Monolith Q&A: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros are definitely one of the more buzzed about underground bands to come to Colorado this summer and deservedly so. With a briskly selling headliner show at the Planet Bluegrass Wildflower Pavillions in Lyons on Friday September 11 and a hotly anticipated appearance at Red Rocks for the Monolith Festival the following day, Saturday September 12, this band is unquestionably on an upward trajectory. Like Arcade Fire mated with the Mamas & the Papas on a bed of Pink Floyd, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros offer up a supernatant brew of '60s love-fest era vocal harmonies seamlessly woven with threads of psychedelic instrumental textures. We had a chance to fire a couple of questions at frontman and bandleader Alex Ebert on the mystical origins of the band name and the positively celestial music the band creates. Read his responses after the jump.

Westword (Dutch Seyfarth): Where did the band name come from?

Alex Ebert: Not sure yet but, it came to me many years ago. A story of a man named Edward Sharpe sent down to earth to help mankind ascend from the dark. I have not finished writing the book. Magnetic Zeros came to me one day as a form of addition where zero is magnetic and pulls on the numbers, constantly affecting the number's value - but now it seems the imagery of zeros collecting, forming things like the flower of life and the Genesis pattern are more relevant to the meaning of the name...

WW: So which came first? The band recording it's debut album or playing live shows?

AE: The Recordings.  I recorded the demos as a vision of a larger building the blueprint of a house for a family to be.

WW: With so many musicians onstage playing different instruments, does the music change drastically from show to show? Or is the music well rehearsed and more or less the same each show?

AE: We rarely rehearse. We mostly hang out and talk, eat, laugh, play around...

WW: There seems to be strong themes of spirituality in the band's music and lyrics. Is the band trying to convey some sort of religious or spirituality message to it's listeners?

AE: Well, I would say I am convinced of the importance of authenticity and infinite courage, and that I hope the things that are inspired by these states - expansion, love, strength, etc, come thru in our music. Community and celebration are two things that I know all humans desire, openly or secretly; certainly we in the band openly do. If our community and celebrations inspire others to joy and join, we are fulfilling all of our wildest dreams.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros are due on the Southern Comfort stage at Monolith at 3:00 p.m. this Saturday, September 12.

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Dutch Seyfarth