Garo Gallo and his band, Dooms de Pop, have been inextricably tied with local subcultural and artistic goings-on for the better part of a decade. In April 2009, Gallo founded the Bubble (the Independent Working Artist Network Concept Facility) with his love and creative partner, Yvonne Colón, in a Fort Lauderdale warehouse. Since then, the space has blossomed into a veritable salon, allowing underrepresented artists a gallery, music venue, and hangout space in which to flourish and build a connection to the tricounty network.
Dooms de Pop itself has gone through a new period of flourishing, leading to what Gallo says he wanted the band to be all along: an outfit that teeters somewhere between power pop and prog rock. With Gallo on guitar and vocals, Darryl Bonebrake on drums, and Brady Newbill on bass and backup vocals, each jam session or roof-blasting show flows energetically and seamlessly. The band's camaraderie and excitement are both at all-time highs with an energetic, danceable, punk-infused release, Ticker, slated for digital release very soon and physical release before fall. New Times spoke to Gallo about Dooms de Pop's evolution and the ways in which it might parallel the local art scene's own revolution.
New Times: How would you describe the local artist community?
Garo Gallo: There really is no South Florida sound or style. There are lots of incredible artists here — a rarely recognized anomaly — and a notable amount of them are successful. The cultural activity here has at times rivaled the likes of '90s Seattle or Berkeley's Gilman Street or any-era New York noise scene. And I'm just touching on predominantly punk rock and avant-garde themes. The only problem is that the scene peaks and valleys, for whatever reason, rather unpredictably.
Dooms de Pop has come a long way since it got its start. How did you get going as a band, and how have things changed in terms of lineup and process?
Back in 2001, I had these songs left over from and inspired by creatively prolific and perspective-changing yet ill-fated musical situations. I needed to call this clutch of songs something. Dooms de Pop was born after recording a two-song demo — me on guitar, bass, and vocals and legend Shay Eichen on drums and attitude. When it comes to the lineup, it has taken awhile to find people with the right balance of talent, enthusiasm, availability, dedication, and ability to ignore the overwhelming odds against having a career playing in a band. I won't play with people who don't add to the project creatively, so I'm beyond thrilled about powerhouses Darryl Bonebrake and Brady Newbill accepting my proposal. The one thing that's never changed is the process. Some songs come in a hurry all at once; some I circle for months or years.
You have a pretty different sound compared to the one you had a few years ago. Did the new lineup help foster these changes, or were you kind of looking for a new change in sound anyway?
The sound has always been kind of eclectic. I'm influenced by so many different kinds of music, so I decided in the beginning to never pigeonhole myself into a style. Before, we had so many different lineup changes and were still trying to stay relevant and get shows. Some of the shows we even played may not have even been a good idea because we weren't ready and I was just anxious. Often, I didn't want to be crazy and tell somebody not to play something and just accepted it, because I wanted them to play their part and not change it. I've always had this camaraderie thing where I want to like what the other people are playing. But finally, everyone is on the same page technically. We can go more places easily.
Yeah, so even though the band itself has always been eclectic, you think a lot of the new focus comes from your ability to work with each other a little better?
Right. There was no real definitive moment where we decided, "Oh, we're gonna change the sound." The sound kind of started to stick together correctly.
So it's what you were always searching for, but maybe you didn't realize it at the time.
Yeah. The conflict of this band has been going in two different directions simultaneously: being more accessible and experimental. I love Weezer and bands like that, but I also love Mission of Burma and the Mars Volta. So while our music is experimental in time signatures and maybe chord progressions, I still want it to feel nostalgic.
Is making the music more accessible a goal of yours?
I guess accessible is the wrong word. I'm just paying homage to the pop bands that I've loved my whole life and trying to re-create that feeling of comfort and nostalgia. But as soon as you get as comfortable as you're going to be, I like to take a left turn and take you somewhere you didn't expect and make that comfortable too.