News Column

'Another sound is born' in low-key, acoustic SF band

July 5, 2013

YellowBrix

July 05--Johnny Bell is learning a new lesson when it comes to balancing projects. The new father and musician is slowly figuring out what it requires to do both successfully.

"It's funny because I felt like I was in a lull when it came to songwriting before my son was born," he says during a recent interview. "Now that he's here, I feel much more motivated to write. He's just been an inspiration to me all the way around."

Bell is a member of the indie outfit Cloacas based out of Santa Fe. The other members are Damon Griffith, Sabrina Griffith, Grannia Griffith and Michael Smith.

Bell says Cloacas formed in the winter of 2008 while he was working at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. While there, he ran into Damon and Sabrina Griffith, who were interested in starting a band.

"We all wanted to start something low key and something acoustic," he recalls. "From that point we grew into the band we are now."

While Cloacas doesn't make much music with lyrics, Bell says the band's inspiration comes from all parts of the world.

"We're inspired by Middle Eastern music a lot," he says. "It's something that we all feel a connection to and we're hoping that the music makes a connection with the band."

Some of the instruments that members of Cloacas use are the banjo, melodica, mandolin, homemade cajon, viola, violin, ukulele, bowed saw and xylophone.

Bell says putting all the instruments together turns out great in the long run.

"These instruments are so unique when they are by themselves," he says. "Yet when they are put together, it's like another sound is born. That's what we have fun with the most. Creating music that moves people enough to get up and dance."

Cloacas has one album, "The Oatmeal Commission," which was released in late 2011. Bell says the band plans on getting more music done, but the members just need to find time.

Cloacas

WHEN: 6 p.m. Thursday, July 11

WHERE: Santa Fe Plaza, Santa Fe

HOW MUCH: Free

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(c)2013 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)

Visit the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.) at www.abqjournal.com

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