During the pandemic, Marc Gartman invited drummer Owen Mahon to jam with guitarist Alan Sparhawk and his bass-playing son Cyrus Sparhawk. Together they formed Damien, a quintessential Duluth band complete with Gartman playing a Casio keyboard he acquired for $15 at Savers. Fusing together electronic music, lo-fi and Afro-Cuban rhythms, the band plays songs that Gartman describes as “Super Mario Brothers music … groovy with repeated arpeggios,” but “with a lot of open-ended space.” The lyrics to Damien’s newest material tell the story of when Gartman’s father read him the Japanese fairy-tale The Boy Who Drew Cats to scare him before going to bed.


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