Wymond Miles reflects on life in Denver

Around a decade ago, Wymond Miles was part of a core group of underground bands in Denver whose loose affiliation included the likes of 16 Horsepower, Tarmints, Space Team Electra and the Czars. In his late teens, Miles became involved in the experimental-rock band Annik, but by the end of the '90s, he'd formed the soaring space-rock outfit Pinkku with Matt Brown.

Later, Miles played in other experimental bands such as Esperanto — which included Christie Front Drive's Kerry McDonald — and the Cigarette After, with James Holden, better known these days for his DJ gigs. And when he wasn't playing with those acts, you could find Miles behind the counter at Twist & Shout Records. It was during his tenure in a later incarnation of Pinkku that Miles left Denver and decided to see what life was like in San Francisco.

In the Bay Area, Miles ended up playing in the critically acclaimed garage-psych outfit the Fresh & Onlys, and after multiple tours in and out of the country, he had time to work on music that was entirely his own. Encouraged in this direction by an old Twist & Shout co-worker, Caleb Bratten, owner of Sacred Bones Records, Miles wrote and recorded a full-length solo, Under the Pale Moon. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Miles at length about his Denver experience, including a fateful encounter with a luminary of the local music scene.

Wymond Miles's time in Denver changed him.
James Cromwell Holden
Wymond Miles's time in Denver changed him.

Westword: You had kind of a life-changing experience involving then-16 Horsepower frontman David Eugene Edwards. It was while you were in Pinkku, playing Space Race 2000 at the Pinebox Construction Company. What happened?

Wymond Miles: Pinkku at that time had just got these 8-millimeter projectors, and we were really excited about showing all that film at those shows. I remember David Eugene Edwards came out to that particular one. He was sort of hanging out in the back and watching our set. During Space Team Electra — this was a really important moment for me, so it was a little bit dramatic — but he kind of came up to me and so intently stared at me and placed his thumb right on the center of my forehead and pushed into it. He said something like, "The spirit's in you! The spirit's in you! Cut this hipster bullshit out! Get it out of you! The spirit's in you!" Then he pushed me away. Almost proselytizing like an evangelical. I was so moved. I felt it.

Whatever he did, it was a huge moment for me, and it has never left me. I deeply admire that man. At that time, he was part of this older-guard generation, and I remember feeling smug around him. Like, "You're around the new breed. We're doing our own thing." He both acknowledged that was there and tore me down — humbled me deeply, as well. I was playing that whole thing in my early twenties, and that was Denver for me, being deeply involved in that culture.

 
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