Sentries are a self-described grunge-gaze band. They compose soundscapes that are deafeningly loud and beautiful. This amalgamation can sway you just as easily as it can destroy your senses. The lineup is David Teten, guitar and vocals; Nate Murray, bass; and Daniel Williams, drums — three gentlemen who have been involved in myriad local bands, including Auto!Automatic!!, Guiltmaker and Euclid. Before their show at 9 p.m. Saturday at Fubar in St. Pete, they sat down with us to catch up in this Q&A, which has been edited for clarity.
How did the band originate?
Teten: It was probably 2008. ... We started as a side project — some fun, heavy stuff. Schedules got mixed up, and we were all very busy ... so it kind of took a back seat. We played a show in 2010. That was our first show, and we didn't play another show until recently.
You haven't played a show for six years, and you opened for Underoath. How did you pull that off?
Murray: All of us know each other from a bunch of different bands. We all came up from the same time frame, and they just happen to be in Underoath and go do awesome and big things. I work with a couple of dudes in Underoath. ... They wanted a hometown, punk, local show, so they sent us an invite, and we gladly accepted. It was our second show ever.
Teten: That was also my first show ever singing in front of people.
How did you prepare for that? Did you get in front of a mirror with a hairbrush and sing along to your favorite Queen albums?
Teten: Actually, kind of. I didn't start singing and playing until about three or four months ago. I pretty much played in front of a window and put the blinds half way down, so I could see my guitar but not my face, to learn how to play and sing. I practiced for three hours a day, everyday.
How did you get stuck with the job of singing?
Teten: Nobody else wanted to do it (laughs). So I was like, "Alright, I'll just do it. I'll try it, at least." If it was bad, I was gonna say, "Okay, this isn't for me," but this is our third show so far. I think I'm gonna keep stickin' with it. I'm just trying to be better at it.
Williams: If it wasn't clear, our first show was instrumental.
Most bands, dynamically, are usually either loud and fast or slow and quiet. You are loud and slow, which is an interesting dichotomy. Can you tell us a little about that?
Teten: We started out as a instrumental sludge band. Over time, the tuning of the guitar was not sustainable as far as writing material with it. We kept that aspect of it and tried a different tuning to make it prettier and added vocals. So that's where the heaviness is rooted.
Murray: We all love Torche, we all love Hum, we all love Failure, we all love Far. We're all born out of those influences and just enjoying it, not pretending it's anything new. At the same time, it's a little test of "Hey, how can we put a mild spin on it and smile? Can we play loud and slow and still smile?"
What is your writing process?
Teten: Usually, I'll come up with almost the whole thing, and the rest of it we just jam out at practice. I don't really write too much stuff from start to ending. We spontaneously come up with stuff. It's very much trial and error.
Williams: Dave will throw some air drumming out there.
Murray: It's just an amalgamation of all of us being in a lot of bands over time and not taking ourselves totally seriously. Obviously we're not, because we've just been practicing and enjoying ourselves for six years, and that's been the whole impetus. There really hasn't been a set goal. … We just riff off each other. Whenever all of our eyebrows raise, like, "Oooh, what is that?" we hold on to that.
Do you plan to release an album?
Williams: We recorded three songs a couple months ago at Rock Garden Recording. We're actually writing new stuff, so we need to get back in there.
Murray: No definite plans. In this current time, and day and age, if you have a couple of songs you're comfortable with, just put it out.
What does the future hold?
Murray: We've played two shows in six years, and we're about to play a third show. If we can keep this train going, we'll have five shows within 10 years. That would be fantastic.