Dialogue has a lot to say
Local band strives to offer up more than hip hop, instrumentals

T. Weiland on bass and vocalists Jared Thompson and Tyson Snyder kick off Dialogue’s show at the Abbey Theatre last Saturday./Photo by Ben Eng

Energy surges through the crowd. It’s Friday night and all eyes are on the stage at The Summit where the musicians of Dialogue are preparing to shake things up. The crowd stands shoulder to shoulder, budging maximum capacity, as “T” Weiland nods his head to the beat of his bass, Joe Burrell jams on the drums, and Brandon Herrera warms his fingers on the friction of his guitar. At center stage, Tyson Snyder and Jared Thompson set the beat through their poetic freestyle lyrics: “Sound waves pierce the air, and it never stops, just Dialogue with dot, dot, dot.” The audience roars as Dialogue kicks off the show with its song, “Armed Hostilities,” a crowd favorite.

The young band develops its music from a combination of genres, from hip-hop to punk to rock to funk. Meshing these musical elements and various philosophies on life, the band derived its motto: hip-hop with instruments and a purpose.

“We each have different influences, backgrounds and personalities,” says Snyder. “However, we do share very similar political beliefs, moral values and a mutual love for music. Taking this into consideration, I think it leaves a lot of room for diversity as far as our sound is concerned.”

T. Weiland lays down bass notes on Saturday./Photo by Ben Eng

Even though the band members hail from various locales, (Burrell, 19, is from Longmont; Weiland, 21, is from Tucson, Ariz.; and Herrera, 24, Snyder, 22, and Thompson, 22, are from Farmington), Dialogue was born in Durango. Band members started jamming together less than a year ago.

“We had no idea what to expect,” Snyder says. “We’d get together, drink a few beers and what we were feeling that particular day is what our sound was. We liked what we were making so much we just kind of figured that other people would, too.”

As a result, the band took advantage of every performance opportunity that crossed its path, playing gymnasiums, empty bars, house parties and friends’ garages. The band then moved on to perform more than a dozen shows at bars and events in Durango. It also has performed with other acts including local bands Suitcase, The Frank Trio, Drunken Immortals and Flash Monkey, as well as national hip-hop artists Bizzy Bone, from Bone Thugs ’N Harmony, and Starr Cullars, bassist, from P-Funk. The momentum has picked up during the past three months, with Dialogue recording its first album.

In its short existence, Dialogue has managed to make an impression on Durango audiences. Jesse Martinez, a student and bar hopper, comments, “They definitely have gotten the 4 attention and support of many Durango listeners. I have watched them mature as a band, and they have improved so much compared to their first show.”

Burrell, Dialogue’s drummer, said the band has enjoyed a good local following. “Our biggest shows were definitely on Halloween and New Year’s Eve at Storyville,” he said. “The turn-out and support was unbelievable.”

Lead singer Snyder adds that without this support, the band would not be where it is now. “The amount of people that have come to our shows never ceases to amaze me; this past year has been crazy,” he said. “We have accomplished a lot with the band and grown as individuals, but we know so much of this would not have been possible without our support systems.”

Another element to Dialogue’s sound is the message that emerges from its lyrics. “We get together, play instruments, write lyrics and let what we make speak for itself. It is what it is, and we are what we are,” writes the band on its website, www.dialoguemusic.com. They go on to explain, “Dialogue’s purpose is to spread love, get a little back, provoke thought, make dope music, have fun, create change and connect with people.”

Dialogue’s lyrics evolved from Snyder and Thompson’s poetry of the past few years. “We obviously wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think that we had something to say,” says Snyder. “Our lyrics address serious issues, but we try to do it in a way that is still fun to listen to. We consider ourselves a positive and conscious band that struggles with contradictions just like everyone else.”A0

Guitarist Brandon Herrera raises his
glass at the Abbey. The hip hop band,
which started less than a year ago,
also draws on influences of punk,
funk and rock./Photo by Ben Eng

The musicians say they are attempting to raise awareness and open minds lyrically. “If you’ve heard our songs, you’ll notice that the content touches on various issues and ranges from legalizing hemp to disliking your job,” said Snyder. The band also addresses issues like worldwide violence, the impacts of corporate ownership and the questionable motives of the U.S. government.

A common occurrence at a Dialogue show is Thompson’s freestyle solo, “A Day in the Life of George W 85” Thompson said the piece attempts to interpret certain thoughts that run through Bush’s mind as he tries to rationalize his decisions as president. “What was that? An acid flash back from my Ivy League days, when I had a C- average, because my dad was head of the CIA.”

Snyder (Thompson’s childhood friend and the other half of the vocalist duo) describes Thompson’s freestyle lyrics as a translation of his personal views: “This young man was born under the big blues skies of Montana. Like many, he considers Bob Marley the prophet of the 20th century and Bill O’Reilly to be completely full of (expletive).”

Snyder has been known to evoke an emotional response from the audience. In his spoken word solo, “I Am,” his lyrics reflect his sensitivity toward the human race by speaking for people who are “oppressed, depressed and consumed by stress.” Snyder goes on to express his concerns that “the United States government is slowly being taken over by boring, overly conservative, pale, rich, Christian fundamentalist aliens.”

The rock, punk and funk influences in Dialogue’s music come mostly from Burrell, Weiland and Herrera. Inspired by bands like Rage Against the Machine, Metallica and Sublime, these three supply instrumentals to support the lyrics of Snyder and Thompson. The band agrees that, without these contributions, the music would not have the same sound, tone or impact as it does now. Weiland also notes that politicians also contribute to the band, albeit unknowingly. “I give big ups to the politicians for giving me something to forever make fun of,” he says.

Even though humorous undertones run throughout the band’s songs, the audience sees the issues Dialogue addresses as serious and real. Snyder says, “That’s the way it is supposed to be. We are not caught up in keeping it real, hard, overly positive/negative, politically correct or whatever else.”

He adds, “We keep it honest and close to our hearts, and we think that’s the way it needs to be.”







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