When it comes to his music, musician Julian Cires has some serious gravitas. Some would call it gusto or, even more bluntly, "big balls." Why, you may ask? Not many artists could trudge along with their vision of a band after enduring three complete lineup changes. And fewer still could continue with their aim to release an album after switching producer after producer -- one of whom lost part of said album on his hard drive.
Most would catch a case of the "fuck-its" and hang up their hats. But that's just not in 27-year-old whiz Cires' nature. Like gymnast Kerri Strug, who hit the perfect vault after obtaining a serious knee injury at the 1996 Olympics, the talented guitarist and visionary vocalist persevered with his brainchild even through admitted frustrations and obstacles.
See also: Lavola Returns with a Forceful New Album
He nailed it with Lavola's latest release, This Book Is My Cowardice. The title of the album could not be more prophetic and telling for Cires; it's part of a larger quote from The Book of Disquiet by one of Cires' favorite poets, Portuguese-born Fernando Pessoa.
The quote reads: "What I achieve is not the product of an act of my will but of my will's surrender. I begin because I don't have the strength to think; I finish because I don't have the courage to quit. This book is my cowardice."
As it turns out, Pessoa's cowardice is Cires' book of wisdom. This newest release, Cires states, is "noisier, more aggressive, darker, yet also contains a more ethereal and symphonic quality" than his previous work. The album title has multiple meanings, but for him, "the more direct interpretation speaks to the process I underwent in seeing this work through to the end."
Perhaps one critical aspect in the completion was the addition of violinist Emily Dwyer. Cires met Dwyer "professionally" after he contacted local promoter Steve Rullman for a violinist. Dwyer, former violinist for popular Orlando group Andy Matchett and the Minks, came highly recommended. Dwyer seemed to stamp the new, improved, and slightly more orchestral version of Lavola. "By Emily joining Lavola, she definitely altered the dynamic of the project; for example, she cowrote the lyrics for 'Watch Your Step,' and throughout my lyric writing process, I found myself sending her drafts for feedback quite a few times," says Cires.
Rounding out the new lineup is bassist Paul DeFilippis, whom Cires knew through a band he admires called the Vogans, and drummer Matt Cabrera. Cires couldn't be more satisfied with the newest lineup, telling us his bandmates share the same enthusiasm for Lavola that he does. When asked what's changed for him over the many years of making music, he says, "I've realized the importance of writing and not getting so caught up in the importance of being in an indie band. I think nowadays, I'm content and happy writing music."
Lavola Album Release Party. With World's Strongest Man and the Goddamn' Hustle. 9 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Call 561-832-9999, or visit lavola.bandcamp.com.