They Shake the Mountains When They Dance is a four member outfit hailing from the Santa Clarita Valley who craft music in the experimental jazz, rock genre with a contemporary funk twist.
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The group formed in 2011 and is composed of Santa Clarita natives: Tim Bayona on vocals, Josh Cabitac on drums, Rashid Nadjib on guitars and Ryan Wright on bass.
They Shake the Mountains When They Dance, with a band name based on the E.E. Cummings poem, formulates their own distinct sound with a novel approach, citing English trip hop band Portishead as their main source of influence.
Their sound is a spontaneous swirl of harmonies and vintage sounds, juxtaposed with polished and refined jazz chord progressions that could serve as a background score for a black-and-white film noir.
Bayona attributes this eclectic and diverse combination of sounds to the fact that all members had a heavy involvement with a wide array of musical backgrounds.
“Our bassist is all about the funk and has a Motown background,” Bayona said. “Rashid came from a metal background and our drummer Josh has dabbled in classical jazz. We never go for the type of sound we create… that particular sound just came out,”
This inimitable sound they evolved sets They Shake the Mountains When They Dance apart as a Santa Clarita band.
“There’s a broad range of musical genres out here in Santa Clarita like folk, hardcore, and punk to name a few,” Nadjib said.
“I always felt that any show we played, we were always the odd band out because of the style of our music. There’s a bunch of hardcore and punk bands and we’re just a jazz band trying to rock out! We’re different and people appreciate that,” Nadjib said with a laugh.
Their first eponymous EP was released last December. It includes the single “My Waking Thoughts,” featuring haunting harmonizations that suit the content of the song, involving the evocative ruminations that linger from a previous relationship:
“So I’m back in my room again / I close the blinds again / Because you’re on my mind again.”
“The theme of the EP we released was overall pretty sad, but I think a lot of people can relate to those types of emotions and feelings,” Bayona said.
In terms of refining and conjuring up the melodies in “My Waking Thoughts”, They Shake The Mountains When They Dance’s music is primarily improvised, such as when Bayona shouts “Oh no” in one part of the song.
“We were performing live. Tim shouted ‘Oh no’ because we messed up on a part of the song,” Nadjib said. “We just went along with it, and it eventually just became a passionate part of the song and it kind of stuck. Now the audience waits for it as a part of the song, because we’ve been doing it every live show. I always laugh to myself.”
Bayona, the lead songwriter, said that he initially improvises his lyrics.
“A lot of the lyrics in that EP, we were just jamming and I just starting singing, and then after that I just refine the lyrics and piece it all together, he said. “When we play music together, it involves a lot of experimentation.”
Along with continuing their select style of song craftmanship, the future goal of the group is to continuously play more shows and keep growing as musicians.
“We really hope to keep playing more shows and if we expand, that’s great. If not, we love doing it and it’s great being able to play music with your friends,” Bayona said.
To download their full EP, click here.
For more information about They Shake The Mountains When They Dance, visit their Facebook page.
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Source: Santa Clarita News