LoFi Satellites rehearsing at their practice space. L-R: Matthew Nance, Federico Pardo Sagueir, Jim Nunes and Marc Belluomini.

Meet Marc Belluomini, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the Bay Area rock and roll band LoFi Satellites.

If his name sounds familiar, it might be because Belluomini has spent the last couple decades playing rock and roll around San Francisco with his brother Brian. But LoFi Satellites is not another Belluomini duo endeavor. The last band to feature the Belluomini brothers, the Merkins, made it work for about a year before breaking up in 2010.

“That was the band I first started writing in, and I got hooked,” says Marc.

“In late 2015, early 2016, I wanted to start another band,” Marc says. “But I didn’t want to play drums anymore.” In all of the previous bands he’d been in, Belluomini was a singing drummer. But when he started learning to play the guitar, he called up his old friend, Jim Nunan. Jim hadn’t played in a band in at least 10 years, and the early days of LoFi Satellites were rife with learning curves.

Jim had played in several San Francisco bands in the late ’90s, “when San Francisco was a real hotbed for live venues,” he says. “We got to play in some great places on 11th Street which are no longer there — Paradise Lounge, Transmission Theatre — and now full-circle. It’s really cool because now I’m playing some of these venues that I used to play that are still there and still open. Like the Hotel Utah, 20 years later, or Neck of the Woods, which used to be called Last Day Saloon. To play that venue again, 18 years later, it’s a trip.”

It didn’t take long for the band to find solid footing and a sound that worked. Check out this video performance of their lead single “Feet To The Fire,” recorded live during a rehearsal:

According to Nunan, Brian’s departure to New Zealand was the catalyst for LoFi Satellites today. “I think Marc really wanted to get back to writing and strike out on his own,” he says, “but

[Marc] couldn’t have done it the way he has if he hadn’t left the drums and picked up a guitar.”

The duo started writing and practicing constantly. By tracking full-song demos on GarageBand and muting the tracks they were practicing, they were able to flesh out the material before they filled out the band’s membership.

“Basically muting tracks as we added members,” says lead guitarist Federico Pardo Saguier, the first permanent addition to the band.

Although Marc and Jim knew plenty of musicians from the Bay Area, they decided to recruit a stranger. Once the pair felt comfortable introducing what they had been assembling, they turned to Craigslist. Months went by before they even held a tryout.

“None of the responses were any good, and then Freddy responded,” says Belluomini. “The post I put out was pretty thoughtful and had a lot of information and his response was the same.”

Federico, who had an ad up of his own, sent videos of himself playing multiple instruments, increasing his stock for the group. When he showed up to the first rehearsal with the songs down, the group connection was instant.

Deciding to bring in a live drummer came with more difficulties and conflicts. With an upcoming EP recording scheduled in April of 2018, they decided to return to Craigslist. Although Belluomini ended up playing the drums on the EP, it didn’t take long to connect with drummer Matthew Nance.

Nance came to SF from Los Angeles by way of East Coast origins, “and again it was an instant connection,” says Belluomini. “We hadn’t even talked about it, still packing our gear up from practice when Jim basically said ‘Welcome to the band!'”

“We’re not 15 anymore,” says Federico. “We know people and the way that he responded to the ad, too, he was eager and interested. He asked for samples of the music before coming in, and when he showed that he knew a few songs from front to back, we were very impressed.”

This newfound energy inspired Marc even further, and started asking himself, “How much creativity can I squeeze out of this?,” he says. “We are all multi-instrumentalists playing on our second or even third instruments in this group. Not having that formal training helps our approach on these instruments. We have a slight angle and different creativity than we might otherwise. LoFi Satellites is really a band with two drummers and two bass players. We’re focusing especially on rhythmic accessibility and how the drums and bass sound with the dialogue between the two guitars.”

In spirit of that approach, LoFi Satellites are taking a totally DIY approach to everything. The upcoming self-titled EP is about personal satisfaction above all else, hearing the music the way it’s supposed to sound. Even the album artwork is painstakingly handcrafted: A large collage of cut-and-paste mixed media by Australian artist monika, the art resonates with the music and the band’s name.

Cover art for LoFi Satellites self-titled EP created by Australian artist monk.

The band is booking shows constantly, so pay attention and make sure to catch them in the Bay Area. As for now, they have three confirmed shows coming up in the South Bay. On Saturday, October 27, catch them in Santa Cruz at The Blue Lagoon. A week after that, Saturday November 3, they will be playing at the Hotel Utah Saloon in San Francisco. At the end of the month on Friday, November 30, they will be performing at the Caravan Lounge in San Jose.

LoFi Satellites, the Big Poppies, Homebrew, Light The Band
The Blue Lagoon
October 27, 2018
9pm, (21+)

LoFi Satellites, Yukon Blonde, Laura Paragano
Hotel Utah
November 3, 2018
9pm, $15 (21+)

LoFi Satellites
The Caravan
November 30, 2018