Local Music

Garage-Rock Band Mold Tackles Anxiety on Debut EP, Mold!

Bjorn Roland (left), Bronto Montano (standing), and Carlo Barbacci of Mold.
Photo by April Nicole
Bjorn Roland (left), Bronto Montano (standing), and Carlo Barbacci of Mold.
A white Dodge Caravan brimming with instruments sits in the driveway of a suburban Miami home. The musical equipment belongs to 24-year-old Carlo Barbacci, a Peruvian artist who left his native country almost two years ago to pursue a music career in Miami. Although the house belongs to Barbacci's grandparents, it's serving as both the singer/guitarist's home and the headquarters for his band, Mold.

The house, much like the vehicle, is littered with recording gear and instruments. It's the location where the bandmates of Mold — whose debut three-song EP, Mold!, is set for release Friday, December 6 — do most of their rehearsing and recording. Inside, Bronto Montano sits on the couch while changing the strings on his bass, while Bjorn Roland compulsively drums away on his practice pad atop the kitchen counter.

And Barbacci is trying to keep his cool despite the travails of trying to break even as a touring act.

"I feel like I was ripped off!" he exclaims. The rental van cost them double because of some fine print. It was typical bullshit, just another cost of doing business as a truly independent band.

The bandmates recently embarked a two-day Florida tour. In light of their responsibilities on the road, they opted to keep their heads held high.

Mold's trek around the state took the trio to Orlando, followed by Tampa the next day. The shows marked the first time the band performed outside the Magic City since its formation roughly four months ago.

It's an adventure many Miami bands experience in their early stages after honing their craft through repeated hometown gigs. So it was time for Mold to drive through the swampy Sunshine State and spread the word about the band's music.

Mold's live shows capture the verve and thrash-laden energy of spiritual forebears such as John Dwyer's long-running California rock band Oh Sees. Miamians have flocked to venues such as Churchill's and Las Rosas to experience the excitement of a Mold performance — and all of its catchy garage-rock tunes and heavy, brain-melting guitar riffs.

Now, with its first tour accomplished and an overwhelming amount of support from local fans and musicians, the band decided it was time to give the people something they could take home with them.

Mold will debut its self-titled EP with an accompanying music video and release show Friday, December 6, at the Center for Subtropical Affairs. The trio will share the stage with the Brooklyn band Clone, which comprises members of DIIV, Bodega, and Dead Leaf Echo.

The title of the EP, which was recorded with Ryan Haft and mastered by R. Brok Mende, and its three songs are all stylized in capital letters with an exclamation point at the end. It's as though the band is anxiously yelling the titles while listeners enjoy the music.

"We are trying to connect with people through anxiety — it's what everyone in this generation has in common," Barbacci says. For him, existential considerations make him most anxious.

"It's personal... Sometimes I disassociate," Barbacci admits. "I look at my hands and go, What the fuck? I'm moving my fingers." He's not alone: While the bandmates hope to use their music to connect with others through shared anxiety, they consider playing music a form of therapy.

"It feels like you're releasing all of this anxiety playing songs about anxious feelings," Roland says. Montano adds, "Sometimes we go a little bit wild when we're playing live." Mold's shows are therapy not only for the band but also fans, who seemingly leave their anxieties at home to mosh, dance, and get lost in the music.

The cover art for Mold! features work by Jimena Guinea, a friend of Montano's from Peru. Inspired by Laminas Navarrete, a popular series of Peruvian children's educational activity books, the cover depicts a classic cookie-cutter family, but their faces express profound dread as they sit in a kitchen covered in mold.

The bandmates are grateful for all of the local support they've already received. Barbacci and Montano, having moved to Miami from Peru only within the past three years, still feel fresh to the 305. Although the two were friendly from their time in the South American country's musical community, Roland entered the picture later. In true Miami fashion, he and Barbacci made a pact outside a Flanigan's to play in each other's bands. The promise led to Roland's joining Mold on the drums and Barbacci's taking up the bass for Womanhouse. Now the three are collaborating, jamming, and molding themselves into a formidable musical force.

Mold EP-Release Show. With Clone. Friday, December 6, at the Center for Subtropical Affairs, 7145 NW First Ct., Miami. Tickets cost $6 at the door.