Wednesday, December 11, 2013

El Drugstore Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?

Now that Plague Ship is finished we're focused on writing new material. We have about an EP's worth of ideas that weren't finished in time for Plague Ship that we're rounding into form. The plan is to complete an EP using that material and then start working on the next full length immediately. We already have a few ideas for that one as well.

2.How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how does it differ from the previous  releases?
It's similar to our first EP but with less improvised elements. That was a big part of our sound when we started out and we've transitioned away from that a little bit. But the material on this record still has that muscular cartoon music vibe that we tend to play naturally.

3.Currently the music is all instrumental are you planning on vocals in the future?
I'd be very surprised but never say never. I used to play in another band with Seth (drums) called East of the Wall, and that band started out as all instrumental and eventually added vocals. But I think that music lent itself better to vocals than the El Drugstore material does. So who knows?

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name El Drugstore?
Ro (bass) and I took a road trip in college and we ended up at this place called South of the Border. It's this crazy Mexican-themed truck stop on the border of North and South Carolina. If you drive on I-95 in that area there are signs for it just about ever mile or so. After seeing so many signs we were so pumped up to finally see it and then we get there and it's a total shit hole. So we're exploring the place and it's just depressing, and we happen upon the gift shop and it's called El Drugstore. We just thought that was some really hilarious Spanglish, and we decided in that moment that some day we would name a band El Drugstore. Many years later when we started jamming with Seth it became obvious that that was the name we had to use.

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
We've had opportunities to play with a lot of awesome bands in our time, and we're extremely grateful for that. Probably the one that stands out the most was a local show we did with Dysrhythmia, Loincloth and our buddies sydbarrett. Dysrhythmia is collectively one of our favorite bands of all time. We weren't too familiar with Loincloth at the time and I'm pretty sure that was their first live show ever, but they absolutely leveled the place. It was really amazing to share a stage locally with so many bands we respect and look up to.

As far as our stage performance, I think the goal is for it to be aggressive and disorienting. There's certainly a physical component to it, but I think we really let the music do the talking for us.

6.Do you have any touring plans for the new album?
Not really. We have a cool local show lined up for our record release that will be with Zevious and some other great bands that we're still determining. We'll probably do something in Brooklyn in the next few months too and then after that we'll see. We all have a lot of stuff going on in our lives outside of music so we really only play live when a really cool opportunity presents itself. 

7.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of underground music?
The response has generally been positive. Our music is clearly not for everyone, but it seems like most people who have stumbled upon us have enjoyed what they heard. If nothing else, our music is sort of funny a lot of the time, so you don't necessarily have to love heavy or complicated music to dig what we're doing at least a little bit. Seth still plays in East of the Wall, and our connection to that band through the two of us has given us a nice core group of people who follow pretty much everything the various members of that band move on to. So we really had a leg up even though we don't tour or play out all that much.

8.Are there any other musical projects besides this band?

Right now I'm focusing all my energy on this project. I have a few other ideas I'm kicking around to work on eventually, but for the moment I'm really enjoying focusing my creative energy on one thing. Ro plays a ton outside of this band, but mostly jazz gigs. Seth is still playing in East of the Wall and they are super active, so that takes up a lot of his time. He also has another project in the works with some people who will be familiar faces to those who have followed our lineage.

9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
The next EP is going to be somewhat similar since it's going to be comprised of ideas that weren't finished for this album. The full length after that is going to be quite different I think. My goal is for it to be darker and less cartoon-y, but still have it sounds like us. I think the material I have stored up for that record is already moving in that direction. We'll see what actually comes to fruition though. I will be happy with whatever direction our creativity takes us in.

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
There are a ton of bands that we have drawn from individually, but as a band I'd say our biggest influences are Dysrhythmia, Stinking Lizaveta, Breadwinner, The Rollins Band and then a lot of jazz stuff like Ornette Coleman, Rashaan Roland Kirk and Masada. We don't think about any of those things consciously when we're writing but I can hear those elements in our music.
I can't speak for the rest of the guys, but recently I've been listening to a lot of Gorguts, Kayo Dot, Zevious, Otis Redding and Big Business.

11.Outside of music what are some of your interests?
We're all pretty passionate about craft beer and like to enjoy a nice one during rehearsal. That's about the only place our non-music interests intersect. We're all very different people but we enjoy each others company and enjoy playing together.

12.Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thanks for taking the time. Cheers!

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