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R-JENERATION: A Little Less Dark hones eclectic sound, plans recording and tour

A rumbling ripples across the room.

It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.

The heads and feet in the crowd nod and tap respectively, respectfully.

The venue, Yayo Taco, is vibrating to the sounds of four men’s vision of the future of music.

This quartet goes by the name of A Little Less Dark.

Elijah Soriano is pounding away at the kit with intensity, gusto, might and enthusiasm. In between the perfectly formed snare and bass hits are skeletal-yet-melodic bass lines by Josh Regalado and emotive, clean guitar parts by Andrew “Tod” Irvin and Damon “Ramon Deis” Reis.

Perhaps most notable, however, is the absence of the human voice in the mix.

A Little Less Dark transcends the rock genre and instead is categorized as “post-rock.”

Post-rock is a genre designated to bands that eschew rock traditions such as vocalists or typical song structures in favor of a more expansive mix of crescendos and build-ups, ambient passages and samples. Examples of this style of bands include Slint, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai.

The musicians met at Silverado High School and went through band names such as Trashcans Painted This Native City and Past and Language before settling on their current appellation.

With its changing name, the band’s sound has slowly shifted and matured.

The band aspires to tour this year through the West Coast and beyond.

The band will be recording new material soon for a debut album that it hopes will rise through the charts and gather critical acclaim.

But for now, there’s the show at Yayo.

In the air is the smell of tacos.

In the air is the sound of A Little Less Dark.

In the air is the feeling of a band on its way to great things.

Elijah Soriano

Drummer Elijah Soriano describes the band’s sound as “music that’s usually instrumental, though sometimes with vocals, with songs that are structured in ways that have climaxes in midsong or at the end.”

He’s a bespectacled man with a symmetrical face, prominent cheekbones and long wavy hair. He’s almost always wearing a band T-shirt and jeans.

When he is behind the drum kit, the passion and sincerity is palpable. Offstage, his demeanor is one of a sort of detached, jocular irony.

He describes his drumming style as “hard-hitting” and “not complicated.” He channels a kind of raw, primal energy into his drumming while remaining true to the beat and holding the group’s rhythm together.

Bass guitarist Josh Regalado calls him “the backbone of the band.”

Soriano began his drumming with lessons at age 8, but they were short-lived.

He resumed his drumming at 14 after his father taught him the basics.

Soriano was introduced to the weird, wonderful world of post-rock after seeing an Explosions in the Sky show.

— Ethan Gathy

Damon ‘Ramon Deis’ Reis

Guitarist Damon “Ramon Deis” Reis has honed a unique style that leaves audience’s mandibles on the floor.

“I try to write songs that are structured like a story,” Reis says, stroking his beard thoughtfully.

Music is Reis’ lifeblood.

“My guitar-playing is me wanting to convey my personal emotions,” Reis says. “It’s more happy than sad. I can’t write when I’m sad. Music is something that embodies what I live for. It creates explosions in my heart.”

Reis is very familiar with explosions.

He cites Explosions in the Sky’s album “Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever” as an inspiration.

“He has very good taste in music,” says Josh Regalado, bassist for A Little Less Dark. “He guided me to what music is. I’m closest to him in terms of how we think and what we like. Great guy.”

— Ethan Gathy

Array

Andrew ‘Tod’ Irvin

Guitarist Andrew “Tod” Irvin was taken by music in the sixth grade when he was forced to take band as an elective. His first instrument was a trumpet. Although he’d continue to play the instrument for three years, his interest in guitars was sparked from the get-go.

He first learned Nirvana songs, but would later develop a more advanced sound.

Irvin puts on an enthusiastic stage presence. As the music changes, so does Irvin — from gently nodding to soft music to aggressively buzz-sawing his guitar as the pace quickens.

“I like trying to make them (the audience) feel happy,” Irvin says.

Blink 182 and NOFX are influences for Irvin. However, his association with A Little Less Dark has opened his mind to more post-rock bands.

Another notable influence would have to be his family. Irvin’s parents have always been supportive, whether he had a football or a guitar in his hand.

“He’s always been a good musician,” says his mother, Pam. “Sometimes we’d hear him practicing guitar until 2 in the morning.”

In his free time, Irvin enjoys football, video games and hanging out with friends. He also enjoys acoustic songwriting and playing bass guitar and the drums.

— Jacob Lasky

JOSH REGALADO

Bass guitarist Josh Regalado has his own unique sound and stage presence.

“When I play music, I want people to picture a story that ends well,” Regalado says.

He has always liked music, but what really sparked his interest was playing a video game — “Guitar Hero.” After playing for a while, he decided he wanted to become the real thing. He’s been playing bass guitar for four years and electric guitar for three.

Regalado lists his main influences as Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, but he also credits his bandmates, who also happen to be his best friends.

“He’s very talented,” says bandmate Andrew “Tod” Irvin, “and an all-around great friend.”

Outside A Little Less Dark, Regalado plays bass for a youth group every Wednesday at Life Springs Christian Church.

He says he is fortunate to have a caring, supportive family. Whenever there’s a gig, his parents are there to listen. His father has even driven his band to gigs in cities such as Los Angeles and Flagstaff, Ariz.

“We’re very proud (of Josh),” says his father, Juan.

— Jacob Lasky

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