2975 Red Hill Ave., Ste 150, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Or e-mail your link to email@example.com.
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