Crystal Radio
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Crystal Radio

Tucson, AZ | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Tucson, AZ | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Americana Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Live Crystal Radio at Lovesmack Studios"

Tucked away beyond the food trucks and noise of the Toole Avenue Art Walk (TAART Walk) was the debut performance of Crystal Radio, the latest musical experiment of Blind Divine's Paula Valencia and Daniel Martin Diaz. The atmosphere was austere but not suffocatingly so, and the real stars of the show were not the musicians.

First, there were the ghosts that Valencia explained inspired Crystal Radio's songs, and then there was the Crystal Radio itself - a custom made theremin-like synthesizer designed to tangibly conjure up these ghosts. If this sounds like heady stuff, it didn't play out that way. At its core the music was leisurely paced jazz and chalky folk, like something that might appear on an album by This Mortal Coil, the '80s 4AD Records super group who specialized in covers by the likes of Tim Buckley or Leonard Cohen. As with both Tim Buckley and the 4AD roster at that time, Crystal Radio prefer feel over form, the sound of sighs chipping away at structure. In and of themselves, the individual songs were all truly gorgeous, shimmering and glistening, echoing against the noises each instrument made. Valencia's voice waded a few steps behind Diaz' treated guitar and piano playing. The Crystal Radio itself came out a few times, presumably articulating otherworldly experiences. Less frightening than I would have preferred, but the sounds this machine makes—as it's designed to be uncontrollably random—are certainly evocative of some unseen presence. On these ambient pieces Diaz sounded like he was playing a guitar factory.

There's a subtle difference between pretension and ambition in execution, but a universe in theory. Valencia and Diaz both know this. By keeping the mood light and intimate, listeners could buy into or disregard the existence of spirits, and just enjoy the beauty of the music itself. Stripped down and soulful, it was a complete turnaround from Blind Divine's standard shoegaze wailing wall. The only thing left was the guts and the essence; or, as they named it, the Crystal Radio. - Tucson Weekly

"Crystal Radio Profile"

In a small, dimly lit rehearsal space in the heart of Tucson, Amelia Poe breathes haunting vocals over a slow, melancholy guitar. She waves her hand as if summoning spirits over a custom theremin, an electronic instrument controlled with hand movements but no physical contact, and creates the soundtrack to a southwestern séance with the help of long-time musical collaborator Daniel Martin Diaz and their band, Crystal Radio.
Fifty-year-old Poe, also known as Paula Catherine Valencia, and 48-year old Diaz have been creating music together in Tucson for the past 25 years, said Diaz. Their newest musical endeavor is Crystal Radio, a five-piece band of Tucson musicians creating music the band describes as “dream western.” Crystal Radio is in the process of producing their first record, which Diaz estimates will be released in spring 2016.
Even though the drummer and bassist were absent at rehearsal, the songs Poe, Diaz, and guitarist/producer Gabriel Sullivan practiced didn’t sound incomplete. Each song was a foray into a spaghetti western landscape populated by ghosts.
Diaz said the project focused on “embracing the desert, embracing Arizona, embracing the community, [and] capturing the mysticism of the desert and the spirits that are out here.”
Mysticism and spirits seem to surround the duo of artists and penetrate their work. A common thread of mysticism, spirituality, science, and vintage aesthetics reminiscent of the early 1900s can be found connecting all of Poe and Diaz’s works. Even the way Poe and Diaz dress maintains a certain Southwest, vintage feel. At rehearsal, Poe wore a black dress, best described as western, and cowboy boots while Diaz wore a black button-down shirt, tie, dark jeans, and black dress shoes.
The pair was unsure where their obsession with vintage style and craftsmanship comes from, but Diaz cited his Catholic upbringing as the beginning of his interest in mysticism and ritualistic symbolism. Many of Diaz’s visual pieces seem to have religious imagery and themes.
“It’s hard to not to be influenced by the mysticism here,” said Diaz about Tucson.
Beyond music, Diaz is a visual artist and designer while Poe writes poetry. Diaz has held several galleries for his art in Tucson and designed the recently opened light rail stop in Mesa at Alma School Road and Main Street, said Diaz.
Everything the pair creates feels cohesive with the previous project and the next; an organic evolution of art born from the pair’s shared interests and connection with Tucson.
“The art is as related to the music as the music is related to the art,” said Diaz.
Crystal Radio is the next evolution in Poe and Diaz’s constant search for beauty in the Tucson desert. The project was inspired by the pair’s summer journey through Arizona, spending time in Prescott and Jerome, said Diaz.
The evolution of art hasn’t waited for Crystal Radio’s debut album to be released, however. The pair’s creativity is ceaseless. Diaz created Poe’s bewitching custom theremin, named a “crystal theremin” by Diaz, out of a 1900s crystal radio from France, said Poe. The theremin doubles as an art piece, connected by the same thread that seems to connect all of Poe and Diaz’s works.
While creating the album, Poe and Diaz also delved into film making. Poe and Diaz filmed several music videos for Crystal Radio and Poe expressed interest in filming a movie for a screenplay she had already written.
Both Poe and Diaz grew up in Tucson and feel a strong connection to the community, said Diaz. The two met in a Tucson bar 25 years ago and started making music one week after they met, said Poe. Diaz would frequently hold an art gallery for his visual art pieces and the two would also play music at the gallery or invite other local musicians to play, said Diaz.
The two eventually met with a big-name producer who wanted to hear a demo of the pair’s music, said Diaz. The pair felt that settling on one kind of music for the demo limited their tendency to evolve and grow within art, however, and decided to be self-produced.
“Do you want to write pop songs for the rest of your life, or do you want to be an artist?” said Diaz.
For the sake of the future of Crystal Radio, Poe and Diaz said they planned to move to Los Angeles. Rest assured, Diaz said, the move was only temporary, purely for business, and that they would always return to their Tucson roots.
The evolution of art and design will continue with seemingly no end in sight for the pair of Tucson natives. With no one art medium restricting Poe and Diaz, there’s no telling what they will tie to their familiar thread of style rooted in Tucson, Prescott, Jerome, and the Arizona desert.
“We’re chasing beauty with everything we do,” said Diaz.
- Jared McDonald
Amelia Poe AKA Paula Catherine Valencia
Daniel Martin Diaz
520-909-7671 - New Story Currently Being Pitched


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy