“That’s always the funniest question,” lead guitarist Dave Barker said when asked what genre Cobra Collective’s music falls into. “We’re post-punk, garage. Everything is so genre-specific. We’re just making sure the music swings a lot; we’re a guitar band.”
With inspirations like The Smiths, Joy Division and The Cure, it’s no wonder Cobra Collective often sounds out of place in the midst of more contemporary-based bands found in the D.C. area. The 80’s indie and punk background that the band possesses can surely be felt in the music they produce.
“That’s just kind of how it came out. It’s the music we grew up listening to,” Barker continued.
Both Falls Church natives, Barker and Fontaine graduated from Falls Church High School and George C. Marshall High School. Despite being born and raised in the City of Falls Church and being in bands as early as high school, neither musician has ever played at the State Theatre. That’s about to change, however, as they prepare to open at the venue for Rooney tonight, Thursday, July 29 at 8 p.m.
“We’re very excited about it. We’re not holding back,” Barker said.
As a way of advertising their appearance at The State Theatre, the two F.C. musicians have been doing a lot of personal promotion.
“We must have passed out over 1,000 CDs. Places like CD Cellar have been really helpful,” Barker said.
“D.C. is primarily where we play, so we know a lot of people in D.C., but people don’t cross the river for a local band,” Fontaine added.
After a successful show at the Iota Club and Café last Saturday, playing with Middle Distance Runner and Death By Sexy, Barker and Fontaine are confident that their show will go off without a hitch.
“[Tonight] should be a lot of fun. Susan Hsu from Exit Clov was playing keyboard with us at Iota, and we found it really helps us fill out our sound. She’ll be playing with us again,” Barker said.
The band also includes the vocal talents of Scott Westfall and Brad Johnson on bass guitar, but boasts no frontman or leader.
“We all try to work together. We are a collective, a Cobra Collective,” Fontaine said when asked about the band’s leadership. “That was probably the corniest thing I’ve ever said,” he added, laughing.
Cheesiness aside, avoiding inequality is key to retaining the genuine quality of their music for this local band. Each member does what they do best and brings it together to create their sound, rather than attempting to improve or encroach upon each other’s work.
“We all do different things in the band, but we try to work together. Everyone just writes their own part. It cuts out a lot of the tension that can create problems in a band,” Fontaine said.
Their method of songwriting is what helps to create the authenticity that can be found in their music. Cobra Collective may not be innovative, but to them the quality of the music itself is much more important. Part of the self-description on their website reads “nothing Cobra Collective does is necessary original, but it needn’t be if what this band is doing is true enough to its cause.”
However, there is one goal above even that.
“We just want to have fun playing music,” Fontaine said, eliciting agreement from Barker.
Cobra Collective is currently signed with Merrifield Records, owned by Mike Hindert, bass guitarist for New York-based band The Bravery, whose origins lie in Falls Church as well. Recording dates for their first studio album are currently being worked out, and according to Barker, they hope to have it done by the end of the summer.
Cobra Collective takes the stage tonight at the State Theatre at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $17. For more on the band, visit myspace.com/cobracollective.