Quick Chord: Reoccurring musicians form the genre-bending band Death Valley Dreams get ready to play River Street Jazz Cafe Jan. 16
Wilkes-Barre’s Nick Coyle and Jon Nova have already been part of successful musical acts; Coyle was a part of Lifer, an alternative band that released a self-titled full-length on Universal in 2001, while Nova performed in An Albatross, the hard-to-pigeonhole rock outfit that has played with bands like And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead and Enter Shikari.
The two friends briefly came together to form rock group The Drama Club, only to part ways and pursue other sonic endeavors. The longtime friends joined forces again in fall 2015 to form Death Valley Dreams.
“We’ve been in and out of bands doing different things but we’ve always been friends and we’ve worked well together,” Nova said. “We were both in situations that weren’t working out; we want to make music, not become rock stars. We just want to be in a band and make music that makes us feel good.”
Death Valley Dreams’ promotional materials refer to them as an “indie rock/new wave/neo-psychedelic/post-punk band,” and according to Nova, their influences range from classic rock legends Pink Floyd to death metal mainstays Cannibal Corpse. He said that in today’s musical landscape, musicians are given the creative freedom to make what they want to make and ignore conventional models for successful. On a local level, the two see cover bands as representing that conventional model for success.
“It’s better than flipping burgers, that’s for sure, but I think when you get caught in the covers game you lose a little bit,” Coyle said. “The money is enticing to go do that. It’s a hard road to be an original band.”
Coyle (guitar/keyboard/vocals) and Nova (also guitar/keyboard/vocals) rounded out their original band with Ryan Dougherty (bass/vocals) and Matt Rutkoski (drums/samples). Nova said their intent was to go into a room and jam, be honest and see how they feel about what comes out with them. This mindset led to their first release, a self-titled five song EP that’s hitting just months after the four-piece came together as a band. The EP will be released on Friday, Jan. 15, with an album release show at River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains Jan. 16.
“It’s really one of the only venues left,” Coyle said. “It’s geared towards music and the people who go there want to see live music, which is good for the area right now since there are so few places to play.”
Death Valley Dreams’ debut self-titled EP will be available digitally and through their website, deathvalleydreams.com, Jan. 15. The band’s Jan. 16 CD release show at River Street Jazz Cafe begins at 9 p.m. and will feature support from Moonbagg and Aaron Fink. Tickets for the 21-and-over show are $6 in advance and $8 at the door.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts