Artist Spotlight: Cashfire Sunset, Dramatic Lovers

Dramatic Lovers.

Indie rock bands Cashfire Sunset and Dramatic Lovers each played powerhouse sets at the new Hacienda Beer Co. on the East Side Saturday night. Both bands dropped albums earlier this year and presented even more new material.

Cashfire Sunset consists of vocalist/guitarist Jason Todd, guitarist Sam Lozoff, bassist Raj’r Taim, and drummer Ray Chi. Their album “Get The Starts” dropped at the beginning of the summer – about a year after their self-titled debut. Taim describes the recording process of their recent release.

“The whole scenario (for the album) started in late summer last year; there were a few songs that got released out to the radio and did pretty well. It got us excited about wanting to record more, so come the first of the year we hit the studio and Jason just kept bringing songs. After a bit of getting it going we were writing two songs a night and putting them together, bringing chord changes and melodies…we’d flesh them out and record them the same night we’d put them together. That eventually became the album when we had enough material. There were a lot of B-sides being generated so we did a bunch of singles leading up to it. For me it was like a progression in the texture of the band from the first album stretching into the 60’s and 80’s stuff, and then this one gearing more towards a 90’s grunge style sound. As far as for me playing bass I upgraded my amplifier between the two sets of music and was recording differently with new gear. As a group we began to understand our sound in terms of rhythm structure and how we were gonna make the chord changes. It became really fluid.”

Once the album got done, the band did not stop.

“We just kept writing and recording more songs so we had five songs new tonight that weren’t on Get the Starts. Every time we play there’s a new couple songs usually that we just fleshed out and are adapting live. We’ve been keeping that creative process and when we get together weekly, that’s the fun of it. Having all this material really keeps us on the front edge so it’s nice to play that stuff out.”

Cashfire Sunset are readying new songs for another project, focusing on different melody structures and variations in singing. They play High Dive on October 2nd.

Dramatic Lovers consist of vocalist/guitarist BJ Seidel, guitarist Justin Klug, bassist Andy Menchal, drummer Aaron Vold, and keyboardist Dan Didier. They are a supergroup of sorts; members of the band have been in essential Milwaukee fixtures Decibully, Maritime, The Promise Ring, and Temper Temper. The band takes its name from a group of Italian WWI-era anarchists that hung out in the building that is now Cactus Club – where they did their first show (and also grew up going to together). Their debut album “You Talk Loud” came out this past May.

“We recorded the whole thing in our practice space with Jason Todd, the singer and songwriter from Cashfire Sunset,” Seidel said. “We’ve been working with him in different projects for a long time…in different coffee shops (laughs). We were getting together to batch out these songs and wanted another voice in it and he was our natural choice; he’s a great producer and he’s got an impeccable ear.”

“It started as a slow, calculated process but it was a lot of fun,” Menchal explained. “We all have lives and jobs and families so it was once or twice a week for about four or five months. It was nice to have someone like traditionally produce your band…like “here’s some demos, this is what that sounds like, this is what I think,” and collaborate with him. We trust him.”

“Jason had a lot of input,” Seidel added. “He definitely helped direct some of the sounds and was very influential. He mixed it as well, so his fingerprints are all over that record.”

The boys are bringing new songs to the table and hope to play out more.

“We’re just trying to be a better live band,” Seidel said. “We’ve all been in bands for so many years and it’s been awhile since we’ve gotten a good live band together that draws people in. We’re gonna be getting out here and giving it a good hustle.”

Dramatic Lovers play Bay View Bash this weekend. They played SXSW in 2018, and hope to return this coming year.

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