Although firmly rooted in the progressive rock genre, the new DBS album “GIANTS” ventures into more rock-oriented material.
Says guitarist Sepand Samzadeh, “’GIANTS’ really brings the band through areas that we have not ventured before. Billy took more of a producer role, Oscar and I lean back a bit and absorb the ride from the master… As a revision, I felt our debut album was instrumental, cinematic, atmospheric and experimental. The sophomore album had both vocals and instrumental pieces. There are hardly any instrumental or atmospheric pieces in ‘GIANTS,’ yet there are a great deal more solos and faster solos, more aggressive changes, it has a live jam band vibe and sonically it is unabashed and raw. It is designed to sound as us as a band, stripped to four players.”
Says Sherwood, “I love the creativity of Sepand and Oscar. The new record speaks to that spirit of imagination they both share. I’m honored to be a part of it and explore new musical horizons with them and I’m very proud of the new record we’ve made… Days Between Stations is a musical force to be reckoned with indeed. I’m very excited for people to hear this new record… We worked very hard to push our own envelopes and try to come up with something very unique and adventurous!”
Founded in 2003 by guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboardist Oscar Fuentes, the duo named themselves after the cult novel by Steve Erickson and have devoted themselves to, as they say, Art Rock and Post Prog – music that reflects their varied influences, as well as shared disregard for stylistic boundaries.
The genesis of Days Between Stations new album “GIANTS” came about when, “My father passed away shortly after we released the last album, ‘In Extremis,’” Oscar explains. “He suffered from Alzheimer’s. Around that time, I wrote a piece of music and put some words to it. It was called ‘Giant’ and the visual inspiration for the lyrics came from me picturing a young boy looking up at his father. I clearly remember looking up at my dad as a young kid…literally looking up at him, as he was a tall man, but also for me my father and my mother were like giants, figuratively, and even all those years later there was a sense of ‘how can the world keep going on, without them?’ They had held up the sky, after all. At least it seems that way, I’m sure, to many young kids all over the world. So the lyric dealt with this young boy sort of dealing with seeing this ‘giant’ falter: to see him lose his memories, to disease; to see him lose his wife. And to realize that, at some point, the boy is now the same height as the father, the ‘giant.’”
Sepand adds, “We left the concept loose enough in order to have some wonderful collaboration again. Oscar and I were excited to approach Paul Whitehead to discuss the conceptual design. Paul took the idea and drew a proof, which was what you see on the final cover design. I remember that I took Paul’s proof and made a large copy of it, shortly after, when we began recording – Billy Sherwood, Oscar and I – inspired by Paul’s painting, used the paintings images and philosophy and developed songs and lyrics. Once we were done and needed more material, we met with Paul and hoped to inspire him with our sonic development. We would go back and forth several times inspiring one another and until the completion of the music and cover art.”
So what are the Giants?
You can find Greek Mythological figures such as Sisyphus, whom inspired the song “Another Day.” Perception plays such a deafening role in our lives, in how we live, how we feel, how we see, think, and react and so on. Sisyphus was condemned for eternity by Zeus. He had to roll a giant boulder up a steep hill and before reaching the top, Zeus would enchant the stone to roll back down. If we look at this philosophically, Sisyphus, has really two options, be miserable for eternity or really enjoy the labor of love of rolling the rock up the hill, then watching it roll back down.
Besides Sisyphus, you can spot Atlas in the upper right corner who was condemned to hold the sky. Yet in the cover art one can see, with an all-knowing seer in the facade, which the sky and horizon is peeling off, all while Atlas is holding the peeled image while he is sinking. This was used as a lyric, also that is how Oscar felt about the demise of his father’s image as a Giant and his health sinking him to the ground.
Oscar explains, “I hesitate to explain the ‘plot’ too much, but I think you could say that a pretty epic story is told here. Between the lyrics and Paul’s artwork and of course what the music conveys, I think a pretty complete picture is painted.”
This time around Billy Sherwood sat in the produce chair, and helped the band write and arrange the songs and lyrics. He even wrote a song for the album titled “The Common Thread.” Sepand recalls, “I love how Billy captured us. Some of our final takes Billy captured, were us rehearsing parts while the tracks were armed or at most when playing a first or second take. It is pure, instinctual and unabashed playing with minimal post production effects. It’s raw. I think we have our bearing and confidence now to stand on our legs.” Oscar adds, “I would say Billy was a lot more involved with the writing of this album, in general. He really brought a different type of energy to DBS, a more rock and roll energy.”
Sepand continues, “With ‘In Extremis’ we had the honor of playing with some of our icons, this time we kept it local with one exception. So Billy, whom we consider the third station, re-joined us. He recorded drums, vocals and bass. Durga McBroom who recorded her vocals on ‘Witness the End of the World,’ and of course – our cousin across the pond – Colin Moulding can be heard on ‘Goes by Gravity.’”
Says Colin Moulding, “I was contacted by Billy Sherwood to sing on this track ‘Goes by Gravity.’ And because I was given a free reign, I re-wrote the lyrics somewhat to make the track more pointed…I think it turned out good in the end.” Durga adds, “Working on this project has been amazing. From Lebanon to the San Fernando Valley, we mixed our essences together. DBS’s magical music, Billy’s meticulous production, and my humble vocal offerings make a heady combo. I had a blast!”
In closing Sepand has this to impart, “Currently, we just finished scoring for a short film. We are working on composing a score for another documentary with director Alexandre Dorriz which focuses on the work of French photographer Jean Paul Bourdier. Also, I am very excited to begin work on the fourth album, as well as perhaps some solo work.”
- Spark (16:53)
- Witness the End of the World (featuring Durga McBroom) (3:57)
- Another Day (9:38)
- Goes by Gravity (featuring Colin Moulding) (4:51)
- Giants (12:58)
- The Gathering (4:07)
- The Common Thread (7:46)
Days Between Stations
Oscar Fuentes-Bills: keyboards
Sepand Samzadeh: guitars
Billy Sherwood: lead & backing vocals, bass, drums
Durga McBroom: lead vocals “Witness the End of the World”
Colin Moulding: lead vocals “Goes by Gravity”
Inid Abiza: backing vocals “Spark”
Produced by Days Between Stations and Billy Sherwood
Cover painting by Paul Whitehead
Album package by Erik Nielsen
Band photos by Alex Dorriz & Erik Nielsen
Music & Lyrics written by Oscar Fuentes-Bills, Sepand Samzadeh, & Billy Sherwood, except “Goes by Gravity”, lyrics written by Oscar Fuentes-Bills, Sepand Samzadeh, Billy Sherwood, and Colin Moulding.