Split Screens
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Split Screens

San Francisco, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Alternative Psychedelic




"'Split Screens' front man finds inspiration in S.F."

Split Screens started out as a solo project for Jesse Cafiero, who sang and played the majority of the instruments. Once he felt like he had enough material, he brought in a full band. Their first gig was at Brick and Mortar in August 2012. The San Francisco group is a dreamy indie rock band with a dash of psychedelic influence.

Saturday's performance celebrates the release of "The Sinner," the band's 7-inch colored vinyl. There's a limited run of 150 hand-numbered copies along with a digital download code for the tracks.

Lineup: Jesse Cafiero, vocals, guitar, lap steel; Phil Pristia, guitar, background vocals; Debbie Neigher, keyboards, background vocals; Andrew Paul Nelson, bass; Kyle Kelly Yahner, drums.

Was there a band you heard when you were young that inspired you to become a musician?
JC: I began playing music at the age of 5, when I started taking piano lessons, but there definitely was a shift when I got into playing electric bass at the age of 13. I wish I could remember the exact song, but the first time I consciously heard the bass was a Red Hot Chili Peppers track. (Thanks, Flea.)

How does living in the Bay Area affect your music?
JC: I can say for sure that some of my better musical/lyrical ideas have come about when I'm just taking walks by myself around the city. And of course this being San Francisco those walks can turn into really great hikes to Sutro Tower, Corona Heights - there's just a ton of inspiring views wherever you go.

How did you come up with your band name and what does it mean to you?
JC: I'm a big film buff. I just think that the visual technique of using a split screen in film is very effective, and for me just enters some kind of psychedelic head space that I wanted to carry over into the sound of the band.

Check it out: www.splitscreensmusic.com

Next gig: 9:30 p.m. Saturday. With DonCat, Scary Little Friends. $10. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F. (415) 626-4455. www.bottomofthehill.com. - San Francisco Chronicle

"Split Screens - Time To Wait"

Fighting against the undeniable truth that time always passes, no matter how much we might wish otherwise, the new track Split Screens seems to simply hang in the ether, a sweet refrain that pauses all around it, suspending the remaining receding days of Summer to project the soft hum of wonderful new single Time To Wait.

The project of San Franciscan multi-instrumentalist Jesse Cafiero has always seemed to exist within its own slow-moving world, a place where elegant vocals meet gentle swathes of guitars, but he’s perhaps never projected anything as meticulously crafted as this new track, which acts as a pre-cursor to his debut album which is set for release on September 9th.

Shimmering in the gentle heat of an early morning, the song recalls untouched moments of a day; empty streets, unending quiet, the hazy glow of the a day coming to life regardless of the will of others. It’s a quiet triumph of a song and you can bask in the glow below. - Gold Flake Paint

"Song Premiere: Split Screens, “Stand Alone”"

Even when he was recording by himself, Jesse Cafiero sounded like a band. It’s hard to read any early press about the San Francisco musician’s first EP as Split Screens without hitting a comment about how lush and full and band-like it sounds. So, for the forthcoming Before the Storm, Cafiero made the obvious move: he hired a band. The results are evident in the wonderful, sprawling “Stand Alone.” As Cafiero’s feather-light voice gently bounces across the top of the notes, he’s joined by weeping lap steel, pulsing organs and, finally, a morse-code brass section. It’s a kaleidoscope of sound, riveting from the first note to the last. - Wondering Sound

"Locals only: Split Screens"

There's something overwhelmingly dreamlike about Jessie Cafiero's songwriting, to the point that it makes a listener feel like they're sleepwalking: The ebbs and flows of cinematic, orchestral pop conjure a surreal sense of nearly floating around one's city. It's not surprising, then, to hear that the singer-guitarist often draws inspiration from walking around these foggy hills of ours.

Though Cafiero released a debut EP as Split Screens two years ago, Before The Storm, out Sept. 9, showcases a fuller band, a more confident, brighter sound, and a more lush dreamscape in which Cafiero's words create an airtight, contemplative mood; this is the perfect sonic accompaniment for a Sunday afternoon, cruising around the city in the early fall air, seeing where the day takes you.

Cafiero released an accordingly pretty, otherworldly video for the LP's first horn-punctuated single, "Stand Alone." Check it below, and catch the band's record release show at Bottom of the Hill Sat, Sept 20th.

San Francisco Bay Guardian:
How and when did the band form? I understand it was mostly a solo project to begin with -- how is this new record different, and what made you decide to bring in more members of the live band?

Jesse Cafiero:
The band formed a little over two years ago. I had already written and recorded my self-titled EP under the name Split Screens, but when I got my first show it was time to move the studio solo project into a live setting. With the new record, Before The Storm, I had already started playing a few shows in the area so I could bring members of the band into the studio, which was great!

SFBG What's your songwriting process like?

It depends, I play guitar and piano so I like to write on both to have a little more variety. Since I started writing Split Screens material I've always had my phone around to record ideas on the fly, that's definitely helped. I also love writing in the studio, usually I'll have the main form of the song together by that point but writing particular parts in that setting is an amazing feeling.

You're from the East Coast originally, yeah? How did you wind up in the Bay Area? How do you think it shapes/affects your music?

Yeah, I'm from a small town in upstate NY called Pine Plains and I moved to the Bay Area five years ago. It was just a good time to move, I was just out of a long term relationship at that point and had fell in love with California the year before when I visited for the first time. If anything, the natural beauty of the city is inspiring and I've found myself coming up with some of my best lyrical ideas just taking walks up in the hills around Sutro Tower. - San Francisco Bay Guardian

"New Band Smell: Split Screens"

Jesse Cafiero has a new project; Split Screens. Never heard of Cafiero? If so, his name seems destined to become a savvy Indie household word. Best-known for his bass playing (for performers including Thao Nguyen of the Get Down Stay Down, John Vanderslice, Ezra Furman, the Magik Magik Orchestra, and Sean Hayes), Cafiero also plays lap steel for an on-the-horizon combo, DRMS.

Split Screen reflects Cafiero’s admiration of Pink Floyd and of Sea Change-era Beck. It’s a lovely affair, combining long waves of electric guitar with atmospheric effects and his soft vocals. - My Old Kentucky Blog

"Premiere: Split Screens - Home"

Today I have the privilege of premiering “Home”, a new song from San Francisco outfit Split Screens. off of their upcoming debut album Before The Storm, due out on September 9 via Name Drop Swamp Records.

“Home” is a bright and positive song about letting go and being in the moment. The song is lead by the calm and endearing vocals of frontman Jesse Cafiero, sets the tone for the entire song. Throw in plenty of gracious horns, and you have a delightful track that’s ready to play us out of these wonderful remaining weeks of summer.

We have the exclusive stream of “Home” posted below, enjoy. - We All Want Someone To Shout For

"BA of the week: Jesse Cafiero of Split Screens"

Jesse is the singer/songwriter/multi instrumentalist for the band Split Screens. Split Screens just had a show at Bottom of the Hill and I was supposed to post this Broke-Ass of the Week last week to help promote it, but I dropped the ball. I do that sometimes. Fuck it.

That said, the band also has a brand new single out called “The Sinner”. Check it out right here, then check out Jesse’s answers to our grueling questions. His answer about where he lives is hilarious.

Name: Jesse Cafiero

Age: 30

Occupation: Musician and aspiring collage artist

What neighborhood do you live in?: My new place is in-between neighborhoods but judging by the weekly “Power Bottom-Less” mimosa fliers I’ve been getting on my car I’m gonna have to go with the Castro.

Best money saving tip: Cut down on having to go to bar ATM’s for cash, those fees add up!

What do you refuse to spend money on?: New furniture, the prices just blow my mind.

Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought: That would have to be my car, had to get a station wagon so I could throw my upright bass in the back for gigs, soccer mom for life!

How’d that feel?: Eh…not so great, but having a car can be pretty liberating and it’s nice to drive out of the city whenever you want.

Favorite cheap eat: Chicken Banh Mi at Eternal Springs on 9th ave and Clement in SF. My first vietnamese sandwich ever and still the best!

Favorite dive bar: I think it’s a small step above a true dive but Zam Zam in the Haight has a special place in my heart. I love how that place has looked the same for the last 70 years and that oval bar can’t be beat!

Best deal you’ve ever gotten: I don’t think of it as exactly a “deal”, but when I was 25 before I moved to San Francisco I travelled around western Europe solo for a month using couchsurfing.com. It was an amazing experience being a guest in so many cool peoples’ homes and I easily saved hundreds of dollars in the process.

Favorite free thing to do: I love to walk around the city with headphones, it clears my mind like few things do. If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy? A beach house.

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: Well, I have the opportunity to live in one of the most unique cities in the world and my apartment has been on rent control for at least the past 5 years so…I don’t see any reason to complain.

Do you own my book?: I don’t but I have seen it at a friends house and got a chance to skim through. It was good timing since I had just moved to SF, I loved it!

Best hangover cure: Fruit punch Gatorade

Are you a hipster?: Visually, not so much. But I do play in an indie band whose name is an homage to the 1970’s split screen film technique that director Brian De Palma used in “Carrie” and “Sisters.” So just from that I think I qualify! - Broke Ass Stuart

"Split Screens - Born"

Split Screens, the solo project of San Francisco session musician Jesse Cafiero, recently released a self-titled EP for streaming on his bandcamp page. This is the first solo release for Cafiero, who has played bass with the likes of Thao Nguyen, John Vanderslice, and Ezra Furman, in addition to playing lap steel and bass for DRMS. The first single off his EP, “Born” can be downloaded for free above, while the rest of the EP is available for streaming until physical copies are ready to be released later this year.

Cafiero’s lap steel is a highlight throughout the album, which has a relaxing, psychadelic feel that would make a great soundtrack for a foggy day. Split Screens plays the Brick and Mortar August 8, opening for Fox & Woman. - Bay Bridged

"Split Screens - s/t EP (2012)"

Split Screens - s/t EP (2012)Split Screens from San Francisco started as the solo project of Jesse Cafiero and grew to a full band with live appearance now.

The first thing I noticed was the Vibraphone's (I hope it's a real one) - long sustained harmony drones wafting out of my stereo and filling the room. At the same time they fold out a dreamy and sunny mix of laid back drums, organ and guitar.

What a nice and relaxing music. I guess, it would also work as a soundtrack. It has a lot of cinematic power.

You can order the CD or pay what you want for the download. They currently working on an album, so keep an eye on it. - Dying For Bad Music


Split Screens EP (2012)

The Sinner 7'' single (2014)

Before The Storm LP (2014)



“I started Split Screens as a solo project, to explore the tension between what we are and what we want to be,” says Jesse Cafiero, the band’s singer, songwriter and front man. “In movies, a split screen lets you see something that’s going on in two places at the same time, a look at a single reality from different perspectives. There’s something surreal about a split screen; a quality I strive to capture in my songwriting.”

Cafiero succeed in his goal with the Split Screens EP he released in 2012, a quiet excursion into a world steeped in sadness and introspection. With the exception of drummer Rory O’Connor (Tycho, Com Truise) and the vibraphone of Geneva Harrison, Cafiero played all the instruments on the EP himself. To create the music on Before the Storm, he brought in members of his live band - Phil Pristia, guitar; Debbie Neigher, keys; Kyle Kelly Yahner, percussion - with O'Connor, Harrison and producer Jeremy Black (Apollo Sunshine) reprising the roles they played on the EP. “It took a full year to make this album, from the first day of tracking to the last day of mixing,  it gave us plenty of time and freedom to experiment with new instruments and colors throughout the recording.”

The music on Before the Storm has the same wistful quality that made the Split Screens EP so compelling, but it’s more upbeat, a breezy album that flows like a buoyant pop symphony. The sighing sustained notes of Cafiero’s lap steel and the expansive gospel-flavored keyboards of “Stand Alone” mimic the breathless, swooning feeling you get when you’re falling in love. The impressionistic lyrics and serene vocals add to the song’s inviting warmth. A punchy horn section and Rory O’Conner’s propulsive, multi-layered percussion add to the funky R&B feel of “Home,” a celebration of life’s simple pleasures.

Native of small town Pine Plains, NY, Cafiero started Split Screens after relocating to San Francisco in 2010. Cafiero continued working as a freelance bassist, but his interest in psychedelic music, coupled with his discovery of the sonic possibilities of the lap steel guitar changed the course of his creative life.“I became a songwriter, vocalist, guitarist and bandleader. I’ve always written melodies, but didn’t think about writing songs until I started working on my EP.”

The Split Screens EP was recorded with producer/engineer Jeremy Black whose use of analog tape delay added an expansive aura to music’s poignant, heavily layered melancholy. Before the Storm shows Cafiero moving to a new level of  melodic and lyrical sophistication. “I’d like to write fun songs withnonsensical lyrics, but it’s against my nature,” he says. “I’m more interested in exploring and understanding the hidden undercurrents that flow through life and display who we really are.”

Band Members