In the opening minute of their title track “Hot City” you get a good feel for what Festizio’s music really is. The initial crescendo of electronica draws you in before giving way to accompanying guitar riffs. The synth element in the music is always there to compliment, but never totally overtake, as it often does with the growing number of bands now incorporating a more electronic element to their sound. After getting the chance to interview Keane Li, the lead singer and guitarist of Festizio, I realized that the reserved, yet effective balance I heard on the CD is part of what makes Festizio who they are. His attitude seemed to confirm the same calculated, yet melodic vibe the CD projects.
“When it comes down to it, we’re a pretty tame rock band according to the traditional image of rock musicians.” Li says. “We all have professions and we’re all down-to-earth. We’ve never fought and we work (thankfully) well together. We love music and work hard at creating something beautiful to share with others.”
According to Li, the band has plenty of the influences you might expect. Muse popped into my mind early while listening to “Hot City,” and Li confirmed as much, along with mentioning bands like Radiohead and Massive Attack. But they also draw inspiration from a wide array of old and new alternative bands, as well as modern hip-hop. They have a varied appreciation that is indicative of a band that genuinely enjoys and studies the chosen medium for their art.
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When asked why he was drawn to music over poetry or other art forms, Li says “Music envelops you, surrounds you in a way that other forms of art can’t necessarily do. It’s like having a soundtrack for your life.”
If that’s Li’s goal, “Hot City” seems like something he and fellow band members Ryan Scott and Nicholas Mitrousis can be proud of.
It’s a goal that they make great strides in achieving by allowing the lyrics to do much of the work. With Festizio, you’re not likely to spend too much time thinking, “what did those guys just say?” If anything, they enunciate too well. While it might detract from the rock of their music, it lets the sometimes poetic nature of the lyrics shine.
They are lyrics that portray an image of love and loss with a uniquely San Francisco backdrop.
However, ultimately, Li seems to illuminate the band’s goal best when he says “It’s really all about the experience of listening, I think, and we want to make it meaningful for people.”
He manages to sum up the noble aspiration of a multitude of aspiring artists. And with the release of “Hot City,” Festizio is that much closer.
“Hot City” Release Date: January 12, 2011