Meeting House Are Getting Ready To Drop New Music On You

By: Trevor Ryan

There really is no debate on whether or not the world needs more aspiring young musicians. We need bands that not only challenge themselves in forward motion, we need advocates for our influences as well. We need bands like Meeting House. I recently talked with guitarist/vocalist Ethan Cowell about where the band is since their last chat with BolderBeat, what's on the horizon, and of course, their upcoming new music, which will be released May 19th with a show at Denver’s Seventh Circle Music Collective.

Meeting House. Photo Credit: Veltrida

Meeting House. Photo Credit: Veltrida

If you haven't heard of these guys yet, they’re the loud, bluesy band from Denver CO with a grungy funk rock center. It's hard to put a name to their exact sound, but from the sound of it, these guys intend to keep it that way. With a well received self-titled EP, and countless live shows under their belts already, it appears that there is no stopping this three-piece group. And as you'll find out in my conversation with the frontman below, they have much, much more to give us.

Listening to your self-titled EP, it definitely feels like your sound comes together organically. Would you consider yourselves collectively still in that “finding yourself stage” or are you pretty comfortable with where you're going?

I don't think it's a matter of sound really. We don't want to sound like anything. We want it to sound like us. So I don't know, we may not ever find it.

Life at a Meeting House show. Photo Credit: Veltrida

Life at a Meeting House show. Photo Credit: Veltrida

You've been compared to The White Stripes and Arctic Monkeys. How does that kind of recognition make you feel?

Honestly I don't even believe it, like it seems so awesome. It's such an honor to [be] put out there and be compared to these people. Like I said, I just have a hard time believing it.

Just recently, you guys have played Moe's BBQ, The Moon Room, and Seventh Circle Music Collective. What would you say is your favorite type of venue to play as a band?

One with nice people. We just like to play. That's the reward for us: having the privilege to play anywhere.

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You've been teasing with talk of new music on May 19th. So as fans, what should we expect from the new release?

That's a tough question to answer. We have so much music. We just like to make stuff and record. Hopefully just honesty. We don't want to come across as overly cliche. We just don't want to sound like we're trying to be anything, we just want you to hear... us.”

Will the new music be a follow-up EP?

We’re actually still deciding, arguing over how much we want to release. Whether it be one or two songs, or a full album.

Ethan Cowell. Photo Credit: Veltrida

Ethan Cowell. Photo Credit: Veltrida

Are there any bands that you've encountered or played with that are really fueling you at the moment?

The Beeves are our number one best friends in the entire world for sure, both on and off stage. But The Ephinji’s are a great band as well- we play with them a lot. We feel really blessed to be part of the environment that is the Colorado music scene.”

These guys have an energy that will make your bones jump- you know the kind I'm talking about. So make sure you see ‘em while they're still in the underground. Catch them at Meeting House with The Beeves Friday, May 19th at Seventh Circle Collective before they jet out on tour. Keep up with Meeting House’s latest news on Facebook.

-Trevor

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Sting Like The Beeves

By: Pete Laffin

Honest question:

When was the last time you moshed?

It had been a while for yours truly. By my mid-twenties I abandoned the more aggressive music of my youth, swapping volume and distortion for lyrical poignancy and musical nuance. Like many in my station, I held my nose up at the blustery rage of the still-young youth (which, it occurs to me now, can be easily explained with basic psychological insight: my disapproval of the kids and their raucous music was displaced, and the real culprit was the lingering memory of my own immature youth.) Music, as important as ever at the ripe-old age of 33, became something to be meditated upon rather than moshed to. And that was fine and good and purposeful. (As you age, it becomes suddenly important to do “purposeful” things.)

And then, a few months ago, I went to the EP release for The Beeves, comprised of the Ehrhart brothers, Ian and Will, along with Matthew Sease, at Seventh Circle Music Collective.

A mish-mash of seemingly disconnected events led me there. (If I may indulge in another bit of old-man wisdom, nothing is disconnected.) Suffice it to say, a grungy, all-ages, DIY warehouse venue is not where you would expect to find me on a Saturday night.

When I found the venue’s entrance in a neglected industrial park in the Denver periphery, I was greeted by a scraggly, weather-worn row of teenagers sitting behind a desk taking the expected donation for entry and exchanging remarks in a terminology and inflection I couldn’t attempt to decode. I handed them my credit card, but their machine wasn’t working, but I could go in. Just hook us up next time was the vibe I got.

I snaked my way through a few dark hallways and found myself in a gravel courtyard. The Beeves had a merch table just before entrance to the performance space, which looked like something between a backyard shed and a wheat silo. I peeked in through the entrance and saw a dark, frantic scene straight out of Altamont while opening act The Velveteers, fronted by rock prodigy Demi Demitro, shook the shanty’s shingles. Not ready to enter the hellfire within, I nosed around the courtyard looking for a place to buy a beer, until I realized no such place existed. A friendly and perceptive young kid intuited my struggle and informed me of a liquor store a few blocks away. If I had said I was going, he would have probably asked me to buy him a bottle.

The Beeves.

The Beeves.

At the merch table, I became disoriented, aghast. I was at an EP release, but there was no EP. Not in the conventional sense, anyway. I’d been to hundreds of these types of events in my seventeen years in music and never seen anything like this. Rather than rows of glossy jewel cases or neatly splayed, plastic-wrapped sleeves, the “albums” offered were burned CDRs packaged in the poster for the show.

Scandalous, I thought, in my stuffiest inner voice (which is somehow always British.)

I scanned the area for other embarrassed looks, embarrassed at The Beeves for not offering a more polished product at such an event. I didn’t see any. All I saw were a bunch of young, deliriously hyped-up hyenas bouncing off one another and rocking out to the vibe. No one gave a shit but me. I took the hint that I, and perhaps the majority of my music-scene generation- in all of our sensitive-guy mustache and pensive-girl thick-frames glory- had fallen out-of-touch. We didn’t see the storm coming (this was a theme in 2016.) We still give a shitit occurred to me. These kids really, really don’t. And they don’t have to.

The Velveteers closed out their riotous set and said goodnight. As I watched the stage through the doorway (I still wasn’t ready enter the dragon, as it were), puzzled at how Demitro could be playing such sophisticated, badass rock-and-roll at such a young age, an announcement was made for the performance area to be vacated while The Beeves set their stage. A swarm of show-goers drifted through the exit to the courtyard like clowns out of a car- it is amazing how many people that little place can hold- and stood around in circles, their hot, moshed-out lungs breathing thick into the freezing Denver December.

Amid the horde, I saw an older guy, the only person I’d seen thus far clearly older than I, who looked suspiciously similar to Beeves frontman, Ian Erhart. Eager to see if there was a connection, I wormed my way toward him. Indeed, it was Ian and Will’s father, John Erhart. He was a songwriter himself, and he wrote and performed songs for Ian while he was in the womb. He didn’t have to say how proud he was of his son, nor proud of himself for making the musical effort back then; his face was lit with pride in it all.

And then some kid in the circle next to us got punched in the face. Hard. Full-fisted.

Braced for bedlam, I stepped back, knuckles tight. But rather than swing back, the kid who got hit smiled and asked for another. The crowd had gone restless waiting for The Beeves to call us back inside. John and I shared a smirk. We had both taken part in similar youthful hijinks, it seemed.

The Beeves' EP Release Show.

The Beeves' EP Release Show.

Inside, the stage was draped in a cartoonishly scraggly, misshapen sheet, the stage lights flashing out around the edges. The buzz in the crammed room rose; I was sure another backyard wrestling match would break out. But then The Beeves, in all of their earnest goofiness, kicked the curtain down and commenced with the thrashing. Their energy was unbelievable, and their affect, so entirely devoid of self-seriousness, spread around the room like an infectious, airborne disease.

I enjoyed the shit out of their set, as did all in attendance. It was arranged for maximum impact with a spirited selection of covers and originals, the latter so impactful I decided to pick up one of those poster-wrapped EPs from the merch table on my way out.

I was richly rewarded for my open-mindedness.

Photo Credit: Veltrida

Photo Credit: Veltrida

The album kicks off with the track “Skagua,” featuring Ian on guitar, Matthew on bass, and Will on the drums. It’s a hard-driving neo-ska spine breaker that serves as a fitting introduction the band, as its chief purpose is to punch you stiffly in the nose. The melody, rhythm, arrangement- none is particularly ground-breaking. In fact, the sound (along with the record in general) is rooted most evidently in the mid-nineties skateboard scene. But The Beeves offer a qualitative alteration to this well-trodden sound, one that’s as obvious to the ear as it is difficult to put a finger on. It’s as if Sublime and The Offspring had been reanimated and struck repeatedly in the tuckus with a cattle-prod. The following track, “Jesus, he came,” follows much in the same vein as “Skagua.”

“Shoelace,” the third track, is the anthem of The Beeves in the ears of their fans. By the time this song is played in a live set, the band is shirtless and possibly naked; it’s not for the sake of vanity or shock-value, but rather, it’s as if the freedom they derive from playing this song demands such release. In “Shoelace’s” three quick minutes, the entire experience of the band is had. If pressed to express what this is in three quick words, I could do it in two: goofy sincerity. The beat rocks (the younger Ehrhart, Will, is a revelation on this track); the melody hooks clean at the chorus where Ian and Matthew croon a startlingly honest question, one to which both a teenager and widower could relate: “Without you/How am I supposed to tie my shoe?”

Listen to The Beeves’ track “Oogamy”:

The fourth track “Oogamy” could slide easily onto the backend of your favorite Sublime record. Recording engineer Oliver Mueller does his best work on the album here capturing the tandem, note-for-note vocals of all three band members. This is no small task, especially given the free-wheeling, loose nature of the vocal style. The track also features a seriously funky clarinet solo performed by friend-of-the-band, Michaela Nemeth. The lyrics at the refrain are most poignant: “When I said leave me alone/I didn’t mean leave me/I wish I had could say what I mean/I wish I had something to mean.”

“Jerry the Drifter” is a fine display of punk thrashery with surprisingly musical flashes. The instrumental that comprises the song’s first half features guitar with flamenco overtones and a theatrically plucky bass, dipping and rising in volume as the moment demands. This all leads into a more conventional pop-punk song with melodic sensibilities. “Jerry” offers shades of early Car Seat Headrest, with its sweet hooks, advanced musicality, and unapologetically raw delivery.   

The best is saved for last on The Beeves’ self-titled EP. “Moe” is an instant classic, with the emphasis on classic. This is high praise, I know, but I can prove it. Well, kind of. You just have to believe what I’m about to tell you is true: In preparation for writing this review, I stealthily played the song in social settings to gauge reaction.

The first time was at my place, where one of my most musically sophisticated buddies came over to hang. As he stepped inside, he cocked his head and lifted an eyebrow at the sound.

Weezer?” he asked. I said nothing. “Is it old Weezer?”

Later that week, I took control of the sound system at a local pub that lets its patrons seize control of the music via bluetooth. From the table next to mine, some guy tapped me on the shoulder.

“Weezer?” he asked, that same sifting-through-old-memories look on his face that my buddy had.

“Moe” is a slow-time rockabilly blues jam with the kind of punked-out irreverence Rivers Cuomo rode to stardom. It’s as if he could have written the song himself as an alternative ending to The Blue Album. The bridge features a single guitar note crescendo, reminiscent of moments in “Heroin” by The Velvet Underground, which leads to the hook at the chorus, sung with wistful abandon and gaiety. It’s doubtlessly a keeper for the band moving forward.    

When ametuer athletes are scouted by professional teams, they are often evaluated in terms of their “floor” and their “ceiling.” The former indicates the kind of players they are at the moment, for better or worse, while the latter expresses their potential to improve. On rare occasions, a player is considered to possess high degrees of both. The Beeves appear to be in this rarefied category, as their sound already astounds, and their potential to improve is a certainty.

The ceiling is high for these kids. High enough, even, to inspire their elders, (your humble correspondent included) to toss themselves recklessly, once again, into a pit of flying elbows and whirling knees.

Make sure to see The Beeves at The Gothic for their show this Friday, February 10th with Mustard Plug; tickets here.

-Pete

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Television Generation's New EP Fuchsia + Their Move Into the Denver Music Scene

By: Claire Woodcock

Will Hayden (vocals/guitar), Katy Johnson (bass), and Anthony Elio (drums) split from Boulder for the Denver area after their respective exits from CU, where Television Generation came to be. That was in 2012, when the EDM scene was exclusively big in Boulder and there was little wiggle room in the music scene for a punk rock presence.

"I think Boulder has a problem with being a transient kind of place,” said Hayden. “Tons of people go [there] for college; these people come and most of them go. People just move away. And a lot of the bands that we saw pop up when we were in college are no longer active.”

Television Generation.

Television Generation.

TVG set their sights on the Denver scene and recorded their first EP If Only I Had A Brain with Mammoth Cave Recording Studios in 2013. After some feedback from producer Lance Bendiksen (The Fray), Hayden and Elio broke out the metronome and put more hours into mastering their ’60s pop, ’90s grunge, alt rock energy. Johnson joined TVG a few months after the band released their second EP Digital Static (2015), a release that includes a track called “Space Invaders” mixed by Jack Endino from Nirvana.

A year later, Television Generation has released their third EP Fuchsia with Todd Divel of Silo Sound Recording Studio in Denver. Hayden says they went into their first session thinking that they would only have time to lay down one or two tracks. But the result was an EP’s worth of tunes recorded over the course of just a few hours. It could have been the Simpsons references exchanged between TVG and Divel that kept things grooving. Or it could have just been, as Johnson said, “We were having a really good day.”

Check out Television Generation’s latest EP, Fuchsia:

Fuchsia operates on a sliding scale between garage rock, post-punk, super punk, (if that were legitimate genre) and alt rock. Television Generation told me they drew inspiration for this release from The Beatles, The Who and most notably, Sonic Youth. Johnson employs a Kim Gordon-esque style on Fuchsia by creating a lot of garage rock noise and manipulating the distortion and delay pedals to produce all kinds of uncomfortable, yet totally satisfying feedback in the middle of pop songs.

Will Hayden of TVG.

Will Hayden of TVG.

Back on the subject of the Denver scene, Hayden said that when Johnson joined the group, the trio started checking out other punk acts, which has become a huge support system for TVG.

“That’s what a music scene is and should be.” said Hayden.

Branching out from Boulder to Denver allowed TVG to not only meet talented bands, but to get a sense of the quality of the younger bands popping up from all over the place.

“The flux of people to Colorado probably helps because there's a lot of fresh blood out here and they're looking for places to play, and that's kind of what I was saying about Boulder [being transient],” said Hayden. “There are a lot of people coming in from out of state obviously for the weed and all that, and a lot of people see it as a bad thing, but I think it's really good for the music [scene]. It brings in a lot of fresh, excited people and I think that’s what we haven’t seen in years past: that excitement in people finding local bands. There’s enough talent and enough people interested, so let's blow it up as much as we can.”

TVG thinks that these trends in the Denver music scene will only continue to soar.

“We could make Denver the new Seattle.” Hayden added, with enough conviction in his voice that the possibility could someday be true.

TVG.

TVG.

This Sunday, November 6th, Television Generation will ‘Rock Against Trump’ at Seventh Circle Music Collective with an anti-Trump CD release show, featuring a whole laundry list of bands in the Denver punk scene. If you’re looking to rage the day before the election, this is where you should be. Proceeds will be donated to the Standing Rock protesters and Amnesty International.

Keep up with Television Generation here.

-Claire

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Denver's The Ghoulies Aren't As Spine-Chilling As You Might Think

By: Claire Woodcock

I met up with four-fifths of the boozy, bluesy Denver punk outfit The Ghoulies on Colfax Avenue earlier this month. Besides conjuring ghosts at The Stanley Hotel, dressing up as five Dave Grohls aka “The Grohlies” for Halloween, and keeping van thieves in Texas at bay with a $14 machete from Walmart because “it was cheaper than a baseball bat,” The Ghoulies really aren’t as spine-chilling as you might think.

In fact, these guys are hilarious. Their comedic timing is on point, probably because they’ve all known each other since middle school. The group started playing together in 2009 as a Blink-182/Green Day/Misfits cover band under the name “Grandpa Tom and the Family Business.” The guys changed their name two years later on Halloween, and their sound transformed as well. The whole band insists that bringing in a blues guitarist and organist hot on the Denver 38th Street scene (who also happens to be member Dan Yergert’s twin brother) has played a huge part in The Ghoulies evolved blues/punk sound.

“If you slowed down all of our songs and took away all of the distortion, a lot of them are 12-part blues, just straight up,” said blues guitarist Jake Yergert. “I feel like there's less cow-punk rockabilly kind of stuff [in Denver]. We're more rocky and not so hardcore compared to a lot of the bands we play with.”

As a result, The Ghoulies contend with not always seeing themselves as being punk enough for the punk scene or garagey enough for the garage scene. Instead, they’re really concentrated on capturing this sort of raggedy-end of the blues, all while maintaining rad day jobs. Members Dan and Jake Yergert are both English teachers, singer/guitarist Adam Moore is a structural engineer, drummer Connor Randall moonlights as a paranormal investigator, and bassist Spencer Lovell works for a YouTube company. The Ghoulies seriously keep things interesting.

On stage, these guys look like Mormons, dressed in button-up white shirts with black ties, but they rip like there’s an alien invasion happening down the street. They’re gearing up to record their third record, which they’re predicting to have to record somewhere around nine times if the tracking process goes anything like their last two albums did. The Ghoulies have gone from a DIY basement studio to recording in the Yergert’s family church. One of their friends recorded their self-titled album in 2013, which drummer/ghost hunter Connor Randall called “really janky.”

“The [self-titled LP’s] solos are pretty basic,” said Randall. “It's very much like pentatonic blues stuff; then we kind of break out of that a little bit more. [Roswell A-Go-Go] has this weird pseudo gospel praise be to an Elvis Christ sort of thing, and so it was a lot more cohesive and a lot more of what we were actually going for.”

The Ghoulies went all out on album two, recording Roswell A-Go-Go in 2015 at Black in Bluhm Studios in Denver, and mixing at District Recording Studio in San Jose, California. On Roswell A-Go-Go, the ghouls say they defined their kitsch with paranormal ambience and sci-fi references to old radioplay broadcasts from the likes of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. The band even went so far as to shoot the cover of Roswell at the Stanley Hotel up in Estes Park, where ghost hunter Randall had been a Resident Investigator for nearly 5 years.

“Funny story about that,” began Dan, “We were all up there around Halloween last year and we have a song on that album called ‘Lucy’ and it's named after the ghost that haunts the basement of the concert hall, who we think has a crush on Connor. So we're sitting in Lucy's room, it's like 2AM, and Connor's got the equipment out. I'm getting really nervous, so I'm making jokes constantly and Connor goes, ‘If there's a presence here or something, can you make yourself known?’ The door slammed shut and since I was sitting right by the door, I grabbed the equipment I was holding and I ran out of there.”

If you’re a ghost hunter too, you can find The Ghoulies at Seventh Circle Music Collective a few dates this month, including this Sunday October 16th at 630PM for the venue’s 999th show. The Ghoulies will join local punk rockers The Quitters, Crushed!?, Redneck Nosferatu, Silver Screen Monsters and Had Enough. And just in time for Halloween, The Ghoulies will play Seventh Circle’s Haunted House night with The Atom Age and Boulder’s The Ephinjis.

Keep an eye out for The Ghoulies' next album, due out in 2017. And stay tuned for more Colorado punk chronicles.

-Claire

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Ephinjis: How Being Banned From a Local Venue Only Fueled the Fire Behind Their Punk Rock Debut LP

By: Claire Woodcock

When I first moved to Boulder and started getting involved with the local music scene, I quickly began wondering, “Where are all the punk bands?” Enter The Ephinjis: a Boulder-based band that’s making noise in Denver. They remind me a lot of Green Day, or Dead Kennedys, but with hints of Latin music that come out with a close listen.

“All those punk bands were and are angsty white boys. That's not a bad thing, it really isn't, but we don't exactly fit those parameters. We're Latino; she’s female. That is already outside of the norm for punk,” member Ivan Armendariz told me.

Ivan and Christian Armendariz are twins; when they were 13, their parents gave Ivan a guitar and Christian a drum kit. They spent years learning to play and eventually started up the band, playing with 12 different bassists until Alexandra Flynn came into the picture. The three of them have been making music together ever since, and in the fall of 2014, they all decided to leave college to pursue their careers in music. Their decision was sort of a musical rebirth as a band, and as bandmates.

Ivan Armendariz.

Ivan Armendariz.

“It’s been two years of nonstop: you breathe it, you eat it, you think about it, you tell people about it, you’re proud of what you do, and you share it. We’re doing everything.” said Ivan.

Alexandra Flynn.

Alexandra Flynn.

The Ephinjis definitely don’t fall into the Americana/folk/acoustic-Beatles-covers acts that venues often showcase in Boulder. They admit that it’s tough to be a punk band in Boulder because it’s not marketable to the music scene there:

“We definitely don’t fit in with Boulder. We got kicked out of a venue here.” Ivan said.

He’s referring to The Forge, a DIY venue that’s been closed since September allegedly for fire code violations. During a show back in January, the band was playing a song called “Killing Never Goes Out of Style”, a sort of cowboy-influenced ballad that alludes to the chauvinistic practices of men being entitled to women. Lyrically, it’s about a boy who falls in love with a girl obsessively and when she rejects him, he kills her. While Ivan acknowledges the explicit nature of the song, he says the band’s intent was misinterpreted and construed to the point where The Ephinjis were no longer welcome at that venue.

"It was pretty disturbing to me when I first heard about [being banned] because the point of the song is to reflect our sexist society and to reflect brutal honesty [about] what is going on and how women are being treated. And being a female bass player in a band, I see a lot of shit,” said Alexandra Flynn, “The fact that Ivan writes music that’s so honest, and the fact that they totally twisted it into the opposite of what it’s meant for disturbs me, because that’s silencing the whole feminist movement in what was supposed to be a safe community where you can express ideas.”

Christian Armendariz.

Christian Armendariz.

The band talked about the stages of grief they went through after learning they were no longer welcome at The Forge: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and eventually acceptance through the recording of the band’s first full-length LP The Unfortunate Life of Bob: A Guideline to Dying Amongst the Living. It’s a concept album that follows the demise of a fictional character named Bob, and explores what it’s like to live a life of complacency in a society that does not have your back.

Ivan says that Bob’s life goes through three phases, similar to the stages of grief: fear of not being good enough and aiming for a standard or substandard lifestyle, acceptance of that complacency and turning to drugs and alcohol to get through the motions, and then the resignation of saying, “I did the best I could with what I had”. Ivan though does not agree with choosing to resign in life:

“That’s bullshit. I don’t care who you are, you always could have done more. There’s always an option to jump a little farther and step a little more beyond that line than you’re supposed to and take that risk. It’s disturbing and uncomfortable, and kind of pisses people off, but I think once the thrill of living is gone, you realize maybe you didn’t do what you could have done. And not because it totally was in your control, but honestly, you didn’t do what you were capable of if you were meant for bigger [things]. You still could have done it. I think everyone always a lot more potential than they ever reach. Your brain blocks you, you're inhibited from breaching a comfort zone, and people don't want to see it like that but I do. So Bob reaches the end basically and realizes, “Yeah, I could have done better, but I think I did my best with what I had.” And then he does reach the breaking point of looking in the mirror, drugged out, and says, 'No, you f*cking failed.' I think that's similar to the process of grieving or getting over the death of a loved one. It almost plays out throughout the entire album of his life. So we're talking about death in one moment, and encompassing his entire 45 years of existence in 10 songs.”

Listen to The Ephinjis' debut album:

The Unfortunate Life of Bob drops today and is available here. The Ephinjis are celebrating the new record’s release with an “unofficial” show party tonight at Seventh Circle Music Collective, where they will play with LiquidLight, Meeting House, and Sorry Sweetheart. Tommorrow, September 24th, The Ephinjis will also play “The Swifts Back To School Show” with female punk band The Hits at the Dickens Opera House in Longmont. Make sure to check out one of these gigs to hear their new music live!

If you’re like me, constantly looking for that latest local punk band, this crew is worth the listen.

Update 09/27/16 @7PM: The allegations as to why The Ephinjis were banned from the now defunct venue, The Forge, have been left in comments you can read on our Facebook page. We did reach out for official comment via the venue's Facebook page, but do not have an official statement from The Forge at this time.

-Claire

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Emily Shreve: EP Release "Bliss and Gravity"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Emily Shreve's new EP will haunt you in a good way. 

Denver-based artist Emily Shreve.

Denver-based artist Emily Shreve.

The first time we saw Emily Shreve was at the June Boulder-in-the-Round. Her haunting vocals captivated us during her performance, so when we heard she was releasing her new EP, Bliss and Gravity, we wanted to catch up with this Denver-based singer-songwriter. Recently, we had that chance! We chatted with Shreve about her use of dream-like qualities in her sound, why the best parts of recording always happen after midnight, and about what’s next for this intellipop and avant-garde influenced artist.

Bliss and Gravity feels like a dream sequence painted for your audience in the form of stirring vocals, flowing piano pieces, whispery lyrics, and ambient sounds. Talk to us about what inspires you to inject this dream-like quality into your music.

I’ve always been one to use dreams as my inspiration and I love them because they can be weird and impossible, and they can make no sense while simultaneously making perfect sense. I like music that is transportive and takes you out of your normal mindset. Not that normal life is so bad, but it’s important to take your brain to other places. I think that is what good art does, and what a good musician does. They create a moment in time that everyone is a part of; they captivate you and pull you in and take you somewhere you haven’t been before, or haven’t been in awhile. I want to keep going further into dreaminess and go to some different abstract places.

Shreve in the Studio.

Shreve in the Studio.

Bliss and Gravity definitely accomplishes those affects! Speaking of- your howling vocals on “Falling Down” seem to do just that to this listener- to push us deeper into your story; your sound. What was the process like recording this particular track in the studio?

“Falling Down” and “A Temporary Bliss” were actually intended to be instrumental pieces, but I decided to add vocals the day I recorded the piano for those tracks. The vocals were the only part that weren’t technically recorded in the Differential Productions studio. Michael Zucker and I finished a session late, and I was still in music mode, so I used the studio at my dad’s house just down the street to play around with some layers. I was just experimenting, but I ended up writing and recording the vocal part that night and getting it right the first time. I stayed up until 3 am layering everything, and then I found a wav file of a rainstorm on the computer I was using. It just worked so well sonically when I added it, and it fit poetically with the whole concept of the album. Sometimes the best things happen after midnight when you have a microphone.

It sounds like you really got experimental with it, which is awesome. We read in your Colorado Music Buzz interview that you are looking for venues other than noisy bars to perform in, due to your music’s haunting and intimate aspects. Has finding such venues been a challenge for you in the Denver music scene? Where are some of your favorite spots to perform?

I’m not sure I have a favorite yet. I love places where people go to actually listen to music and you don’t have to compete with normal bar noise. Syntax Physic Opera and Mercury Cafe are great spots. There are also places that normally host heavier bands, but that I really like playing, like Lost Lake Lounge or Seventh Circle. I really enjoy nonconventional, intimate settings like house concerts. I once played a backyard speakeasy too, where I got to perform outside, which doesn’t happen often since I am married to my Kurzweil. Anywhere that already has a piano gets major points from me too.

Album Art for  Bliss and Gravity .

Album Art for Bliss and Gravity.

Tell us about one of your very first intellipop influences.

Ahhhh the genre game. I love it so. I’m not sure that I fit into intellipop as it’s often defined, but I like and use the idea of intellipop because I write pop song structures, I use abstract lyrics, and I’m not afraid to change time signatures or use a polyrhythm every once in a while to make a song really creepy (like “Insanity”). I love music that is simple and well written (Andrew Bird, Tori Amos), and I also really love progressive “out there” avant-garde music (Bjork, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum or anything Carla Kihlstedt is on).

Sweet! So beyond your upcoming EP release party for Bliss and Gravity at Mercury Cafe on August 28th, what’s next? Any other big performances on the horizon? A tour? A music video?

I will be doing a music video with the very talented writer/director Olivia Carmel. We actually met where I work and it seemed a little serendipitous that she already had an idea for a video for one of the songs from Bliss and Gravity. We’ll be exploring the visual interpretation of some of the lyrics on one of the tracks. I’ll be booking lots of shows locally for the coming months, and I’m rearranging my life to set myself up to tour by next year. In the meantime, I am really excited to be an introvert this winter and dive into composing another album.

That’s our chat Beat kids! Now go get dreamy with Emily Shreve’s music here, and don’t forget to hit up her EP release party next week. Event details are right here. And you can get info for pre-ordering Bliss and Dreams if you click me.

-Hannah

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All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.