The music of New York City based rock band Changing Modes began quietly in the mid-90's when the principal songwriter of the band Wendy Griffiths (keyboards, voice) started making her "bedroom tapes." She says she had no intention of making these songs public. "They were like art songs with very unusual rock beats." Yuzuru Sadashige (bass, guitar) recalls when he heard her songs for the first time. "She programmed very complex layers of accompaniment in her Yamaha SY77, then sang along to record onto her $30 Sears tape recorder, very LoFi, you would hear house noise and car horns in the background, but they were extremely interesting and totally unique."
At that time both Wendy & Yuzuru were mainly writing traditional compositions although they both played in rock bands as teenagers. "We were a bit tired of the concert music scene. We missed the immediacy and energy of rock music, and the way you work with musicians in that genre. If you write for classical musicians, you probably have one or two rehearsals with them before the performance. That is not enough to iron out all the details and make necessary changes. But if you work with a band, you meet twice a week and keep working on music until you work it out."
Changing Modes have created a unique art rock with Sparks-esque fun/pop sophistication with Zappa-esque stylistic diversity/complexity and punk rock energy. Versatile drummer David Oromaner and Musical Theater-trained singer Heather Lake joined the band in 2004. "We use sheet music for rehearsals and occasionally for performances because the parts are pretty complicated. One of our fans once described our music as 'chamber music with drums', and it is true in many ways although it doesn't quite sound like Mozart string quartets, maybe a bit more like Bartok's, perhaps?"
Wendy & Yuzuru, both classically trained composers whose influences range from Bartok, Stravinsky to Nirvana, King Crimson & Sparks have been leading the band since 2000, actively performing in NYC venues such as Luna Lounge, CBGB, CB's Gallery, CB's Lounge, Continental, Barnard College and ACME Underground.
Their first album A PERFECT DAY released in 2003 was described as "Sound ranging from boppin' hillbilly ditties to nearly ethereal ballads. Changing Modes plays category hopscotch. Fizzy & fun, you'll be tapping your foot in no time" (Sentimentalist Magazine). OnlineRock reviewed it as "Great sound and great lyrics. Ton o'fun!"
When asked about their new album album title AEROPLANE, Wendy says "I like 'Aeroplane'- it's retro and futuristic, complex and fun, and it has a metallic kind of energy. It is much more orchestrated than our first album (A PERFECT DAY)." The album also contains intricate vocal harmonies and many layers of instrumental parts. They used over 50 ProTools tracks on the song called ARNOLD inspired by the documentary film "Capturing the Friedmans" (dir. Andrew Jarecki). Yuzuru says "it was one of those pieces that kept growing. I got to play a lot of the fun stuff, like prepared piano and strange sounds." AEROPLANE is more diverse and complex than their first album. From soft, jaunty sound of TWO STEPS DOWN to piano-driven punk song AEROPLANE, funk/jazz stylings of GET UP to psudo-ska/jazz song CHAIN LIGHTNING, circa 1979 new wave sound of TOMORROW NEVER COMES, this album is not what you would normally expect from a rock band. You will, however, hear defined cohesiveness of their sound throughout the album. "We wanted to make it interesting & fun."