Piano-rock. Punk-cabaret. Two hyphenated compounds I think I just wrote for the first time… and both in the same intro! They both relate to today’s Band of the Day, Pale People.
Sunny Missoula, Montana! The people are friendly; the mountains command awe. David Lynch is from here.
How did you meet?
Mack Gilcrest (piano, vocals) and Kurt Skrivseth (bass, guitar) met in the University of Montana’s Jazz Band I. They bonded pretty quickly over a liking for Rush and a distaste for academic jazz. Mack and Austin Graef (drums) have actually known each other since high school, and when PP’s first drummer left for personal reasons, Mack called Austin, who hadn’t touched his drums in years. His recovery time was outstanding. (That’s what she said.)
How long have you been playing as a band?
‘Bout two years. Feels longer. Music is a drag.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
So most of our songs deal with characters who’re separated in some way from their kin and country. Out beyond the border, looking in, fading away slowly. “Pale” means something close to “transparent,” we guess.
What are your influences?
Hoo boy. Rush; Blur; the Dresden Dolls; Stephen Sondheim; the Mountain Goats; the Pixies; Radiohead; Red Hot Chili Peppers; Neutral Milk Hotel; Death Cab For Cutie; the Decemberists; Talking Heads; Frank Zappa; the Velvet Underground; and on and on et cetera ad nauseam.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Take a few babies. Now shoot those babies up with bath salts and make them play through Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. That’s us.
(Don’t do drugs, guys.)
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Do we! Yeah, we like taking ridiculous, even trivial, scenarios and treating them with gravity and focus. (Trick we learned from the Mountain Goats, who fucking rule.) We have this one song about a kid who’s obsessed with Tetris, and better than anyone in the world at Tetris, and who finds really profound meaning in something really profoundly stupid. For example.
(It’s called “Jason”, and you can check it out below)
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Tons, although we don’t play in our hometown that much anymore – it’s a drag getting Montanans to come out for a punk-cabaret show, man. It turns out Big Sky Country isn’t synonymous with loud piano rock.
If you come to a Pale People gig, get ready for a lot of unnerving stares. And a lot of perspiration.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Some dude in his 60’s once came up to the stage mid-song and stuck a $20 bill to the sweat on Mack’s forehead.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Mack’s machine is a Yamaha grand with terminal dust issues and a loose C# key he keeps meaning to fix.
Kurt live rig: primarily uses his custom Music Man Stingray Classic 5 string bass, named Linda, going through a Fender Pro 400 2×10 combo amp. For guitar he sticks to his classic white Gibson Firebird V running through a Keeley modded Boss DS-1, going into a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. That’s it. In studio would require an entire other interview.
Austin is a fan of his Mapex 4 piece setup (14″ snare, 10″ rack, 16″ floor tom, 22″ kick) and his variety of Sabian cymbals from the evolution and legacy series, plus his 22″ Omni ride.
What are your plans for the rest of 2017?
Well, so we released our second album, Portraits, in March. And we’re wrapping up production on our third, The World Is Yours, as we speak. Plus we’re planning a month-long tour for the end of the summer. *wink*
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!