interview stuff: PEARL EARL

reppin: denton, tx // dreamy life records // 2014 - present

sounds like: in stef's words - when two praying mantises meet and do a dance and they fall in love and then make sweet mantis love then the female eats the other one’s head off and then she has a baby (check out the bottom of the story for more good ones)

pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

last album drop:  pearl earl (july 2017)

featuring: ariel // stefanie // bailey // chelsey

pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

Something about summer nights and finding new music makes my mouth water, the hairs stand-up on my arms and my ears start begging me for some good sounds. It is nights like these that I seek inspiration, a feel good kind of story that answers the calls of expanding my mind and focusing in on what matters in life. Well, these four nice, sweet an bad-ass chicks delivered in just that way. Hailing from Denton TX, which I can only imagine as a hot summer spot with lots of good food, cowboy hats and denim, they have musically grown from within as well as taking in from the scene around them.

bailey of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

bailey of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

What I love about these ladies is that their music is parallel to the journey and goals they have as a band. Their sound blends the psychedelic feel from the 70s, garage rock from today and classic rock from way back when. The mysterious slice of exploration puts my my into an imaginative and open kind of space. I also can focus in on the bouncy sort of sound that reminds me that life can be fun and easy if you let it. Much like that psychedelic vibe, their free spirited nature has allowed them to find one another as their musical careers have moved forward. Then, there is the more focused idea that fun and love is so visible in their music. Something I can only allude to their music minds being flexible in nature, allowing them to let these different types of sounds blend. They each bring a bit of past to the picture, a favorite style of music that makes them a rare group.  

I happened to come across the girls that are Pearl Earl on the Jukely app as they were rolling through town this past July at the Empty Bottle on a chill Sunday night. I am telling you, the mixture of furious vocals, guitars mixed with that good old rock n' roll is something to pay attention to. Sitting down with these goofy girls, as fireworks were going off all over the city, we chatted about their adventure as Pearl Earl, what is to come and what they truly want out of being a band. I could immediately since the comfort they bestowed upon the venue as well as opening up to me, a complete stranger. Check out what makes these ones rev up their engine and go.

INTERVIEW STUFF

ariel of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

ariel of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

When did you all start as a band. How did you land on your sound, what happened in prior experiences that made you want to make this music?

Bailey: We started 3 years ago this August.

Ariel: I started the band back in the day, I was in the another group called Mink Coats and then I wanted to start Pearl Earl. Naturally just the kind of music I gravitate towards. After knowing Bailey, we just kind of played and learned more music together and I dunno, we are definitely influenced by more of the psychedelic sound. When we played together more and more and that’s what just sort of happened.

Stef: Bailey and I are def more into classic rock and Ariel is definitely more into psychedelic so I think that kind of meshes a current tone these days, while being centered around certain themes that were happening in Denton and Austin area. Certain rhythms were coming from more of a classic rock and prog driven area. The key parts kind of came in with a certain tone that bridges the generational gap of music.

Jared (Me): I personally like your music because you have one half of it that is just fun while the other half that is more in this clear mind kind of space, that lets your imagination run. It’s a really good balance

Bailey: You hit the nail on the head. We definitely try to split the fun and out there kind of vibe.

Alright, the lyrics. So usually I see lyrics being about something in specific, or something that wants to be interpreted. What is your style?

chelsey of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

chelsey of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

Ariel: So, I try to write really ambiguously for this project, but with hints at something that really does exist rather than not making it super personal. You know, I want it to be for everybody. I also kind of think of this as an experience as Pearl Earl. Also metaphorical. I try to be kind of witty with it...not take it too seriously, but I also have to remember there is going to be that serious, personal factor always there.

Me: I like interpreting lyrics, so thank you.

So what about the live show, what is your mission when you take the stage? What do you want to do in order to gain fans, what do you want them to experience?

Stef: We all have our own things

Me: Oh yea, hit me?

Ariel: She (Stef) has good eye contact and the running man down.

Stef: Yea, it is just constant movement with me. I can’t help it. Sometimes it is just hair in my face or other times I look up and try to make connect with someone. It may seem stupid, but its fun and engaging. I like to get engaged with them (bandmates). It can be very distracting and kind of almost a game. Sometimes when you get engaged with your bandmates, sometimes you just do it until someone fucks up, then you’re like alright, alright (laughs from everyone).

Ariel: We are all really into what one another is doing since we have our own way of interacting during the set.

chelsea of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

chelsea of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

Bailey: Honestly, all of our crowd engagement happens when we are not playing. We all disperse and talk to everyone and dance for the bands and hang out. Cause, if you do that, you have a fast friend and they’ll have you back.

Me: I like that, cause if you are not having fun on stage, then what is the point.

Ariel: You can tell if bands are disinterested and it sucks.

Chelsey: I don’t want to go see a sad, sappy band. I want energetic shit, something that will make me happy.

Stef: Not only does Chelsea do the keys, she does percussion as well. And she’ll tell you how different she is on stage.

Chelsey: Yeaaaa, I’m really quiet in person, but when I get on stage I am a different person, more wild. Last night, we played at an easy house show, there was no stage and I could walk out into the crowd. So if there is an opportunity where I can just walk into the crowd with a tambourine and get dancing and get hyped up. I’ll jump in there! Then everyone goes crazy. No one expects it (weird screams). I love it, easy access off the stage! One of the bands we traveled with was thinking we were trying to start pile-ons on stage and everything. Come on man, I can’t workout, so I am going to burn my calories on stage. The music is so energetic, there is no way you can be deadpanned.

stef of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

stef of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

Okay, finally, what is the metaphor for Pearl Earl?

Stef: It’s like, when two praying mantises meet and do a dance and they fall in love and then make sweet mantis love then the female eats the other one’s head off and then she has a baby.

Bailey: So actually, praying mantises have like 100 kids and they all fight until the death until there are four or something left.

Me: For real, this is true?

Bailey: Yea man, I’ve seen it, it’s nuts. (screams and cheers for fireworks)

Ariel: The one that I like that someone else said is we sound like the a scene from Fear and Loathing when all the lights change colors when you walk into the casino. And another one I liked, mystical wizard rock.

Stef: Rainbow fuzz power too!

suggested listening experience: mid-day pick me up // kicking it with with some friends // any kind of road trip

interview stuff: IAN SWEET

reppin: brooklyn, usa // hardly art records // 2015 - present

sounds like: according to the band - petting a dog at the beach that you know it isn’t yours and the owner is coming back soon...and the dog pooped on your hand

ian sweet | before empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

ian sweet | before empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

latest album drop: Sapeshifter (sept 2016)

featuring: jillian // damien // tim

It’s pretty amazing what musicians can learn about themselves in a short amount of time. Not too long ago, front woman Jillian Medford was touring the country as a solo project, pouring out her heart, a mixture of love and growing pains. As she settled in back East, a connection was established with drummer Tim Cheney and bassist Damien Scalise to form what now is IAN SWEET. Constantly touring and attempting to recreate their sound, they are on the start of a musically romantic adventure with one another and there is no end in sight.

With the popular DoDivision Fest hitting Wicker Park, IAN SWEET and good friends Girlpool packed a sold out Empty Bottle that night. When they hit the stage, emotions are evident as they roll through their set list. The lyrics spill out Jillian’s personal story, someone who has battled through personal relationships and then some. While that can be seen in her face, when you look at the crowd, everyone is overcome with joy. Whatever they are putting their fists up to, it shows that there is hope in the music they write. Sometimes you can use those words to overcome and other times, it is just good to know someone else is going through the same thing. My favorite message of all the experiences is to stay true to yourself...to be who you are no matter who you are with or what you are doing.

IAN SWEET’s fuzzy rock noise is something to pay attention to as they continue to grow as a band. They came in during a hot summer day this July in the smack dab middle of their tour. As I scooted up to the Empty Bottle, the crew hopped out of their van and were ready to rock n’ roll for the night. But first, we took a seat, cracked open some drinks and chatted about what makes these three a special group with a unique sound.

INTERVIEW STUFF

When I first turned you all on, it was like an organized mess of distorted chaos which could not be a more beautiful representation of my life. Surprisingly, with that description, your music puts a calm over me, like everything is going to be alright...how did you get there?

Tim: I fall asleep to heavy music a lot, that loud, distorted sound. It almost feels like being in the womb or something. Loud noises kind of calm me...maybe that is where you are getting that kind of feel

Jillian: I think we are all very attractive to sound in general, and sounds we haven’t heard. So we try to make noise that we are not familiar with, that are new.

ian sweet | empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

ian sweet | empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

Damien: I also feel like from the music we listen to, we like poppy stuff. I feel like we also have ears that and hear dissidence as confidence in a way. Things that sound crunchy and gross to someone else sound good to us.

Is there any relation to any experiences or stops in life that have led you to this?

Jil: Yea, when I went to college and started going to noise music shows in boston, underground scene. I wasn’t making music like that at the time, but always had a love and interest for it. And then, making friends through that scene I got involved and got inspired. There was a big scene for that and we kind combine noise and pop together.

Jared (Me): What is interesting to me, growing up in the Chicago burbs, I grew up in the punk scene and really took it to heart...I did listen to other types of rock and hip hop and stuff, but that was my music. But when I went away to college, my taste expanded like crazy and it goes to show what meeting different people from different places can do to your music listening.

Jil: As a band, we’ve gotten into hip hop together and didn’t listen to it as much in college. We’ve really been expanding our taste as well.

Jared (Me): Are we going to see a rap on the new album?

ian sweet | empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

ian sweet | empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

D: Yea man! Hahaha. Either way, I feel like hip hop is kind of at the forefront of music anyway. Rockstars aren’t rockstars anymore, anyone can be one. Even the pop stars are trying to emulate the hip hop stars. All the stuff that I know about in Boston came from nothing and built their way up to the top. I feel like that is really cool for independent musicians.

Jillian, I’ve read that you’ve had your fair share of shit to deal with over the years...how do you channel that into lyrics that are relatable to your fans as well as obtaining new ones

Jil: Yeaaaa, I’ve been through some shit. A lot of the lyrics are stream of consciousness stuff that I have to refine later on. I like to write while I have something in my hand...some blurb will come out. I have a style of writing that is more subconscious, in the moment. By the time a song is finished, I then realize what it is all about.

T: For you, I feel like the lyrics are very open for interpretation too.

Jil: Definitely use a lot of metaphors and playful lyrics to describe nostalgic memories. The past record was really heavily influenced by my nostalgia and how I wish to be in a better place. I was writing in a way where I was longing for something so the lyrics are more like what I would imagine I would do, being in a better headspace. Kinda projecting what I would like my emotions to be like. It is really hard as an artist to vulnerable because you know everyone is going to listen and watch you. The advice for fans listening is that it is not that scary and it feels better to be that way rather than being dishonest.
 

Speaking of getting onstage, how do you translate that into your live show. When you make eye contact with that kid, what do you want them to feel?

D: I think are live shows are a lot happier than you would think.

Jil: I was going to say, the live show is really emotional, it takes a lot out of me. It has ups and downs

D: It is a fun experience though…

Jil: I mean yea, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

T: We definitely play sad songs a lot, but the second the song is over, we aren’t starting each other down crying, we are having fun.

D: I do think the lyrics do represent that in a way. Saying how we are struggling in a way, but it is kind of funny that we are struggling. The live show, it comes across that we are trying to be upbeat and when it is crowded it gets crazy.

(drinks are delivered and we become extremely surprised how much you cannot taste the alcohol)

If we are singing about sad stuff and someone comes in to see us and is sad, it makes for a happy experience with them.

Jil: We love miserable people

ian sweet | empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

ian sweet | empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?

T: Planting vegetables on the roof

Jil: Petting a dog at the beach

T: petting a dog at the beach, but you know it isn’t yours and the owner is coming back soon.

D: And once the owner comes, you realize that the dog pooped on your hand. I’d say we are all a bunch of dogs, as a band.

Jared: What kind of dog?

Jil: Great dane

suggested listening experience: on the train/car ride home after a long day // lazy saturday afternoon on the couch // anytime when times are tough

listens: #23 // slime time live // knife knowing you // all skaters go to heaven // 2soft2chew // if you're crying // cactus couch

is // spotify // fb // twitter // sc // ig

interview stuff: METHYL ETHEL

reppin: perth, australia // 4AD/Dot Dash/Remote Control Records // 2013 - present

sounds like: taking the "Magic School Bus" with Ms. Frizzle out into the vast depths of Earth's atmosphere

lastest album drop: everything is forgotten (march, 2017)

featuring: jake // thom // chris

methyl ethel | photo cred: issuemagazine.com

methyl ethel | photo cred: issuemagazine.com

WARNING: Before your eyes and ears are on this, put your shades on, maybe twist one up, take your mind to 1963 and get ready for a magical journey that can only be compared to the one “The Dude” takes. What they are saying is true, normal is the new weird. Weird opens the mind, makes us more flexible and accepting of different weird. Weird is beautiful and this music that Methyl Ethel creates is nothing short of beauty. A balance of pop and psychedelic rock that can catch the ear of a human that despises psychedelic shenanigans. How does that make sense?!

These kids truly are blessed musicians filled with individualism and uniqueness that shines through each track they produce...and there are a lot of them. Having put their stamp in their hometown of Perth, they are just the latest example of awesome “band x” killing it in music. Like for cereal, Australia’s scene is amazing right now whether it is punk rock, indie or something a bit more experimental.

Last month I caught singer and guitarist, Jake Webb, on the cellular as they were in the vast grasslands of Iowa en route to Minneapolis before rocking out the Empty Bottle here in Chicago. Just from the sheer bliss of their sound, I knew there was a deeper meaning behind how they create these songs. Well, I sure as heck found out what it was all about. Feel free to read to yourself in an Australian accent.

Interview Stuff

Love the little drips of pop and psychedelic in your sound. Where does the sound originate from and what did you combine from that 50s/60s era to make it your own?

So the jumping off there. I just draw from whatever I sort of listen to as well as my musical knowledge. There is never a really a choice to reference anything. I mean what goes are kinda like what I’m feeling in the moment and what is around me and what I enjoy.

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

Me: I like to try and at least put the reader in this bucket of the type of music it is going to be, but I understand that is not the basis for how you are writing and trying to sound. If anything, your sound is super original.

Hey, thanks. You know I find it very fun to record and write music. It’s kinda this back and forth of subconsciously referencing things that are around me and that I’m going through. Okay I could that, that sounds nice.

Me: You seem like you have a great grasp of organized chaos of how to write a song. Is this a slow build or does it come out all at once?

It is just feel. The songwriting and recording go hand in hand a lot more lately. I’m more inspired these days by trying to pull melodies and incorporate progressions from other vast types of sounds rather than just sort of sitting down and just writing. So when I sit down I am not writing with this harmonic structure in mind. I think that is where the chaos is being organized. It is more inspiring to me to create music like that rather than just writing and sitting down.

How do you channel your sound into the live show? What is going through your mind as you are looking into the audience..what do you want them to experience? (Note: They were in the middle and still are of a pretty large scale worldwide tour)

I think at the moment our show, we kinda toured all of last year as well. Then the album came out and we had a bit of time off in the winter period. With this new record, we’ve added another member and flushed it out. As it stands, it is kinda of taster for what is to come in the future. When we leave the states I think we’ll flush the show out a bit more. We got a bit of everything from all the areas of each member. There is a lot more that we’d like to do. We are constantly tweaking the show, I could get into the nuts and bolts and technically aspect of it, but that would get boring. We definitely have this idea of delivering the record in a 3D way. I think we have been quite successful in bringing the sums of this new record to life, I’m really happy with it.

Me: I haven’t seen you all live yet, but just kinda trying to envision your record coming to life, I can see how maybe you can perk the ears of the common individual who may not know what you are all about.

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

The parameters that we work with as well are always changing. We play bigger venues in Australia, smaller ones in the states and mixed ones in Europe. I don’t want to have three different shows and have to dial back when we play smaller ones. The same show in Chicago should be the same show that we play in Sydney. It is about not getting too ahead of ourselves and being patient. We don’t want to move too quickly

It seems like there has been just year after year of pushing out some solid records? How do you all grow as a band as you are constantly writing music? Are there moment that stand out where you thought, yes, this is the next step?

Well for me it is the only the constant, is making more music. It makes me feel better about having an album out there and knowing I have a follow up on the way. So, at the same time, whenever I am, whether in the back of a van or at home, being able to work on music constantly keeps me sane. Who knows how many records I’ll make either so strike while the iron is hot. I’m still loving it so why not.

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

I think a lot of people work real hard to get to where they are. I think the work justifies the opportunity you have and it just balances out.

Lets talk about your lyrics. Who writes, where do they drive from and how do you want your fans to take it in?

They definitely supposed to be interpreted. I suppose they are just based off of personal things and relationship based as those are great sources for inspiration. But then at the same time I am trying to spend more time constructing in writing and with the lyrics. I think my first record was more stream of conscious writing. I’m working on more of a cerebral approach and I think there are definitely things that I have put in there, but at the same time they are very open and are supposed to read in multiple ways.

Me: I love when lyrics are interpreted openly. It makes me think about songs I loved in high school and how those tracks have a totally different meaning now than they did in the past.

Yea, I mean we kind of live in world that is so clearly defined. We can find out everything and so much detail. So, to be able to leave some mystery in things, it’s kind of nice given the context.

I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?

That’s a tough question (laughs). Well...I don’t know, I’m going to have a think about it. There are definitely some physical places I can see it taking people to, but I think I should have another listen to the record and get back to you. I haven’t actually listened to it in quite some time.

Side note: So - I was not able to connect with Jake at the show, but as you can see I did some deep thinking. Jake, there is still time to think of one!

suggested listening experience: getting through the day at work // sunny saturday afternoon around the house // twist one up and relax

listens: ubu // no. 28 // twilight driving // idee fixe // rouges // l'heure des sorcieres // drink wine

me // spotfiy // fb // twitter // sc // ig