Artist of the day: The Dark Esquire
Brian Repetto has been a mainstay in the Tampa Bay music scene for the last 15 years. He was a founding member of the now defunct Dumbwaiters as well as the main creative force behind the ever-changing ensemble, which he describes as a “rambling, incomprehensible, shambolic pop travesty.” He was also a founding member of the experimental/electronic/imprompu noise project Insect Joy.
In January of 2007, he began the Dark Esquire as a studio-based project, initially approaching it “in the way a dance producer would, as opposed to four guys jamming.” Says Repetto: “I didn’t wanna start again and put together a new act; I wanted to challenge myself.”
Through this process, Repetto embraced long-standing influences such as David Bowie, Duran Duran, Visage and Japan, among other synth-pop outfits. He also drew inspiration from modern acts such as Glass Candy, LCD Soundsystem and Lindstrøm. “They’re all pulling ideas, sounds and references from the past musically and visually, and creating something exciting, new, and very distinct,” he said. “Not to mention that all three do so in totally divergent ways.”
In the studio, Repetto would conger key ideas and elements through sketches he recorded in layers on a 4-track tape recorder. He would then transfer his ideas using multi-track digital recording software, and expand and develop them further. The outcome is a gleaming synth-pop sound that, although has its toes dipped in many stylistic pools, is both unique and genuine. There are splashes of ’70s disco-synth strings, New Order-esque electronic drumming, and soundscapes resplendent of Giorgio Moroder’s work with Donna Summer and Blondie.
London record label thisisnotanexit was quick to pick up on the Dark Esquire after hearing a demo on MySpace. In January, they released the song Situation as a limited edition 12” single.
The Dark Esquire will be performing live for the first time Christmas night. Wanting to avoid “laptop karaoke,” Repetto has recruited some of his local musician friends to help bring the project to life: Chris Sturgeon of Flexxehawk on bass, keyboards, and vocals; and Mike Waxman of Zillionaire on guitar and vocals.
The impetus for this outing? Repetto wanted to give the Dark Esquire a test run to prepare for the future. He anticipates The Dark Esquire’s full-length debut album will be released this spring, and aspires to tour the United States and Europe shortly thereafter.
The Dark Esquire will perform at the New Granada Xmas Night Extravaganza, alongside Jarvik 7 and Red Room Cinema, at 9 p.m. Saturday at New World Brewery, 1313 Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $9. (813) 248-4969.
-- Aaron Lepley, tbt*