Consisting of an author, a videographer, and an audio engineer, the three members of Bay Area ensemble AKES take their music into their own hands; Joe DeMars (bass), Jack Hogan (guitar), Nick Cafiero (electric ukulele/vocals) —handle nearly every aspect of their creative lives in house. They are dedicated students of their craft from the gear they play to the music that influences them.
That mindset is a fitting accompaniment to their heady sound. Taking inspiration from the post-punk scenes in the U.K. and U.S. where dozens of bands allowed themselves the freedom to mash up instrumentation and musical textures, AKES winds in the sounds of synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines into already finely honed material cut from pop/rock cloth. These sounds are the beginnings of a new creative regime for a band that has already been wowing audiences in and around their Bay Area scene.
New single Friend A is a perfect stepping stone connecting the group’s past and future. With a title that references those literally nameless figures that fill out the cast list of major motion pictures, this scintillating slow burn calls out the hangers on of the social media age, who attempt to draft off the energy of someone else’s tragic loss and claim it as their own. It’s a potent message given extra power through AKES’ blend of Afrobeat, burbling electronica, and heartfelt pop.