Local band creates music out of movies
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
Finding film as a major inspiration for their music, the band Cigarettes after Sex has been playing a new kind of music that familiarizes with movie soundtracks since 2008.
“Film has been a huge influence for me, like soundtracks,” said Greg Gonzalez, vocalist for the band. “For example, Julee Cruise sang on the soundtrack for ‘Blue Velvet’ (1986), the first song ‘Mysteries of Love,’ is like dream pop, ambient pop.”
Cigarettes after Sex recently released a self-titled EP, which features four of their new songs. Gonzalez said a lot of the sound of this new album was influenced by David Lynch’s style in the 1980s.
Gonzalez described his earlier music as being very earnest about its sexuality. He said the music they’re doing now is like a black and white film. According to him, “The Night of the Hunter” (1953) would be a good example of where their music lies right now.
“These are sexual films that inspire our music. Even subliminally or subconsciously (they) influenced the music on this new album,” Gonzalez said. “If our music was a movie genre it would be like ‘Mullholand Drive.’ It’s supposed to be dark (and) dreamy.”
Although Gonzalez is the front man and main songwriter, he said the musicians in Cigarettes after Sex are a talented group whose musical sensibility brings a subtle strength that creates a special feel to the music.
According to Gonzalez, there are a lot of rotations in the band that create flexibility when accommodating a musician with a particular musical instinct. Currently, local folksinger Emily Davis stepped out of the front line and is playing guitar with the band.
“The idea of participating in something different excited me. I had never been in someone else’s band, so I was interested in that kind of experience,” Davis said. “I was a fan of Greg’s music long before he asked me to join the band. He has a really unique sounding voice and writes really catchy music.”
The band recently came back from a tour that led them through Texas and Californian cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Monica.
“We had a really great gig in Ft. Worth or in Arlington, in a place called Cave,” Gonzalez said. “The venue was so good and the crowd was really responsive. It’s usually about the atmosphere and experience created through the show.”
Cigarettes after Sex is attracted to the ambiance they generate through their music, Gonzalez said. Much of their songwriting is the outcome of being in the right mood.
The recent release of their EP was a production of an impromptu performance in a stairway at the Fox Fine Arts Center at UTEP.
“I was sick of doing recordings at home and decided of going on location. Like going from a set to a location shooting. It put everyone in the right mind set,” Gonzalez said. “The idea was just to do it one night, very spontaneously, just get everyone into the ambiance one night and do it.” during their July concert series, and said their new EP was passive.
“It’s really slow, like chill. It has an atmospheric/dreamy sound. He sings in this hush voice very soft yet with a hint of sweet,” Torres said. “It has that sound of a song you hear at prom when the king and queen are dancing that slow dance.”
Gonzalez mentioned that the writing of the songs is some sort of meditation in a dark room, where he plays with the lighting until he captures the right feeling for an ideal mood for writing.
“There was a time when I was writing music and I’d have a film on repeat. I take a feeling from a movie and transfer it onto lyrics,” Gonzalez said. “Once I was watching ‘Princes Mononoke’ (1997) and the song that came out was a very colorful song.”
Cigarettes is currently playing with the idea of attempting to synchronize a concept album with a film very much like Pink Floyd did with “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) but is still in the midst of their EP release.
Mario Simental may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.