As we celebrate the return and works of seminal post-hardcore godfathers At The Drive-In this week, we decided we’d also look at the members’ extracurriculars – the bands they’ve been in during and since – and what makes them equally worth your time.
We begin with a wildly different band, born more from post-show jam sessions than any premeditated idea in mind:
When I first discovered (or, more truthfully was shown) At The Drive-In – back when discovering new music generally meant taking a chance on a name or an interesting album cover – so eager was I to fill up on the exploits of Omar, Cedric and co that I started looking around to see what else I could get my hands on. I’d already delved into The Mars Volta (more on them later in the week), so next up on my Amazon recommendations was a band of theirs called De Facto.
Also featuring The Mars Volta keys genius Isaiah Owens, and ATD-I member Jim Ward’s cousin Jeremy, De Facto is arguably the most musically removed of any of the band’s other bands. At its core, the project produced jam-style instrumental dub, with beats, keys parts and vocal ideas repeated and evolved over the course of each track.
Unlike most things they are involved in, where Cedric sings and Omar plays the guitar, in De Facto there was no real frontman, and the two play drums and bass respectively. If anyone vocalised anything, it was Jeremy, but the largely instrumental music mostly spoke for itself – and the word was groove.
Of the three EPs and two albums they put out in the space of 5 years, ¡Megaton Shotblast! is the release most worth your attention (the others are a mix of re-releases, or even contain one of two tracks from MS anyway). Early track “Cordova” is absolutely stunning – it’s also a live recording – and sets the tone for almost an hour of compelling experimental dub, with reggae, jazz and salsa mixed in for flavour.
“Coaxial“, from later in the record, is a mysterious, dark piece, led by Omar’s bassline, which follows the same pattern for much of the song, but is constantly shifting in the way it’s played, and by what accompanies it.
It’s tracks like this that reveal a real depth to the band’s work; ideally played late at night, probably with a drink (or some other form of relaxant) in your hand, to be taken in undisturbed. It really is quite special.
The tragedy of De Facto is that both Jeremy and Isaiah have passed away: the former in 2003 of an apparent heroin overdose, effectively ending the band, and the latter as recently as 2014 in Mexico, on tour with Jack White. As such, there will be no more, but if you’re looking to delve further into the bands that surround At The Drive-In members, you cannot go wrong with De Facto.
Stick around for the rest of the week, where we’ll take you through the likes of Sparta and The Mars Volta – and of course the rest of our At The Drive-In Week content!