Founded by vocalist Todd Bowes, Downcity Armory is an industrial band based out of Providence, RI. In April of 2013, Downcity Armory released the “EMPIRE GONE” EP (produced by Phil Petrie of NY’s Ex Machinae), a six-song blast of noisy synth hooks, heavy dance beats, with aggressive and melodic vocals. Committed to using music as a force for positive change in the world, the band tied the release to a fundraiser for Free Geek Providence, a 501(c)3 non-profit that helped the less fortunate get computers, and contributed all proceeds from the sales of the EP to them.
DCA got immediate attention from local and online radio stations such as Localized Internet Radio, WMFO in Medford, MA and 94HJY in Providence, who play their singles “Cease the Wheels” and “BEATSURGE” regularly. DJs in New York, New Jersey, and California added DCA to their playlists. They appeared on two benefit compilations from Allston Pudding and Midday Records to benefit OneFund Boston. Gig offers soon followed, and after months of speculation as to whether DCA would hit the stage, the band made their live debut in October at TT the Bear’s Place in Cambridge, MA. This was preceded by new single “Girls <3 Digital.” Once again, DCA tied the release to another non-profit, Rosie’s Place, a Boston women’s shelter, donating all proceeds to them.
The live band includes keyboardist Mark Hallam from NY’s Ex Machinae, as well as Christopher Brown and Rob Fusco from Boston’s Vary Lumar on bass and drums respectively. “We were all friends before we became this band,” says Bowes, of their formation, “The chemistry was instantaneous. We had only been rehearsing for a few weeks before our first show, and when you see us, it’s like we’ve been playing together for ten years.”
In 2014, DCA completed a three day, three state mini-tour, playing Cambridge, MA, Brooklyn, NY, and Philadelphia, PA over the course of just one weekend – not a feat most new bands would attempt. The tour, done in advance of their new single “Thompson’s Beat,” was also used as a fundraiser for the Integral Heart Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit that established a school for impoverished children in Guatemala.
On May 23rd, DCA released their double EP “Workhorse/Firehorse”, with the former featuring DCA’s aggressive, hard industrial/EBM side, and the latter featuring their more hook-laden electro rock side. “That came out of an early criticism of ‘EMPIRE GONE’ that we have two sides to our sound, and should pick one,” says Bowes, “Instead, I decided to try and maximize both, and give the people a choice.” EMPIRE GONE producer Phil Petrie reprised his role for the production of “Workhorse” while Christopher Brown stepped up to produce “Firehorse”. The band celebrated the release with another record release show at TT the Bear’s in Cambridge, MA, followed another mini-tour in June, hitting Worcester MA, a return trip to Brooklyn, and their first show ever in their home city of Providence, RI. The band is currently booking its next run of shows.