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Walking The Trailer Down The Mountain: An Interview With Bryan Reyes of Silo Effect

Posted by: Necci – Mar 20, 2012

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Upon meeting Bryan Reyes, drummer for Silo Effect, the awkward grin and hello I dished out was countered warmly with a hug and smile. His talent for drums preceeded him and at the time I didn't know I'd be interviewing him, but the first impression was certainly disarming. After some word of mouth about the band, some brushing up on their youtube videos, and a quick peak at siloeffect.com, I took the opportunity to learn more about Bryan, the band, and where they see themselves as musicians in the future.

Bryan, Silo Effect has been together since 2007. How did you get involved with these guys, and what would you say has kept you together as musicians and friends?

A friend of mine, former VCU art student Chapin Mathews, was having some people over at his place in Oregon Hill after a show one night, and it was there that I first ran into Stevo (bass), another friend of Chapin's, and a music student from VCU. Soon after he introduced me to Matty (guitar), also in the Jazz program at VCU at the time. After hearing them jam with a few other kids, I decided it was entirely necessary to get my kit and join, and so I did. This resulted in a pretty quick decision to make it a regular routine. A couple years later we recruited my old friend Chenry (keys) to join the project, while our good pal Carlos, rhythm guitarist for SILO in the early stages of the band, parted ways to pursue other interests. This change in instrumentation has since added a whole new electronic dimension to our sound, but the original material written in the first years of formation is still alive and present in our current performances. [This] really gives us a lot of room for experimentation with style and arrangement, playing older tunes with various new approaches.

The foundation of SILO is still somewhat tied to Chapin, though. He, along with other close friends of the band, including our light designer, Alex and our manager, Caitlin, have deep roots in the project as well, whether it be creatively or just in that this has always been really more of a family than a group of working musicians. Our project's roots are here in Richmond, this is where we all grew up, and the uniqueness of this city has remained an integral part of our project. RVA has a resilient music & art scene, all-encompassing even, so being surrounded by people so moved by these art forms has served as major inspiration for us. Chapin is a featured live artist for the band, one of a select group of painters we have enlisted since the beginning to create inspired works, while we simultaneously create ours. Our live artists have been able to further their own careers as well through this collaborative platform, with one living in Sedona, AZ now, and another in Boulder CO. This collaborative creativity gives our music a higher purpose and deeper connection to each single performance and the close group of individuals who help make these events happen. From the beginning there has always been some kind of energy that we've been able to tap into, something far greater than ourselves, and I feel we perpetuate this light by really sticking to the heart of the group and always going about our music business as a team effort. This has really fueled our existence to this point. The biggest challenge has been harnessing that energy, giving it a clear direction with a conscious path while continuing to create fresh, innovative music.

At the very core of this band there is genuine love and appreciation for what we have created, unfailing support from within, and the realization that remaining true to our roots and those things we value about our music creatively is more meaningful than giving that feeling up, for any particular reason. I think it's kind of like this: when it comes down to it, we are not trying to make it, we are trying to change it. We don't want SILO to just take off, we want to really offer our listeners something they can connect to, and something that can inspire them; a community for our music.

Describe electronic space rock. What would you say, musically, or non-musically, inspires the Silo Effect sound?

That description really originates with our frustration in having to identify our sound so often for promotional or press purposes. Whenever you feature your music through public outlets like myspace or music hubs like reverbnation, they always ask you to select one or two genres that your band falls under. We have never found a truly fitting description among the standard choices, so we decided to invent our own genre: Electronic Space Rock. We are not really a rock n' roll band. However, we do entertain elements of rock music. But we also have elements of soul, and at times you can identify strong elements of downtempo, ambient, prog-rock, psychedelic, techno... the list could go on and on. Space rock would just be an edgier, wider form of rock, freedom for extreme improvisation, but still able to harness the rise and fall that a rock composition can allow, mixed with live electronics, midi bass, electronic drum kit, and a whole array of synths. We incorporate hints of dubstep, hip hop, & funk music as well, but all in all we are pretty focused on providing our audience with infectious dance grooves that can really travel through space and time.

We are inspired by many artists, including Lotus, Phish, Martin Sexton, String Cheese Incident, Tycho, STS9, Telefon Tel Aviv, Talking Heads, Mute Math, Bonobo, Flying Lotus, Explosions in the Sky, Papadosio, The Grateful Dead... And of course, this can be musically as well as in the basic approaches these artists take to marketing and sharing their music and the craft of live performance. The list really goes on and on, but those are a few to wrap your head around. Non-musically, we are inspired by the unknown limitless possibility, Zaxby's, Richmond, good beer & good vapes.

How do you want the audience to feel after seeing the band perform?

Inspired, free, vibrant--although there is a chance they could also be a little drunk,very sweaty, very tired... but all in all, those are good signs of a successful night out at a SILO show. We want our shows to really resonate with our audience, to be able to create a vibe that is so hard for them to leave. Something memorable, exciting, and in an environment where creative expression is in full force. The feeling that you get when you are watching your favorite musician(s) perform the most captivating song of the set, the one that peaks to the point of you forgetting there is still a world around you--that feeling is what drove all of us to pursue music in the first place. We all grew up heavily immersed in the live music culture, whether it was in the jam or indie music world or around different electronica scenes. There is a feeling you can get only from seeing live music, that is deep down in your chest, an overwhelming energy. We strive to create that type of experience for our own fans. That unified elation between the audience and the band that results from a really amazing show--that is what we hope we are able to share with our listeners.To us, that is the soul of music, and that is the mark we are trying to make on people.

What are the best/worst aspects of touring? Tell me a funny story from the road.

I love to tour, naturally, because it unifies everything I love to do: traveling to new places, meeting new people & learning about life in other parts of the U.S., the whole time playing live music with my homies as we try to share our story with the world. To me, touring is all I have ever wanted to do, and what makes me happiest about being a part of SILO. However, the road can get old real quick when you are stuck in a van with four other guys & everything wonderful and not so wonderful that comes along with it. We have an absurd sense of humor that certainly keeps things entertaining though.

The first time we rented a trailer, we got it stuck on the windiest mountain of a driveway that has ever lived, down in Asheville NC at a friend's house we were crashing at after a gig. We had literally just woken up, actually trying to hit the road early like good little musicians, and i guess when we parked it the night before, the actual conditions we were attempting to navigate were unclear when we decided to park in this spot. We ended up unhooking everything, and walking the trailer, which was full of gear and lights, down this mountain ourselves. How the thing was reassembled and not damaged is a mystery. We managed to make up some time on the road, and we were not late to our next destination, but it is definitely the last thing you want to deal with early in the morning after maybe 3 hours of sleep. Matty got mud all over him, but that was the worst of it, and looking back it was a good time. But those unexpected travel mishaps are common with touring. We learn to be resourceful, and pick up tips and tricks along the way to make things easier, though. One time Stevo got peed on. At a college gig, by your typical drunken frat douche of course. That was quite an evening. He's totally going to kill me for saying that.

What is the future of Silo Effect? And what is the future of Bryan Reyes?

We have independently operated the project since the start, but 2012 has marked the end of that approach by acquiring our new booking agent, J. Goldstein with Cumulus Artists based in Denver CO. [They are] now partners with In the Pocket Artists out of Oregon, who also represents some bands we love, including The Breakfast and Indobox. This gives our manager complete focus on the band, and leaves all booking efforts to the agent, which is a huge push forward for the project and gives us much more guidance and bigger opportunities in terms of touring nationally. We have been on the road each week since mid-February, performing in places like Baltimore, Asheville, NYC, Raleigh, Philly, VA Beach, and other regional stops in the NE and the SE. We have built some very fruitful relationships over the years in working with other musicians and playing many successful summer music festival sets, which has developed into a strong network for the Silo Effect, with continuous expansion the more we perform and the more we get on the road to visit new territories. 2012 will be our biggest year yet with this project, as we continue to expand our reach in working with new artists, and as we hit multiple festivals throughout the U.S. this summer. We also plan on releasing our first full-length album, a follow up to our Fall 2010 release of the EP Treehouse. This is something we are very excited about, and we have so much new music to share. It is going to be really nice to get that out to the world.

As for me, aside from growing with the band, I plan to start teaching drum lessons again in the near future. I'm going to be spending a lot of time writing some fresh drum parts so as to expand on our current catalog of music, but I have been spending a lot of time creating new electronic beats for future material as well. Of course I always find time to jam with other musicians in the area, whenever we are in RVA and I have some free time. We all have our own side projects that we like to focus on when there is individual time available, away from SILO; it definitely helps to bring fresh ideas to the table when members of our band get to jam with other artists. [It] helps us to gain some new inspiration and different perspectives in writing and when performing, by dabbling in different styles in working with other projects. Deriving our musical inspiration from all types of outlets is something that has always contributed to the very eclectic mix of forms and styles we have incorporated into our music over the years. I also really need to sort out all of [my] miscellaneous furniture items, and clean out the back room in my house.

By Rachel Braford

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