The Liverpool-born indie four-piece made their Cavern Club debut last week in style.
Animated onstage and warmly personable offstage, in a crowded dressing room surrounded by multiple guitar cases and other PA paraphernalia, pre-performance DENIO are found to be talkative and upbeat about the gig. Do they get nervous? Only lead singer Mike answers in the affirmative, “I always am, but its a sign I really care!”, he grins, however not a trace of tension can be seen during their half-hour set, the group at complete ease from the opening arpeggios of set-starter ‘Inhale Exhale’.
Having met in school and spent years playing the local circuit, from open mic nights to wedding gigs, it was about time DENIO picked a name and began playing solely their own music last August. Though officially not even a year old, the band has its roots back to the boys growing up together jamming – the name taken from a type of manhunt game they used to play (“We just thought it sounded alright”).
The band does everything in a close-knit fashion, outsourcing filmmakers from their uni campus in London to create their purposefully simple, DIY music videos. The members act candid and boyish whilst sporting vintage athleisure in the video for first single ‘Models’ – “We don’t want to turn into some sort of moody teenage band so we had a laugh making it”. In the Cavern, the intro to their latest single ‘Cait’ is greeted by cheers from a few of the 50-strong audience who already know the words. The track is insanely catchy, and its dragged beat comes to the fore when performed live. Is Cait a real person? “Cait is more…more of an idea of a person”, Mike says carefully, laughing.
Despite being influenced heavily by the indie-rock and electronic house music scenes of Liverpool, DENIO are fully in command of their own sound, and draw on the eclectic musical backgrounds of each member. They have a token jazz-head in the band, in the form of keyboardist and bassist Dan, who’s ears prick up at the mention of the genre. He attributes his love for it to a “jazz friend” from school (the phrase inspiring a chorus of Inbetweeners-esque ’ooh jazz friend!’s from Mike, Andres and Bill) and cites this and his London School of Music-taught theory to be what pushes him to explore new territory in his solos.
‘Born Again’ showcases a dynamism in performance that’s compelling to watch, each member moves to a slowly thudding bass, over which Andres’ flangey guitar solo shimmers. As Mike sings of past lovers and experiences, his facial expressions range from intensely focused to jubilant – especially during single-to-be ‘Golden’, a decidedly dancey number within a set of mostly mid-tempo tracks.
The soporific and sway-inducing ‘Counterparts’ precedes set-closer Models – a slickly performed track with delightful microsecond pauses in rhythm – DENIO remain tight till the final beat and leave us wanting more.
Look out for DENIO’s single ‘Golden’, to be released soon.
Mike Davis – vocals
Andres Hernandez – lead guitar
Dan Hernandez – keyboards + bass
Bill Caple – drums