In an auto body garage in Sparks, you’ll find Brendan Aguiar playing his Epiphone Les Paul sunburst guitar and screaming lyrics while Kyle O’Donnell pummels his drum set and sings back-up. What began as a friendship turned into a psychedelic garage rock band known as Hourglass Flies.
The duo released the album Broken Wings on Bandcamp on May 4. The eight experimental songs on the album were produced by O’Donnell and Aguiar themselves. Some tracks are almost eight minutes long, consisting of colorful guitar ballads and continuous, reverberating noise.
Aguiar became interested in playing with different guitar pedals—like the wah pedal often used by Jimi Hendrix—by listening to different types of instrumental music and trying to figure out how to recreate that sound. Aguiar and O’Donnell studied bands such as Toe, the instrumental rock band from Japan, to gain inspiration.
The duo also incorporates electronic music and hip hop samples into their work. They’re inspired by musicians like Ice Cube and Mix Master Mike, using samples of their work in Hourglass Flies’ songs.
“There’s a lot of nostalgia in the music and a lot of feels within these samples,” said Aguiar.
Other unconventional sounds are also sampled and incorporated into songs such as the sound of rain, thunderstorms, horses, news clips and even the Friday The 13th theme song.
Although Aguiar says the duo’s music may not always be easy to dance to because of the long, wavering guitar riffs and the aggressive tone of Aguiar’s singing, the band wants its listeners to focus on the lyrics and the message of their songs.
Some of the band’s songs are reactions to events happening in the country and around the world. “One of the first songs we ever made, ’Fuck ’Em’ is a reaction, I guess, in our own way, of what’s going on with the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality,” said Aguiar. The song features a sample from a news clip discussing the death of Eric Garner, a man killed by a New York City police officer’s chokehold.
Another song in the works discusses families being separated at the Mexican border. “We just wanted to speak out against [family separation] in our own words and in our own music, and that’s what we’re trying to do with this song,” said Aguiar, “We’re asking ourselves, ’What’s wrong in America right now?’ And it’s coming across in our music.”
The track contains the lyrics “What’s wrong with America/ What’s wrong with our pride,” and after each chorus, the song breaks down into a jam to deliver a powerful punch.
Despite the serious subject matter of a lot of the duo’s songs and convoluted melodies, Hourglass Flies is high energy in their stage presence. They can be seen banging their heads during a performance and moving around the stage.
“[Being in a band] is a realization that we absolutely love music,” said Aguiar, “It’s the only thing that can comfort you besides a person, and it’ll always be there for you. Even if the track’s not [physically] there, it’ll still be in your head.”