Analog Lab.

Playing music as a hobby can be a lot of fun—but making a career out of it requires a ton of hard work.

Miguel Arballo and Sean McCune know all about this. Both have been involved in a number of local music projects, and both are part of Krystofer Do’s backing band. (They recently appeared on the YouTube battle-of-the-band series No Cover.)

Arballo and McCune recently decided to start their own project, a collaborative multi-genre band called Analog Lab. Debut single “Swallow the Sun” has a ’90s alternative-rock and grunge feel, with some sparkly indie effects. On Friday, Aug. 5, the band will release its debut EP, also titled Swallow the Sun.

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“The project started way back; I had been using it as a moniker to write music and stuff with different artists,” Arballo said during a recent Zoom chat. “I met Sean playing with Krystofer Do; he actually got called in to play drums with us back in 2019, and we kind of had a musical connection. We showed each other a little bit of music that we were each writing and decided that we would love to be creating music with each other.”

Added McCune: “It was interesting when I first met Miguel, because when you meet somebody, you never really know how it’s going to turn out. I think it was really interesting how our relationship through Krys blossomed into our own little musical connection. I was just really surprised to hear the type of music that he had, and I was impressed when I heard it was music that I would actually listen to myself. Now that we’re working on music together, I feel like it’s creating some pretty good stuff for the both of us.”

Arballo said it’s rare to meet musicians who share a similar passion.

“I really connected with his personality,” Arballo said. “Aside from being a badass drummer, he’s very receptive to ideas, and we’re really great with bouncing that off each other instead of just having that coming from one side.”

Added McCune: “As well as playing drums, I play guitar and a little bit of piano, so I’ll have ideas on my own that I’ll bring to Miguel, and then we’ll work on it. Recently, we’ve been writing music together just sitting in his little studio in his house, just messing around, listening for stuff. Maybe we’ll hear something; maybe he’ll have an idea. I think that our workflow is pretty smooth, and we both have pretty similar ideas, so it’s easy to hear where we’re going with something.”

While Arballo and McCune play rock music in Krystofer Do’s band, their individual projects stretch into hip hop and pop-metal—and their musical tastes stretch even further.

“We each listen to different music throughout the day,” said Arballo. “Sean is also a local rapper as well. I’m not a rapper, but I love rapping, and sometimes he has some wicked flows, and there are some times when I can pick up a melody and implement it. Sometimes he’ll bring me an idea, and I’ll sit on it for a day or two, and I’ll be listening to, like, bossa nova or heavy metal or something and be like, ‘Whoa; that fits.’”

Analog Lab is already making music-release plans beyond Swallow the Sun.

“We do somewhat give ourselves timelines for writing certain EPs or music,” Arballo said. “I’ve been telling Sean that I’d like to just write EPs due to the style of the way things are being released. I think people want more music a lot faster, and since we don’t have a lot of music out, I’d rather devote three months maybe to four or five songs, get that out, and play them live while we continue writing more. … It’s more of just structure, and making sure that we devote ourselves for that amount of time, for that amount of songs. I’m sure once we continue to play more, it’s going to be a little bit more organic. Having those timelines really puts you in that timeframe of, ‘Yeah, I need to get this done; I need to focus on this.’”

McCune said he was dedicated to putting in the work needed to make music into a career.

“One of my biggest dreams, in general, is to just be able to work on music, and do it as a job,” McCune said. “We discussed three months for four or five songs so that we can consistently be working on music. Once a week, we’ll meet up, and we’ll spend a bunch of time working on music. I think a big part of what drives us and the music creation was that we have our passions, and we see what direction we’re going. We want this sooner than later, so we’re trying to put in a bunch of hard work right now to get a good amount of songs out.”

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Matt King is a freelance writer for the Coachella Valley Independent. A creative at heart, his love for music thrust him into the world of journalism at 17 years old, and he hasn't looked back. Before...