While Hawthorne, Calif., may be best known as the hometown of the Beach Boys, indie quintet Dios isn't looking to duplicate their sound. However, it makes them realize that one needn't be in a musical hotbed to succeed.
"Everyone always looked to them as a model: They came from here and they made it," says Dios bassist J.P. Cabellero. "We're in an unhip area, it's not fashionable, but we're proud."
On its forthcoming self-titled debut, Dios (Cabellero, vocalist/guitarist Joel Morales, guitarist and brother Kevin Morales, drummer Jackie Monzon, and keyboardist James DeVaca) blends equal doses of melancholy with melody, merging Pink Floyd spaciness with Beach Boys bounce, and wrapping it up in a Radiohead dreariness that yields everything from catchy sing-alongs ("Starting Five") to melodrama ("You Make Me Feel"). "We've always been into texture, pop songs with a lot of arrangements," Cabellero says.
Influenced by equal doses of David Bowie, Neil Young and (not surprisingly) Brian Wilson, the members of Dios met while attending area schools during the late '90s, although it wasn't until two years ago that they started taking themselves seriously and played out more. However, the notoriously cliquish L.A. music scene didn't embrace the band at first. "We were doing more than a lot of bands and we got ignored a lot because we weren't somebody's roommate or good buddy," Cabellero remembers.
To give listeners a taste of what's to come with their forthcoming self-titled album, the band released Los Arboles ("The Trees") earlier this year, which earned positive press praise for its lush, layered songwriting even if the recording process was largely a homespun effort.
"We're very DIY with things," says Cabellero of the band's guiding ethos. "There's a lot of bands that go through a basic, very predicable process how they do things. They always have some dumb-looking picture of five guys just standing around."