Focused on everything other than what he was supposed to be thinking about, a specific word slipped into Zane Deluccie’s subconscious during his psychology lecture that, for whatever reason, seemed to stick. Gestalt. The school of psychology focused on the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Although Deluccie didn’t take into consideration the meaning of the principle when deciding on a name for his new band, five years later, it turned out to be a fitting description of the group he assembled.
The four-piece indie rock group, Gestalt, is a prime example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Each member of the band brings their own musical background, skills and influences to derive a fully individualized sound. Deluccie on vocals and guitar joined by Xavier Robinson on drums, Cooper Dickerson on guitar and Riley Merino on bass, complete the four pillars of a group that is destined to become a household name in the Denver music scene.
Merino described the group as a “cosmic gumbo,” pulling from their respective influences and talents, the pieces of the whole that are enhanced by coming together. “You know, there are some different influences coming from other sides of the board, Xavier and I have very parallel kinds of interests as far as influences go for contemporary music, Cooper adds this pseudo-country classic rock and jazz twinkles with his guitar and Riley — we haven’t been able to write with him yet but I’m excited to see what he brings. He plays everything we all play but better than us,” Deluccie said.
Each member’s individual connection to music from a young age, and having the opportunity to share those connections with one another early on, have helped strengthen the group and increased the quality of music that they create. Although none of the members grew up with musicians for parents (minus Merino, whose mother is a music teacher), they discovered their talent for the craft through their relationship with music as fans from a young age.
Dickerson and Robinson both described distinct moments in their childhoods when they fell in love with music and knew that they wanted to devote their lives to it. “My dad showed me a VHS tape of the original Motley Crue documentary called Decade of Decadence,” Dickerson explained. “I remember I had just started playing drums at the time and he showed me the specific scene of Tommy Lee doing this crazy drum solo in this cage apparatus that was spinning and I was just like, ‘That’s what I want to do forever,’ it’s just the coolest thing.” Robinson related to Dickerson’s experience, recalling watching a specific Red Hot Chili Peppers performance that drew him to the idea of being in a band.
Just as they found their love for music early in life, the Gestalt guys met their bandmates through a twist of fate when younger. Deluccie and Robinson reconnected through music after years of being childhood friends, going to the same elementary school and attending the same birthday parties. “I had seen that he was in this band,” Robinson explained. “I was just so blown away and impressed. I thought that was just making it, the fact that they had music on websites and stuff. I could follow links to and see pictures of them that was like, holy crap,” he went on to explain. Robinson reached out to Deluccie and the two decided to play together. “Literally the day we went and jammed in his basement we wrote one of our oldest songs and it’s just been like glue since,” Robinson recalled.
Similar to the way Deluccie and Robinson were brought together, Dickerson joined the group next. After seeing the two play at a house show, Dickerson knew that he had to join the band. “We have some of the DMs on our Instagram of Cooper at like 18 years old being like, ‘Let me try out please, please, please,’” Deluccie revealed with a bout of laughter from the others. “I was a very zealous child,” Dickerson responded with a chuckle.
Merino is the most recent member to join the band but described how he too was drawn to the musicality and chemistry of the group when he saw them perform at the Hi-Dive. “The energy was really cool,” he described. “Later I started checking out the recordings on Spotify. I was really amazed at how earnest it was… I just felt like I really related to it in a way that I don’t with all other music.”
The other members agreed with Merino, attributing the allure of the band to the honesty that they put at the heart of what they do. In terms of songwriting specifically, Deluccie said, “I don’t like talking about things I haven’t experienced — that’s not fair to me and that’s not fair to anyone else. You listen to music to either go somewhere or escape something, you know.”
With songwriting that is truthful and personal to each member of the band, Gestalt invites their listeners to be involved and feel the love for their craft and their bandmates that they’ve been able to harness in their music. “It’s almost like, I haphazardly found some brothers [and] unconditional love towards a project,” Robinson said. “They’re [his bandmates] all really talented and they take their craft really seriously but when we come together, all the seriousness pays off and we’re having fun making these things that other people can latch onto. Because, at the end of the day, it’s a scary place out there and we all just want those 30 minutes or an hour of zoning out.”
Gestalt released their first EP RIGHT ON TIME earlier this year and hope to release a full-length album within the next year.
All photography by Roxanna Carrasco