By Dylan Deprey
Before Painting Silence was blessing Milwaukee with its smooth blend of Hip-Hop, Reggae, R&B and Rock, the quartet had only been playing together for around six months.
Guitarist/rapper/vocalist, Miguel Diaz, had been longtime friends with front man, Joe Quinto and drummer, Alex Enrique. At the time, Quinto and Diaz focused primarily on the production side of the stage.
Three years earlier, while working as a server at Bel Air, Diaz had met Painting Silence’s queen vocalist Chala Shirae. The co-workers ended up becoming friends and playing together.
“He heard me sing, and he was like, ‘Woah, I actually rap, so maybe we can set something up in the future,” Shirae said.
It wasn’t until two years later when Shirae had met her co-worker Quinto, while working at Bel Air in Wauwatosa.
At the time, Quinto and Diaz were on the heels of their 88Nine 2016 Music Video of the Year award for their song “Black Magic.” The duo strived for creating live performances and searched for some “dope individuals.”
“It all first started out with jamming in Miguel’s parent’s garage, and we’d just sit down and hang out and jam,” Shirae said.
By the first gig, the band didn’t even have a name, and still tore the house down. From the conscious flow, to the steady source of slammin’ drums and crazy crescendos, Painting Silence has awoken as Milwaukee’s up-and-coming genre bending band.
Quinto said the name, “Painting Silence,” stemmed from a night of freestyling to beats Diaz had been working on.
“As we often do, we were sitting going back and forth and I said something like, ‘We’re chilling, vibing, we’re just sitting here painting silence.’ I stopped and was like ‘Hey that was dope!’” Quinto said.
He added that other than having a cool sounding name, it was a metaphor for what they were doing on stage and in life.
“It’s broader than just music. Everybody has silence, and you can sit there and do nothing with your role in life and society or you can get up, you can make your voice heard and make a change,” Quinto said.
Painting Silence’s most recent set was at the Tonic Tavern in Bayview for the 2017 Arte Para Todos Festival. The fourday event raised money for Milwaukee School art programs.
Shirae was a Milwaukee High School of the Arts alum and she said it was sad watching programs and majors she had expetworienced in school begin to vanish.
“Just like kids need basketball and football, kids need band, they need music and art,” Shirae said.
Quinto and Diaz spoke during their Arte Para Todos set about how important the arts needed to remain in schools.
“Obviously its great were giving back to our own community, but it’s a microcosm for this country as a whole with all the budget cuts going to education. A bigger block has got to be moved, but if it doesn’t start grassroots, and in the community, there won’t be any movement,” Quinto said.
Painting Silence has been a part of that movement having recently performed for the Attic Jams Eco Show. Attic Jams is a non-profit concert series that donates its proceeds to local charities across Milwaukee. Though they performed to raise money for Milwaukee Riverkeeper, it was at this show where the band finally clicked on stage.
“I think it’s safe to say, we’re all overthinkers,” Quinto said. “We’d have so much fun when it was just us four, and we were like ‘why are we stressing?’”
Painting Silence has blessed its city a smattering of originals and remarkable renditions of Chance the Rapper’s, “Same Drugs,” and Drake’s “One Dance.” Though there are no specific release dates for a project, Quinto said that along with playing more shows, the next step was getting Painting Silence in the studio.
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