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Mining the geoducks

Dark metal singer dives in the dark for bivalves

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His name is Cendtary Xeno, and he goes by Cen.

He sings, plays guitar, and writes most of the music for Dem Zaing. 

The dark sounds are, to me, a sort of cave-meets-metal thing where, if I used my kid’s visualization techniques of music, I’d visualize blacksmiths working on a subterranean level and liking it, swaying while they hammer.

It’s hard, it’s hot, and it’s dark there. 

Consider the other side of Cen: geoduck diver.

It’s wet, it’s cold, and it’s dark there.

While the average Joe hunts geoducks with pants hiked up, a shovel and a pail, Cen’s version involves a full face mask, hard line air hose connected to the ship, a high-pressure hose to ferret out the long-necked, somewhat phallic-looking creatures, and communication devices that keep him in touch with the world above.

As commercial harvesters of bivalves, divers go between 25 and 70 feet deep.  “We dive deeper than the lowest tide will ever go; we dig for stuff that the people on the beach will never see,” Cen says.

Cen entered this line of work after meeting up with a “geoducker” at commercial diving school. While he’d also tried his hand at underwater welding, which might have been a better connection to the blacksmiths in the cave analogy to his music, Cen says that line of work was a bit like “playing with a toaster underwater,” though there were the visually cool elements like seeing the little balls of fire embedded in water that the arc welder would produce.

Still, there was that whole electrocution thing, and geoducking became his line of work; it has been for the last 7 years, roughly the same time that Dem Zaing’s been around.

“Actually, the geoduck diving funded Dem Zaing,” says Cen, who explains that the name of the band, once “Them,” was changed when Cen concussed himself jumping on his bed.

“My friends asked me how I was and I said dem zaing, and the smartasses asked me how to spell it.”

Currently, Dem Zaing is heading into the studio to record, after which they’ll start shows. Touring won’t be a problem for Cen, since he says “My job is the type I can leave anytime I need to, and I’ll always have a job when I come back.”

Alternately, he can continue his practice of work, play and cat naps. “I pretend I’m narcoleptic,” he says.

And despite the fleet of geoduckers requesting a Dem Zaing-ed version of the “Geo Duck Song” (apparently, there is an official song whose chorus goes: Dig a duck, dig a duck / Dig a gooey-duck / Dig a duck, dig a gooey-duck / Dig a duck a day) Cen’s not saying whether that will be a cut on the new album.

Go to Dem Zaing’s myspace and you might figure out why.

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