By Mariya Pylayev

This is the story of a baby monster’s love for a human girl. This little girl had super speed vision. She could see individual photons in real time as they were propelled from the sun into the Earth’s atmosphere.

It is not clear whether the little girl ever reciprocated the baby monster’s love. Their relationship was dynamic, the legend says, but little is known of its foundation.

The tale of Photon Dynamo and the Shiny Pieces is intentionally opaque. Who exactly are the Shiny Pieces? How did they form? And how did they become this dynamic?


We are gathered around a table in Goodbye Blue Monday’s recently renovated backyard in Bushwick.  Night has fallen and the air begins to cool quickly. Gillian can’t decide if she is cold or not. I watch her remove and replace her hat for the fifth time.

It’s a curious picture: three cosmically charged pieces at a round table, workshopping each other’s raw material. They feed off each other’s energy, but rather than being destructive, they grow stronger as a unit. The results can be found in their third album, At The Fort Brooklyn, launched just last week in collaboration with Skips Records.

Frank has a theory. “Individually, we are all shiny pieces,” he says, nodding at Gillian and John. “When we combine our powers, we come together. We become Photon Dynamo.”

There is a hum of silence as the group takes this in. This sounds plausible. They nod in agreement.

Each of the shiny pieces can act as a one-man band. “We’re all songwriters. We all put our two cents in,” says Gillian.

While John sticks to drums, Gillian to bass and Frank to guitar, they can all play one another’s instruments and sing. This is uncommon in most bands, they tell me. This way they are less selfish in their songwriting.

A solo artist has just themselves and their guitar to accommodate. A band is comprised of two or more units that must work as one brain. This can become problematic when parts of the band are not considerate of the others.

“I do my best to half-write songs,” says Frank. I don’t question his choice not to one-third-write his songs. A degree of overlap appears necessary, as well as some indulgence.

John tries his best to put every song on the chopping block. He describes himself as a minimalist, which is reflected in his introspective presence at the table.

“I always need to make songs shorter,” he says. “I’m always cutting parts out.”

Gillian pouts. Her songs are usually the longest.

“I bring in a song and he cuts a whole part out,” she laments. “And I’m like, ‘But that’s the part that ties it all together!’”

Although there is occasional head butting, John tells me that the word ‘no’ is a rare utterance at rehearsals. There is no tension between the band mates and they laugh easily at each other and themselves.

“There’s not a lot of ego involved,” Frank says about their process.

I extrapolated the data and made a couple of “scientific” guesses. Perhaps the little girl reciprocated the baby monster’s love. But as luck would have it, such a union was never meant to be. When their dynamic love reached its peak, it exploded into trillions of tiny little light particles. Some became stars. Most blew away. Three little shiny particles, by fate or coincidence, landed in New York City.

The speculation ends there. You know the rest of the story.

Join Photon Dynamo and the Shiny Pieces at Lone Wolf on Friday, Oct. 14 at 9PM. Cover charge: $0.00.