Diamond Fist Werny: Just Trying To Do Their Own Thing

Who they are: Todd Werny, guitar, lead vocals. Tim Soba, drums, backup vocals. Axel Mundi, bass clarinet. Julius Brown, visual displays. Background: The band came together about two years ago; Brown joined them about a year ago. The name, Werny says, is based on a personal myth, and is intended to draw images of strength in the face of a tremendous struggle. Describing their music: Werny: "We're not a Pearl Jam rip-off, we don't sound like Soundgarden, we're not trying to be the next Nirvana, we're not a retro-anything band - we're just trying to do our own thing." Mundi: "Each of us has a really powerful approach to what we're doing. Todd's guitar and singing, even though it has roots in a tradition, is totally individual. Tim is extremely emotional, but also proficient as a musician, so he keeps the technical thing on track, and I like to bring a spontaneous, theatrical thing, that element of ritual." Werny: "A lot of what we try to do is orient ourselves around one note. For Axel, it's a tonal meditation he studies; I come from more of a rock side of it. . . . There's a lot of power and emotion in simplicity, in one note."

How Brown fits in:

Brown writes his own software and uses video technology to create displays for each performance. Brown: "Essentially, I create visuals interactively at the performances. . . . A lot of what I do has to do with synchronizing changes. If a song has a slow part or a faster part, I'll try to coordinate the pace of the visuals to the pace of the music. It's sort of based on the mood of the music.'

How they prepare for shows: Werny: "I get really nervous and have stomachaches. If I have time, my luxury is to be able to take a 10-minute walk and remember what I'm doing in this city, what I'm trying to do with my music and my life." Soba: "I write out my set list, then I just go through the songs mentally, remembering certain points. . . . And a couple of beers - no more, though." Mundi: "In the last few minutes I go backstage or to whatever quiet area we have and do some breathing exercises and try to focus myself on what I'm really doing, try to remind myself that I'm not there to get glory or anything, that I'm there to make music." Brown: "I just find that I have so many technical details to get together that if I get that together, that's my preparation."

What commercial success means to them: Soba: "For me, this band isn't about making it, it's about being personally satisfied, personally happy in my own life, and everything else will follow." Werny: "For me, it's important that we do bring it to another level of getting on a label and so forth. I just need to prove that honest expression and a true attempt to be unique in art is something that's valuable and precious and people will know that over hype and commercialization." Where to hear them: If you like what you hear on InfoLine, you can see the band perform tomorrow night at the Colour Box in Pioneer Square. Their next gig is July 31 at the Off Ramp. They have a couple of tapes available in local stores, and they are about to release a 7-inch single on Igloo Records.