For more than a decade, Deconbrio has been the industrial rock act of Danny Rendo, and though during that time, the project has had bases on both the East and West coasts, it has only really taken shape upon Rendo’s move to Knoxville.
Rendo began the act as a studio project during his high school days in Southern Florida before moving to San Francisco. Between his first two hubs, Rendo performed only a handful of shows before a fateful online meeting with Ashley Fantastic. The correspondence between Rendo and Fantastic ultimately landed Rendo, and therefore Deconbrio, in the Knoxville area, where the band has since fleshed out with an active four-person roster.
“I met Danny online, and we’d been friends for about a year and video chatted all the time,” recalls Fantastic (keys). “When I found out he was struggling to keep his bills paid and couldn’t find a better situation out in San Fran, I offered to move him here. He was hesitant at first, but he decided to come out and visit. We really hit it off, and within a couple months he had moved here.”
“Our relationship has been the best thing to happen to the band,” adds Rendo. “We wouldn’t be anywhere near the level we are right now if it wasn’t for Ashley. She does a huge portion of the booking, promoting, networking and getting stuff done. When we couldn’t find a keys player, she picked up the keys, and learned how to play them. She’s behind me 110 percent.”
With other like-minded musicians Richie Brannon (guitar) and Ryan McHan (bass) signing on, Deconbrio’s live set has taken off. Though the band books frequent performances, it struggled to find its niche early on. Without a large wellspring of electronic or industrial rock outfits in Knoxville, Deconbrio found itself a challenging fit for most venues and bills before making the necessary acquaintances.
“We’ve been playing in Knoxville for about a year,” Fantastic says. “The Knoxville scene has had its ups and downs for us. There is no one performing in Knoxville with a sound like ours. There’s a few bands that are close but not quite, and they are struggling just as much as us to get a foothold. In the beginning, we couldn’t find anyone willing to give us a chance, venues or other bands. At first, it seemed like everything was split into country, Southern rock or metal. Then we found a little electronic pocket of musicians, but it was more eclectic and not really rock, so we didn’t really fit there either. ... We kind of just had to bounce around and play wherever we got a chance until we made our mark. I just don’t think people knew what to expect from us. It’s a lot different now. We’ve got a lot of support in the scene.”
This year Deconbrio released its first music video for the single “Scream” in promotion with the physical release of its “Voyeur” album in February, which was released in mp3 format a year prior. While Rendo admits his writing has slowed down since moving to Knoxville, presumably due his focus on the live set, the act is presently at work on two EP projects and some remixing. Where in the past, Deconbrio’s songwriting has been fueled creatively by Rendo alone, future material stands to receive more collaborative input from the entire ensemble. This collaboration will likely hit full swing upon rounding out the lineup, which presently performs without a live drummer.
“We currently are working on two EP projects and a couple of remixes and collaborations with other artists in meantime,” Rendo explains. “The main difference with this is that I’m finally opening up and letting other people be involved in the core creative process.
“Currently we are playing without a drummer,” continues Rendo of Deconbrio’s live offerings. “At first we were a little nervous about it, but it’s never been a problem. We’ve played a few shows that our previous drummer hadn’t been able to play with the drums on the tracks, and it had turned out fine. So, when things didn’t work out with him, we went back to putting them on the backing tracks. Some people are a bit confused, but we’ve never heard any complaints about it. We’ve opened up for nationally touring bands, Ego Likeness and (HED) PE without a drummer, and both shows were extremely successful. It’s something that’s common in the industrial scene, but in Knoxville it’s unheard of. ... In any case, we’re moving forward, but we’re keeping our eye out for the right drummer and not just any drummer.”
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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