Artist Spotlight: Jericho

Dressing up & gearing up band’s first record

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Jericho performs at the Rickshaw Theatre on May 3, 2016. (Submitted)

Pasang Galay of Jericho plays dress up on stage.

That was how I first saw the band—with Galay in full costume—from the floor of The Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver. Boldly posed in a bright purple suit and enormous fake afro, he and the rest of the band were nearly impossible to ignore. Minutes later, they sorted through a bin of funny hats, asking for feedback from the audience on which Galay should choose to adorn himself with before launching into another song.

It was a spectacle, but one that was relatively short-lived, as Jericho’s shift towards being “less gimmicky” began not too long after that evening at The Rickshaw.

“Pasang and I once had a conversation about how, when you’re watching a performance, the more entertaining stuff will have some shock value, and I think Pasang embodies that a bit with the outfits,” says Nigel Ching, cellist for Jericho. “You look up and he’s putting on a hat—it’s just sort of out of the ordinary.”

“And it’s contrasted to the style of music we play, because the music is more serious and kind of darker, and then we stop playing and it’s like, ‘Oh, here’s another goofy hat!’ You know? But at the most recent show, I tried to subdue it,” adds Galay.

The band’s departure from silliness towards seriousness came about after they were critiqued for their comedic approach to live performance, although it’s doubtful that they’re ditching the dress up altogether. For the time being, Jericho is focusing on the release of their first comprehensive record, set to be put out sometime before the summer.

Written by Galay, Ching, guitarist and vocalist Luke Tancredi, pianist Liam Doherty, and drummer Eli Teed, the EP is the product of years of Jericho’s work. Although currently unnamed, the EP has been recorded and is waiting to be mixed before release. It will be available online and at shows, along with the accompanying merchandise, and will offer a critical look at vanity and priorities in the 21st century.

“An easy way to put it is what people think is important, and how something like getting likes on Instagram—some people might think that’s important, but really it’s not beneficial in any wider scheme,” Galay explains. “It’s just instant gratification.”

“I Do Well”, one of two singles on the band’s website, is perhaps the best indicator of what can be expected of Jericho’s EP. Galay’s throaty baritone is offset against Tancredi’s light falsetto and Ching’s graceful cello in the track. Rhythmic and dramatic, Jericho blends classical inspiration with a jam band’s laid-back energy. Featuring low, swinging bass lines and head-bopping guitar leads, both “I Do Well” and Jericho’s other released single, “How Do You Know”, demonstrate intelligent songwriting, although they lack the professional production that they deserve. The soon-to-be-released EP will change the latter.

“They’re the same songs we’ve been playing for two years, but I think it’s a huge improvement to our sound, in terms of how we play together and how it’s recorded,” says Tancredi. “[Releasing a record] is like having a baby. You cherish it. You give it your all. Your life’s in it. Now it’s ready, and it’s like, ‘Best of luck!’”

Ching continues, “I want it to be an experience, and I want people to be present while they’re listening to it—to go on the rollercoaster ride and not just listen to it absent-minded while multi-tasking. That’s what’s ideal. And with that, if you’re presently listening to it, it’ll act as an escape, to detach.”

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