When one door closes, another one opens. Damiera, version 2.0, is here and a force to be reckoned with. After a tough year of relentless touring and a brief break-up, Damiera – with almost an entirely new line-up – delivers Quiet Mouth Loud Hands, eleven solid tracks that display a great range of influences, talent and musicianship.
After the former line-up disbanded last year, founding member Dave Raymond (guitar, vocals) approached Joshua Sparks (drums) and Steve Downs (guitar) in Iowa just after their previous bands broke up to rekindle Damiera. Jayson DeZuzio (bass), the producer on Damiera’s first album M(US)IC , was aware of the situation and stepped up to round out the line-up. Coming from all over, they no longer call Buffalo, NY home, but rather consider their hometown as the United States.
DeZuzio, whose resume includes album credits with Coheed and Cambria and My Chemical Romance, had a heavy hand in Quiet Mouth Loud Hands. “I had a very clear vision of what I wanted this to be and the direction I wanted the band to go in,” he explains. “We soon realized this was everyone's vision and we were on the same page since day one. I think as soon as you pop the disc in you will recognize how only we could have created this album.”
Homeless and couch surfing in Buffalo, NY, the band did all of the writing and recording simultaneously in the studio they built inside of an abandoned school they used as a rehearsal space. “We heard through word of mouth that there was a school being stripped down and auctioned off and a woman bought the whole thing and rents out space to artists,” explains Raymond. “We were in an old science room/wing at the top of the building, where no one else traveled to alone.”
The sophomore release on Equal Vision Records is self-produced and engineered. “Writing this album was unique,” says Raymond, “only because I can’t imagine any other bands choosing to do it the way we did.” Downs adds, “It is unlike any recording I have been a part of.”
“Writing is a very organic process,” adds DeZuzio. “Dave and I will have ideas and we use that to bring to the other guys and really finish writing the arrangement. Anything can change at any time and we are not happy until everyone agrees and wants to move on. If we are ever known for anything I would like it to be for being great songwriters so my goal is consistent.”
Less moody than M(US)IC, and with vocals on the record ranging four octaves, Quiet Mouth Loud Hands sustains attitude and demands your attention with layers of melodic, intricate guitars mixed with and clear, catchy vocals mixing it up with both staccato and legato melodies. Also using their environment as inspiration, they included lush reverbs and dense echoes all created within the abandoned school. While Quiet Mouth Loud Hands certainly flows, it’s difficult to pigeon-hole the overall sound into one category. Damiera brings a hybrid of indie and progressive rock with the easiest references including a mix of At the Drive-In, Braid, Faraquet and former label-mates, Coheed and Cambria.
The less moody feel of Quiet Mouth Loud Hands reflects the bands internal attitude as well. Last year Damiera became victims of a great deal of negativity. Now, the band is just trying to stay positive. “It’s key that we enjoy ourselves and realize the opportunities that we have in front of us,” says Downs. Currently on tour with a fresh attitude and a release date of June 24, 2008 for Quiet Mouth Loud Hands, the future looks bright; a new door has opened for Damiera.