One of the newest acts on the local stage might include some of its youngest members and with their band name that offers a pun to sum up their intent. TwoPeaceExtraSpicy are a rock/blues duo featuring eighteen–year–old James Guarascia on guitar and fifteen–year–old brother Ryan Guarascia on drums. Forming the band during their time at Sherwood High School, they had their first gig before they officially had a name but since June 2012, TwoPeaceExtraSpicy have been turning heads. Rather than catching onto what’s hip in music videos or the local new rock radio station, the band seems more in tune with music from a different era and this weekend, they offer their own debut CDEP of zesty rock dubbed Sophia.
“We don’t really have friends at school who are in bands or are really into our type of music however, since being a part of the music scene we have become friends with a lot of kids our age who are doing the same thing,” offers James Guarascia. “We believe that we are a part of a growing young scene, we think more young kids want to hear something they can relate to from kids their age.
“White Stripes and Black Keys definitely are huge influences for us but my love for this type of music goes further back to bands like Flat Duo Jets and Howlin’ Wolf who I am even more influenced by,” adds Guarascia. “The attraction for us is the raw unfiltered element of a two–piece band. We love the challenge of making a full sound with only two instruments and a voice. We both share the same passion for this music, which allows us to put our all into it and produce what we think it should be. While the more popular bands like Nickelback and Arcade Fire are good and they appeal to a lot of people, they don’t appeal to us. We like to put us out there, who we are as people regardless of who might be popular. We play with emotion – this is who we are, this is what we produce and hope that people will connect with it.”
Their debut recording offers enough grit and growl, with the two teens channelling the blues of a few generations ago but with a modern flair kids should definitely find palatable. Growing up as fans of Arkells, Young Rival and perhaps more recently of kindred spirits Beard, TPES wanted to capture properly the rawness of their music with the right kind of production.
“We tried the route of recording ourselves and using our own computer, in our own basement and didn’t produce the sound we wanted,” recalls Guarascia. “We met with Steve [Bigas] and [Roman] Marcone and from the minute we walked into Porcelain Records [recording studio] there was a vibe and it just felt right we knew that was the right place for the band. Porcelain Records was the perfect match — vintage gear, no frills, just plug in and go. They were exactly what we were looking for. We wanted raw and unfiltered and Porcelain Records gave us that. With our young age and inexperience, it wasn’t just a studio to record in Steve and Marcone offered advice and guidance that the band needed.”
With their new recording in hand, the band is at the top of the bill for their CD release — less than a year after their first gig — but however quickly their rise in the scene, TwoPeaceExtraSpicy seem prepared to take on even more.
“We have no plans of stopping anytime soon we will always be who we are and make the music we want regardless of where it takes us,” says Guarascia. “There will always be fear and anxiety just before and when we step out on stage, but once we hit the first few notes we remember why we are there and it all disappears and it’s like we are in our basement, in our zone and just do our thing — loud, raw, sweaty and giving it all we got. Being at the top of the bill is what everyone wants right? This is our chance to prove ourselves and that’s what we plan to do.”
TwoPeaceExtraSpicy play this Sunday February 24 at the Casbah with Rex Mundus, Jonny Debt and Cooper Black. Doors open at 8pm and $10 gets you in. www.twopeaceextraspicy.com
Wednesday, February, 20, 2013 - 8:08:09 AM
photo by Gord Bowes
Brothers Ryan (left) and James Guarascia are Two Peace Extra Spicy. Their first EP is being released Sunday.
Two Peace Extra Spicy
Band of brothers releases first EP
By Gord Bowes, News staff
Forming a band was the last thing James and Ryan Guarascia had on their minds.
But the more the brothers played together in the basement of their parents’ central Mountain home, the more they realized they had something almost magical.
Ryan, now 15, had never played drums before he went decided to sit down and play along with his brother, who was practising some riffs in the basement.
“I was just playing guitar and he started going at it,” James, 18, says of that moment less than two years ago. “We really never talked about being a band, it just happened.”
Now known as Two Peace Extra Spicy, it’s still just the two of them. A two-piece band is relatively rare in the modern music world, but the White Stripes and the Black Keys have shown it can be a great sound.
“Since it sounds so full, we haven’t had any interest in adding anyone else,” says James, who somewhat reluctantly became the duo’s vocalist.
Two Peace Extra Spicy are releasing “Sophia,” their first EP, on Sundayat The Casbah, where they played their first gig last June. The disc is also available on their website, twopeaceextraspicy.com, and is also being released on iTunes.
Producer Steve Bigas, who signed the brothers to Porcelain Records, says the group has “a lot of upside.”
“It’s tough to say where anyone is heading, but I think that these are good kids and for their first go in the studio they made a really good EP,” he told the Mountain News. “We got the whole thing done in a few hours and they took direction very well and played their asses off.”
He said the Guarascia brothers have to keep writing and playing as much as possible to keep on their upward trajectory.
Ryan says they will be putting the profits from “Sophia” toward recording a full-length album, hopefully in the spring.
Two Peace Extra Spicy is a family affair. Besides the brothers, mom Jaime handles social media for the band and dad Mike is the manager. Family friend Toby Cosford, who engineered the band’s first recorded music, available on YouTube, is also a driving force.
Ryan says they chose the somewhat unusual name because of their sound and there was already a band using the traditional spelling of “two piece.” Beside, when you hold up two fingers in the popular ‘V’ shape, you get the peace sign, he says.
“When you hear the name, it’s something you’ll always remember,” says Ryan, a Grade 10 student at Sherwood Secondary, where his brother graduated from last year.
“It’s definitely not mild,” adds James.
The brothers say they hope the band becomes a full-time career. Even if it doesn’t pan out that way, they say they will still continue to make music.
“We believe we have the talent,” says James. “We just need to build the audience.”