Understandably, life is a bit crazy for the fast-traveling members of Seryn right now. Even after driving for hours on end following a sold-out show in Telluride, Colorado on Sunday night, making the choice on where to have dinner Monday night wasn't a completely easy one. Most of them wanted Thai, a couple wanted some local Green Chile action. Eventually they stopped in Albuquerque, New Mexico before making their way to Dallas for another sold-out show at the Kessler Theater.
It's not the only tough decision Seryn has made in 2014, and indeed one in particular has effected the Denton-born group in a life-changing manner. In September, vocalist and guitarist Nathan James Allen moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Then late in October the rest of the band packed their U-Hauls and followed him north to the Music City. The 2011 Dallas Observer Music Awards winner for Best Overall Act, among other trophies, made this seemingly major move in a rather quiet fashion.
Given the group's sustained popularity locally as well as a blossoming fan base across the country, Seryn could've gone Derek Jeter on us local music fans, turning their goodbye to North Texas into a self-congratulatory stream of shows and hyped-up promotion. But they didn't.
"We didn't make a big deal about moving," says Allen over the phone as he learns that Thai has been selected over Mexican. "We didn't send out a press release or have a going away show because we didn't feel like it was needed. We knew we would be coming to Texas pretty often, and we stopped feeling like we really lived in Texas since we were on the road so much or planning to be on the road. A lot of our Denton friends have moved in the years since we started the band. There was less to stay in Denton for, socially speaking."
As much as Nasville is renowned for the music community that quietly lies outside of the corporate-controlled crap factory of Music Row, North Texas artists leaving town in the recent past seem to have gravitated to other deal-making hot spots such as Austin, Brooklyn or even Los Angeles. For Seryn, Nashville doesn't represent a starry-eyed dream to make it big, but a practical, calculated shift so the group can just keep making it.
"A few years ago, someone told us we should move to Nashville, and we thought, 'We don't have to do that. We love it in Denton, and now, bands can succeed from anywhere,'" Allen recalls. "Then, about a year ago, we realized that Nashville is a one day drive to 75 percent of the U.S. population and we began to change our minds because of how much easier that would make touring for us. We can now tour in a way that's more sustainable, and it'll help us develop more of a rhythm for touring."
Though the group has managed to latch onto a couple of Nashville favorites such as Five Points Pizza, Allen and his mates haven't had time to really sink into the artsy, bohemian life of proper East Nashvillians. In fact, the group has enjoyed more time in their old home region than their adopted one of late. But Allen sees a fruitful future for him and his mates as the group will have a short break in touring once the Kessler show is completed.
"By choosing Nashville and having everyone move, we are really just going for it," he says. "We like that there's an industry element to the town, and we're excited about getting to know other people that do what we do. This is my seventh trip to Texas since I moved, so really, instead of living there, it just feels like I've been able to hang out with my friends in Nashville more. When we have had random social moments in town and run into someone that asks us what we do, and we tell them we're musicians, they get that. Not to be meant as a slight, but people understand what we are trying to do and how we're doing that more in Nashville than in Texas."
As for the music of Seryn, it will be 2015 that will likely offer the mightiest wallop the band has endured in its still relatively young life. The group's upcoming, second full-length release, primarily recorded back in June of 2013 at Redwood Studios in Denton, deals in the epic, beautifully sweeping sonics that endeared so many to them in the first place. That much is more than evident in "Disappear," the majestic single released back in April.
With the addition of Jordan Rochefort on drums and Scarlett Deering on violin, Seryn has the look of a completely revamped outfit, but such an assertion would be off-base. But it's the vibes hovering around the arrangements and voices that represent the growth and differences between the still new band of 2010 and the well-travelled vets of today.
"We're having more fun, that's the biggest thing," explains Allen as he tries to explain what is often, and understandably, tough to put into when discussing one's own art. "Everyone's more comfortable now, and our sound may be more raucous now."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Most importantly, though, Allen feels as though Seryn has carved out an identity and a signature sound that's tough for anyone to mistake for that of another band. That true signature element has, and will likely, remain intact, regardless of what instruments are added or what city the band pays their rent in.
"We're still the same and with a sound we feel is our sound. That has been and will always be our goal."
DC9 AT NIGHT'S GREATEST HITS
50 Signs You've Been Partying Too Long in Denton Florida Georgia Line Danced on the Grave of Country at Gexa on Saturday What Your Favorite North Texas Band Says About You Does Dallas Want Its Own Austin City Limits? The Best Places in Dallas to Go When You're Stoned