No self-respecting indie band passes up a free video shoot. Even if the location is a shithole.
“It was a bit scary... We did it in a loft in downtown L.A. near skid row,” says Ed Reyes, vocalist for indie pop band, Sunday's Best.
Reyes is an L.A. native who spent summers in Chula Vista as a kid. His cousin lived across the street from the boys in POD, or “the crusty kids who used to ride bikes,” as his cousin recalled.
Reyes sees the similarities between L.A.'s old banking district and San Diego's Gaslamp. “They're trying to regentrify the place... but it's still a lot of drug users. I remember how bad [the Gaslamp] was back then-it was kind of a shithole. That area [where we shot our video] was definitely a shithole.”
The video was for “Don't Let it Fade,” the single from their new album on Illinois-based indie label, Polyvinyl Records (Rainer Maria, Mates of State). For The Californian, the band tempered their peppy harmony-pop with more mellow, semi-acoustic fare.
It was the sound of a band getting older. Of a band contemplating the California ideal that Hollywood sculpted and the Beach Boys, er, Phantom Planet, vocalized.
“There's this California dream-the place where people make their mark and where all the opportunity is,” Reyes says. “You have a chance to make it, but you also have a chance to fizzle out because there's tons of people doing the same thing. I've seen it all... friends who aren't from here come and go, and how soon they change.”
He would know. Despite the band's critical success-and the full realization of Reyes' enchanting voice on The Californian-last year was rough. Their drummer/producer/leader Tom Ackerman entered rehab, and his wife divorced him. Their booking agents stopped calling them. Their founding guitarist quit.
“We all thought, ‘Hey, this is the end,'” Reyes recalls. “But it goes back to the whole California thing. You're going to have your highs and lows... It's just how you come back from it.”
Then he sardonically chuckles, and begins reading an e-mail Ackerman sent to fans a day earlier: As of Tuesday, September 24th, I'll no longer be playing for Sunday's Best. I need a change for personal reasons and life goes on...