For those who embrace major reverb amidst a hazy melody, Austin’s fifth annual Psych Fest will showcase plenty of bands who will hit the sweet spot, including local band Pure X.
The Daily Texan met with guitarist Nate Grace to talk about a few things unrelated to the festival: seasons, sound and substances alike.
The Daily Texan: You mentioned a few days ago you were in the studio this weekend, what are you guys recording?
Nate Grace: We’ve been working on another album, which I think is turning into an EP, another album, and a 12” so it’ll be three different things coming out at the same time.
The EP and 12” will come out some time in the fall and the next LP won’t come out until December and January.
DT: I listened to Pure X Pleasure a lot last summer. During which season is it best to listen to the album?
Grace: Every season, hopefully. It’s funny, I feel like music writers love to talk about seasons, but that’s not so important to me. It’s more for night time I think, but some people are like ‘I love listening to it at Barton Springs,’ I don’t know. In Texas it’s like we don’t even have seasons, there’s hot then there’s less hot. So I guess it would be summer because it’s summer 24/7 here.
DT: Your sound is fairly minimalistic; would you say that less is more?
Grace: I’m a fan of minimalism generally. I would say the minimal sound had more to do because we’re a three piece.
There’s only so much you can do, we’re trying to add different elements and like, synth. It’s like Dean-Crosby minimalism. For a lot of our songs it is just better if it’s stripped down to the central elements. A lot of the time, bands can be distracted by this Phil Spector [record producer and songwriter] wannabe type thing. Things should be kept to their essentials. This new stuff we’re working on is more production and instrumentation, but we’re not over-the-top or anything.
DT: How will you balance the synth and production stuff without sounding too computerized?
Grace: The last record has synth on it as well, which no one really seems to talk about, but I mean, by having faith in our taste.
DT: It’s funny, you hear the name and might think of MDMA then listen to your sound and it’s this shoegaze grunge stuff you hear. Was that intentionally ironic?
Grace: No, not at all. We knew from the beginning people would associate our name with drugs but to me, that doesn’t have anything to do with it. The name Pure X is like nothing, pure anything, pure whatever. I don’t mind the drug reference; to me it speaks more about our society and how obsessed we are with drugs.
DT: I know you guys were touring abroad a while ago, how was that experience different from playing in the states?
Grace: It was my first time playing abroad. I’ve been playing in bands since I was 13 and I’ve tried to play in Europe since I was 18. I would get to the point where I was in a band that was about to tour Europe and the band would break up. It took me years and I feel like a lot of bands take it for granted. The vibe over there is way better. I’d heard it before, but I do believe that people there appreciate art more and treat artists and musicians, specifically, better.
Here they’re like rats in a sewer, people don’t respect art. In my opinion, Americans see art as a commodity and that’s all. It was nice to go [to Europe] and see people who were genuinely stoked.
DT: You don’t think Austin is excited for you guys?
Grace: No, I don’t. We played a show last week and there were like was like, 15 people there. Part of that is because we don’t play in Austin that often but we do better in New York and the bigger cities. We get more respect there. I’m not talking shit or anything; I’m just saying it how it is.