On The Radar: Wampire
3rd May 2013 | 15:00
Vampish synth pop from Oregon
Location: Portland, Oregon
Intelligence: If the characters of The Lost Boys formed a band back in their heyday, it might have sounded like Wampire. The brain-child of Oregonians and childhood friends Eric Phipps and Rocky Tinder, it's a weird but wonderful hybrid of dark garage pop and driving synth-rock.
"We didn't intend to be a band at first, we were just goofing around writing songs on our acoustics," explains the excellently-named Rocky. "Somebody asked us to play at a party that was going to be loud, so we crapped together some stuff that was faster and louder with some drum machines that we could play along too and started playing more from there."
Now five years into their musical career, Wampire have signed to Polyvinyl and are due to release their very good debut album, Curiosity, on 5 May. In some ways it's reminiscent of the nascent, nonchalant slacker pop we've all had way too much of in the last five years, but it's fleshed out by a far darker, synthy side that's almost gothic in places.
"We knew the album was going to be all over the place," says Rocky. "So we wanted to figure out what we could do to make that work. A lot of that was the idea of mixing high fidelity and low fidelity techniques to get an all-over sound."
As such, fuzzed out guitars, sit alongside chiming 80s synth lines, permeated by plodding, purposeful drums - and it's all somehow both gloomy and catchy. Basically, it's what The Strokes have been trying to be for their last two albums. According to Rocky, it's producer Jake Portrait of local heroes Unknown Mortal Orchestra that's to thank - both for his help shaping the sound, and also for giving them the time to figure it out.
"We recorded at the Wave Cave, which is Jake's own studio," reveals Rocky. "It's in the warehouse that his brother and him run. It was really comfortable for us, it's somewhere that we've been a lot. We were able to give it a little more TLC than if we'd had to just crap it out in a two week studio situation."
Now that their aural faeces (and we mean that in the very best way) has been lovingly passed, the band is looking forward to a US tour with Polyvinyl label-mates Starfucker throughout early June and there's talk of European dates to follow. We suggest you check Wampire out - just don't invite them into your house.
Hardware: Roland Juno 106 keyboard, Korg microSampler, Roland SP404 sampler, Roland KC-550 keyboard amp, Fender Blues Deluxe 1x12 amps, Elektron Machinedrum SPS drum machine, '50s Supro DualTone guitar, Gibson Les Paul, Fender Pawn Shop Jaguarillo, TC Helicon VoiceLive Play