We're turning 10 years old this year! To celebrate, we are featuring Father/Daughter artists past and present each month. 2012's featured artist is Pure Bathing Culture (Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman) and their phenomenal self-titled record.
Father/Daughter Records: How'd you first hear of / begin working with F/D?
Pure Bathing Culture: We posted a few songs on Bandcamp and Jessi reached out to us via email. We were spending quite a bit of time in San Francisco during that time because we played in the band Vetiver and Andy Cabic was (and still is) based there. We met up with Jessi (and David!) for a few meals and hit it off immediately.
F/D: Each other?
PBC: We met at freshman orientation for college in New Jersey when we were 17 and 18 years old. We worked together a lot over the years in various projects and then started Pure Bathing Culture in Brooklyn, NY in 2010 when we wrote our first song together.
F/D: What were some inspirations for some songs on the record?
PBC: Lucky One - This was the first song we ever wrote together. It’s hard to describe directly what this one is about, but it’s kind of a story of being overlooked, of being the last one chosen. The track was equally influenced by Motown and African guitar music like Green Arrows Band and S.E. Rogie.
Silver Shore’s Lake - The lyrics are about telling someone you love that you wish you could take care of a problem for them or somehow carry them around it so they wouldn’t have to experience it themselves. The track was really influenced by The Durutti Column who we were fairly obsessed with at the time (and still are!). This was definitely Richard Swift’s favorite song on the EP, he made up his own title for it which was “Adult Jam”.
Ivory Coast - We wrote this pretty much right away as soon as we moved to Portland early 2011. We were house sitting for Eric Johnson from Fruit Bats and his wife Annie Beedy (who took our first press photo for this release) and we wrote and demo-ed the whole song in Eric’s basement studio. It reads like a traditional love song and we guess it probably is, but at the time we were writing it we were trying to write about the extent someone would go to pursue their muse or what inspires them the most. In terms of the track for this one, it’s going back a while now but we’re fairly certain this was the first song where we recorded the guitar direct which became a huge pillar of our sound moving forwards from there.
Gainesville - This song is partially about the death of close friend who died tragically in a motorcycle accident and also partially uses the concept of Gainesville, which is a place we have no ties to whatsoever, as some kind of magic or mythology that means something only to us. Often when we’re writing we’re making an imaginary world of our own real through the characters and stories in our songs, more so than talking literally about our own lives.
F/D: What was the recording process like for Pure Bathing Culture?
PBC: We made the record over the course of two different sessions in Cottage Grove, Oregon at Richard Swift’s studio National Freedom. The only people there were the two of us and Richard. It was recorded pretty fast. We recorded some elements on a 4 track tape machine and then dumped that into pro-tools. Most instruments were recorded direct.
F/D: What've y'all been up to since?
PBC: We’ve made a bunch more records, played a bunch of shows and much more to come!
Can our Sheryl Crow fans please stand up? Esther is back with a stunning cover of Sheryl Crow's classic, "My Favorite Mistake." Recorded live to tape at The Tigermen Den in New Orleans, Esther's distinct folk stylings take center stage on the sultry, reimagined version. "When people ask what kind of music I play I generally tell them ‘country & folk’, but the truth is my band has a secret genre for my songwriting style which they call ‘60s/90s’; this weird blend of late 60s folk and early 90s alternative rock," explains Esther. "My Favorite Mistake somehow slides right into that comfort zone. My band and I had a lot of fun coming up with our own arrangement; Dan Cutler is playing that iconic guitar riff on upright bass, we slowed down the tempo, and I changed a couple words to make it a little more hopeful."
In case you missed it, our little label is turning 10 years old this year. To celebrate our anniversary, we're rolling out a monthly series of features on some Father/Daughter artists. They'll tell us who they are, give us a look into the making of their record, what they've been up to since, and even hand curate a playlist for us to soundtrack this 10 year anniversary party with. Our first entry in the series goes back 2011. Get some insight into the origin story of Jordan Lee (Mutual Benefit) and his half on the split LP, FD-004, Mutual Spirits.
F/D: How'd you first hear of / begin working with the label?
Jordan Lee (Mutual Benefit): The short answer is I was (am?) a big nerd on the internet that was really excited about the democratic promise of 2008-2013 online music communities. I spent years listening to and blogging other people’s songs while quietly working on my own and eventually worked up the courage to share my own work. I met Jessi from Father/Daughter and Holy Spirits through that world. Jessi had released 2 great EP’s from Levek and toothache and was really hoping to work together some day.
F/D: How about Holy Spirits?
Jordan Lee: In 2011ish Holy Spirts asked me to join them on a west coast tour. At that point I had never toured or even seen the Pacific ocean so it was an incredibly magical experience. They were really sweet and their shows were so beautiful. The experience was important enough to convince me to pursue music more seriously aka go into credit card debt. Jessi came to our show in SF and we pitched the idea of a split 12” and a waited with bated breath.
F/D: What were some of the inspirations for the record?
Jordan Lee: I wrote Mutual Spirits and another EP called I Saw the Sea at the same time. I think of them as a Yin and Yang to each other. The Holy Spirits tour kind of convinced me to drop out of society and devote myself to pursuing art full time. That came with a lot of excitement and a lot of fear. I moved to Boston and lived on the floor of a friend’s rehearsal space and learned how to steal groceries from Stop ’n Shop really well. Mutual Spirits focused on the giddy feeling of riding my bike around and feeling really free. I Saw the Sea was a bit more spiritual to me, it felt like letting go of a lot of parts of myself. When I saw the Pacific ocean for the first time I just kept crying. I had this feeling that I had been living my whole life in a little comfortable bubble and I wanted to explore and be way more open to different ways of living and being.
F/D: What was the recording process like for Mutual Spirits?
Jordan Lee: I recorded most of Mutual Spirits in the aforementioned practice space. It was in this old cavernous warehouse so I used different parts for different types of sounds. I remember the bathroom had perfect reverb for vocals so I did the harmonies in there which confused some of the other people who used the space haha. I also starting taking the chinatown bus to New York and doing some recording at a friend’s house there.
F/D: What are some of your favorite F/D albums thus far?
Jordan Lee: Christelle Bofale, Bent Shapes, Leapling, Lisa Prank, Nadine, Soft Cat to name a few. For one tour I played in Soft Cat’s band and got really attached to those songs.
F/D: What've you been up to since?
Jordan Lee: I recently realized Mutual Benefit has been a band for over 10 years which felt like a big milestone although as the only permanent member it would be hard to kick myself out. In some ways, the EP with Father/Daughter felt like the beginning of my journey with the “music biz”. Nowadays it feels a lot less intimidating than it used to and I can pick and choose what parts to participate in. I feel really grateful that it was Jessi who showed us the ropes early on and not some swarmy record exec. So yeah, I guess I’m doing the same kind of stuff as back then but just drinking a lot more water and keeping better track of my receipts.