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Fresh-thinking South Texas band to play in Norman

Dignan brings a different meaning to the “indie” tag. Being an independent band means a lot more when you’re coming from the very deep south of Texas. Four of the five members of Dignan hail from just barely north of the border, in McAllen, Texas.

“A lot of times people are surprised that anything is coming from South Texas,” said bass player Devin Garcia.

But despite the immediate idea that this would hinder a group’s success, Garcia believes coming from such an isolated and removed area has had a positive effect.

“It drives us more because there’s not a lot of opportunity there,” he said. “It propels us and makes us want to try harder. No A&R rep will be at the club; no music producer hanging out at the venue.”

This motivation can be easily seen in Dignan’s touring schedule. Since the release of their new album Cheaters and Thieves on June 26th, Dignan has toured extensively, both in terms of the wide scope of locations and in the often back-to-back shows.

But again, Dignan throws a curveball with Garcia’s view of their intense, seemingly exhausting schedule.

“When people say that they think we’re crazy for touring so much, I say, ‘What are you talking about? I want to do more,’” he said. “We all really enjoy it. These days, if a band wants to make a name for themselves, it’s important to travel and establish relationships – get to know people. Touring is a big part of this band.”

One benefit of touring, among others, is getting the chance to see its success firsthand, Garcia said.

“It’s exciting to see the turnouts growing,” he said.

And touring isn’t hard when the band members are very close.

“We’re mainly friends first. That makes it easy to be a band – it’s a family,” Garcia said.

The family began to form when three of the future band met at church. They started to hang out at the church, sometimes as late as five in the morning. Dignan’s current lineup has been together for about three years, but the group has existed for about seven.

The sound Dignan developed is “moody,” Garcia described.

“I would hope that we sound big. It’s dynamic – sometimes soft and at other times big and in your face,” he said.

The current tour is focused on Cheaters and Thieves, a release that Garcia says is representative of Dignan, “current with the band and our lives.”

Garcia said that although they were worried about releasing the album independently, the reception has been extremely positive, and sales have been better than expected.

Cheaters and Thieves follows The Guest, which Garcia described as fun but not as “loud” or “heavy” as the new material.

Cheaters and Thieves has shorter and faster songs,” he said. “They’ve got a dirtier sound. And the songs are bigger.”

The album was the product of a concentrated creative session.

“After six months of touring, we went to Kerrville, Texas, and locked ourselves in a room for ten days. We worked out six of the seven songs,” Garcia said.

This experience turned out really well, Garcia said, and soon Dignan will be bringing these songs, and more, to Norman, Oklahoma.

“It’s more raw, and not so produced,” Garcia said of Dignan’s live shows. “We don’t have a film projector going or a light show. It’s about the music.”

Dignan is coming to The Opolis on Thursday, November 12, 8 p.m. with Dead Sea Choir. Check out Dignan on their myspace for song samples and other tour dates.