In honor of IngenuityFest devoting an entire stage to DJ/electronic acts for the first time, I interviewed Brandon Zano of Ohio City Dead Birds about electronic music in Cleveland, using live instrumentation during their DJ sets, and performing at Ingenuity.
The full interview is available on the IngenuityFest website here.
INTERVIEW: Ohio City Dead Birds
With live drums, vocals, and regular use of stunning projections, Ohio City Dead Birds has garnered underground notoriety throughout Cleveland for rejecting the confines of traditional DJ sets and mastering the art of the visual. This year, Ohio City Dead Birds will join over 20 of the region’s most ground-breaking acts as IngenuityFest 2011 dedicates an entire stage to electronic musicians for the first time.
While Justin Nyilas and Brandon Zano are no strangers to the Cleveland electronic scene, the past year has seen the duo taking their experiments with live performance to new outlets. After two years of recording as This Is A Shakedown!, Nyilas and Zano shifted to a more electronic influenced focus with the debut of their collaboration Ohio City Dead Birds. The evolution from Shakedown’s electro-rock to Ohio City Dead Birds’ edgier projects was an instinctive one, as Zano explains, “We wanted to take it to the next level – bring a live element to our DJ sets and do things different.”
Zano had been DJing regularly but wanted to incorporate more into on-stage performances. “I still like DJing and do it often,” Zano says, “but I like to be innovative and bring new things to the table. It was a natural transition to bring live instrumentation and give people a new experience, the difference between just watching a DJ set.”
Ohio City Dead Birds’ style draws from diverse inspiration on both sides: while Zano describes himself as “more of an electronic guy” with remixes ranging from indie to classic artists, soul acts, and The Faint on his playlist, he says Nyilas has been moving away from some of their shared taste lately. The mix, he says, just further develops the influence on the band’s sound.
Outside of gigs with Ohio City Dead Birds, both play a key role in strengthening Cleveland’s electronic scene through Zano booking funk, soul, garage and EDM DJs as co-owner of Duck Island and Nyilas performing under his full name with the BLKOUT event circuit. Throughout the city, more audiences are embracing all forms of electronic music and Zano recognizes Ohio City Dead Birds are in the right place at the right time. “The style of music in itself has definitely become more popular,” he agrees.
On this year’s creation of IngenuityFest’s first all electronic stage Zano says, “It was really important to do that because this music is such a big part of the Cleveland music scene. Electronic music is making a huge comeback and we’re very excited to play again.”
Ohio City Dead Birds plays IngenuityFest 2011’s DJ stage this Saturday, September 17th at 9:30 p.m.