The Athens-based duo of Andrea DeMarcus and Dave Kirslis, collectively known as Cicada Rhythm, performs the haunting music of a blissful southern summer. Demarcus’ Juilliard-trained upright bass complements to Kirslis’ folk guitar, and together they generate plenty of unforgettable harmonies and thrilling song structures.
DeMarcus recently spoke via email about their upcoming show in Birmingham, the duo’s approach to songwriting and the contrast between two of Georgia’s most famous cities.
Weld: Your band name evokes a certain image, especially in regards to the season we’re in right now. Does it hold a special meaning for you?
Andrea DeMarcus: When we were thinking of names for the band, we knew we wanted a word that implied the south. Cicadas are such a big part of the beautiful, warm nights in the south. We are also both such summer and outdoors lovers, we thrive when the sun is out.
Weld: Your music often sounds inspired by waltzes. Was that a style you were familiar with before you started the band?
DeMarcus: Waltz music was definitely a thing I knew very well inside of classical music, but when I began to write songs, I found that I loved anything in 3/4 or 6/8 time.
Weld: One of you has a Juilliard background and the other has a performance style more off-the-cuff and almost freeform. Do those approaches clash much when it comes to writing and recording?
DeMarcus: I think these two styles actually have a better place beside one another. Having so many rules applied to music helped me to see the beauty of feeling it, and taking a song in an unconventional direction. I appreciate so many more things after having once been so critical in music, that now I can understand while also enjoying an emotion or vibe within a song. That being said, it doesn’t mean we don’t disagree from time to time.
Weld: You put out your latest album almost a year ago. How have you felt these songs have evolved on the road?
DeMarcus: They have gained a sort of confidence, and our voices have gained power while performing them where there might have been anxiety before.
Weld: What’s next, writing- or recording- wise?
DeMarcus: Dave and I are always writing songs, but we have tentative plans to begin recording for the next album this winter.
Weld: Athens and Atlanta are cities that have gone through a lot of phases musically and artistically over the years. What are they like now and do you feel that the culture impacts what you do in any way?
DeMarcus: Atlanta was wonderful for us because we both grew up around all different cultures. Atlanta has so much musical variety, and we’ve both been inspired by many local acts. Athens in contrast has less diversity, but the whole community is immersed in music and art. We’re all involved in the advancement of each other’s pursuits. It’s great because there is always a giant influx of young people. Being here helps us to achieve more financially and creatively.
Weld: What was it like sharing the stage with Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby a few months back?
DeMarcus: It was entertaining! They are such great performers, it was inspiring to see people still loving the stage and creating music.
Weld: You’ve been to the Common House before. What brought you back and how do these type shows differ from typical club environments?
DeMarcus: The Common House was so welcoming, and truth be told, we like playing places we have history in. We can’t wait to play with Wilder [Adkins], too. He’s such a talented songwriter!
Cicada Rhythm will be hosted by the Common House with Wilder Adkins opening, but with a location change. The show will be held at the Redemptive Cycles compound on Second Avenue North. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and music starts at 7 p.m. For more information, visit the event on Facebook.