Satisfying Our ‘Curiosity’ with Wampire
6/6/13 Launchpad, Albuquerque, NM
Fresh off the May release of their first full length- ‘Curiosity’, Wampire hit the road this summer with Portland pals Strfkr.
Wampire performed a solid opening set June 6th at the Launchpad in Albuquqerque. The crowd was completely into the laidback delivery style in which the band dispensed Curiosity’smany smooth yet dynamic tracks.
Krux caught up with Eric Phipps & Rocky Tinder of Wampire after their set to discuss the making of their record, hazards of the road, a little bit of hip hop, and hanging out in graveyards with wild spirits.
Krux: How was your first time playing in New Mexico and Albuquerque tonight?
R:It was good! The Launchpad is nice and small, a really good size and the crowd was great. Strfkr’s crowd is always very enthusiastic.
Krux: You guys blew a tire on the way over here?
R: Yeah, it was crazy. We fixed it in ten minutes but it happened like 80 miles out of town, we were already running late and it was after six so all the tire shops were closed, but we were able to fix it ourselves.
Krux: Dang, well glad it worked out.
You all just dropped a new music video for the track ‘Orchards’. In the vid you roadtrip with a pretty crazy sidekick. Who came up with the concept for the video?
R: Dan Portrait directed it. His brother Jake [bassist for Unknown Mortal Orchestra] is who produced the album, and he [Dan] was just in the space one day while we were working on ‘Orchards’. It was filmed in eastern Oregon in the desert a couple hours out of Portland.
Krux: So Wampire originated out of Portland. Can you describe the Portland music scene a bit, maybe what you all like about it and feel you have gotten from it as a band?
R: Everybody is really supportive of the music scene and going to a lot of shows. That helped us grow and get a name. When we started that’s when the house show circuit was really popular, so we were playing a lot of house shows at the time and that’s kind of where we blossomed.
E: I like that there are new bands showing up all the time in Portland.
Krux: What’s the diversity of the scene like?
E: There’s a lot of indie and folk. There’s a lot of sort of lack luster indie going on and that’s kind of the old Portland, and then I feel like there is some good stuff happening, there are good house bands like -Miracles Club. There’s no hip hop, there is only like rock, psychedelic rock, there is some good surf rock.
Krux: There’s no hip hop at all?
W: Well, there is some but not very much of it though.
Krux: Are you all into hip hop?
E: I do love hip hop. Wu Tang, Gang Starr, a lot of New York stuff, Scarface.
R: We’ve been listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar on the tour, A$ap Rocky too.
Krux: What else is getting spun in the van?
R: This tour is different, last tour we listened to a lot of American Rock, this time I feel like we’re listening to a lot of modern stuff.
Krux: Cool. Let’s talk about ‘Curiosity’, your first full length on Polyvinyl. What was it like working with Jake from UMO to produce the record?
E: It was great. We had a good repoir with him, we went in and destroyed the songs, kind of tore them apart and then he was really helpful restructuring our ideas. He definitely stepped in as engineer and producer. He wasn’t just recording us, he was giving a lot of tips here and there, some lyric suggestions.
R: It was at his personal space where we recorded. We had already hung out there a bunch, so it was a really comfortable process. It felt really natural. He was easy to work with.
Krux: What would you say are some themes throughout the record?
R: Well, when we started recording it, Jake really wanted to stress that we make it light hearted. His vision for us was that it would be best if we made a really fun album and we were totally into that.
A lot of it [lyrically] is based off of experience, some drunken late nights. One song is Eric’s account of doing mushrooms in a graveyard.
Krux: Let’s talk about that![Laughter]
E: Spirit Forest is the third song on the album. I had a crazy night where I got off work and my friend gave me some mushrooms. I took them and was trying to go to a show, but then I was just like “I’m anti social and I don’t want to be here”. I left and ended up in a graveyard with my girlfriend at the time, and we were just watching the clouds go by. I felt this eerie feeling of spirits being everywhere, people who are no longer alive treading around me. I thought of the graveyard being like a forest growing dead humans. I went home and the next day had the song done because it was such a strong experience.
It’s kind of a creepy thing, devoting your attention to the dead and people who have been around before you, but it’s also sort of funny.
Krux: Yeah, definitely. ‘Trains’ & ‘Magic Light” maybe come from a little less morose of a place and are equally stand out tracks on the album.
E: Yeah, those are obviously just about love. [laughter]
‘Magic Light’ I wrote a long time ago and it’s just kind of a homage to women in general and how I feel about them.
[heard in the distance: [Yo, we gonna do this load out thing?”] Krux: Thanks for talking with us guys.