A Conversation with Dark Avenue

 Saul Treno: Dark Avenue 2020 was quite a year, wasn't it? 

DA Band – Well… it was a year for sure….

ST: Anything during this year that has particularly stood out to you as individuals and life, how about to the music industry and where you all fit in?

Barry Lorberbaum – wow, where to start? I had to close a small business that I was a silent partner in, which was a huge bummer, not being able to play shows has just been terrible, and seeing venues everywhere close is just heartbreaking. But on the other hand, there has been much more time to write songs… good lord I think we have 20+ for a follow-up album! It’s also given us time to work to really get to know our new partner The Label Group so we’re looking for brighter things to come. And our fans online response has been really great; it’s crazy how much that side of things has picked up.

Jeff Hathcock – Individually 2020 has been challenging for me health-wise. Between a lacerated ring finger, and a fractured foot, music had to be pushed aside for a bit. As for the industry, you’ve seen too many venues close, and people lose their livelihood

Mario Cadena – While there hasn’t been a lot of music released, it’s been nice to see artists adapt and continue to write and put out songs. Can’t wait to see & hear what next year looks & sounds like once the music starts releasing again.

Andrew Lewthwaite – what has stood out to me is all of the love and support fans have continued to show the music industry without the ability to attend live shows. It means so much to all of us!

Alan Sauls - We all know it's been a long and tough year, but we keep pushing forward. Writing new music and trying new things.

ST: How has the band managed to keep their sanity and passion going for music through everything going on?

Barry Lorberbaum – we’ve been writing a lot! It’s certainly been tough, but this crazy time has really brought out a lot of riffs and songs. We get together and jam as much as we can

Andrew Lewthwaite – just trying to stay busy and keep being productive during the downtime

Jeff Hathcock – music will always be a part of my life with or without a pandemic, if anything the desire to play and share is stronger now. Humans are social beings and we need each other big time

Mario Cadena – While it’s been difficult not being able to perform, the tranquility of the silence of the pandemic has given us a different perspective and more to write about

Alan Sauls - If anything that's what keeps us going, playing and write new music is a great way to step back and get out of what is going on in the world.

ST: Out of the songs released this year which song so far has been your favorite? Which do you see as representing the band's direction best?

Mario Cadena – definitely Break Down The Walls. There is a passion in the song that captures the evolving sound of the band and the direction Barry Lorberbaum – that’s tough, but I’m going to say, Mad Man, it’s just this intense rollercoaster ride of a song, and I think it is the classic sound that makes us Dark Avenue, but all of the songs on Reality show our constant forward motion as songwriters.

Jeff Hathcock – Mad Man is my favorite right now, and Don’t Hold On to me, best represents the direction…. But we write in the moment, so it can always change.

Andrew Lewthwaite – What If. Its shows a different side of Dark Avenue

Alan Sauls - I have 2 favorites: Don't Hold On and Break Down The Walls. What I love about this band is we write for ourselves and hope people love it.

ST: Thinking of playing live... Do you have a personal favorite track you like to play live? Is it different sounding from the studio, or do you all keep true to both sides?

Barry Lorberbaum – Mad Man or maybe Forget You. Mad Man is one of those ¾ songs that just has this supercharged energy to it. I work very, very hard at making the live performance sound as close as possible to the recording. That’s very important to me, but we may throw in a surprise curve ball sometimes.

Jeff Hathcock – Aftermath is my favorite live performance song. It’s in ¾ time and just rips from a drumming perspective. The energy on this track when we play it live is 100 times more in your face than the album.

Andrew Lewthwaite – Outside has always been my favorite. Live the song catches you right from the start, and it’s fun to play! We try to stay true to the album, but we may differ occasionally

Mario Cadena – We try to play the songs as close to the record as possible; give the people that consistency of sound. But when we play Mad Man, it could easily turn into a jam session.

Alan Sauls - My favorite song to play live is on the Illusions album called Last to Know, because I love the energy the crowd gives us back.

 ST: Talk to us about the recent release. The song auditorily seems to be very visual do you try to write to give fans the ability to see what you have written?.

Barry Lorberbaum – so as the producer on this track, it was one of the more challenging ones in the studio. Mario had this vision vocally, if you will, for the message and impact of the song, and at first it just wasn’t there, so we broke it down, and rebuilt the song until we felt it was where it needed to be to sound/feel right. That’s one of the cool things about Dark Avenue… a song isn’t done until it’s done. Just because we wrote it one way, once recorded, if it’s not where we think it should be, we’ll go back and rework it to get it where we think it needs to be.

Mario Cadena – this is a song that definitely needed a more “visual” and literal take/feel to it to send the right message. But typically when I write, I let the song dictate where to go, and I tailor the vocals to it

Jeff Hathcock – Collectively I feel we write music as fans of music, and we try to make every song relatable to the listener. So I can see the visual aspect of Break Down The Walls for sure.

Andrew Lewthwaite – we definitely try to provide a visual side to our music, as to take the audience on a journey.

Alan Sauls – it’s more that we write what we love and want to hear and hope the fans like it.

ST: Was there any band discussion before the song being recorded that you went through on how you all wanted to approach and produce your version?

Barry Lorberbaum – no, not really. All that happened for the most part once in the studio and once the first version was recorded, then more of the production ideas/direction came thru

Mario Cadena – We were changing things as we were recording the song. That’s what’s been different about this band, we don’t get married to ideas, and we try to give the song what it needs all the way up to the last take or cut.

Jeff Hathcock – I approach every album and song the same way: let’s record the drums with the right energy for the song, that way the guys can give their best performances while tracking

Alan Sauls - we always write together and bounce ideas off each other.

ST: What does Dark Avenue have on track for this New Year? And plans coming with a release, possible touring?

DA BAND – we are super happy to have released REALITY in 2020, and even though this year has been crazy, and we’ve been scattered due to lockdown, quarantines, illnesses, and injuries, we have still managed to write a lot of material for a follow-up album. So yes, that is definitely on the radar, and man do we want to play and tour! Let’s get stuff opened up!

ST: Sign us off this year with some of your reflective thoughts over 2020.

Barry Lorberbaum – support your local and small business and that goes for bands too! Many of your favorite and maybe newly discovered bands are small business and 2020 has been really hard on them, so support them with everything you can And that goes for your fellow man as well; this has been a tough year on everybody, it’s been stressful, and just plain weird, so if you see someone down in the dumps, say hello, brighten their day somehow… maybe play them some new music!

Jeff Hathcock – At the end of the day we are all accountable for ourselves, and to our families. Some people choose to live life every day regardless of the consequences and it shows. Others choose to play it safe and that’s ok too. Ultimately we need to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and socially around others. Wash your hands, use a condom, and always get a ride home!

Mario Cadena – 2020 has been a complete shit show that I’m hoping gives us a new perspective and respect for one another, and be grateful for what we have, and for what’s to come! When life gives you lemons, maybe grab some Tequila shots!

Andrew Lewthwaite – 2020 has been hard for performers but also gave time to reflect on where we are and what we want moving forward

Alan Sauls - It's been a long and tough year, just ready to start a new year with a new perspective

Dark Avenue is

Barry Lorberbaum guitars/keyboards/production

Mario Cadena – vocals

Andrew Lewthwaite – guitars

Jeff Hathcock – drums/percussion

Alan Sauls - bass/guitars