What I Learned at Bandcamp: The Persian Leaps
The Persian Leaps is a three-piece noise pop band from Saint Paul, Minn. In September 2014, the group released its second EP, Drive Drive Delay, through Land Ski Records, a label started by frontman Drew Forsberg.
The five-track album, along with previous releases, is available on Bandcamp.
Below, read The Spec‘s interview with Forsberg and listen to tracks from the new EP…
How long have you been making music?
We’ve been together as a full band since 2012, but I’ve been recording unreleased songs on a four-track as The Persian Leaps for many years. When we released our debut EP (Praise Elephants) last year, we were a four-piece, but we’ve had some membership changes and are down to a trio. Michael McCloskey (drums, vocals) and I have been the constants since we formed. Adam Brunner joined us on bass back in June. We’re really excited about the current lineup, and it’s been fun to play out this fall supporting the new EP!
Who/what are your influences?
I grew up listening to college and indie rock from the ’80s and early ’90s. Bands like Guided by Voices, Teenage Fanclub, My Blood Valentine, The Smiths, The House of Love, The Stone Roses, The Chameleons, and Echo & the Bunnymen are my major touchstones. Also, first-wave UK punk/new wave, and power pop from all decades. I still seek out new music constantly, but the stuff I listed above is what continues to influence me.
What is your favorite song you’ve released and why?
“Permission” from our new EP comes to mind. Typically, our songs are pretty short and concise–usually under three minutes. “Permission” is the first time we’ve tried something a bit longer and more… epic. I’m starting to get comfortable being the only guitarist in the band and this was a chance for me to stretch out a bit. But, we probably won’t make a habit out of it. My personal prejudice is towards short, hooky pop songs, so I need a really compelling reason to write something longer than three-and-a-half minutes.
Upcoming projects, where do you want to go from here?
My goal for the band is sustainability and consistent output. So far, we’ve released a five-song EP each fall since 2013. We have material for a full album, but we’re intentionally choosing a different approach–smaller, more frequent releases. Each winter, we’ll record the five absolute best songs we have that work together and release them in the fall. It’s manageable for us, since we all have lives outside of music. We’re heading back into the studio in December to start the next round of recordings, which will come out in fall 2015.
If you could no longer be a musician, what would you be or do for a living?
Well, actually, all of us have careers, families, mortgages, and so on. For example, I’m a website developer. I don’t personally know anyone who makes a living exclusively from performing music. Obviously, they exist, but it’s the exception and not the rule these days. In any case, it’s not a viable option for us. Our Spotify earnings amount to the price of a couple of lattes every three months. I like lattes, but…
What musicians or bands do you look up to?
The list above is pretty exhaustive as far as distant idols go. On a more personal, local level, we’re lucky to be in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area, which has a really vital music scene. I won’t single anyone out, but we’ve got some great bands that I respect and try to see every chance I can. Finally, I really admire Robert Pollard from Guided by Voices. Not just for the songwriting, but also because he didn’t even “make it” until his 30s. And he’s still cranking out sheer genius 20 plus years later, which is inspiring.
Why do you make music?
It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I was writing songs before I could even play an instrument. Growing up, I played drums and really enjoyed it, but I switched to guitar because I really wanted to be able to write songs and melodies. I’ve been working on that for a long time–it’s thrilling to finally realize songs in a full band and get them out there in the last year or two.
Anything else you’d like readers to know that we haven’t asked you about?
True story: I used to be an archaeologist. Being in a band is more exciting.