Seventy of Denver's best hometown bands will play the Westword Music Showcase along with national acts Shakey Graves, the Revivalists, Cut Copy, Bob Moses, COIN and A R I Z O N A, on Saturday, June 24. We reached out to the local outfits to learn more about their music and their relationship to Denver.
Here's what Pythian Whispers had to say:
Westword: How would you describe your sound?
Pythian Whispers: There have been the flattering comparisons to Aphex Twin and Tangerine Dream, but we're not worthy and all that. If some people that have seen way too many avant-garde, science-fiction and horror movies did a soundtrack in miniature to a movie in that vein yet to be made, that's our sound. A bit ambient and a little abstract Krautrock-esque.
How has Denver influenced your sound?
One member of the band grew up in the Denver area, and the other two are from adjoining states who migrated here around the turn of the century. As a native but a bit of a music-scene outsider who got into the local music world around the same time as my bandmates, I'd say Denver had a downtrodden, dark vibe before developers tried to scrub it clean with their twisted dreams of "urban improvement" and language like "Aurora on the Rise." We all remember when Denver had grit and a mood that meant you could find and even create your niche. Now the niches are being stuffed with the filthy lucre of opportunistic neo-landgrabbers. That tension and the knowledge that dystopia disguised as progress has created a new permutation of the aesthetic pioneered by the original cyberpunks is inspiring in its own way. Our music reflects that, and we are influenced by the other bands who are sensitive to these social and cultural forces as well.
What could Denver do to better support musicians?
Denver is way too focused on giving subsidies through tax breaks and selective legislation to land speculators and other financial interests to do much to support musicians, other creative people or anyone not rich in general. But ain't that America? Cities like Boise and Portland have city commissions with knowledgeable and relatively hip people who have created programs to bolster the success of their music communities, and I think Denver could start by learning from places that have done it well. We've had enough of people thinking only jam bands, EDM and alternative country come from Denver. To be fair, plenty of natives hold such quaint notions as well.
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Will you stay in Denver or will you leave? Why?
The band will always be based in Denver. But many musicians and artists have already moved out of Denver and increasingly out of Colorado to the next great big center of American gentrification. We have too many roots here as a band, and it'll split before we move to another state. Though Trinidad seems attractive, with plenty of cheap property. But what most of us do for a living doesn't really exist there or any place like it in Colorado. I think many people are in a similar boat.
Westword Music Showcase, Saturday, June 24, Golden Triangle neighborhood. For tickets and more information, go to westwordshowcase.com.