Rose Windows filters shards of sound into kaleidoscopic style
Like the architectural element for which the band is named Seattle's Rose Windows create a sound that is kaleidoscopic and seemingly all-encompassing.
The septet's debut disc, "The Sun Dogs," released by their hometown Sub Pop label, embraces elements of the classic rock maelstrom. There's the rootsiness of The Band, the heaviness of proto-metal bands like Black Sabbath and the swirl of psychedelia, too.
But as was the vogue in the days of early psychedelia, Rose Windows also draw inspiration from eastern music and other sources to create a sound that isn't easily defined. It does, however, draw you in as you sense glimmers of the families refracted through the multi-colored filter that is Rose Windows.
As the band wends its way toward Milwaukee for a Saturday, Aug. 31 gig at the Cactus Club with Old Earth and our own Jaill, we caught up with frontman Chris Cheveyo to talk about the record, the band's influences and more.
OnMilwaukee.com: Can you give us the quick history of Rose Windows?
Chris Cheveyo: Just a bunch of kids who serendipitously ended up in Seattle, one way or another, that were down to make some semi-interesting music together.
OMC: What's the significance of the name? Big fans of gothic cathedrals?
CC: I started the project somehow wanting to name it after my grandmother, Rose Marie. I was reading a book on mandalas and came across the term "rose windows" while on a section about the influence mandalas had on other cultures. The name has since gained other significances to myself, the band members, and those who enjoy our music.
OMC: When I first heard the record, I loved the diversity, the surprises each new song brought. Do you hear that a lot?
CC: I do hear that a lot. I think some of it has to do with being a new band. I think if we stick together, we'll either distill it all into one sound or define ourselves as being able to change on a dime.
OMC: Do you get the opposite, too, though? Do some listeners struggle to find something they can latch onto? Maybe listeners that prefer something a little more "uniform"?
CC: The only unfavorable reviews I've read were about the lyrics. Musically, sometimes they'll say that we are "meandering." I think it's funny when critics call musical sections "meandering." I'd say we were wandering with a purpose. Some songs were about the destination and others were about the journey.
OMC: What's playing in the van these days? "The Sun Dogs" makes me think there must be a pretty wide variety of music.
CC: Let's see....we've got some Mulatu Astatke, Charles Mingus, folk and pop from Indonesia, Robbie Basho, Pissed Jeans, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, Erkin Koray, Electric Masada and Metallica.
OMC: The record is pretty epic – are the shows as cinematic and grand or do they tend to be more intimate?
CC: We don't use much smoke and lights. I'd say they are intimate. We play every show as if we are playing a house show.
OMC: Have you ever been to Milwaukee before? What are your expectations?
CC: I have but with the record having just come out, I'm not really sure what to expect. I hope everyone is down to have a good time because if it ain't – what's the point?
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