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avatar for The Black And The White

The Black And The White

When it comes to his band’s music, Julio Tavarez has a widescreen vision. “I want to be able to do everything at the same time,” says the singer and frontman of scorching electro-pop trio The Black and The White. “ I want to make three-dimensional music. Music that goes around your head and you can’t pinpoint what it is. I just want it to be fresh.”

The LA-based multi-instrumentalist, along with drummer and longtime friend-bandmate Cliff Sarcona formed The Black and the White shortly after moving West from their native New York. Now they’ve never felt more free and unrestricted in his pursuit of artistic excellence. “There were no boundaries anymore,” Tavarez offers of the eye-opening excavation that went into melding electronic soundscapes with traditional instrumentation during the initial writing sessions for the Black and the White’s 2013 debut Futures EP. “Once we started playing around with synthesizers and drum machines my whole brain exploded,” he says. “Everything is the opposite of what I’ve done before. What turns me on is not really knowing.”

Childhood friends since age 14, Tavarez and Sarcona had previously been in the world-touring rock outfit As Tall As Lions. A change though was nothing if not a matter of necessity. “The band was doing well, but it doesn’t matter if you’re not happy,” Tavarez explains of Lions’ ultimate dissolution. To that end, Tavarez’s subsequent writing sessions with longtime collaborator Justin Kaupp, for what he first envisioned as a solo project, began to slowly pay dividends. (“After a while the songs started to have a common thread. It all started to make sense”). The musician quickly enlisted Sarcona, and later bassist Mario Gonzalez, to flesh out his cohesive vision.

“We’ve always dreamed of being able to do whatever we want,” Tavarez says, speaking to The Black and the White’s reputation as a no-holds-barred lightning bolt of a live act. “Now we just go onstage and do whatever we want to do. I don’t answer to anybody anymore. And that’s a great freedom to have. I want to do it our way. I want to bring an element of realness. I just want to be able to let everyone know it’s OK to take a chance and be whoever you want to be. That’s really important.”

Such a lack of inhibition expresses itself most prominently via the band’s bold new music: a collage of funky, head-tripping melodies, dripping riffs and slinky vocals. “I Want You Back” rides an Eighties-synth crest exploding into a scouring, Prince-like hook; “Slumber,” a slow-riding anthem, stutter-steps in time with backing choirboy harmonies and tomahawk drums. And there’s “Torn Up”, the band’s hard-charging new single, already prominently featured on KROQ and ALT-987. The cut is already making major waves with audiences. Ask Tavarez about the track’s origin story and he can’t help but laugh.

“That song was torturous,” he admits of the sugary, infectious, synth-drenched pop-leaning single. “It took a really long time. You listen to it now and it’s all tightened up and it sounds simple and direct. But it was a fight to the end.”

In fact, Tavarez is forthright in his assertion that the band’s music borrows a great deal from the world of pop. And he’s perfectly fine with all that comes with the territory. After all, this is a man who says he enjoys and greatly admires the work of the likes of Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande. “I’m not afraid of the word pop at all,” he says with earnestness. “I feel much more comfortable calling us a pop band than a rock band.”

It’s onstage however where The Black and the White, who recently toured with Cage The Elephant, truly let go. “When we get onstage we’re going to put on our stage clothes and we’re going to take it as far as we can,” Tavarez says.

“I believe in the shock value of rock n’ roll music,” he continues. “We play harder and we play faster.” Yes, it’s essential to the band they give the audience a true, all-encompassing experience.

“I can’t stand seeing bands just standing there,” the singer says. “I don’t like seeing bands where you can’t tell the difference between the guitar tech and the lead singer. I believe in putting on a show. Our show is engaging. I want to bring a very primal aspect.”

The Black and The White are moving forward at full speed, and Tavarez has his eyes on the prize. “As long as we stay true to what we want to do and are willing to fight for it I think good things will come,” he says. “The more honest you are and when you can send that vibe out into the world, there’s always great rewards.”

My Bands Sessions

Wednesday, March 18

8:00pm CDT

The Black And The White Buffalo BilliardsThe Black And The White

Thursday, March 19

12:30pm CDT

10:15pm CDT

Friday, March 20

5:00pm CDT