As Joshua Barrera — the current bassist and former lead singer for Secrets and Irises — attests, change has defined the band’s existence. Formed four years ago, the band has had several lineup switches: multiple bassists and singers, and they went from being a trio to a quintet.
But all the roster changes haven’t been for naught. Adding Kelsey Novak (vocals and synths) and Joey González (rhythm guitar) has helped the band develop a more well-rounded sound. Novak, in particular, brings a raw, powerhouse vocal element that Barrera does not possess, and her presence has had a marked effect on the band’s debut EP, Seasons.
“All the tracks were written when the band was a three-piece, but she re-wrote the songs with her own lyrics, which really added a lot to them,” Barrera says. “The original songs are still there, but they’ve evolved.”
Seasons is an apt title as the EP features various moods and sonic textures which mirror the changing of the weather. The groovy rock of “Golden Circles” is perfect for summer listening, while the down-tempo, melancholy keys and reverb-drenched guitars on the first half of “Clouds with Sharp Corners” are synonymous with wintertime gloominess. “Twenty-Four,” however, is the most interesting song because its tone completely shifts within the track, changing from crunchy rock ’n’ roll to a beat machine and ethereal synths show halfway through.
Regardless of whether the changes happen during a song or in between them, it’s unlikely that any two tunes will sound alike. In fact, embracing variety is at the top of the band’s list of priorities.
“I know people like to have continuity in their music, but I don’t think that’s where we’re going,” Barrera laughs. “We’ll write a song one way and think, ‘This is too slow,’ so we’ll go in another direction. That process is good and bad because we’ll take longer to write a song, but when it’s done, it sounds completely different from what we had imagined.”
While their sound may change as quickly as a San Antonio weather forecast, Secrets and Irises maintain one constant: to keep pushing themselves to create music that defies easy categorization.
Secrets and Irises EP release party
9pm Sat, June 29
3030 Thousand Oaks