Where do you find inspiration for Halloween?
The dark alleys of the Tenderloin? Thrift store mannequin displays? The West Oakland BART stop?
At BFF.fm, we ask our favorite bands for inspiration and the rock wizards from Wampire gave us a few ideas (I coincidentally watched Escape from LA last week for the first time) as well as discussing their hometown of Portland, songwriting, and their first musical instruments. Wampire is selling all their paranoid-rock and gentle psych-love songs for gravedigger prices on their wampire.bandcamp.com site from now until Halloween. Favorite tracks: Magic Light and The Hearse - pic above from the music video.
What did you guys do for Halloween last year?
We played a show in New Orleans on Halloween at Circle Bar, which is located on a traffic circle with a monument to Civil War general Robert E. Lee. I remember that, in true Norleans fashion, we got completely annihilated by midnight and barely held it together for the rest of the festivities. I was Snake Plissken (Escape from LA) and Rocky was Wednesday Addams...I can’t seem to remember any of the other costumes in our posse, but I’m sure they were pretty sick. We were anticipating this night for weeks of touring and bullshitting in the van.
Portland is now on the map for music food and comedy, how does living there now compare to ten years ago?
Living here now is much different. It used to be much easier to sit on your porch and drink a 40oz. bottle of crappy malt liquor and be a perfectly functional member of the Portland music scene. It used to be dirtier here. In recent years you are more likely to find new sleek wooden bars on every corner. The population is growing dramatically in Portland, which has led to an overall sense of cultural confusion in the city. The “original” Portland culture wasn’t that cool really. It was unique and I miss it, but now that we are older it seems that what was once cool and unique in this tiny little city has been severely diluted as more people are trying to get a piece of it. The skyline is taller, there are many amazing new restaurants, but we need some more of the good old slacker work ethic to prevail. I feel like Portland is now a playground for “hip” 30 somethings drinking craft brews and eating tapas, not a mecca for artists as people might assume.
What was your first musical instrument for each member of the band?
Rocky had a trumpet first and I had a saxophone. Well, actually my first short-lived musical interest was a snare drum, because I really liked snare-rolls as a kid.
Songwriting for you guys, does it start with lyrics? one riff? a visual idea?
It can come from one or all of these, in my experience. Lately, I have been thrilled by spontaneous musical creation based on riffs and tempos that seem to spring from within. I’ve been trying to feel the song that I desire in the moment and let my musical imagination take my fingers there. In the past I would do the same, but I wasn’t as aware of the sudden “aha” moment in the beginning of writing a song as I am now. I just love when the inspiration flows naturally and songwriting becomes effortless. It’s usually the part that comes after songwriting that is much harder: Arrangement and Production. These processes in writing are the most interesting and delicate, in my experience. So, I will say that there are several layers to writing a decent song. It may start with a riff, but hopefully it will end up having a visual idea behind it, or at least a concept of musical imagery weaved into it.
Do you soap or shampoo first in the shower?
Who are you listening to right now? Any other bands from Portland to be aware of?
Lots of great Portland bands! There are too many to name really. The Shivas and Guantanamo Baywatch are pretty great bands that come to minds at first, but I know there are many busy bands at the moment coming out of Portland and that’s pretty sick. I’m listening to Steely Dan, Prince, Bowie, Stevie Wonder, The Flying Burrito Brothers, America, George McCrae, Chic, Willie Hutch, and a bunch of other classic jammers. I love hearing new music, but there are so many rad sounds in the early 70’s. I’m doing some “research”.
Clash of the titans: Porky Pig vs Heathcliff, in a fight to the death, who wins?
Heathcliff looks pretty lovable, but I’m sure he would kick some a$$. He probably loves bacon as well!
You can hear some choice songs from Wampire in addition to many other Halloween cuts on Under the Atlantic's Halloween special on Thursday at 2 pm PT here on BFF.fm.