Tuesday, May 03, 2011

10 Questions with The Purple Church

The Purple Church is a psychedelic indie rock band from Oklahoma City.  In the past seven months the band has released three EPs – Hayseed Cassette, Woodsporn, and Twin Lakes (you can read my review of them here) and this last weekend participated in the 2011 Norman Music Festival. 

This interview was conducted via email April 28 – May 2, 2011. 

For more information about The Purple Church check out Band Camp, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Last.fm.

Dave:  How did the band get together?

Lucas:  Robby and I were going to a lot of the same parties during the autumn of 2009, and we’d been acquainted for years, both growing up in the Mid-Del/Choctaw area. He asked me if I wanted to start a no-wave noise band. We jammed at his house and it sounded cool, but was very far from sounding like what we intended. Austin had expressed interest in playing in a band again, so he came over with a few cool song ideas, and the three of us gelled immediately. The next thing to do was bring in his brother Aaron for more guitar. He’s been a phenomenal musician as long as I’ve known him and we’d played in several bands over the years, really easy to work with and creative. Once we all started to play together, we knew we had something with great potential.

Dave:  How do you describe your music/sound?

Austin:  While we have many joke descriptions of our band, I think we all agree on the term “Icy Psychedelia”. 

Dave:  You have released three EPs since October of last year.  Were these songs that had all been recorded at one time or do they come from different sessions?

Austin:  All three EPs were actually recorded in three different sessions with three different engineers. When we first started playing together there was a real sense of urgency about having material available for people to hear, so as new songs were written we would rush to have them released in some form of official capacity. I think we all view the material on those EPs as documents of a band trying to find its own artistic voice. Now that we know a little more about what we’re doing, I think we have enough confidence to slow down and work on a more cohesive long-form project that truly represents what we want to do as a band.

Lucas:  ‘Hayseed’ was self-produced and recorded in our practice space. Next, we went to Chris Harris at the old Hook Echo Studio inside Bell Labs and recorded the songs for ‘Woodsporn.’ On ‘Twin Lakes,’ we had engineer DW Nelson bring his magic to our own practice/studio space and record us. All 3 have different vibes that I think reflect the songs nicely.

Dave:  Are you working on a full length album?

Robby:  Yes and no. I personally feel that a full-length album isn’t as important as it once was thought to be, however if and when it happens, it happens. We’ve been writing a lot.

Dave:  Have you gotten any interest from any record labels?  Are there any labels that you’d like to work with?

Austin:  No one’s come to us directly yet, and honestly we don’t think anyone will until we can tour outside of Oklahoma. However we’d probably die of a joy-induced heart attack if Nice People, Little Mafia, or Guestroom wanted to release something for us.

Dave:  What are your thoughts on the music scene in Oklahoma?

Austin:  I’m sure it’s like this in every city, but the OKC/Norman scene is pretty weird. Everyone knows each other in some form or fashion, yet there seems to be an undeniable fragmentation amongst the bands that play around here. I’ve never understood why people are so quick to distance themselves from the different factions within the scene. There’s no reason why the indie-rock bands in Norman shouldn’t be playing shows with the DIY punk guys in OKC, or why the Romero and Traindodge guys shouldn't’ be teaming up with the Lo-Fi Shit dudes etc... I think the bands involved in the true underground here need to realize that we’re all in this together, and that we all have the same motivations more or less. That said, there are almost too many incredible bands right now to even keep up with, so it’s perfectly understandable why groups tend to cluster - there’s simply too much going on to keep up! 

Robby:  I think it has come so far. I love so much about what is going on in OKC. Most people are really cool and there’s a lack of competitiveness which can spoil any good network. We work hard to promote shows and to help out other bands when we can. It’s a good feeling, both ways.

Dave:  What are your favorite places to play and bands to play with?  Have you done any tours yet?  If so, how has the response been outside of Oklahoma?

Austin:  The Conservatory, The Opolis, Guestroom, and Blue Note for sure. It's always a blast playing with Romero, Los Hijos Del Diablo, Depth and Current and Gentle Ghost. That said, there’s a list a mile long of bands we’d love to play with but haven’t had the time to do so. We haven’t gotten around to touring yet, although it’s very much in the long term plan. I think we’d like a little more experience getting our chops up to speed locally before we hit the road.

Robby:  Personally, I feel that the Blue Note has been very kind to us, as well as the Conservatory and the Opolis. I can’t wait to put together a string of regional shows, I want to play some house shows as well.

Dave:  This is a High Fidelity inspired question.  What are your top 5 favorite bands, albums, movies, TV shows, books/authors?

Lucas:  I’m a very avid reader, literature can sometimes inspire my musical expression more than other music- the rhythm, texture, and moods that only words can elicit. Often, when I’m working on lyric ideas, they will be connected to something I am reading at the moment, which is generally post-modern American lit or physics. The books that have made the most profound impact on me as an adult are Ulysses - James Joyce, Blood Meridian - Cormack McCarthy, Cat’s Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut, A Brief History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson, and Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert Pirsig.

Austin:  I’ll just stick with albums: Reign in Blood - Slayer, Goat - The Jesus Lizard, Sister - Sonic Youth, Master of Puppets - Metallica, and 222 - Patton Oswalt.

Robby:  Top 5 local bands: Gentle Ghost, Colourmusic, Copperheads, Depth and Current, and John Moreland.

Dave:  What’s next for The Purple Church?

Lucas:  We’ve come a long way in the year and a half we’ve been a band together. We push each other really hard, every song we write is more difficult than the last, and I think we’ve all grown more from playing together than any other bands we’ve done in the past. We’re working towards writing a good, solid, cohesive album with songs that texturally and thematically fit together, hopefully by the end of the year we can have it all written and recorded. Maybe we can find a label to put out an LP for us, if not we’ll do it ourselves, then try to do some out-of-state shows to get the word out. At the moment, we’re focused on getting through a slew of Oklahoma City & Norman shows. We’re also going to put out a split cassette with They Stay Dead, and we’ve been writing a collaboration with longtime friend and local folk deity Ryan Lawson.

Robby:  Writing, recording, and shows.

Dave:  Any final thoughts?

Robby:  I would just like to thank my fellow band mates for everything. Also, thank you to those who came out to Bill and Dee’s for our set at Norman Music Fest, as well as those who helped make it happen. That was the most fun we’ve had thus far. Here’s to our future.



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