The Delta Riggs

The Delta Riggs

The Soft White Sixties

Tue · July 18, 2017

8:00 pm

$8.00 - $10.00

This event is 21 and over

The Delta Riggs
The Delta Riggs
The Soft White Sixties
The Soft White Sixties
Five years together, and the members of The Soft White Sixties have rarely sat still. They’ve lived much of their life in a 15-passenger van, traversing the country, whipping up new riffs, new rhythms, new lyrics and then, almost immediately, breaking them out onstage. For these hard-working musicians, it was simply a way of life.

But the band needed to step back. “You don’t always need to be out there selling the song live,” lead singer and principal lyricist Octavio Genera says now. The Bay Area band, as he sees it, needed to exhale. The four musicians, who’d grown beyond close with one another since forming in 2010, owed it to themselves to give the new songs they were concocting their proper due.

“It was about giving these songs the attention they deserve,” Genera says of the band’s decision to hunker down in a one-bedroom house in East Nashville in the fall of 2014 to workshop what became their tightest, most sophisticated and melodic material to date. “Every little part of each song was really put under a microscope much more than we had in the past,” says guitarist and keyboard player Aaron Eisenberg, of constructing tracks armed with bluesy struts and squirms atop menacing guitar lines. “It was an exercise in patience for a lot of us sitting with parts for awhile and letting them settle,” Eisenberg adds. “You have to be able to step back and say, ‘Alright, cool there’s one idea. But is there a better one?’”

For the Sixties, who’d released their debut full-length album, Get Right in 2014, capturing a certain vibe and a particular mood for their next batch of recordings was essential. The band always took an 'all hands on deck' approach to writing, but in the past they chiseled their song arrangements on stage without a clear sense of direction for the final result. For the next album the musical collective — which includes bassist Ryan Noble and drummer Joey Bustos — made a conscious decision to apply a forward-thinking kind of approach, continually asking the question 'what kind of band do we want to be?' To further ensure an open-book approach to the sessions, the band enlisted producer/mixer Matt Linesch (Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Dave Mason), working with him at United Recording in Los Angeles. “Matt was almost like a fifth member, at times,” Eisenberg says. “He embraced our new approach, while really stressing the importance of the music not being perfect. It’s a human form of expression."

Who did they find themselves to be? “A band not afraid to embrace its murkier side”, says Genera. “We wanted the songs to have a little darker tinge to them than those on our last record. Live, the tones were always a little darker, and there’s a little more energy. We wanted to make sure to capture that in our recordings,” Genera explains. In-studio discussions often turned to films — and more specifically the ominous tones their respective soundtracks conveyed — band members loved so much. “A lot of the movies we love have a darker, grittier side to them, grit that our music has as well,” Eisenberg says, referencing the acclaimed works of filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson and Martin Scorsese. “We wanted to write a song that would be used to introduce the villain,’” Eisenberg explains. 

For Genera, the new Soft White Sixties material marks some of his most autobiographical work yet. “It’s cliché to say music is my therapy but it’s so often true,” the singer says with a laugh. “With creativity there isn’t a manual. If the words are right and the feeling is right it doesn’t matter how you sing it. What you're trying to say will come through.” Many of Genera’s lyrical revelations, he says, center on his belief that “all too often, relationships make one lose sight of oneself in the process. Whether it be a man needing a girl to let him go rather than string him along with hopeless expectations, or a deep dive into the concept of being in the moment and being present.”

The Soft White Sixties have no doubt they’re on the right path. “It’s really about doing what you love, and realizing everyone is doing the same thing, just in a different way,” Genera says with a smile.  Scratching their creative itch — whether in songwriting mode or performing live — is what keeps them excited for what’s to come. Eisenberg says they have “a ton of other songs” they’ve been working on, not to mention a slew of music videos. Of course, they’ll also be hitting the road to reveal their new material for much of 2016. For Genera, however, everything really boils down to a simple motto he can’t shake. Says the singer with supreme confidence and conviction: “It’s always about doing it better than the last time.”

"We considered a lot of names for the band," says lead singer and main lyricist Octavio Genera. "Something about Soft White Sixties really appealed to us. We just really liked the idea of light, of something that lights the place up."

While there are hints of the 60's in the sound of the band, their music draws upon the entire history of 20th century pop without ever being self-consciously retro. The band members all have wide ranging interests that allow them to build upon what's come before to fashion their own uniquely modern brand of rock, music with so much heart and soul that it defines its own category. Call it Romantic Rock if you like, tough but tender songs that deal with the uncertainties of love and relationships with uncommon compassion and honesty.

In the last two years, The Soft White Sixties have built up a considerable following with the power of their live shows. They've captured that excitement on Get Right., their first full-length recording. The record was put together in five days with the help of producer Jim Greer (Foster the People), who also played Moog Cordovox on "Rubber Band." The arrangements veer from burnished pop to soulful ballads, with hints of funk, Motown and reggae surfacing at times. "We're a rock band at heart," guitarist and keyboard player Aaron Eisenberg states firmly, "but our focus is on the songs. We don't think of them as being in any particular genre or limit ourselves in terms of style or instrumentation."

A gritty synthesizer line opens "City Lights," then the drums of Joey Bustos and the bass of Ryan Noble lay down a driving surf-like beat augmented by Eisenberg's chiming guitar accents and gritty, staccato Farfisa stabs. Genera's syncopated vocal accentuates the urgency of a late night in the city and the dubious pleasures of self-destructive behavior. Noble's forceful bass and Bustos' double time backbeat drive "Lemon Squeezer" before the song drops into a brief dub reggae interlude that adds considerable tension to Genera's desperate plea for release.

"Up To The Light" is a tough mid-tempo R&B stomp with hints of funk and British glam in its rollicking beat. The band's rich vocal harmonies are also on display as they sing about the frustration of trying to reason with someone who refuses to budge from their stubborn ways. The band's dark vocal harmonies give "Rubber Band" an ominous carnival-like atmosphere that fits the nightmarish lyric, while Genera's emotional delivery takes the poignant ballad "Roll Away" into deep soul territory with hushed drums, guitar and piano keeping the focus on his tension filled performance. This smooth, emotional ballad was cut live in the studio with no overdubs. Its quiet delivery makes it a moving, stylistic departure from the rest of the record. "We spent about 10 minutes learning the song and figuring out a simple arrangement before tracking," Eisenberg says. "The version you hear on the record was the 2nd take."

Other standouts include "I Ain't Your Mother," a blend of bayou rock and Motown; the heartbroken lament of "You Are Gold," which bridges the Atlantic with a beat that recalls Memphis and London, and "Treat Me," another simmering ballad of thwarted love. The album's dense instrumental mix and the brightness of the vocals intensify the themes of light and darkness, romance and frustration, desire and confusion that swirl through the music on the album. Ultimately, the album is about the struggle to restore balance – to get right.

The Soft White Sixties started playing together in 2010. The one thing they had in common, in addition to their love of music, was a connection to drummer Joey Bustos. "Joey was the talent scout that brought us together," Genera says with a laugh, explaining the web of relationships that led to the beginnings of the quartet.

Bustos was playing in Link 80, a popular East Bay ska/punk band, when he was 13 years old. Ryan Noble was in a Central Valley punk band and, when they opened a show for Link 80, he became friends with Bustos. Eventually, he moved to the Bay Area and became the lead singer for Link 80. After he joined, Bustos quit to play in Street To Nowhere, just before Capitol Records picked them up.

"While all that was happening, I moved down to San Francisco to start a band," Genera says. "I'd been in college bands when I was at UC Davis, but I knew if I wanted to go anywhere, I'd have to relocate to a city that's more music friendly. I'd been writing songs with a friend of mine and one night, while we were playing at a party, Joey walked up to us and said, 'I'm your drummer.' We started jamming together and we clicked." Bustos told Genera that they needed a bass player. "He said he knew the perfect guy and introduced us to Ryan," Genera recalls. "Ryan's able to pick up any instrument on hand and play it, so he joined up."

"I saw The Soft White Sixties a few times in San Francisco, after I moved to The City to study film at SF State," says guitarist and keyboard player Aaron Eisenberg. "I'd messed around with guitar and drums as long as I can remember, but I became more obsessed with music and playing guitar near the end of high school. One night after a Sixties show, Joey came up to me and said, 'You should be in our band.' He didn't know me, but I wanted to be playing shows, so I joined up. It didn't take long to realize it was exactly what I was looking for."

"We'd all been in bands, and left bands, looking for the ideal situation," Genera says. "The Soft White Sixties came together in a serendipitous way, just as we'd all finished playing in other groups that had run their course. It was a perfect fit when we found each other."

After a year together, the band made a successful eponymous five song EP. NBC licensed one of the songs, "Queen of the Press Club," and used it extensively on the NBC Golf Channel. "We recorded the EP in two days, most of it live in the studio," Genera says. "On this record there are more colors on the palette," Eisenberg says. "We used a lot of new textures and touch on quite a few different tones, musically, lyrically and emotionally. If a song is written well, you should be able to dress it up anyway you want, so we didn't shy away from different grooves or genres."

With Get Right. complete, The Soft White Sixties will continue to do what they've always done, playing the songs live with their passion evident in every note, continuing to build on their reputation as a great live band. "When we play live, we concentrate on the energy of the music and making a connection with people," Eisenberg says. "We've been playing some of the songs on Get Right. at our live shows for a couple of years now, so we feel like this album marks the real beginning of the band."
Venue Information:
428 S Hewitt Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90013