Let’s get right down to it. Here, vivid emotion pushes the structure. Intense drum parts creep in to bang-bang-shake things up, and then the mood settles into rich guitar riffs. Both energetic and reflective, the sound is anchored by careful though unexpected repetition. The songs are long, around seven minutes each, but the multiple crescendos maintain a high suspense level.
Sean Garner (vocals) shows up wearing a blond wig and dark sunglasses, but he’s still a dead giveaway; he has that “rocker look.” Actually, he has a shaved head and dark, intense eyes that speak of his spooky, curious vocals. Also hitting skins for local band Black Signal, Garner says he didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth. For stage presence, his acting background comes in handy.
“I just walk in and I’m ready,” he says. “I don’t have to bring anything. I’m a self-proclaimed instrument.”
Music-wise, guitarist Ian Gullett admits, “I’m kind of a junkie.”
With moppy hair and soft brown eyes, he also plays in Diet Audio and Black Signal. From guitar to cello and back again, he teaches guitar for a living and he’s currently hitting the books studying music production.
Mysterious drummer Dan Ferguson is far from wordy: “I don’t want to talk about myself. I prefer to stay in the conceptual, philosophical realms.”
And that is that. He leaves.
Though not present, if he were here Aaron Tyree (bass) would probably say that he was formerly in Malahida, a local instrumental band.
Dressed down in a sweatshirt but pumped up about music, Rob Clark (guitar) appears stoked.
As for The Guild, Clark says, “It’s probably the best band live musical experience I’ve ever been a part of. I just like to keep an open mind with where we’re going. It seems to take its way naturally with these guys.”
There’s a definite “instrumental band” influence here. Garner explains, “Aaron, the bassist, and myself are more used to being in bands that don’t have vocals … long, complex, 15-minute things.”
Still, The Guild’s vocals are catchy with a dark side, as in The Cure, and Garner scores on Radiohead-style falsettos before moving into growly-screaming land. Or he tones it down. He’s all over the place, punching out feeling.
With performance in mind, The Guild’s music becomes more dramatic with live video accompaniment. Garner says, “We like to keep the performances as high energy as possible, as theatrical as possible … I try to get up in people’s faces and so on. I’m not compromising the true message of any of our songs or whatever, but I feed off the energy of these guys.”
Running on little sleep with their slew of side projects, The Guild’s debut album is planned for release this summer, a collection they’re recording at Gullett’s house.
With a defiant voice and a pensive, poetic style, The Guild of Calamitous Intent tells a soulful story; this contemplative Rock drips with layers. Vocals add an intense, heart-driven thread. We’re in deep, artsy territory.
“I feel like we’re lucky," Garner says. "There’s a lot of preexisting chemistry in our band. Our songs don’t sound the same. There are similar elements, but I’m happy with what we’ve written so far in terms of diversity within the set.”
Clark adds, “It builds upon itself. We’re improvisational by nature. I’ll take it as far as it goes. Right now, I don’t see an end in sight. Not only is it fun to play, but when we do get the chance to listen to ourselves, it really comes through as excellent music.”
“Ouija board approach,” Garner says. “The music’s kind of taking a direction. We don’t really feel like one person is pushing it in that direction. It’s just kind of going there. I think we’ve been able to achieve balance.”
Gullett sums it up: “I never wrote a song the same way twice in any band. It just kind of happens. It’s a very unique thing. Anytime you come up with a part that’s worth holding on to, you don’t know where it came from. I love playing shows. If people keep coming, I’ll keep playing.”
THE GUILD OF CALAMITOUS INTENT (www.myspace.com/theguildci) plays Saturday at the ’90s tribute/American Cancer Society benefit show at Mainstay Rock Bar.