Silhouette Rising Q&A
1. Introduce yourself with your name and what you do in the band.
My name is James DiNanno. I’m the last original member of Silhouette Rising after nine years. I play the drums and write the lyrics for the band.
2. For those who are unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe your sound?
It has changed so much over the years. I feel like we have finally found “our sound.” We are making music that all of us would want to listen to. That’s a really amazing feeling. We’re a pop rock band that likes to tell dramatic stories in our songs and add some strange elements. Describing a sound is a really difficult thing to do.
3. How did the band form?
When I was in high school a group of musicians who went to Wakefield High school (Wakefield is a suburb of Boston) reached out to me and we started jamming in the attic of my shed. For one reason or another members kept dropping out over the years and the line up shifted consistently over those years. Every member was a part of the correct steps and missteps that created the sound and line up that now is SR.
4. How has your fan base grown since you’ve first started out?
It’s been interesting. We’ve definitely gone through peaks and valleys. We started as a pretty thrashy, technical rock band. When we experimented with new sounds and had members come and go the fan base changed with it. The cool thing is over those years we’ve found some die hards that have enjoyed the whole journey with us. The other day a kid reached out to me about our Happiness II release who was at our first CD release show back in 2005. I thought that was so cool! Because we’ve really honed in on our sound over the last two years it’s been much more consistent. We are seeing a constant growth in the fan base. With “Criminal” the song we did with Jonny Craig, we’ve tapped into some international success. That’s been really exciting to see comments from the UK and Spain.
5. When starting the band, did you have a specific direction you wanted your music to go, and has it changed at all?
When we started most of the members were 15. Obviously we’ve matured a lot. Back then we wanted to be loud, technical, and strange. I think some of those aspects have stayed and just become more polished. Our current sound is definitely more reserved and polished. However, those strange elements and technical aspects still have their place. They add the edge to our hooky songs. I think that’s what keeps it interesting. I never forget where we came from.
6. Now “Happiness II” is the second part in this trilogy you guys have talked about. What made you want to write a trilogy?
I’ve been really inspired as a lyricist by bands like Thrice, Mae, and Saves the Day. When this line up formed I was going through some really shitty times. I realized music was my glue in life and that if anything would lead me to a state of happiness that was it. I wanted to take listeners on that personal journey with me. The songs are all about real shit. We’ve all learned so much more about ourselves along the way. If one kid comes up to me and says one of our songs helped them through a tough time, or was a soundtrack to a point in their life I will feel like my job is done. Music is the best form of deep communication. It’s such an amazing way to express the human experience. I want to give back the same way certain albums have helped me in life.
7. The song “Going, Gone” featured Howi from Ballyhoo! What was it like working with Howi and how did the song come about?
It was a dream come true working with Howi. Ballyhoo! has been a huge part to my pursuit of happiness. The positive vibes in their songs have taught me a lot. To collaborate with such a brilliant musician is a huge honor. Howi immediately identified with “Going, Gone.” He added so much to the tune in terms of vocal hooks and telling the story. Cam wrote most of that song. We are all really proud of how it came out.
Ill let the song speak for itself, but Cam and Howi really captured that feeling of empowerment when you realize you can leave a relationship that’s bringing you down. It’s that point where you can see that walking away is okay and you will come back 10 times stronger.
8. As far as warm ups go, what helps you best before you take the stage?
Lots of alcohol. Haha. I used to do about an hour of warm ups. This sounds bad but I think sometimes that made me over analyze things. It’s more of a mental state that I need to focus on. I spend most of my time making sure the kit is just right. Little adjustments on where the snare is in relation to the hi hat, how high up my seat is make a huge difference. Cam does about 20 minutes of vocal warm ups. I think the biggest thing is hanging before a show as a band. Just getting each other excited and creating a vibe between members. We play best when we stop giving a shit about what the turn out is. First, we focus on each other. Once we catch a vibe as a band we translate that energy to the audience.
9. What was your mindset going into the creation of “Happiness II?”
Happiness I was a big question. It was one of those “what do I do now” albums. Happiness II is an aggressive and satirical album. It’s addressing all the demons I have in me in a brutally honest way. Before you can be happy you need to accept your short comings. Cam is at his finest on this album. He has so much soul and aggression in his vocals. Band member or not, it’s one of my favorite vocal performances on any album. Cam created a character for each song. Sometimes he’d get in these really dark states in the studio before tracking. It was definitely very cathartic for him.
10. What was the most difficult song to write on “Happiness II?”
Going, Gone. For whatever reason that song took the longest to come together. Sometimes the songs just write themselves. We almost dropped the tune at one point because it wasn’t vibing in the room the way Cam demo’d the track. Howi was a saving grace.
11. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. I hope everyone will take a few minutes to listen. We want this to be an interactive experience. We want to create relationships with all of our fans. We’re just a bunch of really normal dudes who love the power of music and want so badly to be a part of the wonderful music community out there.