Dave functions as a cellist, composer, guitarist, bandleader, family man and teacher. Not necessarily in that order. He has contributed cello to previous SU albums but has recently become a full member. Dave is bandleader and cellist for Origin of Animal, guitarist for the Devilish Winks and cellist with Diana and the Dishes.
Bill’s drumming was influenced in college by Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant, and 801 among others. After a lengthy break, he got back into the drums in 1999 with Genesis tribute Grand Parade. That led him to meeting various musicians in the Chicago prog community, which led to drumming in a variety of bands before joining Sonus Umbra In 2016.
Roey Ben-Yoseph is a singer, drummer and songwriter who joined Sonus Umbra in 2012 just in time to record vocals for “Winter Soulstice”. His primary role in the band is lead singer, but he contributes in other areas as well. Live, he plays percussion on most songs and on occasion takes over the drums for a song or two. As a writer, he contributes songs, vocal melodies and lyrics: his hooky melodic sensibility is often the “yang” to SU’s dark and complex “yin” . He is also the lead singer of Chicago area prog rock tribute bands Grand Parade (Genesis) and Fanfare (ELP), which is where Roey first connected with Bill, Luis and Tim. Since the late 80’s, Roey has sung and/or played drums in a number of bands covering many different musical styles, including folk rock, power pop, glam metal, hard rock, world music and prog rock. As long as the music is good, nothing else matters.
Guitarist Rich Poston started his first original band in 1988. The four piece Psychotic Romance released a four song cassette and the band later resurfaced as a three piece called Requiem.
In the late 1990s, Rich worked in many cover bands, most notably, Mary Ann and the Professors. He kept his love for progressive rock alive by performing with the Genesis tribute band, Cinema and the Frank Zappa influenced Dr. Bizarro and the Disgustos.
In 2004, Rich took another stab at original music with the mainstream rock band, 4 Letter Words and released the CD “4LW.” Soon after, he became involved with the Jethro Tull tribute, Silver Pipe (as a keyboardist!) where he started working with Steve Royce and Luis Nasser.
Now Rich performs with three original progressive rock bands: Department of Revenge, Origin of Animal, and of course, Sonus Umbra.
Steve played his first note on a Flute back in 1973 as a freshman in high school. He quickly learned that in order to get his chance to jam on Flute, he needed to play some other instrument to fill in the gaps (sax in Jazz band, rhythm guitar, bass or keys in rock bands, you get the idea). He received a degree in music theory and composition from UICC (now UIC) where he developed a love for orchestration and arranging. Playing in various original and cover bands over the years, good friend Dale Stubitsch urged him to finally start a Jethro Tull cover band in 2006. With the help of Dale and Rich Poston, Silver Pipe was born. Over the years, the lineups changed and eventually included Luis Nasser, Tim McCaskey and Brian Harris. As Luis began recruiting to record Winter Soulstice, Steve joined in to add Flute, backing vocals, arrangements and general energetic ‘tude, becoming absorbed in this creative collective of musicians he’s honored to call friends.
Tim played a mix of fingerstyle acoustic guitar and whatever other prog or metal he could pick up in his youth. He met Andy and Luis in graduate school at the University of Maryland, where they all got physics degrees. Andy and Tim formed the acoustic instrumental group Might Could, of which Luis also became a member. Might Could is on hiatus, as are the Elton John and ELP cover bands that included Tim and some other Sonus folk. Tim and Luis also play together in The Devil’s Staircase, a band who makes music based on physics and mathematics.
Andy Tillotson is a man of many talents but few words. So few that in fact, someone else is writing this bio. Andy is a powerhouse composer, arranger and guitarist in addition to being a creative pianist and a one-of-a-kind drummer. Over the past 15 years he has been responsible for mixing, mastering and producing three Sonus Umbra and four Might Could albums at his “Under the Cadavers” Studio. Andy, his cats and family are currently located in Abu Dhabi, where he teaches physics at NYU.
I’m the founder and last remaining member of the original band that formed in Mexico City under the name Radio Silence in the early 90’s. For many years I used to brag about not sleeping. Not anymore. I also stopped drinking strangers under the table and feeding many other illicit and insane habits. I am a musician, a composer and a theoretical physicist. I love the secret language of nature, and I am still here, speaking; against all logic and reason, disproving prophets and pissing off my enemies I remain out of thermodynamic equilibrium with the Universe. I’m an inmate in this gravitational prison, orbiting at 30 km/s round the Sun where not even the dead go free. But it’s our only home in space, and after a half a century of war I’ve come to realize that I love the joint; I just have real differences with many of the other human inmates. I hurtle through space, but I’m afraid of heights, so I bass to keep me safe and low. Just a human. Being.
The past is but prologue.
Back in the early 90’s, three science students from the national university in Mexico City, Andres Aullet, Ricardo Gómez and Luis Nasser got together to form a band called RADIO SILENCE. From 1991 to 1994, the band played on, gaining a large cult following and a reputation for intense, unpredictable live performances. Inevitably, the band broke up, but the music and the meme lingered on.In 1995, Nasser and Gómez moved to the East Coast of the USA under the pretense of pursuing scientific doctoral degrees, but all they really wanted was to find other players and continue what RADIO SILENCE had started. Two fruitless years later the search was abandoned and the two drifted apart; Nasser sulked in his apartment and alternated between writing music and working on his dissertation, while Gomez jammed and played with a number of different bands, ranging from punk rock to Spanish baroque troupes (which included the stretchy pants and full peacock garb).
In 1997, Nasser auditioned for a Baltimore-based band KURGAN’S BANE, led by guitarist Pete Laramee and his brother, drummer Jeff Laramee; a crisp, crunchy hard rock band of exceptional musicianship that had parted ways with their bassist and were on the eve of recording their debut album “Search from Sea to Sea”. These sessions resulted in a a good friendship between Nasser and John Grant of Secret Sound studios in Baltimore, and the later discovery of a vast network of websites promoting underground prog rock made him curious to find out what the internet crowd might think of the material performed by RADIO SILENCE, back in the smoggy, boozy daze of Mexico City.
Nasser and Grant set upon the task of embellishing a demo of original material recorded on 8-track tascam tape machine for release. During the course of this project, Nasser invited Gómez and Aullet back to the fold, and the end result was a disc called “Laughter In The Dark” which, to everyone’s astonishment, earned rave reviews, sold out in months, and inked the band a record deal with the now defunct indie label “Moonchild Records”.
Nasser’s musical chemistry with Jeff Laramee made his addition to the band as a full member in 1998 inevitable, and certain unfortunate legalities forced the band to re-name itself as SONUS UMBRA, which in pig latin roughly means “Shadows Made Of Sound”. Since then, they have released three more critically acclaimed albums: “Snapshots From Limbo” in 2000, “Spiritual Vertigo” in 2003 and “Digging For Zeros” in 2005.
SONUS UMBRA went on indefinite hiatus due to the stress of continued existence in spite of vast geographical limitations: Gómez returned to Mexico City in 2000 where he is professor of mathematics at the National University. Nasser is a professor of physics at Columbia, Chicago and remains committed to recording and performing with his main band MIGHT COULD. Aullet is coding furiously in Sandy Point Idaho and Laramee remained steadfast in Baltimore, drumming with Pete Laramee and running a warehouse with his unusual gifts as both stunt fork-lift driver and a master of depraved English.
Working intermittently with his close MIGHT COULD bandmate Andy Tillotson, he and Nasser wrote music that eventually became “Winter Soulstice”. The process began in late 2008 and concluded in April, 2013. A new incarnation of the band was formed with some of the most accomplished veteran musicians of the Chicago rock music scene, a group that have since toured throughout North America, recorded and released the well received “Beyond the Panopticon” in 2015 and are working toward a 2020 release of its sequel “A Sky Full of Ghosts.” In the slightly twisted words of Neil Peart:
Shadows on the road behind.
Shadows on the road ahead.
Nothing can stop us now.
Come hear us live, form your own opinion.
To seek the null beyond the half ley line.
Artists We Also Like
Mike Keneally, Origin of Animal, Opeth, Anglagaard, Echolyn