Talk Talk: Nathan McGarvey leaves town, Vitamins feeling strong, a new Pictureplane vid and more music newsBy Julio Enriquez | August 10th, 2011 | 2 comments
We bid you adieu, Nathan McGarvey
Nathan & Stephen and Hearts of Palm are as synonymous with Denver music as John Elway is with Bronco football. Nathan McGarvey’s distinct voice is unmistakable and chances are if you ever ordered a tall one at Hi-Dive/Sputnik, your paths probably crossed. It’s with a heavy heart that we must report that he and his wife will be leaving Denver. But not before one last hurrah is had at Hi-Dive (it would’ve been weird if it were anywhere else) Aug 24 with sets from Nathan & Stephen, Lion Sized and Holland & Josh. Reverb caught up with Mr. McGarvey before the U-haul is all packed and the last goodbyes are said.
What takes you and your wife out of Denver?
We’re heading to a new life in Nashville. My wife used to live there and owns a house there that we’ve been renting out until now. My folks are now back east and my wife is from the south so we’re going to spend some time being closer to family.
How long before you start a new band out in your new home and any possible solo material?
Its strange to think about making music in a place where people go specifically to make music when it isn’t actually my reason for moving there. I’d like to get something going eventually but it’ll probably be a little while. All my musical activities have been tied directly to friends that are far more musically minded than me, specifically Stephen Till and a few of the other guys in Nathan & Stephen, so it will be interesting to see if I can succeed at song writing without them. I’ll certainly try, and we’ll see what happens.
Being a bartender is more than pouring liquid libations. Tell us your best bar story (no names please) and who are the BEST tippers?
Once at the beginning of a shift while I was making myself a cup of coffee with my back to the bar I heard a guy bragging to a friend from out of town that all the bartenders at Sputnik and Hi-Dive were beautiful women. The friend responded by saying ‘Yeah? What about him?’ Pointing at me, the chubby bearded guy, to which the bragger responded ‘That guy’s in a band, and if there’s anything better than hot chicks, its playing rock and roll!’
That one has always stuck with me. Besides that, there was the time when the world’s greatest faux-British kareokee host broke both his wrists during a dance-off and the time Har Mar Superstar danced on the bar in a speedo. There have been some crazy times. If my math is right, I’ve seen around 2,000 bands play the Hi-Dive. I’ve seen great ones and terrible ones but its all been fun. As far as good tippers go, I shouldn’t kiss and tell but my consistantly favorite customer has got to be Andrew Warner. He’s crazy talented and crazy generous and always fun to have around.
What’s the thing you’re going to miss most about Denver?
The rock and roll community here in Denver is absolutely incredible. It has been amazing in the last few years to really feel like I’ve been a part of something. From musicians to venues to press everyone here is so supportive of each other. It’s a family that I’m really going to miss being a part of but I’m glad to know that the family will keep supporting each other and making great music for years to come. Also, I’m really going to miss the chile relleno burrito at El Taco de Mexico.
Be honest, when will we see you guys back in town?
Well, if they’ll have me I’d love to come back and play UMS next year with Nathan & Stephen. A big part of our hearts will always be in Denver so whatever happens, I’m sure we’ll be back to visit some time soon.
Vitamins talk new album, video, tour and the infinite beyond
We’re pretty fortunate there’s going to be a Vitamins album coming our way, because from the sounds of it, each member has a full plate with very little room for extra fixings. We had a chance to catch up with drummer (and former Reverb writer) Crawford Philleo to chop it up and talk about a new album coming our way via Debacle Records. They’ll be playing tonight at the Larimer Lounge with Gauntlet Hair.
How ready are you guys for your pending West Coast tour?
Haha … good question. Honestly, Vitamins hasn’t had much time to practice since the UMS craziness — Lizzy has been super busy preparing for her performance with the Flaming Lips (which was a beautiful, surreal thing to see … she absolutely killed it at Red Rocks!), Ryan has been working on getting accepted into a piano tuning school in Chicago, Crawf has been putting some time into Junior Low and helping to organize and promote for GOLDRUSH and Matt has been hard at work on recording, as well as playing with Gauntlet Hair’s live band. Aside from that, we all work a lot during the day and life is tiring. Nonetheless, Vitamins has been a band for a long time and when we play together, there’s always something comfortable for us to come back to and have some fun with. We’ve been using Facebook a lot to get the word out about our show, and a couple of websites were kind enough to share our new single/video and tour dates, and I think that will end up helping us a lot. I’ve also been able to make a lot of contacts via the interwebs with like-minded musicians and have helped a lot of artists to land good shows here in Denver, so those things added up to us getting some pretty cool looking shows for ourselves. We’ve been planning this tour for a long time and we’re really excited to finally get back out there — this is our first real tour since we went out to support “Songs for Stem Cells” in 2008.
What was the decision behind using that Hawaii footage in your latest video?
Ben Daniels (Matt’s brother), had taken that footage some time ago with a friend of his, and when Matt saw it, I think he instantly knew it would work well. One day before practice, Matt brought in his laptop really excited to show us something, and we watched a demo cut with the music before Lizzy’s vocals were added and we all thought it was just about perfect. We wanted to have something new to share with people we’re coming out to perform for on the road to help drive interest and hopefully get as many people out to our shows as possible. Since it’s a warm, summery sort of jam and we’re heading to the coast, the visuals and music kind of point directly West. When we saw it initially, we all got really excited, like the video was this slap in the face that we were actually going out on tour.
I regret missing you guys at the Brass Tree session during UMS. How’d it go?
Brass Tree was fun! It was HOT that day, and there were tons of people everywhere. I (Crawf) was playing drums in the back of the room where the crew had hung streamers down from the ceiling, so those were all up in my face, but we definitely had a good time, especially getting the chance to see Finn Riggins, Bad Weather California Achille Lauro’s ridiculously solid set (with Squids on trumpet!) … I wish we could have stayed to see everyone that day — those Brass Tree boys booked a super-stacked bill. But I foolishly accepted three gig offers that day (the Saturday of UMS), and that Brass Tree show was the first … needless to say, we were already drained by the time we got out of there. Luckily our set at Club 404 for UMS and later at Rhino with Xander Harris panned out really well too … despite a couple of slight setbacks (Lizzy’s mom’s car — legally and safely parked, mind you — getting creamed by an RTD bus before the show at Rhino, to name one).
Talk to us about “Vimanas” and Debacle Records.
“Vimanas” is a tune that’s been in the cooker for a long time (like all Vitamins songs). The song began with Ryan’s bass line and my drum part, which we’d been experimenting with on and off for what seems like years. We liked how even though the groove’s main phrase is mix-metered, it feels very even and natural, which made the second half that is more rock-oriented even more interesting. The phrase is carried across the bar lines into this big swirl of poly-timing. As soon as we’d figured out the bare-bones structure of how we thought it should go, we recorded a few takes and Matt and Lizzy were able to compose their parts on top, which ended up fitting in really nicely. Also, Matt’s post-production work with the panning sound effects makes it even more psychedelic. We’re really proud of it.
Debacle Records is an experimental music label run by a guy named Sam Melancon, who’s also in a terrific electronic band called Megabats. I was introduced to them when I got their amazing CD “Goes to a Lemon” for review at Foxy Digitalis (I’ve also since invited Megabats to play at GOLDRUSH this year). When I review something I really think is different and unique, I often get in touch with the artists, and I’d made long-distance/Facebook friends with both Sam and his partner Riley Scott and showed them both some Vitamins tunes. Sam liked our music and invited us to play at DBLFST (Debacle Fest) in Seattle which ended up being the first show we booked as part of this bigger tour. Sam’s also sent me a few of his label’s latest batch in the past couple of weeks, including CDs from Starcircleanatomy, Karnak Temples and Zac Nelson, and I was blown away by all of them (even though I just haven’t had time to review them all quite yet … stay tuned …). So Sam and I got to chatting about labels and such, and he offered to put out our next CD for us, which is quite an honor and a prospect we’re really excited about. We love working with local folks, Hot Congress has been amazing and we’re not done contributing to this scene by any stretch, but we did want a chance to branch out a little more, and to have a release on a label outside of Denver is a big step for us.
Watch Pictureplane’s video for “Negative Slave”
So, at this rate, we should get a video for every track on “Thee Physical” from Pictureplane.
Listen to Suburban Home Records’ August/September mix tape
Suburban Home Records wastes no time in letting you know what’s going on with them. Ever. Check out their August/September mixtape that includes Snake Rattle Rattle Snake and the Photo Atlas amongst others.
Bare Bones to release EP next month
Not sure if the new press pic (via Gary Isaacs) for Bare Bones was a nod to U2′s “Joshua Tree,” but I’m going to run with it and say I love it. Bare Bones will be celebrating its new EP with a release party at the Larimer Lounge September 9. The quartet will also open up for Alberta Cross for FREE September 1 over at the Bluebird Theater as part of the Vitaminwater Uncapped Live series.
DJ Narky Stares assembles a Denver AFTERDARK DJ mix + talks about life on the grind
A true renaissance woman in every sense of the word is possibly the best way to describe DJ Narky Stares (aka Lauren Zwicky). You wanna talk about somebody that’s a “youngin’ on her grind,” that’s Lauren. ReWe caught up w/Ms. Zwicky to make us feel bad about being the slackers that we are and to get some motivation to get away from this damn computer. She also made a Denver AFTERDARK DJ mix that you can cop over here in collaboration with the upcoming Denver AFTERDARK music festival.
Talk to us about your “Whoreding” contribution to Cavities-zine.
In the last year since relocating to Denver, I have collaborated with my partner, Isaac Linder, under the name of Screensavers on various performance art and sound projects. I was a resident DJ for Real is a Feeling at the Meadowlark with Travis Egedy of Pictureplane and Ron Cole and Cory Brown of Hollagramz. I also contributed a zine to David Coccagna and Kelly Kavanaugh’s project, Cavities. The idea for my contribution to the Zine entitled “Whoreding” came from the intriguing interplay of voyeurism and exhibitionism embedded in the reality series “Hoarding.” This led me to create a visual interpretation of the juxtaposition and similarities between prostitution and the act of hoarding.
Damn Gurl is happening this week, tell us about what the Damn Gurl series is about and what fans can expect at the Glob show on Aug 11.
Currently, my focus is on DJing and organizing my monthly dance night, DAMN GURL. I just completed a new promotional mix for Peter Black’s upcoming music fest, Denver After Dark. For this short mix I wanted to showcase the various genres of music I like to draw from when playing an event such as Denver After Dark, which include tropical bass, house, UK funky, grime, ballroom and whatever else grabs my attention.
To elaborate on Damn Gurl, the idea for the event came from a good friend of mine, Israel Rose Oka. He noticed a serious lack in the realm of night life oriented towards the queer community and wanted try to fill that void with an all inclusive, all ages, monthly, DIY event for anyone and everyone to express themselves in whatever manner they choose. He approached my partner and I with the idea, asking us to help organize as well as DJ the night. As a member of the queer community myself, I also felt that lack of safe, all inclusive spaces and jumped at the opportunity to be a part of such a positive project. Proceeds from DG benefit various nonprofits such as, Prax(us), IDA, Branching Seedz of Resistance and Titwrench. Every month is different in the type of music and performance is showcases. While the focus is on dancing and music, our intentions with DG are to create a foundation in the community by which to grow and support all the amazing and creative people around us, whatever their gender expression or sexual orientation.
I read that you had lived in Costa Rica and Mexico growing up. How’s your Spanish and what part of Mexico did you reside in?
My Spanish has pretty much drifted into the ethers of forgotten knowledge but is definitely still retrievable with practice. I was basically fluent after living on the Pacific side of Costa Rica in a small town called Tamarindo for over a year. After returning to the states for a brief time only to go into reverse culture shock, my family packed up a trailer and drove from Utah down to Mazatlan Mexico where we hung out and camped on the beach for about five months. As an aside, I believe that my time as a teen in Costa Rica and Mexico deeply influenced my musical taste. It is why I love new styles of Latin dance music such as, tribal and moombahton. Nothing like a tropical beat to draw me in!
Julio Enriquez is a Denver writer and photographer, editor of the Cause=Time blog and a regular contributor to Reverb.