Friday, July 27, 2007

Mini-Interview: The Prix

Local garage pop act The Prix really exceed at crafting upbeat tracks that make even the most wooden, arms-crossed LA show-goers hop up and down. Basically, if you can stand still for songs of theirs like It's All In The Way That You Trip, St. Domino, and The Chevalier, then you should check to see if you've been nailed into place...

The group just finished up a weekly residency at El Cid where they debuted their new St Domino EP last Wednesday. We'd meant to check in with them before that to help spotlight the new release instead of a week after, but our timing appears to be off a bit.

Hi, Cashew. Hows it going? Whats new?

Hey, Joe. I’m alright. What's new? Too much to bored your readers with, but I’m always juggling several projects while handling life. Crazy California lifestyle, I guess.

How did the residency at El Cid go for you?

Wonderful. We’ve made a lot of new friends, pulled out a lot of old tunes that we’ve shelved, performed oddball covers, and to our surprise ratcheted up some really healthy merchandise sales!

So, you guys have a new EP that came out last week. How did that come together? Who did you record it with?

We found a distributor who we’ve partnered with to put out any release we wish, so after we cobbled together songs for our first EP late last year, we decided to just put music out every six to nine months. Blake and I wanted to make a quick, direct recording with the stuff we wrote at last year’s end. We ended up partnering up with our old pal, Raymond Richards. He’s a pretty hot steel pedal guy who built an incredible studio. If you’ve listened to any of the California psych stuff in the past six or seven years, like the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Hope Sandoval, or even the new Frankel CD, you have heard his work.

Anyway, he hooked us up with Dan Long to produce our sound. He’s a Brooklyn whiz that came to work at Raymond’s studio. He’s worked with TV On The Radio and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and all that. Now he’s in town working with some of our fave LA acts like Ferraby Lionheart and Eagle and Talon, so he's building a loyal local following. He was able to rough some scratchy gems out of us into some nice shiny jewels in a remarkably short span of working time. He’s got that something.

How do you feel like its different from your earlier work? (And who did you record that with?)

Hard to say. It all sounds like us but sonically, I guess this one has a different feel, be it sequencing or a bit more acoustic instrumentation this time.

Our first demo single Baby Babylonia/Wind To Blow in 2005 was produced by our mentor and guru, Emitt Rhodes. He still lives on the street he grew up on in Hawthorne and we bonded with him and became great friends. What a joy that was! We used the harmonium and plucked away at the instruments he recorded his three LPs with in the early 70’s.

Our first EP last year was basically self-produced. We won’t do that again!

How did the band come together in the first place? How long have you been a band?

The Prix came together originally as a side project for Blake and I when we were in other bands. Just as a way to bang out our songs that we couldn’t do with them. We hooked up with a fantastic rhythm section in Zack Zeigler and Stevie Mills in 2004 and we just came to the conclusion that we should maybe focus a bit more on it since this gave us more joy than our other gigs.

What bands were you guys in before?

Blake was in a real cool, spacey shoegaze act Sunstorm and I was doing some production and DJ stuff in Burgundy Jones. Ambient, chill, and ethereal stuff. Very different from the high energy stuff The Prix does.

You guys don’t fit into any set pre-existing niche in the local music scene. What are the up and down sides to that?

Well, I guess the upside would be that there really isn’t anyone doing what we’re doing. How many top-hatted Hammond B-3 players are there in this town?

Blake and I grew up here in the city, so whether we are aware of it or not, we are squeezing out local, Southern California sounds. We're all rooted in the same, trippy musical drug everyone on the eastside is high on, but I suppose we are a little bit more giggly and rambunctious about it.

What’s next for you?

We’re shooting a video for the song St. Domino in a couple weeks and we’ll probably pile the gear in a van and take off somewhere. I’m also producing a new collective of folk and classical psychedelia music. A conceptual piece celebrating Old California.

Last question: What local bands have you been enjoying the most lately?

I’ve been really enjoying Castledoor and The Little Ones. We’ve been digging The Poor Excuses, the new Weather Underground stuff. The Digs, In Waves, all great music. And we will always love The Warlocks.

That's it. Thanks much for your time.

The Prix's next shows are at Spaceland on Tuesday, August 7th and The Viper Room on Monday, September 3rd.

- St. Domino MP3
- The Chevalier MP3


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