Gardens & Villa 

Indie-pop band's music is mix of faux and au naturel

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Gardens & Villa
  • Gardens & Villa

With a band member who can “shred the recorder” as well as the bansuri (a traditional Indian flute), Gardens & Villa is down to create unique sounds in a unique way. Adam Rasmussen, in charge of “all things synthesizer,” calls their style “a balance between natural and synthetic,” which fits the feel of their songs. With ’80s riffs intertwined with earthy flute melodies, Gardens & Villa’s music is a mix between the faux and the au naturel.

The Santa Barbara, Calif., indie-pop quintet released their brand-new album, Dunes, on Feb. 4, and are experiencing a surge in popularity, Rasmussen says, playing in “bigger rooms than before”—a few of which have sold out. Currently on tour, they’re opening for Broken Bells and then heading to Europe with their catchy, creative music.

Rasmussen says that Gardens & Villa fashion their sound by experimenting and having fun. “We get randy for vintage synth gear,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun: You plug it in, and you can make pretty much any sound that you can imagine.”

Similar to the randomness of the synthesizer side of things, the band’s creative process as a whole is not set in stone and is often dictated by a sense of “what the [music] wants to do,” Rasmussen says. In the past, they’ve gathered inspiration from a wide range of sources—everything from the work of Japanese musicians to lucid dreams to meditation. Song ideas “definitely come from places like dreams,” Rasmussen says. “If you try to sit down and write a song, you usually end up with something you’re not happy with, so you try to follow your intuition.” The music Gardens & Villa create reflects that “unbridled creativity,” he says.

That open attitude to finding inspiration causes the band’s music to morph regularly. Dunes is a bit more dance-y than past releases, and reflects where the band is at in its progression. “Each record you make reflects a season of your life, and Dunes just reflects this season. ... [It] just kind of blossomed out of the reflection of that time it was written in,” Rasmussen says.

And he hints that there are many more seasons of life and styles of music ahead for the band. “Maybe the next [album] will be kind of like an ambient meditation soundtrack, something super nature-y,” he says with a laugh. “Or maybe it will be heavy metal … we’re pretty open.”

w/Waterstrider, Bright Whistles
The Urban Lounge
241 S. 500 East
Wednesday, March 5, 9 p.m.
$8 in advance, $10 day of show
Limited no-fee tickets available at

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