I enjoyed yesterday’s interview with The Great Wilderness so much I asked Nick, one of Whirl‘s three guitarists, if I could try my hand at interviewing again, this time with Whirl as the subject. To my surprise, he readily agreed (possibly against his better judgement, and probably with that Tinseltown adage about there being no such thing as bad publicity in mind).
I say I was surprised because, during my Internet search for information about Whirl, I found plenty of praise for Distressor, but very little about the band itself. I thought I might have to resort to waterboarding in an effort to get any information out of them (hey, a U.S. Attorney General has said that it’s okay to use torture if you need information and are in a hurry), but Nick has been a fountain of information about the band and its members. So, without further ado:
NWs: Before we get underway, I’d like to thank you, Nick, for taking the time to answer some of my questions. Can you tell me how the band decided on Whirl for its name? It seems like a straight-forward choice for a Shoegaze band, but does it have a deeper significance? Is there a story behind choosing that name for the band?
Nick: No problem, Robert; thanks for giving me the opportunity. The name Whirl was one Sergio came up with in the midst of us recording our first demos as an, up to that point, nameless project. The name is sort of in homage to all the bands of the “scene that celebrated itself” era, i.e., Lush, Ride, Moose, Medicine, Slowdive, Lilys etc.
NWs: I have determined (after a lucky guess) that Whirl are a five piece band, but the details are more than a little sketchy. Would you care to tell me who the band members are, and what instruments they play?
Loren Rivera – Vocals / Guitar
Eddie Salgado – Bass
Sergio Miranda – Drums
Joseph Bautista – Guitar
Nick Bassett – Guitar
We were a six piece when we originally started out, but Byanca Munoz (keyboards and vocals) has since left due to creative differences.
NWs: I see I was wrong in my guess about the female vocalist doubling as the bassist. Is Whirl looking for a replacement female vocalist?
Nick: At this time, Whirl has no interest in having a female singer in the band. Perhaps, in the future, our minds might change, but at the moment, we are happy with the way everything is sounding.
NWs: I read somewhere that you were all friends doing nothing separately, so you decided to start doing something together; did I get that right? If so, how far back do the friendships go?
Nick: Ha ha, close enough. Well Sergio and I have been close friends since around the 5th grade. Loren, Eddie, and Joey have all been friends for about five years. We all met in the summer of 2008. So a little over two years.
NWs: Is there a typical way in which Whirl go about creating a song? If so, would you describe it, please?
Nick: Generally someone comes up with a riff or an idea for a song, then all of the guitars work on it in collaboration until we have the basic skeleton of a song. We then jam with the drums, and repeat until we tune into the finer details and complete it.
NWs: Who writes the lyrics?
Nick: Certain songs on the EP were a result of the entire band collaborating, but Loren and Byanca wrote the majority of the lyrics.
NWs: What’s the Shoegaze scene like in the Bay Area? What’s the best show you’ve seen lately. The best you’ve played?
Nick: There isn’t much (to my knowledge) of a Shoegaze scene in the Bay Area, although Slumberland records operates out of Oakland. The only local bands I’m aware of currently are: Weekend, Young Prisms, and LSD and the Search for God – all out of San Francisco. We actually have a great deal of trouble getting any shows at all around here. I’d say the best shows I’ve seen lately have been Weekend at Milk Bar and Leucosis at a house show in Santa Cruz. Best show we’ve played? I’d have to say, personally, either a house show we played in Emeryville, or our very first show, which was at Milk Bar in San Francisco.
NWs: When the band was just starting to perform live, did you do any cover songs? If so, which?
Nick: We used to cover Husker Du‘s “Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely” at practices, but it’s never actually been played at a show.
NWs: Did you give it the Shoegaze treatment?
Nick: We most definitely did, exceptionally loud, drowned in reverb, delay, and fuzz.
NWs: Sound like good fun. Has Whirl been on tour?
Nick: We did a mini-tour in a Suburban throughout Southern California in late October of this year.
NWs: Oh yeah, where? I’ve lived in both the San Diego and Los Angeles areas.
Nick: It went through, Silverlake, Sunset and Ventura.
NWs: Is there a reason for having recorded Distressor live rather than in studio sessions?
Nick: We wanted to capture a more authentic, live atmosphere on the record and not sound over-produced like many current bands are doing these days. All in all, we just wanted to sound on the record the way we do live.
NWs: A laudable ambition. Does this mean that Whirl will continue to record in this manner?
Nick: That’s the plan.
NWs: What’s next on Whirl‘s agenda?
Nick: Release two 7″ splits, one with the band American Gods (from Tennessee) on Withdrawl records, and another with a band (whom I won’t mention) out of Washington. Release the Distressor cassette on Bridgetown records in January of 2011, and the Distressor 12″ on Katorga Works in the spring. Other than that, just continue writing songs for our full length record, due in 2011.
NWs: Ah, a lot to look forward to. Distressor has been garnering some good press, how are the sales coming? Did you guys think you’d get rich selling your EP at 10¢ a pop?
Nick: The sales come and go, some days we’ll make 10-20 dollars, others we wont make a cent. The download was originally free on Bandcamp, but a friend of ours who runs a promotional site insisted we set the price to at least ten cents. That way we could possibly get some sort of funding.
NWs: Well, considering how good Distressor is, you certainly deserve some funding.
Nick: Thanks a million, we all worked really hard on that record, and are really happy with the way it turned out.
NWs: And so you should be. Is there anything I didn’t cover that you’d like to get out to the readers?
Nick: I’d just like to thank everyone who has downloaded, written about, bought, come to our shows, and spread the word of Whirl. It means the world to us. And thank you for the interview opportunity, Robert.
NWs: My pleasure.
My Rating: ✭✭✭✭
iPod Songs: “Leave”, “Blue”, “Ghost”, and “Meaningless”
I have modified the cover (with Whirl‘s permission) in order to avoid the possibility of giving offense and losing my liquor license. You can download this excellent EP (and its racy cover) for as little as 10¢, here, but it would be nice if you gave more; funding the creation and release of more music like this is certainly a worthy cause.