We live in exciting times. There are bands all around us pushing the boundaries of formerly limiting genres. Instrumental rock bands, in particular, are doing exciting things. At the forefront of this innovation is a metal band that will cause you to rethink your definition of metal.
If you grew up on Iron Maiden and Metallica, Pelican will blow your mind. They effortlessly toss around stunning musicianship in a headbanging sort of way. Their songs sound tough but tough like an art college music degree. If Beethoven or Bach were alive today, they might be writing Pelican songs.
Pelican are coming to town Saturday, October 24. They're playing early for the kids. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance or $14 at the door. Opening are two Cobra bands, Black Cobra and Sweet Cobra.
I got a chance to pose five questions to Laurent Schroeder-Lebec, guitarist for Pelican.
Pelican has filmed videos for MTV, has a ringtone available, and is becoming visible in mainstream culture. What has been the response from that culture, given that you are an instrumental band, something that mainstream culture has been historically (well, in pop music in the last 50 years) less interested in?
Well maybe the interest in instrumental music seems absent from mainstream culture, but there has always been some support for bands stretching songs and exploring dynamics sans vocals. Plus there's a whole realm of music (both western and world music ) that is mired in instrumental exploration: classical, jazz, prog, etc. In the confines of traditional rock, it's indeed not that common to be solely instrumental, though. It's far more prevalent (or shall we say visible ... since I believe that bands are always around doing something but the media doesn't always pay attention) to have fully instrumental rock bands.
Truth be told, I never felt like we belonged to the canon of post rock or whatever...we're just a riffy band that likes to stretch itself at times and just never found the right voice to add to our instrumentation. I don't think of us as having broken into any realms that were outside of some comfortable confines prior. We're just not opposed to experiences and furthering the exposure of our music...videos? Fuck it: bring it on. Tours with bands we didn't really imagine touring with: sure. Ringtones? Why not? I got a phone, and it has Ice Cube and Rick Derringer for ringtones. It makes my day.
What can people expect from the most recent record, new fans and old fans alike?
They can expect our best record. It's a tried and true cliche and you feel compelled to say it when you promote a new disc, but it's true. This one is good and we love it. We like the tones, the performance, etc. The songs go off well live, too, which should make this next Seattle show a real treat.
You just played in Seattle with sunn 0))), Eagle Twin and Earth. What do you like or dislike about Seattle, particularly in regards to music?
We love Seattle. We've played there 10+ times. We all listen to a ton of Seattle bands, you've got great coffee, I had homemade absinthe there, always find good records, it's home to These Arms Are Snakes, Helms Alee, etc. There are mountains and that rolling street vendor that makes the Korean/Mexican fusion food that rules. Seattle kills it.
Please give us a preview of your upcoming El Corazon show. What can someone seeing you for the first time expect to see?
We've really as of late tried to blend both old and new stuff in a way that feels seamless. I think this set should be a really fun one. We're bringing back some rare treats. I'm really pumped for the songs we've picked.
Finally, what is the goal of Pelican? As a band, what do you plan on doing in the future?
We plan on ruling. Hard. More states touring, some European rocking, and working on some new jams when we get the chance. Mostly just having a fucking great time.