Named for the warrior goddess from Hindu theology, Flames of Durga is Los Angeles-based rock trio. Identical twins Beah and Ceci Romero supply vocals, guitar and bass with percussion by their bandmate Nate Million. Flames of Durga’s music is comparable to a number of legendary acts like the popular 80’s rock groups Heart and Van Halen who incidentally also feature siblings working together to produce music.
Their bass-heavy rock ballads with grunge-inspired vocals command respect but even more so, Flames of Durga demonstrates impressive work ethic when it comes to their music. On their first tour, the band played 14 shows in the span of 15 days across five states in North America. Shortly thereafter, their EP was released in the Spring of 2017. After that, it was back to the recording studio with an abundance of new material to work on as the band prepared for their second tour and the objective of releasing a full-length album before the end of the year. They also are in the process of selecting a song off their debut EP for a music video they hope to release very soon. Although no final decision has been made, the band mentioned that “Sugar Or Cream” is a serious contender.
I caught up with the group after their recent show at the Redwood Bar in downtown Los Angeles. Beah, Ceci and Nate returned from their second tour of the United State and Mexico in late June with an unexpected fourth member; a stay puppy they adopted during their time in Tijuana!
“There’s this super rad grunge scene out there,” says Beah when discussing their first-ever experience touring Mexico. On this tour, Flames of Durga played 15 shows in 18 days in five states and Mexico. “We drive a sh*t ton of miles. Usually we can fit three people and all our gear into a van,” says Ceci of the challenges presented by life on the road as a touring band, hungry for opportunity to share their music. “You get tough from the whole thing, touring is a bonding experience” says Ceci, a sentiment shared by her bandmates. Flames of Durga was met with an encouragingly positive response from audiences throughout the duration of the tour. “We tested out some of the new songs on tour” says Beah, noting that the band in encouraged by the positive reception of new material. The band is eager to translate the live energy that has afforded them such popularity into their recorded material.
In the very near future Flames of Durga is looking forward to playing at Echo Park Rising, a free all-ages music festival hosted by local businesses in Echo Park, Los Angeles. Last year, the band played at a bar called Little Joy and was ecstatic to learn that this year they will be playing The Wild Riot x The Pretty Cult which is an outdoor creative compound hosting live music during the Echo Park Rising festival. Flames of Durga will take the stage at 2:40 pm on Sunday, August 20th, a belated birthday present to the twins who will be celebrating their shared birthday on August 19th.
by KRISTEN STANOVICH
From the first weighted strum of the bass and distorted guitar tones shrieking atop striking, steady drum beats, LA’s Flames of Durga more than proves its spot among noteworthy psych-grunge bands. The brainchild of twins Beah and Cecilia Romero, Flames of Durga’s success not only hinges on the impressive technical abilities of all its members, but also the Rameros’ ambition to push harder, play louder and dream bigger.
Flames of Durga stems from a creative outlet among the siblings – featuring solely guitar and bass which started out acoustic and grew into an electric set in 2013. However, meeting current drummer, Nate Million, shifted their scope.
The three met at a Halloween party two years ago when the Rameros mentioned they were seeking a drummer to practice with them in a new space. Million offered to let the two borrow a drum set to hold auditions when the three ended up holding their own impromptu jam session.
“Ever since then Nate was like ‘well, I think I wanna be your guys’ drummer,’” Cecilia said with a laugh. “He ended up being the perfect fit for us.”
Million, who had been in and out of music projects over the years, admitted that before joining Flames of Durga, he was jaded when it came to music – witnessing so many projects start and end.
“I wasn’t really looking for a band… I thought I’d just let them borrow a drum set,” Million said. “But it was so much fun that I was like, ‘I wanna do this.’”
Despite the lighthearted and seamless transition from practice to touring band, the creative process does come with its share of hardships. Beah said one of the biggest struggles she faces as the main songwriter in the group has been to remain inspired and still treat music as a means to provide for herself in daily life.
“To constantly be creating is a struggle… to constantly be creating material and still eat and pay your rent,” she said. “That’s the main [struggle] I think. To survive as a creative person.”
The trio, who also work full-time jobs when not on the stage, have been in the process of recording a full-length album following the release of their new single “Fragile,” recorded with Kevin Jarvis at Sonic Boom Room in LA.
The sound behind “Fragile” is anything but that. Leading off with powerful, angsty vocals that shout “Don’t think you can tell me/how I’m gonna live my life” the song grabs listeners by the collar, sits them down and gives them a four-minute musical interpretation about how they just don’t give a shit about anyone’s opinion. Backing vocals which ooh and wail above the simplistic yet fruitful guitar riffs and minimalist drum beats build to more chaotic and vibrant notes until the final “fraaagiilllle.”
“I feel like the sound that we a have kind of naturally gravitated toward and the way it’s developed has made it grow into this kind of badass, heavy rock kind of vibe,” Cecelia said.
Drawing from the vocal stylings of Nirvana to Bikini Kill and Babes in Toyland, Flames of Durga flagrantly carries their “heavy rock vibe” consistently throughout their released songs like “Time and Effort” and “Rabbit Hole.” Both songs feature steady, rumbling bass chords and straightforward riffs and drum beats. The full-length album, slated to be released later this year, promises more of their distinct style, however the band strives to keep pushing forward in their technical abilities.
“We’re definitely always trying to push ourselves as much as we can,” Cecelia said. “I feel like you can never stop growing.”
LIVE SHOW: Catch Flames of Durga at The Shakedown on May 7 with Tetrachromat, presented by N7E Records. Check out flamesofdurga.com.
Published in the May 2016 issue of What’s Up! Magazine
If you’re a fan of fellow LA-rockers Deap Vally, this band is right up your alley (rhyme not intended). The vocal layering of the Romero sisters adds depth to their sort-of punk-meets-‘80s-hair-band sound. They have a synchronized stage presence, often headbanging in unison as they ripped through songs like “Walking Corruption.”