School of Rock

    If his name sounds familiar, maybe you’ve seen David Miano play live somewhere in San Diego with his new-wave/garage revival band Cut. Or perhaps you’ve heard of his indie record label Aural Gravy — home to local acts the Very, the New Kinetics and Kelsea Little. 

    But most likely, he was your history professor. 

    “I have my day job and I have my night job,” Miano told the Guardian in an interview Tuesday. “I teach history — ancient history is my forte —  and then on the side I write music and work on my label and go see local bands play.”

    Miano attended UCSD for graduate school, receiving his Ph.D. in 2006. Since then, he’s worked as a lecturer for upper division history courses at the school, while developing his brainchild, Aural Gravy Records.

    “Originally the idea was to just form the label as a pet project to release my own material,” Miano said. “I became interested in other people’s music, and I ended up putting out three records before I even put out my own. As a matter of fact I’m still working on mine [laughs].”

    The three artists on Aural Gravy (four, including Cut) sample from a variety of contemporary genre trends — an aspect of modern music that Miano is particularly attracted to. 

    “We’re kind of in the indie/alternative genre — if those words even mean anything these days — but there is some diversity,” Miano said. “Kelsea Little is sort of indie folk pop, and the New Kinetics are garage rock and the Very is sort of, like, a post-punk retro new-wave kind of thing.”

    This Saturday, Aural Gravy’s first annual Sonic Indie Music Expo will aim to combine the experience of the local concertgoer and that of the deal-hungry vinyl collector into one day-long festival. It’s an obvious merger for Miano, and one that he believes isn’t utilized enough. 

    “We just wanted to bring together two elements that are related to music: the record show, which is going to have a bunch of vinyl records, CDs, music memorabilia and collectibles and all that, paired with a really big concert,” Miano said. “We have eight bands playing throughout the course of the day on Saturday, and they’re all really, really good. They’re not super well known yet, but they’re definitely up-and-coming bands that you’re going to be hearing a lot about in the future.” 

    The festival’s roster (hand-picked by Miano) will of course include the artists signed to Aural Gravy, as well as Los Angeles’ the New Limb, Bullet & Snowfox, the Colourist and more. The record expo portion of the event will feature sales booths from a variety of local record stores and sellers — a feature that can be attributed to Miano’s inherent love for the rare, dusty treasures of the past. 

    “The great thing about actually having a hard copy of record is that you have something that you can hold,” Miano said. “I suppose it’s kind of like the difference between reading a book and then getting it on your Nook. Especially with vinyl, you actually have this record and it’s grooved right into the material and you can play it. There’s something romantic about it, there’s something more real about it, and also it’s supportive of the bands who make them. You can illegally download all these free songs on the Internet, but if you really love a band and you want to support them, you’re going to buy the hard product.”

    As for Miano, his first album with Cut is coming soon — out on Aural Gravy.

    “It’s just me and one other guy named Ben Medeiros,” Miano said. “He plays drums and I kind of play everything else. We’re putting the record together now and it should be done in maybe about a month or two.”

    The Sonic Indie Music Expo will be held at the Porter’s Pub, June 2, from noon until dusk. $12 at the gate, $11.50 for pre-sale at
    www.sonic-con.com.


    Illustraion by Kayla Batom 

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