Happiness is the truth for Dayton band The Werks
By Nick Schwab
Most of life comes down to two truths: life/death, love/hate, reality/no reality, right/wrong etc. The same can be said about art. Art may be an emotion, but it still comes down to those same two truths.
Since there is no real sense of neutrality or apathy in the psychology of human emotion, art either stimulates positive or negative thoughts in our mind.
However, it will always be a hot-button topic if art itself should always advocate positive concepts and values (not hate, for instance) -there are many directions that these two possibilities can travel. Art can be happy, sad, depressing, mad etc. It’s all about what the artist wants to convey.
The saddest and angriest of art may be mean-spirited, but these emotions are necessary to give humans the concept of its opposite: happy and cheerful.
While, the happiest of art can come off as corny, one has to admit that good feelings are always positive to humanity and emotion. The Werks, a four-piece musical group from Dayton, could be equaled to the sunny side of life.
They are a band that just wants to put a smile on your face. Because who doesn’t like to be happy? Not even Ebenezer Scrooge or the Grinch doesn’t.
“I hope the audience gets the exact same feeling that I get when I am playing on stage: peace and a feeling of being complete,” said Werks guitarist Chris Houser. “ I have no worries when I am on stage and I hope the audience does as well.”
So, how does the band achieve this exactly?
“We aim to get people moving — get booties shaking. We’re funky,” noted Houser.
Houser also wants to expand musical boundaries and always switch it up.
“If someone hears too much of one thing it gets old. That is why we do so much improv,” said Houser. “It’s never the same thing two nights in a row. We introduce (our music) in a different way.”
Despite the jammed catchiness of the Werks, Houser says that is not really their intention.
“We don’t really try to be or to write catchy songs,” he said. “The way we write songs is if something stays in my head and I can’t get it out, then I think it is a good idea.”
Houser than explains their creative process as organic.
“When we are writing songs all together, we may go with what we enjoy to play or what fits a song,” Houser explained. “Not so much if it is catchy, but if it flows.
However, as the guitarist says, it might be beneficial if it is catchy, but it is not necessary.
“It is important if you want people to like the stuff. If you are writing it for yourself the catchiness does not have to be there.”
Houser also perceives music as a product of the human mind.
“Different tones make different notes and different tones in your mind,” said the guitarist. “There are happy, sad, angry, etc. tones and notes. It’s all about how the mind perceives it.”
Houser then notes about perceptions in music.
“Every person’s perception is different. There may be a lot of people who think a type of music is bad, but there will be some people that think it is good,” Houser said. “It’s all relative if a song or genre of music is good or bad.”
However, despite the music seeming positive it is not always about the positive side of life. Life can also be about misdirection: what the ears hear and the eyes see, the mind often believes.
The song, “Fall,” despite its psychey synthesizers that sound like spaceships hovering, actually has a sad story behind it according to Houser.
“Fall is about two of my friends — one a drunk, the other a drug addict — that I had years ago: one I still talk to, one I don’t,” said Houser. “The chorus and the word ‘fall’ is a metaphor for going overboard on which ever substance they were on.”
“At the time these were my really good friends. They could not see what they were doing to themselves.” said Houser. “ I was emotional about that, so I wrote a song about it.”
In the end, the Werks still want their signature to be fun.
“We all want people to have a great time,” Houser concluded. “We are blessed to do what we love. Anytime we are on stage we are having a good time. We wouldn’t do it if we weren’t.”
The Werks will be playing a special New Year’s Eve show at the LC Pavilion on December 30 and 31 with Papadosio. Doors open at 8 p.m. On December 30, Papadosio will open with support from the Werks, the Polish Ambassador and DJ Space Panda. On December 31, the Werks will open with support from Papadosio, roeVy and Attak & Carma. Single show tickets are $30 in advance, $35 DOS. Two-day show tickets are $40. For more information, visit www.thewerksmusic.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Nick Schwab at Nick Schwab@DaytonCityPaper.com.