Most people remember Jumanji: a family-friendly action film featuring the late Robin Williams about a cursed board game that traps its players in a magical and terrifying reality. Like the world of Jumanji, Cinema Stereo is creating a new world through their music.
Dive into the world of Orlando-based rock group, Cinema Stereo, with contributing writer, Margaret Adams, as the band releases their debut self-titled album, the band’s plentiful and diverse influences, and their desire to immerse their audiences in a world full of 80’s-and-70’s-inspired Jumanji world.
Like many other bands, Cinema Stereo was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic; unlike other bands though, the trio found that their shared love of classic rock from the 70’s and 80’s promoted their desire to step out of the box and add something unique to the genre.
Cinema Stereo consists of a trio of unique musicians: Ian Rayha (lead vocals, keyboard, bass), Sebastian Borysek (lead/rhythm guitar), and Luke Pate (drums).
Ian and Sebastian started the band officially during the pandemic, as they had been experimenting with the genre and writing songs together since October 2019; after a year-long search for a drummer, Luke became the third member of the ensemble.
Citing collective influences such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Aerosmith, Stevie Ray Vaughan, David Bowie, and The Doors, every member is in agreement that their overall goal is to portray authenticity and positivity with immersive and distinctive music.
They seem to work in complementary unison; rather than combining different, rigid techniques, the trio’s shared love of the nostalgic genre unites their talents, rather than divides them.
“It’s all subconsciously,” wrote the band. “We just get enthusiastic about parts we’re creating, but never think about where we’re pulling from at all.”
Their influences didn’t stop after 1989, though: lead vocalist, keyboardist, and bass player Ian Rayha wrote, “Tame Impala is one of my biggest influences. I think everything he creates is so unique and no one else sounds like him.”
After spending the pandemic writing music, Cinema Stereo collected their work and created a record full of blues-inspired rock and modern pop melodies. With a fresh sound and new perspective to a genre filled with many of the same, Cinema Stereo utilizes nostalgia with modern sensibilities to produce a truly one-of-a-kind pop-rock record.
When asked what sets the band apart from other artists who are similarly inspired by 70’s and 80’s rock music, the band conveyed that their aim is to be constantly progressing: “We just make the music that excites us. There’s no intent to sound a certain way. Our new music we’re writing is already moving away from it because our debut is just a snapshot of who we were artistically at that time, but we’re constantly growing and changing that’s what is going to set us apart. Constant evolution is what makes it exciting as an artist.”
The lead single, “No One Needs Your Love (Like I Do)” is a true classic rock tune; with a message central to desiring someone’s love (reminiscent of Bon Jovi or Journey) and organic-sounding electric guitar (featuring an incredible solo), Cinema Stereo busted into the current pop-rock scene with a bang. The track also features a cool call-and-response section at the end–perfect for live performances.
Cinema Stereo’s second single, “The Wine Song,” features a fast-paced melody and particularly blues-esque guitar and impressive drum solos. Ian’s rock-like, wild vocals are the centerpiece of this track, besides the addictive, sexy lyrics: “She can take what she wants/She can have me on my knees/Gimme the best, gimme the best/Just to leave me on the end of the line.”
“Ride This Thing Out” was the third single and is much different than the rest of the singles; it begins with a very 80’s synth sound clashing into a different, but compelling, guitar melody. It truly illustrates the band’s desire to bring a whole new world alive: from beginning to end, the listener finds themselves imagining they were the main character in a John Hughes film. The tune is the perfect song to sing along in the car.
As a collection of songs, Cinema Stereo’s debut album is chock-full of the very best of musical inspirations, spanning generations; at the same time, it also acts as a diary of sorts. Writing the album during the pandemic, the band found that the album became “unintentionally conceptual,” as Ian put it.
“I didn’t mean for it to document my life through the pandemic so closely, it just kinda happened. I think that’s the beauty of it. It’s a snapshot into a young adult’s mind during the pandemic. Feeling isolated, but so eager to make something of themselves.”
The new artists’ first album also served learning purposes; as the trio was discovering their individual and collective purposes, they found that the entire process of writing, recording, and producing “Cinema Stereo” gratifying.
“We didn’t expect any of it, we were so eager to just be there recording in general. Next time we’re gonna make sure to be better about documenting and sharing our studio experience with the outside world.”
The name Cinema Stereo itself harkens back to the band’s desire to build a world around the listener: “It came from a dream about if conceptual records changed the world around you when you played them through a stereo. Almost like Jumaji and you couldn’t leave the world until the record stopped playing.”
The world built through Cinema Stereo’s newest self-titled album is just that: inescapable. Not only do the lyrics, vocals, and musical abilities impress, but the way in which each song honors and references the generations of classic rock makes this album unforgettable. The band’s DNA is revitalization, immersion, and most importantly, true rock n’ roll.
While this may be the first you’ve heard of Cinema Stereo, it most certainly won’t be the last. Keep an eye out for new music and music videos from the band; until then, listen to Cinema Stereo’s debut hit album on any major streaming platform, like Spotify or Apple Music.
Margaret Adams is a Psychology major and Rhetoric and Writing minor at The Catholic University of America from New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition to her work with Alchemical, she writes for CUA’s student newspaper, The Tower, and has recently been named Quill Editor. She enjoys reading, writing, and looking at pictures of her dog, Bella.
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