LIVE: Pyyramids at Mercury Lounge
by Reginald Duvivier
At Couch Sessions we’ve been a fan of Pyyramids since hearing their debut EP, Human Beings, but seeing the band live is where the band really begins to make sense. Lead singer Drea clutches the microphone and stares into the crowd lost in the words of her song. Her partner in crime, Tim, plays a sinister guitar lick, while the rhythm section behind them locks into a grove. Each member is playing a relatively simple piece of music, but after awhile the ominous repletion builds into a force that barrel through the crowd. On wax the band is dark, cool and collected; the live incarnation is pretty primal as their recent show at Mercury Lounge in NYC proved.
The Couch Sessions had a chance to speak to Tim while he was recording new music with his other band, OK Go. Pyyramids just released their pretty great debut album, Brightest Darkest Day, and are about to embark on a small tour.
On the band’s sound: We wanted to mix low-fi and hi-fi elements together and see what we got. We did a lot of programmed beats and acoustic guitars…all the while it’s a very dark psychedelic take on pop music.
On how they formed: We had a mutual acquaintance in common who introduced us via email and thought we would get along together musically. I lived in Los Angeles and Drea lived in Chicago. We chatted it up through email for three or four months, kind of on and off and traded music with each other and talked about films we liked bands, art we liked. Once we felt like we actually did like each other musically and creatively I started sending Drea beats and skeletons of songs that had some sort of production element and mood to and asked her if she would try her hand at writing lyrics and melodies over stuff.
She sent me back a song called Human Beings that had a really cool vocal arrangement …that song is actually on the EP. I really loved the way her song sounded over the music. We wrote 3 or 4 songs like that over email before we ever met each other face to face. Once we finally did meet each other face to face we found out that we liked each other as person in well. We decided to finish up five songs and that became the EP we released last year.
On playing live: Once that EP was out there in the world we started getting offers to play live shows and so we put a live band together because up until that point we were just a studio project…translating it live to stage we would use those beats and we also had a live drummer with us. When we played that stuff live it still had the effect of being minimal and stripped down but there was a human dynamic to it that was really nice to feel live and to be able to get a little bit louder and quieter and things like that. To have that kind of dynamic was appealing to us. We were encouraged to make a full length record and when we did we went back into the studio keeping in mind sort of what it’s like to have a little bit more of a human dynamic when recording…There are songs on the records that are a little heavier in nature because we were intoxicated by playing this stuff live and wanted to bring that feeling to the full length record.
On the themes on the album: A lot of the songs are about the struggle to hold onto love and to be loved and all the crazy emotions and things people do to feel love and in control. And in doing so, you end up feeling not very love and not very in control.