Oklahoma-based rock band Aranda heads to Louisville for a Derby-eve show at Phoenix Hill Tavern

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Aranda gets its name from brothers Dameon and Gabe Aranda. Since forming the band more than a decade ago, they’ve marked some major successes and you may be more familiar with some of their music than you realize. In 2009, Kelly Clarkson chose two Aranda songs for her album All I Ever Wanted – including the explosive “Whyyawannabringmedown” and the title track “All I Ever Wanted.”  That same year, “Whyyawannabringmedown” was used as WWE’s them song for the pay-per-view-event “The Bash.”  

More recently, Aranda has seen quite a bit of success their latest album Stop the World. The first single "Undone" peaked at #20 on the Top Rock Charts, with the second and third singles, “Satisfied,” and  “One More Lie" making it into the top 15. 

The Aranda brothers have been singing, writing songs, and playing music together since they were kids growing up in Oklahoma.  Gabe Aranda recalls being surrounded by music at a very young age.

“My dad played a lot of acoustic guitar and sang a lot just for fun.  He dabbled in recording and had this little reel-to-reel recorder. I just remember being around it all the time. And my mom was a really good singer.”   

He says that while his parents never pursued it professionally, they shared the gift, exposing the boys to a wide range of musical influences.

“My mom was a huge Elvis and Beatles fan and my dad was more Zeppelin, Hendricks, Joplin, Fleetwood Mac, stuff like that.  So we had a heavy diet of that type of music.  I can say now I feel like it’s some of the best music ever written, you know? At the time we didn’t really know we were being raised right, but we were.”  He laughs.

The brothers are exceptional vocalists, with different styles that work extremely well when harmonizing.

“Dameon is more like Robert Plant when he sings,” explains Gabe.” It’s just a very definitive rock voice, whereas I think my voice has a little more soulful quality to it.  But when we sing together, the way it blends, it just seems right.”

This has been a busy year for Aranda as they continue promoting Stop the World, an album with a heavier rock sound, produced by Grammy-nominated producer Johnny K. They’re doing a number of shows in May, plan to tour this summer with Hinder, then later with POD and Sick Puppies. And earlier this year, they were the opening act for Daughtry and 3 Doors Down. 

“It was one of the best tours we’ve ever been on as far as just the scope of things, the professionalism.”

Gabe says he learned a lot about the value of lighting and producing a show on the road.

“You’ve got two bands (Daughtry and 3 Doors Down) that are multi--platinum selling artists so they’ve got money for production and things like that. They had an unbelievable light show.”

He said Aranda did what they could on a lower budget, but it just wasn’t quite the same.

“We paid a guy from one of the crews to run our lights.  We got some red and some blues and he flicked them on and off but we didn’t get the same kind of motion,” he says, laughing.

One thing that you’ll see at an Aranda show, that you aren’t likely to see anywhere else, with or without high-value production lights, is an amazing display of guitar work that culminates toward the end of their show with some interesting guitar tricks by master guitarist Dameon Aranda, with the physical assistance of brother Gabe.

“What you see in our live show,” notes Gabe, “probably started off as sort of unplanned.”

He says, at one point, Dameon began putting the guitar down on the floor and playing it there. People could see what he was doing in smaller venues but as the group began playing on bigger stages, the crowd couldn’t get a good view.  So Gabe says he began grabbing the guitar off the floor and holding it up so his brother could play it and Dameon ran with it.

“So that kind of started some of the things we do.  Then, he put the guitar over my head and would play it from behind me, and things like that.”

It’s pretty impressive to see live on stage and gives you a real appreciation for someone who truly knows his guitar.

The brothers, who both have families and live in Oklahoma City, continue working to strike a balance with turning out good music, touring, and striving to make a living doing what they love to do.

“We try to entertain and have fun.  We have fun on stage and we hope we draw people in that way.”

And they keep moving forward – hoping to introduce their music to as many new fans as possible.

You can find out more about Aranda at www.arandamusic.com.

Aranda will perform at 7:00pm at Phoenix Hill Tavern on Friday, May 3rd as part of the WTFX Kentucky Derby Pre-Show. For more information go to www.phoenixhill.com

About Pam Windsor
I moved to Louisville in 2002, fell in love with it, and adopted it as my hometown. I am a freelance writer with a passion for music, traveling, and meeting people with unique and interesting stories.
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