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Abando: Hateful But Danceable.

March 19, 2015

ABANDOSonline03Text by Chris Brown. Images by Rick Kauffman.

In certain pockets of North Philadelphia, the term “abando” gets tossed around as shorthand to refer to the dilapidated structures and homes found in the area. For Kyle Marchiafava, also known as Street Kyle, the term serves as a reminder that the city isn’t all artisanal coffee shops and hip gastropubs. To be clear, he’s not anti-coffee. It’s just these spots aren’t indicative of the Philly that he grew up in.

“The term ‘abando’ is a lowlife, junkie term,” he says in between bites of falafel at Liberty Choice, an unassuming convenience store tucked underneath the El, off Front Street. “I’m not advocating any of it but I do embrace it at the same time.”

ABANDOSonline02Born and raised in the city, 29-year-old Marchiafava has been making music in Philadelphia for the last 10 years. A former member of punk groups such as FNU Ronnies and The Chickens, Marchiafava formed The Abandos at the tail end of 2012. Since then, five drummers and three bass players have passed through the door, forcing the garage rock-leaning The Abandos to become Abando, a one-man operation. At first, the idea of countless musicians quitting the band might sound like a sad story but really, it just makes the band name all the more appropriate.

Currently, Abando is a free-form organism. A longtime fan of industrial sounds, Marchiafava uses drum machines and synths to fill the void left by former band members.

“This music is pretty aggressive and kind of weird but also extremely accessible to more than one scene of people,” he says.

While ostensibly a one-man operation, there’s been some collaboration. Wes Russell of Hot Guts has been working with Marchiafava.

“It’s got this primitive core that I really dig,” Russell says of the material. “There are barebones elements of EBM and a punk vibe but it’s not trying too hard. It’s Cro-Magnon and hateful and you can dance to it.”

ABANDOSonline01While there’s clearly a new direction for the project, one obstacle that Abando still faces is that many don’t realize that The Abandos have become this quasi-solo venture. In fact, last year’s 7-inch is just now reaching some blogs. The delay in being discovered has both its pros and its cons. While some are late to the party, it gives Marchiafava the opportunity to forge a new identity for his project, one that doesn’t carry the baggage of the past.

“Most of the reviews that come in now, they don’t even know about my old bands,” he says. “It’s part of the reason that I’m happy to have released it myself without the help of a label.”

Releasing a proper, full release sometime soon is definitely the goal. In the meantime, Abando will continue performing live gigs. Despite all the personnel issues of the last year, Marchiafava has been able to nail gigs all along the East Coast. Whether solo or with whoever is available at the time, they’ve shared bills with acclaimed acts such as Nots and The Spits.

“I’m trying to get to a point where I can do different things with this,” he says. “Like play however many songs but do it in these different formats.”

If the last two years of perseverance are any indication, then the project can take on just about any shape. As long as Marchiafava is in the driver’s seat, Abando isn’t going to collapse anytime soon.

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