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At the same time, Prasad doesn't want the band's sense of adventure to be mistaken for inaccessibility. "I feel like I'm attempting to be completely straightforward and to make things make sense," she says. "I want to alter whatever vision the song is coming from into a worldly form. In fact, I feel like I'm being conservative a lot of the time."
Hardly. In concert at the Bluebird Theater last month, the performers proved eager to plunge into uncharted territory. As films and images were projected onto a film screen and a weather balloon inflated for the occasion, Fowkes and Peltzel anchored the soundscapes while Kunkel wrestled his guitar to a draw. For her part, Prasad broke up the proceedings with a poem directed at "Prince Charming, my assassin," and later spent several minutes sitting in front of a floor speaker, brewing up a potent feedback draft. From most people, such asides might seem like indulgences; from Prasad they come across as vital clues to her enigmatic personality.
Despite the musicians' willingness to take artistic risks, national record labels have been sniffing around Space Team Electra for a while now. "We've had a few offers," Prasad allows, but she's notably uncomfortable talking about major labels in general. So, too, is Kunkel, who traces the band's dislike of the subject to its 1996 trip to the South by Southwest music conference in Austin. "So many of the bands that we saw were terrible," he says. "Most of them played that same old grunge crap that got signed left and right for a while. It was like, if this is supposed to be the music of tomorrow, it's pathetic. It was the sound of yesterday, or worse."
"Still, going did do something good for us," Peltzel says. "It got us refocused on our music."
"And it completely desensitized us to the industry," Prasad chimes in. "I've done a lot of work in the arts, and I've dealt with a lot of crazy situations. And over time, I've learned that I should be completely true to myself, because the alternatives aren't that appetizing."
That's not to suggest that the bandmates plan to hole up in a monastery and play strictly for their own enjoyment from here on out. They are showcasing at the North by Northeast confab in Toronto on June 13 and are in the midst of cutting demos in San Francisco for a party they decline to name. In other words, the future of Space Team Electra is like the glitter around Prasad's eye--shiny, bright and mysterious. Which, in all likelihood, is just the way she wants it.