Deadstar Assembly Biography
Last updated: 12/05/2008 11:00:00 AM
Sunny South Florida has a dark side…Deadstar Assembly; a troupe of musical avant-gardes who float like demented seraphim and deliver a sinister sound that burns.
The bleak and barren landscape that is the modern music scene isn't news to
America's youth… it looks, sounds and smells like commercial accountability, and there are a growing number of alienated audiophiles that aren't buying into it. The industry has breast-fed a generation of entertainers so enthusiastically willing to sell themselves that any inkling of artistic integrity is muffled by the sound of their endorsements. Rap -metal suburban warriors, Gap-tastic cloud kissers, plastic pop divas, and costumed clowns… they make great marketing fodder, but seldom great songs. Everyone seems to be scrambling for a hook, and the hook never seems to be the music. Enter Deadstar Assembly.
DSA knows what they're not: the butterfly band that is born, lives, and dies within the confines of a record label's fiscal quarter. DSA knows what they are: a primal, soul-scorching nightmare machine built for speed, and possessing the sonic tools for staying power.
South Florida is notorious for its chaotic decadence, and nowhere more so than Miami's South Beach. Deadstar Assembly looked to South Beach as their empty-headed muse… late nights prowling its streets and clubs proved fertile ground for creative inspiration. Lead singer, Dearborn, recalls the band's formative days, "We would usually start early evening at the studio with some sort of chemically-driven creative session… Emerging from the studio late night into the heart of South beach was an experience. If it's even possible, think L.A. with less brains and more drugs. We would head to the 24 hr. Cuban diner, stepping over scene-zombies decked out in their latest SeanJohn gear, soaked in GHB vomit. The place is a strange kind of crazy…a tiny peninsula packed with psuedo-moviestars and wannabe rockstars…ultimately deadstars…whence the name…it just fit." Dearborn's unorthodox formula for the band: seek out a pioneering techno producer, collaborate on a rich 13 song demo, package the product professionally, assemble a band of like-minded pros to breathe life into the sound, release a track that would win immediate acceptance, and then promote. The return has been tremendous. DSA has garnered an enthusiastic and dedicated following of loyal fans and curiosity seekers, fueled, in large part, by the bands skewed version of the 80's hit "Send Me an Angel" receiving significant airplay in South Florida goth, metal and strip clubs, and a guerilla marketing campaign featuring highly visible print collateral and merchandise.
The summer of 2001 was DSA's Big Bang; it was when Dearborn and famed techno producer Luis Duran collided, forming a powerful creative synergy that would serve as the wellspring for the DSA sound. Duran was riding a buzz vibe that had seen his techno black magick spun on varied releases by artists ranging from Sandra Collins to Sasha and Digweed, to the Global Underground Series. He is no metal keysman or push-button sampler. His orchestrations are refined and sophisticated, sonic glimpses of something dark and transcendent, and add a deep, textured layer to the DSA sound that lifts it beyond passé Nu Metal chord-crushing and anemic Emo meanderings.
The summer of 2001 also marked the start of Dearborn's search for live musicians that would complement DSA's sound and attitude. Renowned industrial synth master, MUBO, formerly of the Basic Humans, had been high on Dearborn's list for months, but circumstances prevented any type of meeting. That summer, the planets aligned and the two converged. Dearborn says of MUBO, "He's amazing…the way he interacts with his keyboard -- it's violent, erotic. It's unfor-tunate that he wasn't in on the initial recording of the demo…he has added so much more to the songs." Realizing they shared a common creative vision, MUBO and Dearborn partnered to assemble the remaining pieces of DSA. Driving bass for DSA is The Dro, a 19 year-old Brazilian native with fallen-angel looks and devilish chops. At his first audition, he was immediately recognized as a kindred spirit and asked to join the DSA family. Jay added massive riffage which complemented Dearborn's guitar style. An old high school pal, he proved to be instrumental in transitioning the record from a polished studio effort to a massive live sound. Gary Norton, the latest addition to the band, is not your typical hard-rock drummer. His cool, Frankensteinian shell belies a hard-driving skin beater with subtle sophistication. He provides the percussive backbone that drives DSA, exhibiting a sensibility that lends much to their collective pulse. Dearborn's powerful and tortured vocals are the anchor that keeps the cacophonous DSA crew grounded. Equal parts undead troubadour and manic shaman, he is equally adept at bemoaning innocence lost and delivering raw, primal screams of self-actualization. In songs like "Normal" and "Just Like You", he creates a synapse-synch with youth lost in themselves, delivering an answer to misguided prayers, while songs like "Breathe For Me" appeal to deeper loss and self-loathing. The band's visual image is polished and pro, competing with or surpassing those of well-known national acts.
Dearborn brings the same creative passion to the band's brand as he does to the music. Every piece of marketing collateral passes through his hands and he has successfully managed to keep the DSA look unified and true to he and Duran's original vision. The DSA mark, a stylized pentagram and a tribute to the band's earlier influences, is becoming a badge of honor for local music aficionados.
For a growing legion of alienated youth looking for relief from commodified hipness, looking for a voice that won't be co-opted by Volkswagen, a teen-angst anthem that doesn't sell product, Deadstar Assembly is a twisted savior. They are an explosive exploration in aural alchemy; sonic salvation that is equal parts dark, metallic dissonance, early 80's synth-pop, crushing percussive rhythm, and trance-progressive techno bombast. A genre-bending juggernaut poised to be res-pected by disillusioned youth and emulated by future artists.