Dallas-based band Kyoto Lo-Fi brought its self-described “post-indie” sound Friday night for a set at Dan’s Silverleaf as a part of Thin Line Fest, Denton’s annual film, music and photography festival.
Kyoto Lo-Fi is comprised of lead singer Nico Caruso, drummer Nehuen Erazo, bassist Paul Arevalo and guitarist Gabriel Santana, who joke that their group is a “boyband with instruments,” though their musical influences include Death Grips, The Clash, Joy Division and OutKast.
We sat down with the band before its 9 p.m. set, which featured energetic drumming from Erazo, witty crowd interaction from Caruso, Santana playing guitar while standing on the bass drum and Arevalo serving as a steady backbone to the winding setlist of songs with his bass.
You play in Deep Ellum often and rehearse in Dallas. Are there any differences between the music scenes in Denton and Dallas?
“There’s a huge difference,” Caruso said. “In Denton, we try to go more for house shows. Dallas has house shows, but they are kind of here and there. It’s not a tight house show scene. People at house shows are there for the music.”
“In Dallas, it’s not so much about the music,” Erazo said. “Denton is more open-minded and welcoming. Deep Ellum has more of a bar crawl scene.”
What inspired the variety of sound your songs have?
“In the beginning, we were sort of hesitant to go certain directions with certain songs,” Caruso said. “We were like ‘Oh, this is too far from these other songs we have. It’s too drastic of a change.’ That kind of slowed us down [but] eventually we were like, ‘Screw that, we are just going to play whatever we want.’”
Does the band write lyrics together? What is the writing process?
“It’s primarily Nico on lyrics,” Erazo said. “You can ask him, ‘What does this song mean?’ and he will tell you to just read the lyrics. Which is one of the most noble things because it’s up to interpretation. It kind of keeps a secret.”
“There are songs that are a little more vague than others,” Caruso said. “We are recording this song right now [and] the lyrics are not that vague but they are not pop lyrics. It has more layers of depth to it.”
You’ve recorded an EP (2016’s “Black Rainbow”) and a single (2018’s “Godot”). Do you have a preference as far as recording or performing live?
“I used to hate the recording process [but] I’m starting to like it. Once you get all that aside of isolating your own sound, and then hearing it back, you push yourself to get to that point where it is perfect or at least the take [is],” Erazo said.
“It scrutinizes what you are doing live, so once you accomplish something in the studio, it kind of turns around live,” Santana said.
“Trying to put [a song] on a recording is like making a doodle into a real painting,” Erazo said.
“We feed off of each other in a way,” Caruso said. “You play live until you are exhausted, but actually going in and recording invigorates the feeling of playing live again because you are in a brand new setting. [When the recording is] mixed it, becomes a different kind of monster. Then we are like, ‘OK, we’re ready to take it on the road again.’”
You can find Kyoto-Lofi on Instagram @kyotolofi and their music is available on Spotify.
Featured Image: Kyoto Lo-Fi before they take the stage at Denton’s Thin Line Fest. Their set took place on Friday, April 12 at Dan’s Silver Leaf. Image by: Ashley Gallegos.