Sasquatch! Music Festival 2017

Artist Interviews – Saint Mesa / Hoops / Mount Kimbie

What do you like about playing at festivals?

I just preformed at BottleRock and that was my first festival ever. Growing up I did not have like $300 to drop on a festival. Sasquatch! is my second. But what I have gathered so far is the environment is more chill than playing at a venue. People are locked in for the day they aren’t trying to get in and get out. All the people working here seam like they enjoy being apart of the festival experience. It was also nice to just finish my set, load up the truck, and get to relax and walk around the festival. So far I really like festivals.

Are you looking forward to seeing any artists today? 

I’m looking forward to seeing Phantogram and obviously Chance is going to be great.

What is the music scene like in Mission Viejo? 

I did not get to know the music scene before this year. I just started playing live music last October. So I never really dove into the music scene down there. I know there are a lot of cool artists like Young The Giant and The Growlers that came out of the Orange County area.

“Jungle” was a dope music video. Would you say music videos and visuals are an essential or important part of your music or just an accessory?

I do not think music videos are essential. I feel like they are almost always indulgent. You can use it help establish an aesthetic or convey an idea but I do not think it’s essential for people to understand where you’re coming from. The music should be able to do that on its own.

What are some activities you do, minus playing music, that help inspire you? 

I am really into nature. I love to explore. Where I live there are some really cool hiking spots. I used to paint a ton and recently got back into it. I do a lot of abstract expressionism and I am not good haha. Obviously art is objective but I don’t have any idea what I am doing but it’s so fun and therapeutic. I try to use a minimal amount of brushes and just finger paint and use spray bottles. Sometime I use an oil base spray paint you can light it on fire and you can create these interesting textures. I do not want to limit myself to music. I love visual art too like photos and videos. I do like thinking of creative ways to pair different types of art and music. I would love to incorporate more visual art and lights into my show later on.

In the spirit of Sasquatch what is your favorite urban legend or one that you really believe in?

Hmm well I love the idea that dinosaurs are still living in the depths of the ocean. We have only discovered a very small amount about our ocean. Who knows what is down there!

Your music video “On Top” was super goofy and had a Between Two Ferns feel to it. Would you say music videos and visuals are an essential or important part of your music or just an accessory? 

Keegan – I do not think it is really essential it’s just another element of making a piece of art that enhances a piece of music. If you take time to do it well it can be impressive. I really like some visual albums that are out right now. I use to not like music videos at all but now i am really interested in them. When I write song I’ll have ideas for videos at the same time. It would be really fun to do more videos I suppose.

Drew – It is so easy to get them wrong. If we are going to do it we want to make sure we do it right.

What do you like about playing at festivals?

Drew- We kicked off this tour at Shaky Knees in Atlanta. It was the first big festival we’ve done and it was really fun.

Kevin – You get lots of free shit. We are the kind of band that plays early in the day so after that we get to chill, see our friends, and just hang out.

Keegan –  Sasquatch! is It is a fairly well run operation. The staff was really helpful and the sound was good for us. I do get apprehensive because when you have so many bands playing at one event it’s tough to get it right all the time. But today’s set went pretty smoothly.

Drew – Shaky Knees was really fun and everyone was super nice…except for this one guy. He was so mean to us. We got in around 9 in the morning and the very first guy we talked to just shat on us. And so we were like “cool it’s going to be that kind of day.”

Kevin – But it turned out to not be “that kind of day” and the rest of the day was great.

Are you staying for anyone today?

Drew – Jay Som.

What is the music scene like in Bloomington, Indiana?

Kevin – It is all over the place.

So how did you find your sound in a place like that?

Kevin – We started listening to a lot of cool pitchfork music when we were in high school.

Drew – That’s how it started but as we got older we just started listening to as much as we could.

Kevin – Getting really nerdy in music.

Drew – Yeah we just started recognizing the parts of songs we really liked and started to figure out how to incorporate that same kind of sound into our music.

What are some activities y’all do, minus playing music, that help inspire y’all ?

Keegan – I like to read. I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary fiction. I started reading some nonfiction too. I used to be such a history nerd and watch the history channel all the time. I kind of revived that side of me. It is a good way to stay on your toes and consume other shit.

Drew – It is an obvious source of inspiration but I listen to a lot of music. The band, Parts, is really cool and a good source of inspiration.

In the spirit of Sasquatch what is your favorite urban legend or one that you really believe in?

Drew – Aliens!!!

Kevin – I think I believe in the loch ness monster…I want to believe.

Y’all have started added vocals to your new album with artist such as King Krule, James Blake MICACHU. Why did y’all decide to add vocals // what was the  thought process with choosing artists you wanted to incorporate in your music?

Dominic- It just seamed to fit. Each track had a gap that needed to be filled with vocal.

Kai – there was some vocals on the last record. When you write instrumental music there is a certain amount of space that you have to fill and when you are written with vocals in mind it gives you options to do things more minimally.

Dominic – All the artists on the record are artists we have worked with we before. WE listen to their music and respect them a lot. Artists like James (James Blake) and Archy (King Krule) are our friends and well as people we work with. They were the first in line when we were thinking about people to work with.

I was watching your music videos and really enjoyed them. Particularly the “Before I Move Off” video was super cool with all the film photos. Did you take those ?

Kai – No they were taking by Tyrone Lebon

It was really nice having a narrative to watch that complemented the way I feel when I listen to that song. Would you say music videos and visuals are an essential or important part of your music or just like an accessory?

Kai – Music videos are another part of you trying to tell a story. We do not try and be too prescriptive about what the meaning is or to direct. I think the music video is a good reflection of that. I have always preferred lights. I want the stage to look good but I do not want to be presenting something that is a distraction to what’s happening on stage. I want it to enhance the connection to what is actually going on rather than focusing the attention on a screen. Only enough to enhance not have it be the focus.

What are some activities y’all do minus playing music that help inspire y’all?

Dominic – Listening to a lot of podcast. One podcast that I listen to pretty frequently is, Song Exploded, where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.

Kai – I haven taken a general interest in sound. Does not have to be music.

Do y’all have any rituals before a performance?

Dominic – A warm hug.

What do you like about playing at festivals?

Kai – They are unpredictable which can be good and bad. You have the opportunity to play to people who may not normally listen to your music. Festival audiences are a bit different. They are in it for a good time and an experience rather them paying for just our show and expecting something in particular.

In the spirit of Sasquatch what is your favorite urban legend or one that you really believe in?

Kai – I am actually really excited I am getting the opportunity to talk about this. There is this phantom wild cat called, Beast of Bodmin Moor, in England.

Dominic – The Candyman. Do not say his name three times in a row.


Loud Feelings: A Review of Girlpool’s Powerplant

Since their inception, Los Angeles-based band Girlpool has embraced a concise and minimalistic sound. The duo, consisting of Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker, have previously featured simply guitar, bass, and vocals in both their studio recordings and live performances. This limitation has often aided them in creating an intimate sound, yet they have never struggled with achieving moments of intensity. In 2015, with the release of their first full-length album Before the World Was Big, Girlpool solidified their place as a notable name in the area of west coast indie rock.

Powerplant, Girlpool’s recently released sophomore effort, expands on their established sound in a way that feels mature and natural. Upon first listen, an obvious and recognizable change is the addition of drums. I’m sure Tucker and Tividad have become interested in exploring the possibilities of a larger band, which in turn has also resulted in a more layered approach to Girlpool’s guitar sound. “123,” the album’s opening track, embraces this change. It begins with a a simple and quiet intro, just before diving into a loud and impactful chorus, with an energy that endures for the remainder of the song. As lyrics and melodies found in the intro are repeated towards the song’s end, this time in a louder setting, it is suggested that even in Girlpool’s quieter moments there lies a drive and restlessness waiting to be uncovered.

Some of the songs on Powerplant bring to mind those moments of childhood where you were sad and unsure why, while others convey the feeling of being an adult and knowing why you are sad. Much of the lyricism on the album refrains from detailed descriptions of specific events, but rather focuses on the offhand thoughts and emotions of the passing days. The song “Your Heart” features a jangly guitar with the lyrics, “you’re louder than the kitchen sink, I’m louder than the thoughts I think,” along with mentions of driving through the rain as well as staring at the counter. These mundane yet emotional moments, scattered all throughout the album, allow the listener to reach the band on a personal level.

The song “Corner Store” feels like an aimless summer day, but soon delves into an abrupt change with a loud and distorted guitar tone that would fit in comfortably on any early Built to Spill record. The title track “Powerplant” also achieves that perfect happy-sad feeling found on a lot of Elliott Smith songs. In fact, it may be a little hard to listen to this album and not be reminded of a lot of music that came out of the 90’s, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The band may touch on influences that have long since ran through indie rock, but that does not stop them from creating something that feels unique and their own.

In my opinion, the album’s high point is not reached until the very last track, “Static Somewhere,” with chugging guitars and subtle vocal harmonies. By the song’s end, the band has built up to a chorus that begs to be screamed along to. And then it ends, possibly too soon. With Powerplant, Girlpool has succeeded in creating both a nuanced and cohesive album, something that won’t soon grow stale.

Nic Castillon