To write off Laena Geronimo as simply the child of a famous dad (Devo drummer Alan Myers) would be a mistake. Geronimo is a talented multi-instrumentalist with a background in symphonic music, a penchant for punk rock and a taste for vintage clothes.
It would be a similar mistake to write her band off as just another Los Angeles indie-rock pretension. Raw Geronimo, at Chop Suey tonight, has a modus operandi that goes deeper.
“I kind of always knew I would do this. I always wrote songs and I knew that at some point I’d want to create a vehicle for that,” Geronimo said. “I naturally was very shy, believe it or not, and it kind of took some time just running the gamut playing instruments in other bands (to get to this point).”
Geronimo said that she enjoys collaborating with other musicians too much to simply create a solo act, which is why working in a sextet suits her so well. It also gives the music a lush sound, even when rocking through the punk-influenced “Bitched,” off the band’s debut album, “Dream Fever.”
“Just coming from a symphony background, I really tried to pare it down to as few people as possible,” she said. “I had all these songs and arrangements that featured different instruments. (Six people) was literally the boiled down necessity. This is how many people we need to make the sound right.”
To see just how far down the rabbit hole Raw Geronimo goes, listen to “Faustine,” the album’s first single. It’s the kind of dreamy, orchestral, bizarre rock music you wish more bands were willing to make, but when you hear about Geronimo’s background it starts to make sense.
“My parents were both musicians,” she said. “I grew up studying the violin and playing in symphonies. My mom is from Romania and we listened to a lot of traditional Romanian music and a lot of Europop like Abba and Kate Bush. And my dad was a drummer for Devo but he listened to experimental and classical jazz.”
It’s a laundry list of influences and you start to understand exactly why quantifying Raw Geronimo’s sound is so hard. It isn’t just music that has influenced Geronimo. Her first job was at a vintage clothing shop and the world of fashion has played its part, as well.
“I think that fashion is an expression of artistic intent and personality, just like any other art form is,” Geronimo said. “A lot of people don’t really think of it that way and wear something comfortable and easy. It’s just another form of self-expression and a lot of the times it’s all related.”
Locals Daniel G. Harmann and the Trouble Starts and Wishbeard open.
Raw Geronimo, Wishbeard, Daniel G. Harmann and the Trouble Starts
8 p.m. Wednesday, Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., Seattle; $7/$10 DOS (206-324-8005 or chopsuey.com)
-Owen R. Smith, on Twitter @inanedetails