What do you get when a priest, a doctor, a lawyer, a film editor and a music producer walk into a bar?
You get the South Pasadena-based band Resident, which is made up of Jon Dephouse, an Episcopal priest who shares songwriting and lead-vocal duties with film editor Pat MacIntyre (who also plays electric guitar), Dr. Chris Kramsch on drums, lawyer Rob Conte on bass and music producer Ed Donnelly on keyboards and lap steel.
“We’re like a perfect bar joke,” Dephouse said with a smile. “We run the entire gamut.”
What started out as occasional jam sessions turned into weekly practices, eventually leading to performances at local joints like The Barkley and Griffins of Kinsale. Resident’s sound is multi-layered, drawing influences from pillars of indie music such as R.E.M. and Coldplay, while adding a rock-and-roll edge.
“The melodies are really catchy and uncomplicated,” said Dephouse. “Our music is accessible to a wide audience.”
Added Conte, “I think the songs naturally come together in the sense that we all appreciate that kind of indie sound. Our live sound has an energy that’s different. We have a lot of pent-up raw energy.”
There is a special chemistry between Resident’s members, and that makes the collaborative music process a fun and enjoyable experience that they all look forward to at their weekly jam sessions.
“Musically, we all click really well,” said Dephouse. “Pat’s a genius electric-guitar player who shapes so many songs. We share a very similar style and sensibility. I love that Rob brings a punk sensibility to what we’re doing — he’s really good at making things tighter and more concise.”
“Jon is a fountain of good lyrics and songs,” added Conte. “His and Pat’s vocals mix so well together. Chris is a fabulous drummer and Ed has been producing records for many years.”
On Aug. 14, Resident celebrated the release of its debut E.P. “Darkness That Shines” by performing to a packed house at Highland Park Bowl. The record, which features five songs, was recorded at The Compound Studio in South Pasadena, mixed and mastered at The Barber’s Basement Studio in Highland Park and released by WayOut Sound Records.
“Highland Park Bowl was a great opportunity,” said Dephouse. “A 15-year-old from Germany listened to our E.P. and described it as a ‘calm and conscious expression about love and life,” which I think was a good way to put it. As a priest, I have a deep spiritual sense of where I’m coming from. The song “Darkness That Shines” almost sounds like a love song, but it’s more of spiritual song about how I think of God or a higher power. It’s a darkness, but there’s a brilliance to that darkness.”
“We’d been working on the recordings for the past year,” said Conte. “Our next goal is to have a full album. We also want to expand our horizons as to where we perform. We’re all artists and musicians at heart who just want to be able to play, and doing it right here in town is great. What’s been so great about being in South Pasadena is that there is so much art that comes out of here and the people in town bring so much to the community.”
Donnelly is also an active member of South Pasadena DUDES (Dads Uniting Dads in Education and Service) and served as president from 2012 through July 2019. Dephouse and McIntyre have also participated in the organization’s fundraisers as well.
“DUDES was founded in 2012 by a handful of fathers who were looking for a way to contribute to our community,” Donnelly said. “Since that time we have grown to about 300 members. We participate in community service projects to support the local PTA, South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Committee, Chamber of Commerce, and more.”
As Resident continues to focus on creating music, playing more gigs and growing together as a band, the most important thing to them is continuing to have fun and celebrating music as an outlet, which is what brought them together in the first place.
“I feel really fortunate that I was able to hook up with these guys and continue to express ourselves through music together,” said Conte.
“I tell my parents that I go to church every Sunday, which is when we get together and practice. To me, it literally is a spiritual outlet to be able to plug in with these guys and just play — it’s transcendental in a way.”
Said Dephouse: “We play gigs whenever we get the chance, and hopefully there will be more, but the weekly sessions where we play and create together are worth it. We’re going to be playing for a long time — this is just the beginning.”