The sad face emoticon used by Sad Numbers may seem like just another elusive aspect to the hard-to-define-yet-easy-to-enjoy band, but it actually speaks volumes about their music.

Whether you catch that sad smiley on one of the CDs handmade by Josh Berkley (but painted à la DIY chic by his young daughter), or online when searching Sad Numbers, that “:(“ brings together the band and its listeners.

A sad smiley is used by almost anyone these days; it is a universal form of communication that we can identify and relate to. That two keyboard symbol creation is familiar and is an intimate way of communicating our sense of melancholy and playful disappointment via text message. This concept can be detected in Sad Numbers’s music, which may explain why their songs are easy to love and hard to resist dancing to.

Sad Numbers was started in June 2013 by Josh Berkley (bass and vocals), Jim Rivas (drums) and Heidi Barney (keys and vocals), all longtime friends that have “always had the motion to groove” when it came to creating music. Christian England and Rory McClure (both on guitar) later joined, thus completing the upbeat, but slightly melancholic, shoegaze pop band known as Sad Numbers.

While funky and colorful, Sad Numbers’s music also conveys a distinct feeling of clarity, but the lo-fi nature of the band delivers a raw aspect that makes listening feel like an old friend who is sharing with you why they’re ambivalent about modern society over a game of pool.

Jim Rivas feels that the genre defying Sad Numbers can go from “jazzier, to funkier and then to shoegaze” because each member is expressing bits of their own diverse personalities.

“We’re expressing different flavors in each of us,” Rivas said. “The sounds we listen to are pretty spread, it is why our sound is eclectic.”

With such different musical talents and tastes, one might think that the band would have difficulty agreeing on the direction to head in, but Rivas shares that is not true at all.

“We share values in a sense, all of us have a really good genuine respect for each other and as individuals first…we joke around a lot but keep it lighthearted, we are all aware and blessed to be doing this,” Rivas said.

At the center of Sad Numbers is writing new music, which is what the band intends to focus on, as well as playing more shows in Sacramento, and possibly San Francisco, in the near future.

Make sure to catch Sad Numbers at Luigi’s on March 22.

Words: Dig This Not That

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