There's plenty of reasons to be grateful to Minnesota; the state is the birthplace of masking tape, the stapler, Green Giant vegetables and Aveda beauty products... and as if it hasn't given us enough already, it's giving The Persian Leaps to us too.
The band is influenced by all things Post-Punk, together with the likes of The Smiths, Teenage Fanclub and Guided By Voices. After catching the attention of The NME with their last EP, The Persian Leaps are back with 'Drive Drive Delay' an EP that is packed with instantly catchy melodic harmonies layered on top of driving guitars, creating a really compelling record.
We met up with Drew from the band at the Saint Paul's branch of Izzy's Ice Cream (2034 Marshall Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55104) where we were forced to make some really tough decisions, which flavour of ice cream were we gonna try? I had my heart set on the butter pecan or quite possibly the salted caramel, Drew was in a complete mess, he didn't know what he wanted, in the end I ordered him a maple nut cone, ushered him to a booth and sat down, we ate most of ice cream, then had a good old chat about archaeology, starting your own record label and what he sings in the shower, here's how it went....
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence....
The Persian Leaps are a noise-pop band from Saint Paul, Minnesota.
You’re called The Persian Leaps, how did you go about choosing this name?
True story: I used to be an archaeologist. I got a Master's degree in archaeology and worked in the field for years. Back in college, I was in a Greek Archaeology class and doodled a poem that started with the line "The Persian leaps from his chariot." The poem sucked but I really liked how the phrase "The Persian Leaps" sounded and decided that would be my band's name some day.
‘Drive Drive Delay’ is your 2nd LP how do you compare this record to your debut ‘Praise Elephants’?
More mature and confident. Certainly better production, since "Drive Drive Delay" was recorded in a real studio. The songs from both EPs are really about the same vintage, but we've gelled more as band. The first EP was more jangly whereas the 2nd is darker and fuzzier, but I wouldn't read too much into that. We still have plenty of jangle left in us.
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released and why?
That's like "Sophie's Choice." I can't even narrow down my desert island list to 10 albums.
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it? (only living members please)
Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices) -- vocals; Terry Bickers (House of Love) -- guitars; Johnny Marr -- guitars; Mark Burgess (Chameleons) -- bass; Jon Wurster (Superchunk) -- drums.
Superman deflects bullets when they’re fired at him, so why does he duck, when someone throws a gun at him?
Even now, a crack team of editors at DC Comics is planning a major full-year, multi-title event to retcon an explanation. Two major characters will die, three characters who had previously died will come back to life under implausible circumstances, and the DC Universe will never be the same again!
How was your Christmas and New Years? What did you all get up to? Get anything special from Santa?
We all had a fun, relaxing time! We spent a day in the studio and then took some time off from practicing. I had my pedal board professionally rewired and set up as a Christmas present to myself.
You’re signed with Land Ski Records, how did this come about and what advice would you offer an aspiring musician/band to look out for?
Land Ski is actually a label that I started myself. Right before we released our first EP in 2013, the label that intended to release it went out of business. We already had firm plans and a release show booked so I just forged on and started my own label. Since then, Land Ski has released another Persian Leaps EP, and more recently, stuff from other Twin Cities bands. I've found that I actually really enjoy running the label, although we're very small with modest goals. My advice to other musicians is: start your own label!
What song do you most often sing in the shower?
"You Make Me Feel So Young" by Frank Sinatra. Or anything from his "Songs for Swingin' Lovers" album, really.
I gather Drew Forsberg studied Greek Archeology, how did you get on with this and is there anything that would tell the readers concerning
I took classes in Greek Archaeology in college and then went on to get a Master's degree in Interdisciplinary Archaeological Studies, as well as a minor in Quaternary Paleoecology. I was interested in combining geology and archaeology to reconstruct what the environment would have been like at archaeological sites thousands of years ago when people actually lived there. But I never did much with that--I went into consulting, leading surveys of proposed pipeline routes to identify archaeological sites that might be destroyed by construction. And then I got into web development and left archaeology behind. And then I started a band... and continued developing websites.
Do you own a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
No, of course not! But I do have a friend who enjoys listening to Def Leppard when no one else is around to judge him. Or her.
Who designed the artwork for your Album cover?
A great Minneapolis artist named Laura F. Bennett. She's also a drummer and was in Red Pens, one of my favorite local bands, a few years back. In addition to all that, she custom paints guitar pedals. So, when I had the idea for the EP name and the concept of the 3 pedals on the cover, I couldn't think of a better person to paint it. Everyone's loved how it turned out, and I have the original framed and hanging on my wall at home.
What made you place the songs in the order that they appear in on the new album?
I put a lot of thought into sequencing our songs--both for live performances and for the releases. When I wrote "Fire Starter", I knew right away that it would be good for opening shows or an album. It's about starting something dangerous, and... um... it has the word "start" in it. Anyway, sometimes I'll make playlists in iTunes of our demos and try out different sequences to find the best order. But it's mostly just instinct or intuition.
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
I'd be pretty excited to have written and recorded "Christine" by the House of Love, "Up the Down Escalator" by the Chameleons, "Sparky's Dream" by Teenage Fanclub, or one of several hundred Guided By Voices songs.
First gig you ever went to?
The first show period was Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie performing together at the Minnesota State Fair in 1985. My first rock show was incredible--Echo & the Bunnymen, New Order, and Gene Loves Jezebel in 1987. I wouldn't trade that one for anything.
For such songs as ‘Pretty Boy’ and ‘(Goodybe) South Carolina’ where did you channel the inspiration to achieve two tracks that would be perfect to listen to on a Saturday night?
Man... we really were trying for Friday, so this is very distressing news to hear. "Pretty Boy" is, to date, the dumbest song we've recorded. It's about an average boy who's been ignored but is "pretty" on the inside. "(Goodbye to) South Carolina" is about growing up in a small town in the South or Midwest with small-minded people and dreaming of fleeing to the West Coast to reinvent yourself.
Where did you record your album ‘Drive Drive Delay’ and what made you choose that studio
We've worked with Neil Weir at Old Blackberry Way in Minneapolis on both of our records. The first one was self-recorded in a dining room in rural Minnesota, but we brought the raw tracks to Neil and he cleaned them up and mixed them. For the 2nd EP, we knew we wanted to record in his studio. It was a great experience, and we've already started working with him again for our next release. Neil's great, and has worked with a lot of local bands that we respect. Also, in the 1980s, the Replacements and Husker Du recorded at the studio (under a previous owner), so it's got some great rock and roll history.
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
Check out our label mates, Deleter and The Person & The People.
What are your plans for 2015?
We have this crazy, ill-conceived plan of limiting ourselves to only releasing a 5-song EP every year. Each winter, we'll record the absolute best 5 songs we have and then release them the following fall. We have more songs, which we do play live, but I'm interested in discipline, pacing, and quality control, especially since our handlers at the record label don't pay us anything. So, we've followed that pattern 2 years in a row now and will continue to do so until we run out of good songs. We already recorded the first new song at the end of December and have 4 more to go. We'll release the next EP in Fall 2015 on Land Ski Records, so stay tuned!
All of the ice cream had been eaten, a little too quickly so we were all feeling nice and bloated, we ordered a round of frothy coffees and whilst waiting for them to appear at the table, I threw in a few quickfire questions for Drew to chew on....
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee. Always, and to excess.
Coke or Pepsi?
See above (coffee)
Brock Lesnar or Sean Sherk?
Honestly, I had to Google them... Now that I know who they are, I still don't know.
Drum machine or the real deal?
Real drums, although machines can be fun. I use programmed drums for all my demos.
Mac or PC?
PC. My day job building websites is on a PC but I do use a Mac for recording demos. It's all good. They both crash, no matter what anyone tells you.
Taco or Burger?
Taco--any day, every day.
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
CD or Vinyl?
Sean William Scott or Prince?
Car or Motorbike?
Judi Dench or Meryl Streep?
Dame Judi Dench
Acoustic or electric?
Electric. I sat in my room playing acoustic for years. Screw that!
Shower or Bath?
Bath, when I have time. I always try to take a bath before a gig, to relax myself.
Tattoos or Piercings?
Robert de Niro or Al Pacino?
Robert de Niro
God or Google?
Google, because it knows everything and always watches o'er me.
We'd like to thank Drew for taking the time out to sit and answer our questions and we wish the band every success in 2015, we are especially looking forward to their new EP which should be landing in 'Fall 2015' (which I think means Autumn to anyone in the UK). Please take a moment out of your hectic schedules to check this awesome band out, their social channels are all listed below, all you need to do is click on the link and it will teleport you to that site, amazing!