(L–R) Jamison Cerva, Liz Aponte, Jacquelyn Cerva and Dallin Cerva of No Shooting Friends, Joseph.

SLUG Picnic: No Shooting Friends, Joseph

SLUG Picnic

As the temperature rises, people are eager to get out after an intense year of staying inside. Luckily, SLUG Picnic is quickly approaching and features three bands eager to get out and perform live once more. The show kicks off with No Shooting Friends, Joseph. Joining are veterans of the local music scene The Anchorage and opener Decent Animals. The show is on July 31 at the Artspace City Center 230 S. 500 West. Tickets are $5 a piece with picnic seating at 5:30 p.m. and music from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sponsored by Sparrow Electric, Dented Brick Distillery and Utah Brewers Co-op.

Quarantine gave people time to do things they normally wouldn’t have time to do. Some took up new hobbies, while some worked on fitness or caught up on TV shows. Others, like newly formed group No Shooting Friends, Joseph, started a band. Not only did they form a band, but they wrote and produced an entire album, Flicker. No Shooting Friends, Joseph started when guitarist/vocalist Dallin Cerva was messing around on his guitar. “I didn’t intend to start a band,” he says. “I was just trying to see if I could make some songs out of guitar riffs I had made up over the years.” Soon after, Dallin’s wife, Jacquelyn Cerva, began lending a creative hand. “We collaborate on everything,” says Dallin. He eventually rounded up guitarist Jamison Cerva and drummer Liz Aponte to complete the group.

Flicker turned out to be a fantastic album that incorporates movie references and blends different genres of music that listeners can really sink their teeth into. While listening to Flicker, listeners can hear emo, punk and alternative influences. With this being their debut album, Dallin hoped to put together an album that sounds professional and induces nostalgia in its listeners. “I just hoped the album would come together in a way that wasn’t like some guy in his 30s trying and failing to play the kind of music he listened to when he was a teenager,” says Dallin. He wanted to put together something that hearkens back to emo and hardcore music of the late ’90s and early ’00s, and not only do those influences shine through, but it sounds as put together and professional as the band was hoping for. On “Pretend,” listeners hear a film reel spinning before a fast, driving guitar rhythm kicks off the song. It sounds similar to emo and hardcore songs out of the early ’00s while incorporating film samples into the song.

“I was just trying to see if I could make some songs out of guitar riffs I had made up over the years.”

While writing Flicker, Dallin says he looked for influences other than the ones he grew up with, but those are the ones that have stuck the most with him. “I’m still a huge fan of the music I grew up with. I venture out and listen to some more obscure things, and hopefully those influences creep in, but I always come back to bands like Thrice, The Appleseed Cast and Brand New,” says Dallin. While working on the album, Dallin searched out other bands to take inspiration from. At the Drive-In was another influence, as well as Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity. “It’s my favorite album of all time,” says Dallin of the latter.

No Shooting Friends, Joseph takes inspiration and incorporates classic sounds from cinema.
Photo courtesy of No Shooting Friends, Joseph

Flicker has a unique and enjoyable sound that’s reminiscent of emo and punk bands of the past, but one of the components that makes it the most unique is the use of movie references. Throughout the album, listeners can hear monologues from classic movies in the background—George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead among them. “Filmmaking is my trade—it’s what I studied and it’s what I’ve spent most of my adult life doing. I wanted this album to use cinema as a way to enhance the tone of the tracks that use audio clips,” says Dallin. “Cinema can alter your mood rapidly, so the audio clips we pulled from old films in the public domain are there to ground you in the emotion of the song.” Against the high cost of creating things in the filmmaking world, Dallin discusses how getting to create this album on their own as a band has been highly satisfying. “Making an album felt extremely liberating,” he says. “We did it ourselves and that allowed us to move quickly and not answer to anyone. It was the smoothest–moving creative project I’ve ever done.”

“I wanted this album to use cinema as a way to enhance the tone of the tracks that use audio clips.”

Because the band was formed during quarantine, there hasn’t been much of a chance for No Shooting Friends, Joseph to play live. “The album—and the band, for that matter—wouldn’t have happened without the shutdown. Despite how horrible COVID-19 has been for the world, it did give everyone some time to reflect and decide how they want to spend their time and creative energy,” says Dallin. He also adds that they’re “excited to get out and get to know the local music scene more.”

As No Shooting Friends, Joseph gets out to play more shows, they want fans to know that they’re “thankful for the support and that more music is coming.” Dallin revealed that album number two is already written, with plans to record later this year. Flicker is just a taste of what’s to come. Catch No Shooting Friends, Joseph at SLUG Picnic on July 31 at 6 p.m.