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The New Cool: Industrial Revelation Revs Up for 2018

Abe Beeson
Industrial Revelation show off their practice pad-itude.

Though each member of Industrial Revelation are in high demand these days, they always find time to get together to make music. As they prepared for their first headlining show at the Neptune Theatre last week, the band told me how excited they were to unleash new music in the new year.

I was graciously invited to catch the band after practice at trumpeter Ahamefule Oluo's home in South Seattle, and they treated me to a song from their performance of Bjork's album Homogenic at Seattle's Neptune Theatre. Then we sat and talked about their plans for 2018.

Industrial Revelation was formed by drummer D'Vonne Lewis about a dozen years ago with Oluo's trumpet, Evan Flory-Barnes on bass and Josh Rawlings at the keys.

They've all played in many bands of their own and with others, and they are happy to have Industrial Revelation as one of several ongoing projects. That said, Flory-Barnes says they're excited to spend "some very deliberate, focused time" creating a new album this year.

Lewis says that the band plays at least one gig a month to remind their fans and themselves that the band is still happening. It's addictive stuff for fan and musician alike. Oluo adds that "when we hit the bandstand, it feels better than it does when we're playing with other people, so... you know, keep going!"

Lewis says they have a few individual ideas for new I.R. songs, but they're trying to save them for their next recording sojourn. They'll hunker down in the same cabin on Hood Canal where they recorded their 2013 album Oak Head (Oluo has spent the last year updating a space there as his new recording studio).

Rawlings, who will have the shortest commute from his new home in Kingston, says the new project aims to be more "acoustic, less produced... a more original Industrial Revelation vibe."

The recent Bjork show served as inspiration for a new album this year. They're learning someone else's songs to help then write and record their own in a more collaborative way and "make more of a band album" where everyone has input. Oluo says that because "these aren't our songs... we can approach them in an ego-free way".

We also discussed the increasing popularity of instrumental music today, especially to a younger audience. Flory-Barnes says, "Nowadays, you just get hip to so many different artists on a Facebook feed... I think people's ears are bigger and there's more styles to access now. With our music: taking in so many different styles in one song, I think people are used to that because of the modern playlist culture."

Their next show in Seattle is another example of wildly diverse music, they'll open for the rocking ladies of local buzz-band Thunderpussy for New Years' Eve at the Showbox in Seattle. You'll hear a classic song from the Oak Head album on The New Cool this week.

As for whether they're a "jazz" band, they responded with a hearty "who cares?" and noted that the Spotify "Industrial Revelation Radio" station includes bands like the avant-pop Dirty Projectors, hip-hop-jazz outfit BadBadNotGood as well as jazz icon Charles Mingus. "I'm happy to say that's our music", says Oluo.

Industrial Revelation is an instrumental band (with occasional guest vocals) pointing to a new musical landscape with a young audience that's ready for a fresh, honest sound. "We're not catering to a pop aesthetic," says Oluo as we wrap up our talk. "We're just OF a pop aesthetic." With Industrial Revelation around, as far as I'm concerned, bring on the New Pop!

The New Cool airs Saturdays from 3 to 5p, hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.