Wednesday, February 12, 2014

First/Last-Roger Harvey & The Wild Life

"Introducing Roger Harvey & The Wild Life. Coming of age in Pennsylvania’s snowbelt and traveling with bands since before he was a teenager, Harvey began cutting his songwriting teeth in his early 20s as Dandelion Snow while laying down new roots in Kings County, Brooklyn. Relocating back to his home state in 2010 to form the punk act White Wives, he quickly began collecting new material. After befriending producer/multi-instrumentalist J. Vega in 2012, the two decided to hole up for over a year in Vega's studio, dubbed The Wilderness, to piece together their collaborative album, entitled Twelve Houses, with the help of nearly a dozen friends and local music makers. The Wild Life is the result of that process, starting as a single recording session and evolving into the accidental formation of a live band. Harvey and Vega convened with drummer Erik Pitluga and bassist Josh Hovanec to bring the songs to the stage. As heartbreaking as it is uplifting, Twelve Houses is a fiercely deliberate case study on nostalgia, perspective, and transformation. A beautifully lush record connected by recurring themes and symbolism, the album veers effortlessly from guitar rock to psychedelia, at times intimately minimal and others instrumentally oversaturated, Twelve Houses sounds like the record Jeff Mangum would have made if he’d grown up in the 90s. Roger Harvey & the Wild Life have partnered with Wild Kindness Records to release a series of limited 7" singles, culminating in the release of their full-length album later this year. Twelve Houses will be available everywhere September 2014."

Roger Harvey & The Wild Life make their live debut this Saturday at Brillobox for a 7" 'City Deer/Arrow-Plane' (via Wild Kindness Records) release show with Megpie (Megan & Trevor from Good Night, States!), Shockwave Riderz and Pandemic. This show will sell out (as will the limited singles left) so get there early. My thanks to Roger Harvey (Guitar/Vocals), Jay Vega (Multi-Instruments/Vocals), Josh Hovanec (Bass) and Erik Pitluga (Drums) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Roger Harvey: Operation Ivy's “Energy”.
Jay Vega: “The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads”, double vinyl. Bought it as a kid with my very own money and played the heck out of it.
Josh Hovanec: It was Green Day's album "Insomniac" on cassette. I heard from some of my friends that the "F-word" was used plenty of times and I just had to get my hands on it.
Erik Pitluga: To be honest, I don't even remember. I was 2nd handed a lot of stuff. I have a clear memory of Green Day's "Dookie" and Weezer's “Blue Album” popping up around the same time and me connecting with music for the first time.

Your last album bought?
Roger: Spiritualized. “Songs In A&E”.
Jay: My Bloody Valentine's latest, "m b v".  22 years is a long time to wait for a follow up.
Josh: Neck Deep "Wishful Thinking".
Erik: It's actually been a while since I bought something new. It's probably not entirely accurate, but let’s say Peter Janson. I heard him interviewed and perform on NPR. He writes really beautiful and articulate instrumental music on acoustic guitar.

Favorite album of all time?
Roger: Neutral Milk Hotel. “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea”.
Jay: Mercury Rev "See You On The Other Side". Criminally underrated and overshadowed by the rest of the band's career, THIS is the album where all of their psychedelic madness, weird jazz leanings, and pastoral nostalgic musing collide into an epic, sprawling masterpiece. I'd call it the “Dark Side of the Moon” for the 90's.
Josh: Whoa. That's like picking your favorite child. Let’s see I guess I would say Blink-182 “Enema Of the State”. It was the album that made me start playing music. Bass specifically because I wanted to be like Mark Hoppus (and still do).
Erik: "The Color and The Shape" by Foo Fighters.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Roger: Maybe the new PIXIES songs, but even that I like pretty alright. I don't get too bent about songs that don't resonate with me. I just leave them alone.
Jay: "Smile" by The Beach Boys. Actually, it's also one of my favorites. It only wins the "Most Disappointing" award because Brian Wilson went crazy and couldn't finish the record when the band was in its prime. Had it been completed and released in 1966, as intended, this record would have ruled the world and “Sgt. Pepper” would have seemed dated and derivative in comparison.
Josh: Don't really have one that I can think of. I usually try to find something I like about all albums that I get my hands on... even if it’s not very good.

First concert attended?
Roger: Eerie Records Halloween Showcase. Erie Art Annex. 1996.
Jay: As a small child, I accompanied my older sister and her screaming friends to the Duran Duran show at the Civic Arena in 1984. Overwhelmed by teen hormones, I actually fell asleep for about half the set. Should've stayed awake for Nick Taylor's juicy synth arpeggios.
Josh: The first concert I attended as a young buck maybe at the age of 10 was ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic. I don't think there could have been a better first concert (for me at least) to have gone to.
Erik: I think I saw Brownie Mary when I was pretty young. I remember none of it.

Last concert?
Roger: Pixies. Carnegie Music Hall Of Pittsburgh.
Jay: HughshowsX at Eide's. Does that count?
Josh: I think the last show I went to was New Found Glory/Alkaline Trio/H2O at Stage AE.
Erik: Technically I was at the Meeting of Important People show at the Warhol Museum, but I was working and didn't get to see much of the show. I did meet a lovely lady who works in yoga studio though.

Favorite concert ever?
Roger: Neil Young at Carnegie Hall.
Jay: Probably the first Lollapalooza in 1991. Or Beck with Ben Folds Five in ‘98. Or Flaming Lips in ‘95. Maybe Fugazi in ‘91.
Josh: Oooh… that's another hard one. I think it was Blink-182 with New Found Glory and Alkaline Trio as openers. It was in Ohio somewhere, I believe around 2001.
Erik: Minus the Bear, mewithoutYou, and Russian Circle at Mr. Smalls circa 2007?

Least favorite concert?
Roger: Anti-Flag, Against Me!, Rise Against, None More Black, & The Code Tour. December 2003. Emos. Austin, Texas. Nazi skinheads came to attack a group of Hispanic kids and talk shit to the bands. A huge fight broke out. The punks won, but lots of people got hurt.
Jay: I had the sad misfortune of seeing Pearl Jam three times between '90 and '94 and found them to be one of the least remarkable major bands I've witnessed.
Josh: My least favorite concert was Don McLean (the guy who sings ‘American Pie’). I saw him for free at a summer concert. Total snooze fest.
Erik: I don't go to it, but when Kenny Chesney comes to down I am usually pretty bummed out.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Roger: Pittsburgh surprises me everyday, I've met some truly incredible people here. The final show of White Wives US tour in December of 2011 is brought to mind. That was a long month. I remember loading in at Roboto and thinking to myself for the first time, "It's good to be back in Pittsburgh."
Jay: I love what is happening right now in the musical and artistic communities here in Pittsburgh. I truly believe that Pittsburgh is experiencing a cultural renaissance that will soon attract national attention to our very talented city.
Josh: Yinzers. The most entertaining people on Earth.
Erik: Pittsburgh is a unique and beautiful area full of really talented people. The spotlight seems to keep coming right back to our little city over and over for any type of listicle you could possibly imagine. I think our music community is destined to be in that spotlight at some point as well.

Thanks, fellas. So looking forward to this set. See ya soon!

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