Peter Bo Rappmund and Grant Hazard Outerbridge -- the duo who make up the Very Hush Hush -- pulled up stakes and headed for the warmer/weirder climes of northern California earlier this year, taking with them the damaged, moody compositions they'd crafted together in a dilapidated house in Boulder. This week, the two return to Denver to unveil their latest effort, the stunningly baroque'en Mourir C'est Facile, a disc whose pristine pop is a treasure sunk beneath waves of distorted strings and eerie noises.
Westword: You're a classically trained pianist. Where did the discipline for that come from? How has that influenced your approach to your own music?
Peter Bo Rappmund: If I didn't have my mom yelling at me day and night, it wouldn't have happened. Grant and I have studied piano since we were very young. We even competed against each other in state competitions and stuff. I was on track to try to get a full-ride piano scholarship, but I had to quit at the last minute because the stress was too high. I was practicing these concertos to play in front of judges and with live string accompanists. I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it. If you lose your place halfway through, you're fucked.
When did you realize you wanted to focus on playing your own music instead of classical pieces?
I always wrote my own stuff, but no one -- not my mom, not my dad -- would ever say anything, so I never thought I could write anything. I've never had any formal training. I was actually going to go to Berklee College of Music, but when I saw that the Dixie Chicks had come out of there and Phil Collins was giving guest lectures with Richard Marx, I decided against it.
Why did you move to Oakland?
It just seems like a better fit for what we're doing and the types of bands that are emerging from the San Francisco scene right now. Our whole generation is so deeply steeped in irony and sarcasm, and I wanted to do something more earnest.
And what do you think of the Bay Area so far?
I like that we can play quiet out here. San Francisco has a great history of quiet bands coming out of it. Maybe it's because of the atmosphere, or because we're next to the ocean instead of a mountain. Maybe that has a more calming influence.
What changes can your Colorado fans expect to hear when you play the hi-dive?
We'll be playing with Tintin's drummer and Tintin's guitarist, as well. It kinda sounds like Echo and the Bunnymen, but not in a bad way. This is the first time we've played with a guitar and a really talented drummer. It's still way more raw [than the record], but we'll try to bring a little more subtlety and try to play a little more quiet.
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