Music News

Meet two central figures in Denver's burgeoning underground scene

Travis Egedy, who performs under the name Pictureplane, is becoming one of the more well-known figures in the underground scene, having been name-dropped by HEALTH on Pitchfork this past summer. Together with the artistically like-minded Nick Houde and Ryan Mcryhew of BDRMPPL, Egedy is releasing a split seven-inch of innovative electronic music to launch a tour of the East Coast. We asked all three about their music and its place in the underground.

Westword: The aesthetic of both of your bands sounds to me like it's connected to the current neo-tribalism in music across the national underground scene. How would you describe this phenomenon and how your music fits into that context?

Nick Houde: We're in an era of high industrial capitalism, where we all splinter off again to the point where there's no mainstream. It's getting to this point where there are like eight different mainstreams. It's straight out of Marshall McLuhan neo-tribalism: We're all in virtual tribes that transcend geography. It's a sphere of thinking; it has nothing to do with physicality. It's cognitive, very technological and very 21st-century.

The other crux of it is globalization. This is the first time in history when people are creating music that is contextualized within the new global world. The idea of sampling is so cool because you take things out of context and put them into a new context. Everything connects to each other in a different way, making new ideas and associations possible. Recontextualizing culture and art is the positive side of the phenomenon of globalization.

Your seven-inch cover has a distinctive style, like an old hardcore, DIY 45. Is this also part of your approach to doing music?

NH: It has that early punk aesthetic, especially because what we're doing is very punk. Everything I do is punk. That's my life, and it always will be.

TE: That idea will never die. What they came up with in the early '80s in that hardcore scene — that aesthetic and that mentality — will never go away. That powerful, just, 'I'm going to do it, this can happen, fuck you' to anyone who says no.

Ryan Mcryhew: It's empowering. Anyone can go to a show at Rhinoceropolis and honestly feel like they can do that and play at Rhino the next day. Bigger bands can do whatever and exist on a level that no one can grasp, and that's what rock stardom is, but there will always be an alternative to that.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.

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