[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.
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+.
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