Random acts

Descolada steals hearts with wordless intensity

The origin of their name is a Portuguese word meaning “unglued.” That said, members of local instrumental-rock group Descolada actually take their title from a fictional disease created by sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card in his book Speaker for the Dead.

According to the band, Card’s made-up malady turns people’s organs inside out. So you might expect a group sporting such a moniker to work a murky, brooding vibe. And you’d be right.

Descolada sounds like a patchwork of Velvet Underground’s droning violin, Sonic Youth’s experimental temperament and Tool’s gloomily rhythmic drive. It’s a surprisingly effective combination.

Random Acts recently spoke with Descolada members Dave Lynch (guitar), Daniel Will (guitar) and Meg Mulhearn (violin, occasional keyboards);Tony Plichta (drums) and Robby Pitts (bass) were absent.

The local group’s debut CD is slated for a late-fall release.

Random Acts: “You’ve been called an instrumental heavy-metal band. Accurate?”

Meg Mulhearn: “We’re not really metal at all, honestly. … I think there are definitely elements from all kinds of different genres, but our music doesn’t really have a lot of traditional heavy-metal elements to it.”

Daniel Will: “It’s heavy, but as in it’s weighing on you. There’s a thickness to it.”

Dave Lynch: “I think the word ’emotional’ would be in there somewhere.”

RA: “You’ve got a substantial number of punk-rock fans. But you aren’t exactly a typical punk group.”

DL: “I guess there’s a certain amount of anger in the music.”

DW: “There’s definitely a driving force of aggression. It’s very channeled and focused, though.”

MM: “I don’t think it’s anger; I think it’s just a lot of emotions. The reason we play music isn’t because we’re angry.”

DW: “And we listen to way too much Joy Division and The Cure. We’ve got to vent it somehow.”

RA: “Why did you choose not to have a vocal element?”

DW: “We didn’t have a PA.”

MM: “It’s hard to practice without one. We planned originally on having vocals, but it just hasn’t happened. We definitely wanted that symphonic effect. … We have a lot of songs that build to a crescendo. We like to mess around with rhythm a lot, too. It keeps us from getting in a rut.”

DW: “It’s also hard to find words that do the music justice.”

MM: [Laughs.] “That sounds so pretentious. We may eventually add a vocal element …”

RA: “When you hear that there’s a violin in a band, you expect it to take a central role. Is that the case with Descolada?”

DW: “Not at all. It’s a very democratic situation.”

DL: “We work to have it be not that big of a deal that there’s a violin. A lot of people will use a violin or something as a gimmick.”

MM: “It’s not set apart. I do a lot of rhythmic stuff that’s not solo or back-up. Tony [the drummer] and I work very closely together.”

RA: “Tell me about the strangest show you’ve had thus far.”

MM: “We had a strange show at this warehouse. The cops shut us down at 1 o’clock in the morning, understandably. Then, my friend was fire juggling and set a tree on fire. It was getting kind of scary. All these people started climbing the tree, and all these other people started banging on it. Fire was falling down off the tree. They eventually got it put out.”

RA: “Descolada has made its name playing at house shows and underground events. Do you have any thoughts on where the local underground scene is headed?”

DL: “There was a while where it seemed like everything was coming together, but now it seems like there’s not as much drive.”

DW: “There’s no desperation. You can feel it in the walls when there’s an anxiety to play.”

RA: “Do you see yourselves as eventually being able to support yourselves exclusively off your music?”

All: “Yes.”

RA: “So, if you were booked on a tour tomorrow, you’d be able to go?”

DL: “Yes.”

DW: “Yeah.”

MM: “I don’t know. I’m a little bit less of a free spirit than the rest of the band. I don’t know if I could just quit my job and pack up my stuff.”

DW: “We could just kidnap you.”

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