MEMBERS AND INSTRUMENTS: Devin Vasquez (vocals, bass sequencing); johnnyG (guitars, bass sequencing); Henry Rodriguez (drums, vocals).
RECENT RELEASE: Green Light (2008)
KINDRED SPIRITS: The edginess and spunk of Missing Persons, the modern flair of Incubus, the pulsations of the Police, and maybe a little Alanis, too?
Slinky, sophisticated, sparkling—these are just a sampling of the hundreds of adjectives one could employ in describing the compositions and creations of Riverside-based Them Novus. The trio, featuring vocalist Devin Vasquez, guitarist johnnyG and drummer Henry Rodriguez, has taken the spit-shined and thoroughly polished approach to producing a batch of accessible cuts. And the most remarkable part: It’s only been a couple years since the act’s been together.
A sizable portion of the band’s rapid maturation is represented in the vocals of frontwoman Vasquez, whose delivery and approach finds a singer with a seasoned palette far beyond both garage and bedroom days. That’s because Vasquez’s professional résumé already reads impressive, as she’s performed with Wicked Wisdom (Jada Pinkett Smith’s hard rock band). Rodriguez and johnnyG aren’t exactly new to the game either, each having spent time in other bands as well (despite the fact that the “novus” in the band name might imply a pack of novices).
Though Them Novus has a covers set, the act is concentrating on originals, best evidenced by the release of its debut, Green Light. The cover art’s simple, featuring a traffic signal with its green light illuminated. And after spending seven months in the studio assembling its debut, Them Novus realizes that the symbolism of yellow or red lights simply isn’t in the cards.
“It’s kind of like our very own green light to go on and reach our goal of inspiring people with our music,” says johnnyG.
Working their R&B, funk, rock, pop and Latin-based magic, Them Novus has performed stages large and petite, including the (big) Unity Fest at UC Riverside last year, and an intimate weekly stint at the Hawaiian Blues in Colton.
“It is a pretty small but cozy place with a very laid back clientele,” says johnnyG of the Blues. “It is this kind of gig that gives us the instant gratification that keeps the band going.”