Everyone Has to Start Somewhere
PALO SANTO ON BAND BEGINNINGS AND SHOW REJECTIONS
Observing a group of people setting out to create their own music before anyone really knows who they are is a unique experience. It is hard to introduce a band when they haven’t released any music, conjured a fan base, or played any shows, but that is the appeal to Denver locals Palo Santo. The group consists of Denver transplant Russell Ponder, Boulder-grown Miryam Nissan, and music veteran Joshua Williams of Denver’s own The Savage Blush.
The group describes themselves as “Western goth,” which is a fresh perspective on the music scene in Denver. The group has focused on practicing to a level of confidence where they feel comfortable playing shows. “Some people want to be in a band and want to make music, and they think it’s just going to happen that easily, saying ‘I want to be this’ or ‘I want to be that’ and it doesn’t really work like that,” Ponder said.
Ponder and Nissan recently teamed up with Williams, who is a versed musician and performer in comparison. “It’s very different from what I’m used to. I’m used to playing with my sister and have never really tried to mesh with or play with anyone else,” Williams said. According to Williams the group formed due to “black magic and beer,” a wicked combination for thriving musicians.
The Savage Blush certainly had an easier start into the Denver music scene. Rebecca Williams, the lead singer, was initially part of the already-notable Denver band Thee Dang Dangs, who broke up around last year. The Williams siblings have both had a variety of experiences already in Denver as musicians. “I’m glad it’s so different—it makes it a bit easier for me to let go,” Williams said. “The other project is a bit more serious for me and my sister.” Palo Santo has had their fair share of drummers, but none have stuck like Williams. “We all just clicked,” Nissan said.
Williams discussed the importance of finding other musicians that want to play music authentically and are humble about it. “People tend to have a specific view of what they think their music should sound like but they don’t think about how it should sound naturally,” Williams said.
In Denver, it can be difficult to find genuine musicians rather than people who romanticize the idea of being in a band. The key to a strong dynamic between musicians is for them to have mutual respect and a connection with each other’s music. “It’s kind of like a puzzle,” Nissan said. “And it all needs to fit together.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Miryam Nissan is the sister of Sentry writer Sarai Nissan.
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