Thursday, March 21

L.A. bands cross genres, cross boundaries


The Divine and Wicker, playing at the Roxy Theatre on Friday, merge a range of different styles to produce their own brands of music

For Los Angeles bands such as The Divine, the city’s varied music scene presents both an opportunity and a daunting challenge.

On Friday, The Divine will take the stage at the Roxy Theatre, the final band among five to play to a hometown crowd.

“Our management wants us to break L.A. first,” said Shane Gelinas, singer and guitarist of The Divine. “If you can break Los Angeles, you can do it anywhere else.”

The Los Angeles-based duo has toured widely in California, but after a year and a half together, the genre-blending pop group continues to focus on their hometown.

The Divine will perform at the Roxy Theatre with fellow L.A. bands Wicker, Assemble The Skyline, The Third Rail, and The City and The Sea.

The groups on the bill cover a wide range of styles, including metal, hip-hop and electronic music.

Los Angeles isn’t the easiest place for a band, as Wicker vocalist Max Nash asserts, but the band has found some success here.

“We have a steady income, which is hard to come by, especially as a band in Los Angeles,” Nash said. “We’re starving, but not starving to death.”

Wicker, whose songs have been included on MTV’s “Real World” and in a film presented at Sundance Festival, has found this success by creating music that is influenced by many different genres. They have self-coined their particular style “electro indie hop.”

Nash explained that the band’s name, Wicker, reflects the nature of the music.

“Every genre we like is intertwined,” Nash said.

Wicker has toured in California and Arizona the last two years, and in 2009 it released an EP, “The Leak.” Members of the band are hoping to increase their profile by spending more than half of 2010 on tour.

“We have to get on tour, make some money and climb a little higher with our songs,” Wicker drummer Tyler Stone said.

Like Wicker, The Divine’s music also aims to defy categorization, according to Gelinas.

The band’s genesis came when two self-confessed rock ‘n’ roll kids, Gelinas and rapper and drummer Jason Byrnes, decided to explore and incorporate different genres.

“We were messing around, and we realized we wanted do more R&B and pop stuff,” Gelinas said. “Jason was playing the drums at the time, and we decided to have him rap, and it turned out he could rap pretty decently.”

The Divine is in the studio now, recording a follow-up to its EP “Til’ I Die.”

“I do a hip-hop electronic take on (rock’n’roll),” Gelinas said. “Jason is into heavier hip-hop. We brought those two styles together. Our next EP sounds way different and more mature sounding.”

The Divine has played at several L.A. venues, and for them, putting on a quality live show is especially important.

Gelinas was especially influenced by Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveShow, and the band is hoping to add more live musicians to its show in the future.

“We have a DJ, we have a live drummer,” Gelinas said. “We’re trying to make it more like an art. We want to put on a full, really entertaining show, ­not just playing the songs.”

For Friday’s show, Wicker will shoot a live music video for its song “People Going Crazy.”

The Roxy is one of Nash’s favorite venues.

“It’s a bigger venue, but it’s still kind of cozy,” Nash said. “The sound is great, and there’s the … curtain. It builds the suspense so much. When the curtains open up, it’s like … here we go.”

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