We’re really excited to be teaming up with the Make It Funky SF collective to put on a series of showcases in California highlighting local talent. Launching this Saturday, February 21st at El Rio in San Francisco, the first installment will feature experimental indie band Feed Me Jack and the folky, electronic vibes of Mosaics with support from acoustic soul duo, The Kakaroaches making for an eclectic mix of styles. As part of the series, we’ll be catching up with some of the performers to shed light on up ‘n coming musicians. RSVP at the link below.
The emergence of electronic music has created a fascinating rippling effect across genres as more and more artists find creative ways to combine musicianship with the seemingly limitless capabilities of modern studio technology. San Francisco band, Mosaics, have perhaps one of the most novel fusions we’ve heard yet using unconventional, percussive acoustic guitar to create samples that can be manipulated, arranged and layered with unique vocals into brooding, experimental compositions. Their debut LP, Of Colors, helps establish their forward-thinking sound proving refreshingly original without losing accessibility or catchiness. We had a chance to catch up with Mosaics band members Devon Kelts (guitar, vocals), Tyler Hill (production, keys), Grady Lee (vocals, guitar, bass) and Westin Joy (drum machine, bass) about their collective vision, musical influences and experiences as musicians in SF. Get to know Mosaics below and come out to see them this weekend at our first ever Music Ninja show in the Bay Area!
TMN: Can you tell us a bit about how you all first met?
Devon: Tyler and I went to Loyola Marymount down in Los Angeles to study music and composition. We were best friends from college and decided to move up to San Francisco to try to make it as musicians. We did a couple musical projects that were kind of just our own thing but we didn’t really put out anything. Mosaics was the final iteration of those projects where we felt like we had a sound that was something we could stand behind. We needed a passionate musician and strong vocalist to get our LP Of Colors finished so we brought on Grady. It ended up working out really well and he made some really strong contributions in helping us finish the record. Then we needed someone to help us play live—Wes and I were already friends and he was pretty excited about the opportunity so we brought him in. He already has experience with production and has similar musical tastes so it worked out quite nicely.
TMN: Your music falls at this really interesting intersection of folk/acoustic, experimental and electronic. Can you talk a bit about the vision behind Mosaics?
Tyler: I think that the vision essentially started with Devon and I painting sonic landscapes on the computer. We wanted to create a sound that could be considered pop but still is drawing all of this original material in from things we’ve created. When we did our first EP, we had a concept where all the songs heard were coming from the guitar. So, basically we made an album all from samples created from hitting the guitar for drums, creating pads out of the guitar using production techniques and obviously writing melodies with lyrics. Our goal is to make something that is very authentic and artistic, but can still have that pop catchiness and drive.
Devon: We wanted to unite things. Often times really unique ways of playing the acoustic guitar are kept in a purist category. Meaning that they just play the instrument and nothing else. It’s very seldom that you see people with unique approaches to acoustic guitar uniting with the world of electronic production. Our goal was to find a way to unite the two in a tasteful manner and maybe, in that unification, to create something that’s new and novel.