Laflin natives Michael Iorio and Danny Sales created Elephants Dancing, their peace-preaching, reggae band in 2015 after they bonded over a mutual love for the same type of music.
After releasing an eight-track EP, the two found themselves separated due to going to college in different areas. In order to continue their creative work, Sales and Iorio traded audio clips and word documents daily to write their first full-length album “Rituals.”
Now, the quartet-turned-septet is comprised of Iorio, vocals and bass; Sales, vocals and guitar; Karl Rucker, guitar; Doug Delescavage, keys; Justin Malinowski, drums; Ross LeSoine, sax and percussion; and Miles Fagley-Orfanella, trumpet and percussion.
Iorio recently went On the Record to discuss the massive support from their fans, known as the “Coconut Crew,” and what the future holds for Elephants Dancing.
Q: How did you each get involved in music?
A: Music has always been a big part in every member’s lives. Current and past members have been playing music for several years and some attended college studying the art.
Q: What do you remember about the first time you performed in public together?
A: The first time Elephants Dancing performed was at a little bar outside of Mansfield. We played four hours of mostly original music. It also happened to personally be my first performance as a singer/bass player. The band’s current line-up consists of seven members, compared to the original four. It is safe to say that the full seven have not performed yet as a whole. We are excited to show off our new sound throughout our August tour.
Q: What is the process for writing your music?
A: Our music is written by myself and Danny in various fashions. Some songs start with both writers together, while some do not. This variety allows for great variation within styles and forms.
Q: How long did it take to put together “Rituals” and how have fans reacted to the album?
A: The 19-track album was written within the first six months of the bands existence. The album was recorded at JL Studios (in Olyphant) and released in the summer of 2016. Our fans have become a large part in what we do. The individuals whom have been supporting us and giving our music love is our “Coconut Crew.” We love our Coconuts and are very grateful for them.
Q: How have you changed as musicians over the years?
A: As musicians and writers, many of the views and perceptions we once had concerning music have changed. The idea of setting out to impress has changed to entertain. We serve the song and listener, rather than our individual part or ego. Over the years the band has begun to value consistency and preparation in every performance. These ideals keep us on our feet and give us the ability to guarantee quality.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories as a part of the band?
A: The band has many memories that we hold to heart. A moment we will never forget was during a conversation with our bud Kevin. The band was eager to start, but missing a name. During this late night talk Kevin suggested “Elephants Dancing” to be our band name.
Q: How has the NEPA music scene changed over the years?
A: The NEPA scene has pushed us to be more than we ever thought. The scene welcomed our act without hesitation and we could not be more thankful. Many of the bands hailing from Scranton have become good friends to us. The shared support amongst the bands and venues in this valley is amazing.
Q: Which musical groups are on your radar that you listen to regularly or that inspire you?
A: Elephants Dancing has many inspirations with the most prominent being Ballyhoo!, Mike Love, Iration, Dirty Heads, Sublime with Rome, Stick Figure and Tribal Seeds.
Q: Have you faced any major challenges as a rising band?
A: The most difficult challenge presented to Elephants Dancing was a few months without a drummer. With many gigs planned we were left empty-handed. Our performance was forced to adapt resulting in a frenzy of multitasking. Now the band is at a solid seven-member mark, happily struggling to coordinate schedules.
Q: What are your future goals for the band?
A: The band plans to release a new single in early August to kick off our second summer tour. We will be visiting New Jersey, New York and Maryland throughout most of August. After our tour is finished we will be releasing our second full-length album featuring the new sound. The Elephants have much planned for the months to come and our Coconut Crew is the first to know.
— charlotte l. jacobson
Based out of: Wilkes-Barre
Members: Michael Iorio, vocals and bass; Danny Sales, vocals and guitar; Karl Rucker, guitar; Doug Delescavage, keys; Justin Malinowski, drums; Ross LeSoine, sax and percussion; and Miles Fagley-Orfanella, trumpet and percussion.
Genre: Reggae/Surf Rock/Hip-hop
Up Next: Thursday, Aug. 17, 11 p.m. — Silvana, 300 W. 116th St., New York City
Online: Visit elephantsdancing.com