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Isles: A Soundtrack of Pensacola

By Sarah McCartan

Meet Isles—the newest dreamy musical number in town. While the band possesses a certain laid-back demeanor and whimsical charm, get ready because this well-equipped quintet is rapidly and unexpectedly awakening a sound that is a far cry from what Pensacola is accustomed to hearing.

In just a matter of a few short months, Isles is already making waves, generating music that is proving to be an essential listen. The music serves as a soundtrack of sorts—capturing the sounds, the vibes and the nostalgia that is Pensacola.

Currently, Isles is introducing Pensacola to this music, one demo at a time, online through their Bandcamp page.

The initial three demos, each entitled something representative of a particular locale, collectively yield a beachy, light-hearted, airy feel and are maintained by plenty of synth, melodic vocals and even introduce the pan flute. With that, each track also has its own distinct characteristics. Upon first listening to their latest track “East Hill,” one will note that the track carries the same magnetism as the quaint neighborhood itself.

Along with dedicating time to their do-it-yourself recording sessions, Isles is bringing their sound to life on stage, having played several shows locally, as well as the recent Tour De Fun Festival in Tennessee. The next local opportunity to see them live is Wednesday, May 9, as they take the stage at Sluggo’s with Tennessee’s Blastoids and Hu G. Whales.

To fully capture the essence of Isles in both the present moment and as they gaze into the immediate future, the group answered a few questions for the IN.

IN: What is Isles all about? Did it begin with one person’s vision?
Isles: We (band members Tobi Echevarria and Brandon Warren) started off backing up “Kodak to Graph” (band member Mikey Maleki’s solo project), which led to us forming a new band, Isles. As far as what we’re about, it’s nice to be able to create new music with people you’ve never really played with before. Everything sounds fresh. And we have a lot of instruments and great studio gear to create with. This makes it super easy to come up with ideas and get them down immediately onto the computer.

IN: Is songwriting a collaborative effort for Isles?
Isles: Totally. We all throw around ideas until the music kind of becomes something we think sounds good, or catchy, or dreamy or whatever sound we’re looking for.

IN: Some bands do concept albums. You guys seem to have created a sort of conceptualized or themed band. Was this the intent from the beginning? How has this driven the sound of Isles?
Isles: Tobi came up with the name Isles. We live on the water – each one of us is like an island in the band – we try and create music that reflects where we live. Like bands from California, New York, Brazil, or wherever, we’re going for a “local” sound – and a little nostalgia at times, maybe.

IN: How does your live sound differ from the recordings?
Isles: Recordings are set in stone, parts played, etc. When we play live we change things slightly to make it challenging for us. But mostly they sound like the recordings. We also use the computer to play some of the recorded parts during our live shows.

IN: Can we expect a full-length album of any kind in the upcoming months, or additional demos in the meantime?
Isles: Whenever we have free time, we meet up and record. We are currently working on our first full-length release that will have eight songs. It should be done by mid-summer. We might post more songs, but we want to get the full album done, and get it out to people as soon as we can.

Whether intentional or not, Isles is without question positioning themselves to become not just a band you will want to hear more than once, but a band that you will not be able to stop listening to.

To stream the Isles demos, visit islesmusic.bandcamp.com

ISLES
WHAT: Isles with Blastoids and Hu G. Whales
WHEN: 10 p.m. Wednesday, May 9
WHERE: Sluggo’s, 101 S. Jefferson St.
COST: $5
DETAILS: 791-6501