Rare is the band that stays together through thick-and-thin, but such is City of Sound, a Minneapolis-based experimental-progressive rock group almost 10 years in the making. The foursome — consisting of Danny Morrison, Levi Merry, Jeremy Kindvall, and Braden Dickie — has self-released two full-lengths, L’implosion (2009) and Creature (2012), and built a cult following for its full-throttle live shows.
City of Sound’s new EP, Rebirth, was recorded at the Terrarium and finds the guys more driven, energetic, and confident in both style and trajectory. With any luck, this hidden gem of a rock band won’t be under-the-radar for long.
We spoke to Morrison about City of Sound’s upcoming vinyl release party for Rebirth at the Entry.
City Pages: When did you get into music and how did that evolve into City of Sound?
Danny Morrison: I started playing guitar when I was 12. I started a punk band right away and I’ve been in a band ever since. I never planned on being the singer of a band, but at the lunch table, I just doled out roles.
CP: Did you know all the band members from school?
DM: Levi was in my high school band and the other two guys, Jeremy and Braden, we played in a church band during high school.
CP: Do you write all the songs yourself?
DM: I write all of the lyrics and I write about half the music as well. Jeremy writes about half the music.
CP: As far as lyrics go, what do you find yourself returning to again and again?
DM: A lot of times, it’s relationships, hardships in life, some things I make up.
CP: Has Minneapolis been a good place for the band to grow and to reach people?
DM: That’s a good question. We’ve been a band for nine years now, so for a long time, we didn’t apply ourselves as much. We partied too much. With this release, we’re a lot more focused and trying to get our music out there, get exposed. We’re doing a lot more touring this summer. I think Minneapolis has been good to us, but there’s a lot more out there that we can tap into.
CP: Is music a hobby, a release, or is it something you really want to make your career?
DM: It’s more than a hobby. It’s something we’re always going to be doing together. It would be really nice if we could make it full-time. Back when we started, that was definitely the goal. It’s a stretch to make it a career, but we’re going to give it a shot this summer. If we can get a good response out of this release, we’ll do another one, eventually. It’d be nice if we could make enough money to survive off of.
CP: Do you all have day jobs?
DM: We all have full-time jobs. I’m a painting contractor. We have a pizza delivery guy in the band, a bartender, and a guy who works in an office.
CP: What is the most enjoyable part of being in a band and what is the least enjoyable?
DM: The most enjoyable part is playing together, in front of people, or creating something new. The least enjoyable part is it can get really stressful working with other people sometimes. Having to depend on each other and getting money together to record can be stressful. A lot of times, we can have differing opinions on stuff, but we always work it out.
CP: Do you feel you’ve all grown up together, as musicians and as people?
DM: Yeah, yeah. We really have.
CP: How is your new album Rebirth similar or different from your previous releases?
DM: It’s much shorter. It’s six songs. The other ones were 12 and nine songs. As far as music goes, the other ones had a lot of layers to them, a lot going on, probably too much going on at some points. This one, we recorded it all in one room at the same time — the instruments at least. It’s just hard-hitting rock.
CP: Why did the band feel the need for a Rebirth?
DM: I wanted the title Rebirth because I was in a place where I felt like I was starting over and rediscovering myself. It came to mean much more to the band after some of our members had gone through some major lifestyle changes as well. Overall, I think it’s something everyone can relate to: the cycle and constant recycle of life.
City of Sound
With: Hot Date, Porno Wolves, and Manic Planet
When: 8 p.m. Fri., Jan. 22
Where: 7th Street Entry
Tickets: $8-$10; more info here
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