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WATCH + Q&A: EAR PWR Love “National Parks” (FILTER Premiere, NSFW)

By Staff; photo by Joey and Jessica Seawell on June 27, 2011


WATCH + Q&A: EAR PWR Love “National Parks” (FILTER Premiere, NSFW)

The North Carolina duo of EAR PWR released their second, self-titled album on May 24 via Carpark Records (Dan Deacon, Beach House, Toro Y Moi). Since the album's release, Devin Booze and Sarah Reynolds has been out touring, recently wrapping up a show in Brooklyn at Glasslands, as well as a performance at the Animal Collective-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival.

Below, we have the band's video of their second single, "National Parks." The song appropriately evokes the ethereal, transient and incandescent mystery of the wild. EAR PWR recently wrapped a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the video for the track. Directed by Sal Caino, the clip was filmed entirely in hyper-saturated slow motion in the mountains of NC. Nature and nostalgia drive the imagery while EAR PWR journey through a luminous landscape and get lost in the night sky. A bonfire crackles, mushrooms sparkle, neon bodies run with smoke bombs and fireflies emit light as friends travel through the woods and get lost in the wild.

Take the jump, watch the video and read up on Devin Booze's take on pizza, geography and the production of EAR PWR's latest release.

EAR PWR - "National Parks" from SAL on Vimeo.

The new self-titled release maintains the band’s funky electronic beats and almost tribal sounding percussion—a loose, upbeat vibe. What inspired the direction of this album?

Devin Booze: 
The new direction was inspired by an array of things. First and foremost, our decision to leave Baltimore and return to the mountains of North Carolina.  I really tried to bare down and flex my compositional muscles by using various techniques from the baroque, classical and contemporary eras of music. Each sound on the album was carefully crafted on my collection of synthesizers and we also added live drums in order to increase the drama. Each song was sketched out in my notebook while touring during 2009 and 2010. The lyrical content of the album, mostly supplied by Sarah, tends to long for a reconnection with nature and life before, and outside of, the urban-focused, Internet-driven society that we’ve found ourselves in.

What was the production process of EAR PWR like?

We recorded this album in Durham, NC, over a couple of weekends in late 2010 at the home of recording engineer/genius/nurse Jay Murphy. He has converted his whole two-story house into a recording studio with the first level being the performance space and the second level being the control room.  We met Jay back in 2007 when we recorded our first album for FrequeNC Records. We work very well together.  It seems like we were cut from the same cloth, and he knew exactly how we envisioned the album would sound.

The single “National Parks” carries quite the intro. It prepares the listener for this “other world” within the music. How do you define the experience of listening and performing this song?

This is my favorite song to play. It is deceptively difficult. This song is deeply rooted in the minimalist style of music popular in the 1960s (and I guess rediscovered in the 21st century) and requires you to concentrate and really focus on the main theme of the piece. I strived to compose a perfect sequence of chords that would encapsulate the feeling that I get when I look outside of my window and see giant ancient mountains jutting up to the heavens—a song that would express contemplation, jubilation and celebration all in a four-bar phrase. Terry Riley and La Monte Young were very influential in this piece as well as Ken Burn's National Parks documentary series on PBS.

The music video for this track really encompasses a good portion of how some might’ve envisioned the song. Although, in the best sense, some of the film elements are just flat-out from left field. Were you involved in the creative direction for this video? Are there specific parts you enjoyed the most? Tell us more behind this video.

"National Parks" was one of the first songs written for our new album, therefore it is very special to us. It represents a marked change in musical direction and we had a burning desire to make a grandiose video for it.  We knew we wanted to make something psychedelic and naturalistic, but other than that we really didn’t have a lot of ideas.  We contacted our friend Sal, who’s an editor for NBC, and he immediately jumped onboard.  His concept was to make the video reminiscent of David Benjamin Sherry’s photography: hyper-saturated and surreal with nature and nostalgia as motifs.  From there, he formed a tight-knit crew of highly skilled individuals and they made it a reality.  My favorite part was the day that we shot with the painted extras.  They sacrificed their bodies for our project by being painted head to toe and running around naked all day and night in the chilly North Carolina woods.  Some even ran through some stinging nettles and poison oak!  Ouch!  We got to hang out on the most beautiful property, watch naked people run through the woods and eat pizza.  It was great!


Geographically speaking, specific genres can still be traced back to different parts of not only the U.S. but the world at large, even though musical tastes and fusions are combining more than ever. What are your thoughts on the evolution of these different classified genres and what’s going on with musical tastes today?

Popular music is becoming more the same. As we get pulled closer through technology, today’s music seems to have a similar feel, direction and attitude. The geographical distances that kept us apart also allowed us to grow in our own regional artistic directions. Now, everywhere I go, everyone is talking about the same bands and the same music. There also seems to be more emulation happening.  Artists are tapping into the same sound, using the same instruments and/or computer programs, and just putting a different name on the album sleeve. These days, the hunger for fame is enormous and is a driving factor in the music people make. There’s less need to express oneself musically and more desire to express what you think people want to hear.

On the other hand, the Internet has truly freed music. Every business element from the previous era of recorded music is virtually obsolete. Labels, management, booking agents, recording engineers, CDs/tapes/records are all unnecessary for artists. Your music, whether contrived or of deep emotional content, can be thrust out into the world with the click of a button.

Purchase EAR PWR's new self-titled album here

EAR PWR - National Parks by Carpark Records

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