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Dead Sara’s Double Vision

By Peter Cronin

Dead Sara’s Double Vision

They stumbled onto their band name through a misheard-and-twisted Fleetwood Mac lyric, but for Emily Armstrong and Siouxsee Medley – founders and frontpersons for rising LA rock outfit Dead Sara – that sort of off-the-wall inspiration is just par for the course. Ever since they met as Hollywood teens, this dynamic creative duo has been seeing, hearing, and interpreting just about everything in their own uniquely convoluted way.

“I started playing guitar at 13, had a few lessons where the guy made me feel completely incompetent, and I just dropped it,” Medley says  “When I met Emily, she was like, ‘Oh my God let’s start a band!’ She totally revitalized that idea of being a musician for me.”

“I had to pull it out of her,” adds Armstrong. “I was like, ‘Look, I’ll be the drummer,’ and then we got a drummer, so I played bass. It took a year for me to be just the lead singer. “

When she finally discovered her voice, everyone, including the singer herself, was surprised by the range, the depth and the earth-shaking vibrato that emerged. Armstrong draws from a vocal toolbox that can flip like a switch from maximum screamo to mezzo soprano without missing a beat, encompassing the wide range of emotions a listener might encounter in any of Dead Sara’s hard-to-categorize songs. 

“I usually just call our music rock, because that’s totally open,” Medley explains. “But we’re not just rock; we’re not totally anything really.”

Live, Armstrong’s frenetic, all-over-the-stage presence collides randomly with Medley’s explosive guitar hooks to create the kind of creative tension-and-release that makes for a great performance and turns major label heads. A few years back, as the band entered the studio to record their debut EP, Airport, that label interest was both a blessing and a curse.

“Honestly, it was nerve-wracking,” Armstrong says. “We had a lot of label interest, which was cool, but we also had people coming in and listening to see if there was a hit.”

“After that we said, ‘What do we want?’” says Medley. “We wrote tons of songs and found people that actually fit in the band and became our best friends. It was a development stage for us, and we found what we wanted.”

With bassist Chris Null and drummer Sean Friday firmly in place, Dead Sara is putting the finishing touches on a self-titled full-length debut that already has critics and fans buzzing, months before its scheduled fall release.

“Now that we have that stable lineup, it’s easier to go overboard,” Armstrong says. “You know them, you know they’re going to be there, and you know you’re safe.”

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