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With pop locking robots, synthesized industrial beats, and a Commodore 64's worth of bleeps and blips, Modesto's D.A.R.Y.L. is a robot army fighting the good fight. The electro band is a cross between Gary Numan and the radioactive clacks of a giant MRI machine.
We spoke to lead robot Beca Irizarry via email about the band and its upcoming Fresno show.
First things first- D.A.R.Y.L, what does it stand for?
D.A.R.Y.L. stands for Data Analyzing Youth Robot Lifeform, I loved the movie D.A.R.Y.L. when I was a kid and loved the fact of being a robot and knowing how to do everything better than everybody else. (I was a kid who didn't wanna kick butt at skateboarding and video games) but I still have this fascination for robots and based my band and story around being a robot leader of the good robot army.
Who is in the band?
The band started off with me producing music at home making more experimental beats and growing into more of a dancey electro disco up beat. Then my good friend Chuy joined the band and played electronic drums, then half a year later with more demand for a better live performance Brian joined the band as the lead keyboardist. So now we're a three piece and hoping to keep it that way. When more people get into the band it gets way too complicated we like it simple and fun.
What do you use to make music?
I use a Korg ms2000b and Chuy the drummer has a compacted electronic drum pad set with a rackmount for different drum kits. Brian has two keyboards he usually uses. A gargantuan Yamaha SX-something, ha! I believe it's an early 80's model. Lots of Juno sounds in it. And he has this Casio synthesizer that you can model all the waves and use different filters. He uses it as a keytar with a guitar strap so it's easier to jump from keyboard to keyboard. Beside that we have a P.A. that we keep exploding.
When did you start playing music?
I'm not like a professional or anything I just love music and love to keep making weird stuff out of my head. I got my first toy piano as a kid but didn't learn about music till I was 11 and played French horn in school, that was horrible. I finally convinced my parents to buy me a bass guitar when I was 15 and played in a riot grrrl band for a while, then my music tastes changed to surf garage rockabilly music. And evolved from there.
How did you get into electronic music?
Actually I really hated techno and house music for a long time most of my teenage years until I heard a song by Mr. Oizo he did a Levi's commercial with that yellow puppet shaking his head to the music in the car, remember that? Anyways I bought the album and it was history. It was a bunch of instrumental broke up hip hop beats with weird sounds he'd produce out of the same machine. I was so inspired to do stuff like that I started slowly listening to electronic music. I mean I love the 80's new wave, some industrial, and Kraftwerk but those were far off from techno.
For people who haven't seen you, what is your live show like?
Our first live show, which was the robot army battle, was me popping and locking and we did this hilarious pyramid with my robots and did a bunch of "Thriller" moves together to this song called "I Bury the Living." That's off the first album. But now we're live and there's three of us on stage dancing around and clapping with everybody. I usually get to dance around more cuz I sing the songs on vocoder and don't have to stand in one spot. So we're a robot band. We usually get dressed up for shows but no actual set theme. We like to surprise. I use to wear cover-alls then throw them off and play in my underwear but my gut doesn't like to show off anymore. We're lewd at times.
I like that your band has an evil-robot-new-asshole-tearing back-story. How did that come about and have you fought any giant penises lately? Did you win?
Well, like I was saying before about the performance piece we did for the first album. I didn't have live equipment back then so I played my songs and had a DJ friend (Matt Lew) help out to play the songs and do some scratching in between. This scientist invented me to take over the army and was building me on a table like Frankenstein-style. Lots of dancing and I don't want to give up too much 'cause I might just make and enhanced CD for our upcoming album and throw it on there. And hopefully with some videos.
Microwave Massacre is your new album, right?
It has been the album we were working off of while we started doing the live thing. Now we've got more songs and want to take a few from Microwave and record them better. We're recording and making a new album. We don't have a record label yet; we were working with [Modesto label] Girl Hurts and helping them out with their label, but we want to get signed hopefully after our tour we're working on. The album was mainly produced with a couple of computer program- FLP Studios and Wavelab and some Acid Pro.
How is it different from your older stuff?
Different because my older stuff was way more avant garde and I experimented a lot with beats. Everything had a different odd beat. The Microwave Massacre has more rhymes and faster beats. More steady to keep the head bobbing. But together they were pretty instrumental besides samples. I don't get why people always need singing in songs to like them. I listen to music by itself personally. I guess more people can relate to vocals than instruments.
Where can people get it?
Well the only people with my older CD and capabilities of distributing it is Girl Hurts Records. We might be working on our next album putting, it on Pish Posh. They'll be selling them online through their site. I've been putting out Microwave Massacre myself. I usually have some for the shows.
I saw on your MySpace you were looking for breakdancers. Any luck?
See it's hard being a broke band and having people do something they could be getting paid to do it for free. The breakdancers are hiding in some other remote spot in Modesto. They go to shows I've never even heard off. It's hard to reach those people for shows in the scene when we don't know where to find them. I've been to a couple of breakdancing competitions around Modesto to check it out (another thing I wish I could be good at like that D.A.R.Y.L. kid). I've asked breakdancers to come out and dance but they always have better things to do or probably don't want to give us a chance 'cause they think it might suck but they won't know until they hear and see us.
Any thing else we should know?
We love getting' all types of bands out here in Modesto. All the people who do the booking around here pretty much know each other and try to help each other out. I help my friends out and do a couple of shows here and there. There's venues and places so if any bands want to come out from Fresno give us an email. I really wanna play with the Fresno industrial band called TV. Maybe you'll be seeing us in Fresno again soon.
D.A.R.Y.L. will play Meatball Magic at the Red Lantern Friday, November 11th. For more information, visit myspace.com/daryl213.