Gloomy electro-rock outfit Demographics will release their debut album “If Ever” this Friday at the Kitty Cat Klub.
What: Demographics album release with Grant Cutler and Gentle Lovers
Where: Kitty Cat Klub, 315 14th Ave. SE, Minneapolis
When: 8 p.m., Friday
Personality-wise, Gregory Reese and Casey Garvey couldn’t be more different. Reese is the earnest, mild-mannered rocker while Garvey carries himself with a kind of hard-edged sarcasm that cuts you off at the knees.
Together, the two make one-half of the local electro group Demographics. Formed a little more than a year ago, three-quarters of the band is comprised of members of Yer Cronies — the now-defunct garage rock quartet that disbanded nearly three years ago.
But listening to their forthcoming album “If Ever,” which is slated for a CD release that will coincide with a show at the Kitty Cat Klub this Friday, it sounds as if the band has traded in some of that grime and grit for something a little more polished and tame.
“With Yer Cronies, we would record as we were playing live. Then we would mix it in like one day. And this is the complete opposite,” Garvey said.
Recorded last June, “If Ever” is 40 minutes of sonic grandiosity that strikes a fine balance between lush electronica and gloomy pop rock. It’s dark but not brooding; polished but not dull; atmospheric but not melody-deprived.
There’s a digital component that plays a crucial role, but in regard to songwriting, Demographics has more to do with rock ‘n’ roll than electronica. It’s like if The National and My Morning Jacket holed up in a studio with nothing but a month’s supply of muscle relaxants and a million emotional hang ups to fuel them.
“We’re a little more aware about what we want this time. I think anybody who were fans of Yer Cronies and hears this would probably be happier with it. We spent so much more time, we learned a lot, we know how to write better,” Reese said. “And back then we were younger, and we just wanted to be loud and fast. We lost some of that youthful recklessness.”
Garvey and Reese partnered for the songwriting process, recording demos of songs and fine-tuning tracks as they went along before entering the studio last summer. Their drummer Ryan Mach also helped the two produce and engineer the record. It’s a level of creative control that, according to Reese, is essential to Demographics’ writing process.
“When you’re recording it yourself, you have instant feedback. It’s immediately accessible as a listener and a writer. I have to deal with it that way,” Reese said. “When I get songwriting ideas, it isn’t just subject matter or a riff. It’s textures and the vibe and everything that goes with that. So it’s natural for us to write that way.”
And personality isn’t the only area where Reese and Garvey differ. Listening to how polished and realized “If Ever” sounds, you could assume that the band members are nothing short of perfectionists. While this might be the case for Reese, Garvey says he couldn’t be anymore different. But once again, it’s that stark contrast that makes Demographics a successful endeavor.
“When it comes to music I’m not a perfectionist because you can beat something dead, and it’s not interesting anymore,” Reese said. “There’s a certain magic to stopping something and saying ‘it’s good enough.’”
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