Interview with Pompeii

Pompeii-1-HiRes

Hi guys!  It’s great to hear from you and to find out how it’s all going for the imminent release of your third album LOOM after a 5-year hiatus.  First off, who is in the band and what instruments do you play?

EJ: Erik Johnson – guitars & keys

CB: Colin Butler – bass & percussion

RD: Rob Davidson – drums

Dean Stafford – vox & guitar (not available at time of this interview)

What was the reason for the time gap between your previous album and the release of LOOM in mid-October? 

Colin: Several reasons, actually.  First, our original label went belly-up.  For the first time in our career we were without a label contract and without a deadline to rush out another record.  We also didn’t want to release the same kind of record again.  Since we were not faced with any deadlines, we were able to step back and really decide what kind of album we wanted to make.  As a result, the evolution from Nothing Happens to LOOM was very organic.  We met sporadically for about a year without playing any shows before regrouping to focus on the new material.  We are also a very meticulous band, which doesn’t always lend itself to finishing songs in a timely manner.

Your sound is sweeping, melodic, and engaging, and you also have an assured handle on the quiet vs. loud dynamic.  What artists inspire your style? 

Erik: It’s hard to narrow down any specific artist that inspires us because everyone in the band has such a wide range of influences. I think because of this, we can compliment each other and bring something new to the sound. It allows us to be able to experiment more. I grew up listening to bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, but you can probably hear comparisons to Mogwai, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, and Sigur Rós on LOOM. I think the quiet vs. loud dynamic in our songs just happens naturally when we write.

You’ve added an extra dimension to your music with the input of the Tosca String Quartet.  How did this creative collaboration come about?

Rob: Our cellist (Caitlin Bailey) from the first 2 albums moved to Brooklyn to pursue a graduate degree in music and resigned from the band so we’ve not played or written with her for some time now. We wanted to add string parts to this album because when we wrote, we left room for where we knew we’d want strings. I guess we were used to hearing those parts, having worked with a cellist for so many years. Then we heard about Tosca from a friend and enlisted their help. We had our friend Christopher Cox write the compositions and we worked with him to tweak those for what we were hearing. Tosca was amazing!

From what I’ve read, you’re based in Austin, Texas.  What is this musical milieu like for you?  Do you feel that this specific locale has contributed to your outlook and sound?

Colin: Austin has such a rich musical history and has definitely been a huge influence on us.  We are lucky enough to share the same backyard as bands like Mineral, Explosions In the Sky, American Analog Set, Trail of Dead, Balmorhea, Shearwater, and tons more.

Your U.S. tour is planned to kick off in late October and you’ll be performing at CMJ.  What are the preparations like before these events?

Rob: We usually do a lot of the booking ourselves.  We also like to rehearse a set that we will perform during the tour.

Erik: We practice more often when preparing for a tour or festival like CMJ. We want everything to sound great and run smoothly, so we try to streamline things and work out any problems until we feel confident about our live show.

Descriptive music labels are so confusing and numerous these days and sometimes (many times) don’t do justice to the tunes.  Would you consider your band psych-rock or dream-rock or post-rock?  Is there a stylistic label that you prefer?

Erik: It’s really hard now days to put yourself into any sort of category because there are so many styles and bands. Just by choosing a label, such as rock or pop, doesn’t mean the same thing as it used to. I think this album is the first that we’ve been described as psych-rock though. We don’t prefer anything really. We try not to choose a label and let the music speak for itself.

Pompeii - LOOM

Pompeii – LOOM

Who is the artist behind the band graphics and LOOM album cover?

Erik: All of the photos (including the album cover) in the artwork for LOOM were taken by my friend Austin Tolin. They are from a series of photos he took while he was in Alaska; I was blown away when I first saw them. Our friend, Chris King from This Will Destroy You, did the layout and design of the album.

 Is the album title a nod to My Bloody Valentine’s “Loomer”?

All: No.

So it looks like you’re doing the booking of gigs yourselves!  Are you all savvy businessmen as well as accomplished artists?

Colin:  You don’t have much of a choice but to try and be business savvy these days.  Just playing your instrument isn’t good enough anymore.

You’ve been together as a band for just over a decade now.  How is that milestone registering with you?  Have you had a 10-year anniversary party or will that take place when LOOM is released?

Erik: It’s pretty amazing because of how often bands break up. There have definitely been struggles, but we cared about the band so much that we got through them and made things work. We had a 10-year anniversary show in Austin a couple months ago, where we played some old songs and introduced a lot of the new songs off of LOOM.

Colin: We started when we were still pretty young, so most people who haven’t heard of us are surprised when we tell them how long we have been playing together.  We are working on something cool for the 10th anniversary of Assembly, which is still another year or so away.

Lastly, can you please list your official site(s) so we can find out more about you and your music? 

All: You can find us at:

Official: pompeiimusic.com

Album:  loomalbum.com

Label: http://www.redeyetransit.com/artists/pompeii/

Facebook:  facebook.com/pompeiimusic

Twitter:  @pompeii