For such an impressive local band, Nice Purse are pretty modest about their success. By their own admission, they didn't set their sights high when they started, and they still maintain an air of not caring about their growing popularity. For their blend of garage, punk and strains of twee pop, this nonchalance is perfect. Lead singer France Camp's bizarro stage banter is half the reason to go see them live. Well, that and the face paint.
Live, their sound has evolved from the acoustic guitar and glockenspiel sound of their debut album
So how long have you guys been playing together?
Ian Nygaard: Two years. France Camp: More than that. We've been playing music together since before Nice Purse. Ian: Terrible music. France: Like grindcore, with no actual songwriting process. Just getting together and playing really loud. That's been going since high school at least.
How did you get Nice Purse together though?
France: At first it was kind of a bathroom recording thing, we never really expected to play any shows. I just had a few songs and he would come over and listen to them and play stuff over them. Then one day I booked us a show... Ian: It was an open mic, at Kieran's Irish Pub or something, it was a joke. I refused to play. France: Yeah he backed out at the last second and just recorded it with his camera phone. Ian: From there we started playing shows at Big D's and then we got better, and now we still are...okay, and now we're here.
And you just added the other members naturally?
Ian: Yeah it was all natural selection. France: For a long time members were coming and going, but now we have a pretty solid line-up.
Where does your band name come from? It's a pretty fitting one for you guys.
France: My brother would get drunk and try to pick up girls, and that was his conversation starter. And it's really funny because it sounds like you're hitting on the girl but also maybe trying to mug her or something awful. Ian: It's very classy.
So do you have a new album coming out? You've mentioned it at a few different shows.
Ian: Yeah we do. It's all done and mixed right now. France: It just has get mastered. It's called Slumber Girls, and it's a lot different from the first one [Black Medal]. Ian: Yeah the first one is really folky and clean, and this one's still clean kind of, but also just gross. Big Black, but no electronic beats, and drumset, I don't know. It's weird. France: It's like heavy metal but with kids singing. Ian: It's very weird.
Yeah, Black Medal had all kinds of acoustic guitars and glockenspiel and that sort of thing.
Ian: It was super poppy, almost like twee pop. Like it could be in a kid's show, and it has been in a kid's show. France: Yeah, "Kathalaugh" from that record just got put on some Disney show. Ian: Oh I didn't know that. France: Royalties!
Going back to your noisier sound, it seems like there is a big difference between your live show and the first record. There are a lot more guitar effects and stuff.
Ian: Yeah, my effects pedals are all pretty obnoxious. France: I guess after the first record, that's when he really started experimenting with effects and stuff. Ian: When we recorded that, we didn't know anything about anything. But now we have our own gear and shit.
Where did you record it?
Ian: Our drummer Jeff (he wasn't out drummer at the time), he owns this recording studio called Squirrels on the Moon, and they do a lot of post-production, like TV commercials and stuff. He recorded drums on the record, and I live in the same building that the studio is in downtown.
Do you have any idea when the new record is coming out?
Ian: We play in this other band called Howler, and so we're going on tour with them. I think it's going to be done by then, and sent out everywhere. France: They're going to digitally release it and send it out to blogs right as we go on tour, so that we have some hype when we come back. Ian: Then we'll physically release it when we get back. I feel like it's more of a summer record, but it's pretty dark too, so it could be a winter record I guess. France: It's a lot more of something you would want to pump in your car, compared to the other one.
I didn't realize you both played in Howler too.
Ian: I didn't really expect that to happen at all. I'm still really excited, but I'm the most excited still for the Nice Purse record. It just sucks because we have to try to find time to be home and release it.
You're a really energetic live band, did you have any difficulty translating that to the recording studio?
France: We recorded the second CD live... Ian: In a different studio [Underwood Studios, and some at So-TM's studio]. France: We spent some top dollar [laughs]. Ian: Brian Setzer records there I guess? It's this house, it's janky as shit. But it's packed with amazing stuff. France: Janet Jackson used the mixboard or something. Ian: But yeah, all the gear is top notch, but it's really just this house in Uptown. France: You'd never expect it to be a studio, but then you go down to the basement and it's everything you've ever dreamed of playing on is there. Ian: Yeah, so we tracked that live, and we didn't do very many overdubs really. France: It was mostly just vocals [that they added afterwards]. You can definitely feel the energy on the second CD. There are a few songs where you can tell we probably destroyed the kick live or something. It sounds like it just falls apart.
Did you record the first album live?
France: That was track by track.
Did you like the live thing better?
Ian: It's more comfortable. France: We kind of sped up a lot of our songs, maybe a little too much. We probably would have done it at a more listenable speed if we had done it track-by-track, but you know, whatever. Ian: It wouldn't have translated as well. France: And it's not how we play live.
Would you guys rather be known as a live band, or as an album band?
Ian: That's tough. I guess ideally we would be known as some sort of in-between. I think probably live though, because right now we're known as the band who is really good live, but our first record is kind of...it's okay. It's not what we sound like now. I think it will be a good mix though when our new record comes out, but ideally you want to be a good 50/50. France: That's what we want, but I think realistically, we're always going to be more of a live band. The energy we put into it...I mean it's part of our show to put on face paint and get stupid.
I wanted to ask about that actually. Your Facebook and Myspace pages are pretty goofy too, so much that you don't usually list shows. Is that intentional, or are you guys trying to be mysterious or something?
Ian: I think this is what happens: we all have administrator accounts, and then we'll all add something and then forget about something that someone else wrote, and it will just keep being a smorgasbord of dumb shit that just keeps adding up. France: We have a Tumblr too, that's pretty fun. Did you ever see that? Ian: Oh really? France: Yeah Elise always updates that. I think it's because we want most of our band to be personality and music, and I think we can show that on our stupid little websites. Nice Purse is great because it's a band of best friends. We love each other and we all have the exact same sense of humor... Ian: And it's dumb humor too. I'll go hang out with someone else, and I'll be like "Oh wow, you're talking intelligently." France: Yeah, if you get Nice Purse in the room with other people, it's just so dumb. Ian: It's almost embarrassing, hanging out with anyone else. France: Like we'll go to house parties, and start hanging out in one room, and that room will soon just be empty. Ian: Yeah [laughs].
I think that can be a good thing, you know, being tight as a band. I wanted to ask about those songs you've had on TV shows though. How did that happen?
Ian: It's from our drummer Jeff. He does all of that post-production stuff, and they have a bunch of hook ups at ad agencies and shit, and it doesn't pay well, but it's fun... France: Oh it totally pays well! I mean we can't buy mansions or anything with it, but for kids who are making a standard of like $10 an hour at our other jobs, to receive a big check for something that you just did for entertainment, that feels awesome. Ian: It's easy, and it's nice to have. France: I always look forward to those phone calls from our record label guy. "Oh do you want this song to be on this stupid TV show?" You bet I do. Ian: I mean some people could say that's selling out, but if I can make a little money from doing something that easy, why not?
Some indie bands say that now too, which is surprising, but if you can make a little extra money, why not?
Ian: Oh yeah, we still listen to Fugazi and everything. France: They'd kick the shit out of us for selling our songs to TV shows.
But they never made t-shirts either, right?
Ian: Yeah, they strived on not making money. We don't really care about that. France: I mean, we don't care about what others think. Ian: I wish we made more money! I'm broke as fuck. France: I'm telling you right now, if we got offered like the worst thing you could possibly have a song on... Ian: Like some Fox thing.
What about Glee?
Ian: Yeah that would be bad.
Then they would have to re-record your song acapella and everything.
Ian: I wouldn't mind that, as long as we got paid. France: I would have Nice Purse go on tour with...that show where they all talk with Jersey accents... Ian: Oh Jersey Shore! Wavves was on Jersey Shore last night. France: Really? Ian: He was like, "Watch Jersey Shore tonight cause I'm on it." France: That just bought him so much pot.
Lastly, are there any bands you're excited about right now?
Ian: We like garage rock quite a bit. Like the San Francisco stuff, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, that sort of thing. But then again, I almost think "Travel" sounded like a Bon Iver song before I came around. It started out really folky. Metal too. We have this weird obsession with metal music. France: Yeah, our CD was called Black Medal for a reason. Like we used to just study up on those crazy Norwegian bands that would be stabbing each other and stuff.
Nice Purse plays the Kitty Cat Klub Wednesday August 10 with Radiator Girls, Zoo, Night Moves, and MC Tickle Torture. 9 p.m. $5.
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