Venice Dawn is something new for the music industry, a sound that is equal parts classic rock, and dark, cinematic soul. At the center of the group sits bandleader Adrian Younge, whose idea began over a decade ago with the production of his first album Venice Dawn (2000). After a performance of the album at Los Angeles venue Whisky-A-Go-Go came the formation of the group Venice Dawn, with high school friend C.E. Garcia coming into the fold.
Upon graduation from law school in 2003, Younge took time off from music to immerse himself in film. In 2008, Younge found himself as not only editor of the blaxploitation film Black Dynamite, but composer, arranger, and producer of the original score as well. After the release of the film, Younge assembled a band of likeminded individuals to perform the material, and the Black Dynamite Sound Orchestra was born. Reconnecting with Garcia, and another high-school friend Loren Oden, he brought on new recruits Jack Waterson and Alfredo Fratti.
After the success of Black Dynamite, Younge began revisiting some of his earlier works and envisioned a new sound that would take the blaxploitation of Black Dynamite, and mesh it together with the more left-field sounds of Venice Dawn, eventually deciding to bring everything full circle by releasing the material under the Venice Dawn moniker.
A sonic and aesthetic blend of classic rock, vintage soul, and hip-hop, Venice Dawn is a close-knit group whose sound is based on a shared love of vinyl culture. With unbridled freedom, each band member is given the opportunity to do something they can’t do elsewhere. As Younge attests, “We’re vintage, knowledgeable, and trying to make a change in music.” The live show is a testament to this mission, showcasing the band members’ individual strengths in the service of a much grander musical statement.
Bass player and keyboardist C.E. Garcia has been playing bass for fourteen years, and keyboards for seven. Though initially an acoustic guitarist, he made the switch to bass after Younge requested he sit in with Venice Dawn for the initial Whisky-A-Go-Go performance. His guitar background has helped him develop a unique style of bass playing that raises the melodic bar of the rhythm section.
Lead vocalist and keyboardist, Loren Oden has been singing professionally for ten years, and playing keys for five. Previously a background singer, Oden’s credits include Stevie Wonder, Rick James, and Erykah Badu. Lending his hand to the Black Dynamite project eventually led to a permanent spot in Venice Dawn, where his soulful vocals shine on the vintage inspired soundscapes.
Lead guitarist and flutist Alfredo Fratti has been playing both instruments for nineteen years and comes to Venice Dawn as brother-in-law of C.E. Garcia. Too young to participate in the initial formation of the band, Fratti was brought onboard during the recording of the Black Dynamite film score. His psychedelic soul-drenched riffs and soaring flute lines provide the music an air of delicate beauty that exquisitely balances out its vigorous rhythmic underpinnings.
Elder statesmen of the group, guitarist Jack Waterson has been a professional musician for over three decades. As bassist for 80’s desert-rock outfit Green On Red and owner of Los Angeles vintage musical instrument store Future Music, Waterson brings a wealth of experience to the group. Initially the drummer for the Black Dynamite Sound Orchestra, Waterson made the shift to guitar and has been lending support with his trademark rhythmic stylings ever since.
Drummer Dave Henderson is an industry veteran who’s recorded and toured with everyone from The Knack, to Unkle. Henderson was giving lessons to then-drummer Jack Waterson, when Waterson suggested Henderson come on board as drummer. His hard-driving style quickly solidified the band’s sound, and his sense of showmanship only elevated an already fantastic live show.
Lead and background vocalist Saudia Yasmein has been singing all her life. Formerly a vocalist in a classic rock/blues band, Yasmein made her way to Venice Dawn on a chance meeting with lead singer Loren Oden. A day later she was in the studio with soul legend William Hart of the Delfonics, and hasn’t looked back. At ease as one of the “guys” as well as empress of the group, Yasmein’s sweet, seductive vocals are the perfect compliment to the melodic soundscapes of the band.
After having introduced the world to its unprecedented sound with 2011’s Something About April, the band is currently working on a follow-up to be released in early 2015.
Bio written by Andre Torres