ACL Music Fest Saturday Interview
Pillwave meets Ameropean trancehall
Bear in Heaven1:30pm, Zync Card stage
"An odd thing just happened. I was standing outside my friend Dan's and a car drove by playing one of our songs. Kind of blew my mind!"
Bear in Heaven singer Jon Philpot's adventures in synchronicity are no doubt happening a lot more these days. Across two assonant LPs for Portland, Ore., label Hometapes – 2007's Red Bloom of the Boom and last year's Beast Rest Forth Mouth – the Brooklyn trio has reached more accessible heights. Bloom was abrasive and raw, filled with the flora and fauna of drone and prog, while Beast channels those impulses into a more cohesive, melodic electronic sound.
"There's been a shift," agrees Philpot, who started Bear in Heaven as a solo project. "We made a record that people connect with. The shift wasn't a conscious decision. We wanted to make music for us and other people. Historically, we only made music for ourselves."
Beast was just re-released as an expanded two-disc album, featuring remixes by the Field, High Places, Matthew Dear, and Justin K. Broadrick of Jesu, among others. The reinterpretations add another layer to the trio's glacial, stratified pop, namely Twin Shadow's heavy-lidded New Wave nod to album standout "Lovesick Teenagers."
Speaking of which, with the cringe-inducing "chillwave" genre currently being tacked on to any band with a synth, Philpot tried to come up with more suitable labels for their sound:
"Thrillwave, spillwave, or maybe pillwave? Ameropean trancehall. Puka shell techno."