Imagine this: a little enclave for celebrating the freedom of expression and a collection of people coming together with reckless abandon for an endless night of impassioned music. It’s the large festival in ancient Athens called Dionysia—in honor of the god Dionysiswhere wine, music, and ecstatic dance encourages his followers to free themselves of self-consciousness and fear. If you’ve ever found yourself at a gig where hypnotic and effortlessly perceptive Boston-based band Dionysia is playing, you’d think you’ve been thrown back in time into the uproarious festival in which they got their name. 

Dionysia’s sound is electric and brilliantly eclectic; gritty rock guitar hooks progress into more hazy sounds that could be the backing soundtrack to a coming-of-age summer film. Influenced by an array of bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Young the Giant, Tool, Led Zeppelin, and Rage Against the Machine, Dionysia have music that spans genres and ensnares the most musically diverse audience. After sitting down and chatting with the band, it was evident that they carry the infectious energy with them on and off the stage. They’re jokers—funny, easygoing, and close-knit—with an open and ambitious mindset on how to create music. Even during the interview, their enthusiasm and spark of excitement for creating art with each other shone through. 

When people come to a show, it’s a celebration,” vocalist and guitarist Garrett Brown says. “The more shows we play, the more we see different people come together, creating this sense of empathy and bonding in sharing this experience where you can just be yourself with those around you while listening to music you love. We may never meet every audience member we’re sharing this experience with, but we’re all feeling the same thing—and it’s freeing. It’s sentimental.” Brown, along with fellow band members Julien Vandal (vocals, saxophone and keyboard), Alex Myers (drums and percussion) and Josh Weirs (bassist and cellist) have created an explosively artful and unique listening experience in their band: a sound that is a powerful concoction of infectious energy, candid moments, honest lyrical narratives with heavy grooves, a little bit of a bite, and a little bit of movement that packs in audiences close. 

Chatting about their new single, “Capsize,” they gave insight as to how it was created. “The song started with Julien and I playing around with different sounds in my living room,” Brown says. “We wanted this…I don’t know, this type of waterfall sound. We kept on riffing on it. We wanted something hopefulsomething positive and upbeat, you know? Like when your boat capsizes—a lot of us grew up near Lake Champlain, so it’s happened to us before—you turn it back over, and get back in.” The track tells a story of growth, and how to understand the necessary steps to explore yourself and who you want to become—how you’re never going to be able to know what’s on your horizons unless you look beyond them. “That’s the thing about music. Some things you can’t express in words,” Vandal says. “Music makes people realize things about themselves that they wouldn’t normally know.”

The band, all of which attended Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT) with the exception of Vandal, who attended the University of Guelph, studied subjects ranging from industrial design to mechanical engineering. “At first, I stopped playing music when I got into high school. A teacher told me, ‘Josh, it’s really hard to make it as a musician. You’re good at other stuff. Go to school for engineering.’ Then I met these guys,” Weirs laughs. “It’s all about persistence. Keep chugging. Keep going.” 

Dionysia, with their positive outlook, free exchange of musical ideas, and close-knit culture, stands out in the Boston music scene. Their breezy, nostalgic, and powerful riffs, intertwined with raw vocals that charge unfiltered honest and lyrical narratives, create a stunning show experience. Since 2016’s Antics, the band has grown significantly, and explored different sounds along the way. “We’ve explored different effects, different narratives. Our first album was very edgy, angsty, as we were going into college. It was dry, you know? Very in-your-face,” Brown says. In the newer tracks, Dionysia have settled into a pocket of having the same gritty bite of their earlier songs, but they have introduced ambiance and positivity, which gives them their unique sonic aesthetic, all while layering instrumentation and experimenting with new avenues of sound.

“The Boston music scene is down to earth,” Brown says. “There’s so many different acts going on, and we’re all just coexisting. We’ve done a few shows with Sofar Sounds with different artistsclassical pianists, funk; whatever you’re in the mood for, there’s a show. That’s what’s so cool about the city’s scene.” Meyers admires the diversity of venues around Boston and how the scene is set up, which he says makes it a good spot, with a lot of musicians around with whom to connect and communicate. “Everyone’s nice to one another. It’s a great community,” Weirs says. On advice to local musicians who have not quite reached that milestone: “You have to see yourself there,” Brown says. “You don’t know the way right now, but know you’ll find it. There will be low and high moments. Perform at Sofar shows. Do acoustic sets. Put yourself out there. Meet people! Make those connections. Document your thoughts, and embrace your creative process. Document your ideas [laughs]. I have so many in my voice notes! You have no idea how helpful those ridiculous, stupid voice memos can blossom into what’s on the album.”

The band is looking forward to the release of a new LP, Catalyze, and a nationwide tour. “It’s sick and so all over the place,” Brown says. The band has tied in many different genres to the new album, all pulling in from those themes of change, growth, and individuality. They wanted to tell the story of how they are growing as individuals and as a band. Dionysia’s passion is illustrated by Catalyze, a collection of lyrical narratives in which the listener discovers how important it is to make big life realizations, grow up, discover what really matters, and learn how to live their art.

You can listen to Dionsyia’s new record Catalyze today and catch them playing with Los Elk at the sold-out show at The Sinclair in Cambridge on Saturday, July 27th. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.