Interview With 'Pale People'
Firstly, introduce yourself/yourselves and tell us a little bit about the band and how you came to be?
We are: Mack Gilcrest (piano, vocals); Kurt Skrivseth (bass, guitar); and Austin Graef (drums). Mack and Kurt got to know each other in college, playing in the same Jazz band, suffering from the same basic amount of Whiplash-style terror. Mack was prompted to start the band upon hearing the Dresden Dolls' Punk-Cabaret sound for the first time, and recruited Kurt--a fellow disaffected misfit--to assist in his petty rebellion against musical academia. Our first drummer, Brian Tremper, left the band after a year and a half for personal reasons, and was replaced by Mack's old high-school buddy Austin Graef. That brings us up to date. Our music draws from Britpop, Punk Cabaret, Art-Punk acts like Talking Heads and Patti Smith, Indie wonders like the Mountain Goats and Neutral Milk Hotel, and lots and lots of the Pixies.
What were you all up to prior to the band, was this always the chosen path or did you have other dreams and aspirations?
Mack was going after a music composition degree at the U of Montana, wrestling with chronic depression and OCD, watching too much porn. Feeling increasingly uneasy about a career in classical music. Waiting, essentially, for the Dresden Dolls to arrive in his life and teach him a new kind of language.
Kurt had just been denied his ability to finish his music composition degree, due to the music school's disapproval of the bass guitar and insistence that his disability would not let him perform at a level that would be acceptable for a Bachelor of Music. The summer of 2014 Kurt and Mack were part of an ill-fated attempt at a Rock trio with a guitar player that crashed and burned after 3 rehearsals. Kurt continued practicing and waiting for an opportunity to play anything but Blues/Jam Rock tuned to E flat.
Austin wanted to be president of the United States, and dropped out of college shortly after realizing that it was not only highly unrealistic, but he'd probably have a less stressful time flipping burgers, or drumming for a band with a couple chaps he'd taken a liking to. That in mind, he does have a dream to open a restaurant some day, but until then, drumming will hopefully be the continued plans for the future.
Tell us about your latest Album and why our readers should check it out.
Our most recent release is a ten-track album called 'Portraits', a series of character pieces about strange people with obscure sorrows. There's a song about the world's greatest Tetris player. There's a song about that one woman who died on her couch in her flat in London and wasn't found for three years--her remains were skeletal, and her TV was still on. There's a song about the 14-year-old kid who told a 10-year-old Mack about his collection of armed nanobots, who'd kill his parents if he told anybody about them. Check it out here - palepeoplemusic.bandcamp.com
Have you ever come face to face with someone within the music scene who has left you awestruck and why? Kurt: For my 14th birthday I got to see "Weird Al" Yankovic as my first concert experience, and got to meet him backstage. I remember being completely speechless and floored that the people I'd just seen on stage were just real people, and that made me want to start playing music. I've since met him again, and got his whole band to sign one of my guitars. I also got to play on stage with Slash when I was 19 and the show was MC'd by Snoop Dogg. I've since met several music legends and as it turns out, they're all just real people.
If we were to head out to one of your live shows what can ourselves and others expect?
There's a lamp next to the piano. The lamp is turned on. The show commences, and it's very strange, and the piano player sweats and stares into the crowd, and the bassist wiggles his thumb in ways you've never seen, and the drummer breaks stick after stick and his cymbals fall to the floor and sometimes he plays a kazoo. The lamp is turned off. End credits.
If you had one artist/band that you could go on tour with tomorrow who would it be and why?
Probably Death Cab for Cutie, who are pretty consistently beautiful and interesting. Mack would also like to nominate the Mountain Goats, for the sake of spending some time beside the greatest living songwriter.
You can spend an hour with a musical icon living or dead, who would you pick, why and what would you speak about?
Would the dead person be alive in this scenario? Leonard Cohen. We'd like his take on the Trump presidency.
Website - www.palepeoplemusic.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/palepeoplemusic/