by Sarah A. Peterson
If you search the term “spotlight theory” online, you’ll find that not only is it the name of Fresno’s alternative rock duo, but that it’s an actual theory as well.
“It’s a theory that suggests that when something is in a spotlight,” says vocalist-guitarist-bassist Olivia ‘Liv’ Romero, “we naturally focus on it, rather than on what is around it.”
And it’s a fitting moniker for a band coming into its own. Romero and drummer Harrison Linton originally found one another through Craigslist and YouTube, before meeting up at an open mic several months later. “Another musician and I were already an acoustic duo when Harrison joined us on the drums in late 2012,” Romero says. “We then became an alternative rock trio with guitar, bass, and drums.”
But by late 2013, it was a duo once again, only this time with drums and guitar. And Spotlight Theory has been that way ever since, combining different music styles to produce a unique sound all their own. “We pull from all kinds of musical genres,” Linton says, “ranging from electronic to indie to poetic rock.”
That sheer depth of variety can trace its roots back to Spotlight Theory’s wide array of musical influences (including Paramore, From Indian Lakes, Good Charlotte, and 30 Seconds to Mars), and then back even further to the duo’s formative years.
“This is embarrassing to admit,” says Romero, “but growing up I listened to a lot of Aaron Carter and Hilary Duff since I was a bit of a Disney kid. I also listened to soundtracks from The Lion King to Pocahontas. But I was introduced to rock when my older brother would blast No Doubt, Good Charlotte, and Green Day.”
“I grew up in a quiet house,” Linton says, “so I was 15 the first time I heard music I actually liked. The bands I originally started listening to were Boston, the Foo Fighters, The Killers, and Aerosmith.”
And music was something both wanted to pursue from early on. “I always wanted to play music growing up,” Romero says, “so by the time my parents got me my first electric guitar when I was 12, I was ecstatic. That same year I entered my school’s band to play flute, drums, and also choir. Later I quit but continued playing guitar as a hobby, until I decided to form the band.”
Spotlight Theory’s drummer began making music at the age of 12 as well. “My parents signed me up for a program called ‘We Got the Beat’,” says Linton, “and it really taught me the basics of a lot of different instruments. One of the instructors told my parents that I was a natural on the drums and offered me lessons to continue learning.
“But after a few months of lessons, he moved away and I stopped playing altogether. About four years later, though, playing the ‘Rock Band’ video game reignited my passion for music, specifically drumming. Soon after, my parents got me a drum set, and the rest is history.”
Songwriting is a process that both collaborate on. “I start out by writing a few guitar pieces,” says Romero, “and then lyrics pop into my mind. And that’s normally the point when I show Harrison the song I have so far. Then if he likes the direction the piece is heading, he’ll write out a few drum parts to try out. We continue to tweak and polish the song until we feel like it’s complete.”
Spotlight Theory has performed all over Fresno, including venues such as Full Circle Brewing Co., Frank’s Place, Kuppajoe, The Babylon, and Victory Café. For more information on their upcoming shows, please visit Spotlight Theory on Facebook.
Check out more local band & musician profiles in KRL’s music section.