Followus

BLKonBLK - - Blklist -

WHEN SHERPA OPENED THE 2012 AUCK­LAND LANEWAY FES­TI­VAL THIER PER­FOR­MANCE EN­SURED A MOUN­TAIN QUICKLY BE­CAME A MOLE­HILL. GRANT FELL TALKS TO SHERPA’S DANIEL BAR­RETT ABOUT VINCE AND HIS VAN, BRIAN WILSON AND TODD RUND­GREN, FLAMIN­GOS (GREATER AND LESSER) AND BE­COM­ING MORE LIKE AN AN­I­MAL. PHO­TOS: FRANCES CARTER

Grant Fell: How long have you been to­gether, tell us about the gen­e­sis of the band, how you met... Daniel Bar­rett: Sherpa as a band have been to­gether since we were in high school, and we’re all in our early 20’s now, so quite a while. The core of the band has stayed the same with Earl Ho singing and play­ing gui­tar and Vince Mcmil­lan play­ing drums. Our other gui­tarist, Ben Jack, met Earl and Vince through their var­i­ous bands play­ing to­gether. I met Earl at a mu­sic fes­ti­val in Wellington and it turned out we were both go­ing on to study Mu­sic at the Univer­sity of Auck­land. We spent three years play­ing mu­sic to­gether. When we fin­ished our de­grees I got asked to join the band, which was great. Why did you de­cide on the name Sherpa? The name Sherpa is ac­tu­ally a ref­er­ence to a van that Vince and the orig­i­nal bass player had a run­ning joke about. The band needed a name to en­ter Rock­quest so they used ‘Sherpa’, and it just stuck. Who plays what in the band? Earl Ho - vo­cals, gui­tar, sam­pler. Ben Jack - gui­tar, vo­cals. Daniel Bar­rett - bass, sam­pler. Vince Mcmil­lan - drums, sam­pler. It’s a common band ques­tion but I am fas­ci­nated to know, (I’m hear­ing Nuggets, el­e­ments of Fly­ing Nun, Brian Wilson, even Todd Rund­gren) - who and what are you in­flu­enced by? Sherpa are def­i­nitely in­flu­enced by Brian Wilson and Todd Rund­gren. Many of the lo­cal bands we grew up lis­ten­ing to such as The Mint Chicks and Die! Die! Die! are in­flu­enced by the Fly­ing Nun scene so that prob­a­bly comes out in our mu­sic quite a lot. We’re in­flu­enced from a whole range of stuff from clas­sics like The Bea­tles, Chic or David­bowi­etonewer­band­s­likethe­strokes or Tame Impala and even elec­tronic acts like Daft Punk. A lot of the themes in our songs or­the­way­we­think­abou­tourar­tis­in­flu­enced by nov­els and films es­pe­cially those re­lated to the Sur­re­al­ist or Dada move­ments. I sup­pose the big­gest in­flu­ence on us are our peers. Par­tys, the nightlife, what­ever we can get our hands on. I re­ally like some of your ti­tles, can you ex­plain why you called your lat­est al­bum “Blues & Or­anges?” ‘ Blues and Or­anges’ is a ti­tle with many lay­ers of mean­ing to us. The al­bum is a con­cept al­bum about life and death. It fol­lows the story of a pro­tag­o­nist through their fi­nal days on Earth from triv­ial every­day life de­vel­op­ing into some­thing bizarre as they drift into in­san­ity and fi­nally a death and re­birth ex­pe­ri­ence. A prom­i­nent idea we had for the al­bum cover was to have a pic­ture of an orange cov­ered in blue mould sym­bol­is­ing how even the sweet­est things will suc­cumb to rot and de­cay, and the in­evitabil­ity of death. At the same time Earl’s girl­friend had painted and gifted him a por­trait of a very strik­ing orange and blue face. We liked both images so much that we de­cided to su­per­im­pose a mouldy orange over the por­trait, giv­ing the face an amaz­ing por­ous tex­ture. The ti­tle we were work­ing with at this point was a line from a poem, “buzzing dawn’s blue­ings”. We de­cided to sim­plify it to ‘Blues & Or­anges’. Blue and orange are com­pli­men­tary colours so they’re aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing, it sounds in­ter­est­ing when said aloud, as well as look­ing good writ­ten down. It is also a ref­er­ence to the ocean (blue) which is a prom­i­nent lyri­cal theme through­out the al­bum, as is sun­rise and sun­set (orange), which is also an im­age we saw a lot dur­ing the writ­ing and record­ing process, most of which took place at Ben’s bach. The al­bum was recorded with a lot of vin­tage ana­logue gear which gives it a very warm sound, but the songs are also quite sad, like hav­ing the blues. What an an­swer Dan! How about your last al­bum “Lesser Flamingo?” ‘Lesser Flamingo’ was in­spired by ques­tion­ing what we value and ideas of beauty. Flamin­gos are beau­ti­ful and amaz­ing an­i­mals but the full name of the pink species we com­monly think of is “Lesser Flamingo”, as op­posed to another quite plain look­ing species of flamingo which sci­en­tists iden­tify as the “Greater Flamingo”. The plainer species of flamingo is greater in size, hence “Greater Flamingo” but is the Pink Flamingo re­ally “lesser” be­cause it’s smaller? Many pre­fer it be­cause of its

“THE AL­BUM WAS RECORDED WITH A LOT Of VIN­TAGE ANA­LOGUE GEAR WHICH GIVES IT A VERY WARM SOUND, BUT THE SONGS ARE ALSO QUITE SAD, LIKE HAV­ING THE BLUES”

bright pink feath­ers. If it was up to an artist to name the species in­stead of a sci­en­tist would they have been named dif­fer­ently? They are also ex­tremely flam­boy­ant which def­i­nitely rep­re­sented the in-your-face max­i­mal­ist ap­proach of song­writ­ing on that al­bum. There are con­tin­u­ous themes sur­round­ing an­i­mals on the al­bum with the songs ‘Lu­nar Bats’, ‘Tur­tles’, ‘In Dol­phins He Trusts’ and ‘I’m Be­com­ing More Like An An­i­mal’. That’s def­i­nitely an in­ter­est­ing one,“i’m Be­com­ing More Like An An­i­mal?” The song ‘I’m Be­com­ing More Like An An­i­mal’ was writ­ten by Earl as he was ob­serv­ing a cat which lived at a house he was hous­esit­ting. It is self-re­flec­tion on how his own he­do­nis­tic ten­den­cies were be­gin­ning to have more and more con­trol of his be­hav­iour. It’s about a slow ero­sion of so­ci­ety and cul­tural norms into an­i­mal­ism, which is com­monly seen as a bad thing though it is ar­guably more hon­est and there­fore pure. How do you go about “Eclips­ing The Night Away?” ‘ Eclips­ing The Night Away’ is less about what you do and more about what you choose not to do. It’s a call from peo­ple who care about you not to in­dulge your­self in night time’s en­ter­tain­ing yet harm­ful habits. “Eclipse the night away”, she said. “Leave the colours in the day.” Nice. How would you de­scribe your song­writ­ing process, if there is one?! Earl will typ­i­cally come to band prac­tice with the skele­tons of a song. Ei­ther just the chords and lyrics to a sec­tion or some­times some­thing fully struc­tured, usu­ally in the form a demo record­ing with some ba­sic drums and bass out­lined. We’ll all work to­gether to make the song as good as we can. We pay lots of at­ten­tion to the way the guitars are work­ing with or against each otherand­howthe­bas­sand­drum­sare­lock­ing in and car­ry­ing the mo­men­tum of the song. I love your al­bum art­work, who is re­spon­si­ble for that. The art­work for ‘Lesser Flamingo’ was a col­lab­o­ra­tion by two high school friends of the band, Ben Metge and Ben Car­roll. I be­lieve the pic­ture is a photo of vivid inks on glass with a light shin­ing on it from un­der­neath. The orig­i­nal por­trait for ‘Blues & Or­anges’ was by Earl’s girl­friend Dieuw­ertje He­hew­erth who is cur­rently study­ing art in Am­s­ter­dam. Our drum­mer Vince Mcmil­lan su­per­im­posed a photo he took of a mouldy orange over the top. Sim­i­larly, the video for ‘Love Film’ is great, who di­rected it? The­v­ide­o­forlove Film was di­rected and shot by Marc Swadel. Heisav­ery­tal­ent­ed­film­makerand­was­great to work with. What does the next 6 months hold for Sherpa, where are you play­ing next? Earl is cur­rently in Europe see­ing his girl­friend and pass­ing on our mu­sic to in­dus­try peo­ple so we have no gigs lined up for the im­me­di­ate fu­ture. We do how­ever have two new sin­gles and videos we recorded be­fore he left which we’re go­ing to re­lease soon, both of which are so new they didn’t ap­pear on the al­bum. When he gets back it’ll be straight back into tour­ing.

Sherpa

web­site

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.