The Volt per Octaves’ Electric Family Feel
Plus, Cinder Well, Waterstrider, and Swinging Moods
On Thursday, October 24, the Santa Barbara analog synth husband/wife/daughter trio the Volt per Octaves will play a special show at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.), featuring the richly musical Money Mark of Beastie Boys fame as a guest musician. Expect all manner of sounds spacey and funky. Trout Club and Dolores Coy open at 8 p.m.
A rare gem of a Santa Barbaran act, the Volt per Octaves stand out for their devotion to analog synths. Forsaking laptop keypads for modular ivories and dropping out drum machines for acoustic drums, they bring a kind of live dynamism rare in our day of DAW-built electronica. Founding members Nick Montoya and Anna Rhoney met in high school in 1997 and gave birth to their daughter, Eva Montoya, in 1998; she started playing in the band around the age of 6. “It just seemed natural,” Nick said about how the family became a band.
In forming their sound, “we thought it would be more fun to bring these old machines out and make electronic music in a live setting, so that the audience could kind of humanize electronic music in their head,” Nick said. “It’s not just computers and machines; it’s musicians actually using their fingers, changing chords, changing the timbre of sound in real time.”
As the family grew, so did the band, with young Eva joining in not just onstage but at festivals like Moogfest. “From a very young age, I was up onstage. I sang, I played melodica, and I’m very grateful for it,” she said. Music would always be in her life. “In the best way possible, it almost felt unavoidable, or something that I kind of always knew was going to happen. It’s not just going out and performing that was so defining but going to festivals and getting to meet people. All of the really cool experiences I had as a kid — why not get to do that for the rest of my life?”
Now Eva has a project of her own in the intriguing dark downbeat of Dolores Coy, a duo with her boyfriend, Nick Oliveri. “I’m gaining some confidence in being the front person of the band. I’ve been playing with my parents for years; I look forward to growing as a musician and developing a stage presence,” she said. “Now for first time in my musical career, whether with parents or alone, it really feels like it’s going to go somewhere, and I’m excited and hopeful.”
“She’s following in our footsteps and carrying the torch,” Nick said. Things are coming full circle for the two bands, both formed by 20-year-old partners bonded by synth sounds. Be there Thursday and vibe out.
ALL’S WELL THAT’S CINDER WELL: Cinder Well, Waterstrider, and Philip Rogers will bring inventive folk and indie rock to Breakfast Culture Club (711 Chapala St.), beginning at 7 p.m. Cinder Well is the progressive folk project led by Amelia Baker, and her starkly strung songs are sinewed with fiddle drones and emotive power. Folk Radio U.K. listed last year’s The Unconscious Echo as one of their Best Folk Albums of 2018. Meanwhile, Nate Salman’s music project, Waterstrider, evokes the psychedelic indie rock of bands such as Tame Impala on the 2019 EP Way Out. S.B.’s Philip Rogers will kick off the night.
FOR THE RESTLESS AND BEAUTIFUL: Spencer and Todd’s Swingin’ Moods will lull you into a glamorous and bewitched mind-set at the Mercury Lounge (5871 Hollister Ave., Goleta) on Saturday, October 19, at 10 p.m. Billing themselves as “dangerous music for the restless and beautiful,” the self-described alt-schmaltz piano-vocal duo of Spencer Barnitz and Todd Capps will be a most fitting mixer for a mid-autumn night at the Merc. Formerly known as Spencer and Todd are Virgos, the two maintain their sun signs but swap it out for a moonlit mood. Perhaps some star-crossing may yet occur under such moody night skies.