Your parents always warned you about talking to strangers off of the Internet. Fortunately, Tim Nordwind (of OK Go) and Drea Smith (of He Say, She Say) did not heed that precaution. Briefly introduced by a mutual friend, the two quickly became online pals, bonding over their affinity for post-punk British bands from the 80’s like The Cure, The Smiths, and Joy Division. Scores of emails and months of up-and-downloading musical ideas later, they combined their creative minds to form Pyyramids (yes, the double Y is so you can better search for them on the Internet). The result of their alliance is a dark, moody, and sometimes psychedelic first album, which was debuted earlier this year. We sat to chat music and more with leading lady, Drea Smith:
LAC: It’s one thing to correspond with someone online, and another thing to actually meet them in person. What was it like when you both finally met?
DS: I was recently going through all of our old emails in my Gmail inbox. Tim was the one to initially write me. He was, and still is, so polite. We would just send back and forth music that we loved, mostly Art Rock and British Post-Punk bands from the 80’s. When we finally met in person, he was exactly the same as online. At the time, I was living in Chicago and he was passing through on tour. We decided to meet up at this awesome local lounge and ended up hanging out for 3 hours, just cracking ourselves up. Our personalities are so similar. However, some would say that I’m the louder one and that Tim’s the more laidback one.
LAC: Being that your band would not have formulated without the Internet, how do you feel about digital technology’s impact on music and the creative process?
DS: I see the pros and cons. Digital technology has definitely benefited our project, so I love it. It has created a cool way for bands to start, and to demo music. It’s also been a great way to reach out to fans. It’s crazy that we have fans in places like France and Brazil, and we get to travel to these places because of people around the world having access online to our music. But at the same time, it has gotten harder to get fans to come out and experience music in a live setting. And creativity-wise, it seems that people now have leeway to cut corners with digital music, they can get lazy with it.
LAC: Your album “Brightest Darkest Day” debuted earlier this year. What’s your favorite song on the album and why?
DS: Picking only one song would be like asking to choose which one of your children is your favorite. If I had to pick, right now, it’d be “Invisible Scream” because when I wrote that song, I had just gotten dumped the night before. Tim suggested that we record it immediately. We recorded it right there in his kitchen. The feeling was raw and real, it was everything that I was feeling that day.
LAC: How do you feel about the lack of women in indie rock, especially women of color? Who are some of your favorite ladies rocking these days?
DS: I’m always excited when I see girls, especially of color, in bands. I didn’t grow up with someone who looked like me in rock bands. Yes, there were acts like N.E.R.D and Bad Brains, but no women! I want girls to feel like we can front a rock band, and that we can do anything that we want to do. Of women rocking these days, Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs is my hero. Some of my other favorites are Alison Mosshart of The Kills, Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon, Emily Haines of Metric, and Savages. Also, I hope one day to a share a bill with Warpaint.
LAC: Post-emails to international shows, has the writing process changed for the band?
DS: Many things are still similar. Just last week, Tim was in Austria. He left me a jump drive, and ideas for some new material. I’ll email him demos and then come over later to record. But yes, being in LA has made just popping over to Tim’s easier.
LAC: As a new Angeleno, what are some of your favorite spots and things to do in LA?
DS: At first, it was a strange transition from Chicago to LA because I haven’t driven in 7 years. I walk around the city a lot, and I really love the Los Feliz area, with all its cute vintage stores, coffee shops, and vegan food. I also like hanging out at Spare Room in Hollywood, and Lock and Key in K-Town. LA is such a diverse and comfortable place to live. I really like LA!
LAC: So, what’s next for Pyyramids?
DS: More shows! We’ll be in LA while on our summer tour, which includes performing at AfroPunk 2013 and then heading back to Europe in the Fall. We’re also recording. There are new songs and possibly a video out this month for “Invisible Scream.” The new material is inspired by our own music, possibly stuff that didn’t make the album. It will most likely combine organic and electronic sounds. Also, I’ll be releasing a solo project this December. Be on the lookout for all of that.
Pyyramids perform at The Bootleg Theater on July 18th with White Arrows. More details here.