Origins of Industrial Revelation
Pieces of an interview with Dick Metcalf and founder D’Vonne Lewis
The idea to start Industrial Revelation was inspired by my grandmother on my dad’s side. She would tell me stories about my grandfather Dave Lewis. She always told me how big and influential he was in the Northwest music scene. By the way, my grandfather and her never married but she quickly recognized that the legacy of music was passed on to me. She saw the depth of my talent and she encouraged me to start my own band one day.
I come from several generations of musical artists. My grandfather, Dave Lewis was an innovator of jazz, blues and rock in the Pacific Northwest. He played the organ. Actually, his father Dave Lewis, Sr., also called Big Pop, played the guitar. He gave Jimi Hendrix guitar lessons. His wife, my great grandmother Oma Lewis was a first call piano player in various churches around Seattle. They were all a part of this city’s great musical history. I am very proud to continue the family legacy and now my son Donovon is part of this legacy.
So, when I thought about what I wanted in a band, I was inspired by the legacy of my family. I wanted to create music that had a vibrant spirit, which is what I felt when I listened to the Wynton Marsalis Quartet Live at Blues Alley album. When I listened to it the crowd was involved in it, it was playful, it was powerful and at the same time emotional. Musically, it was intense, a revelation. What I took from that album is to always play music with a very high level of intensity, passion, feeling yet warmth. That album elevated my standard for the music I wanted to make. It gave me more confidence to own the music I created and take risks on the bandstand whenever I played.
The idea for Industrial was first shaped by a compilation of experiences in my life. Whenever, I played with Aham, Josh and Evan individually I noticed they each had a similar passion or desire to create something that transcended the moment. We connected drummer to trumpeter, drummer to pianist and drummer to bassist. Plus, I had a rapport with each of them. After a few years, I got serious about the idea of starting a band and I identified these guys as some of my favorite musicians to play with. So in 2006, I invited the guys to have a rehearsal at Cornish. At the first rehearsal, we played each other’s compositions and arrangements. That rehearsal was vibrant and unique. It was deep! Shortly after, I asked them to officially form a band.
The Band Name
We came up with the name pretty organically; I wanted ‘Revelation’ to be in the name. Aham, Josh and Evan simultaneously suggested ‘Industrial’ because it sounded like industrial revolution. The band name Industrial Revelation made sense because we felt like we were on the brink of a musical revolution.
I take a little bit of everything from all of the great jazz musicians. This includes: big bands like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, also Chick Webb. As well as Coltrane’s Quartet with Elvin Jones on drums and Miles Davis’ Quintet with Tony Williams on drums. In regards to Industrial Revelation as a band, all styles of music have an influence on the music we create. If you listen you will hear our take on everything from jazz, blues, funk, hip-hop, rock, reggae, country, symphonic, African and Brazilian; whatever we feel or comes to us in the moment, especially at a live show.
About The Musicians
Aham Oluo – He had an intensity that was unorthodox, his own unique sound that was very distinctive.
Evan Flory-Barnes- I chose Evan because he can make any genre of music “swing” or feel great. He listens to all sorts of music and it comes out in his playing, passionately. The great big band drummer Chick Webb said, “A bass player and a drummer need to ‘dance’ when they play together,” meaning be in sync, groove with one another and listen to each other. Evan and I “dance” all the time on the bandstand.
Josh Rawlings – When I first heard Josh play piano, he had this playful, yet deep joy and understanding of music that made me want to listen to him more and more. All of the guys in the band make me smile, which I believe is important in a band, but Josh tickled my soul.
Words of Wisdom to Aspiring Musicians
Be and stay true to yourself. Create your own destiny, with humbleness. Be as organic as possible. Be an original individual. Everyone has something special to give the next person, to give the world; so find what that is within yourself and give it. Show it. Once you have become free within yourself to express who you are, you will find peace, if it be as a musician or anything you work hard at. You will find that yes, it is worth it to be myself. You will be richly rewarded because you have found your own voice, your own path, your own joy, your own strength. By embracing all of those necessary elements within yourself, you have found the ultimate reward: love. I’d say that is worth it.
– D’Vonne Lewis