After releasing a promising debut EP last August, LA slowcore band Sprain has announced an upcoming gig opening for Nothing on December 8th at the Echoplex. Composed of Alex Kent (guitar, vox), April Gerloff (bass, vox), Alexander Simmons (guitar), and Max Pretzer (drums), the band is no stranger to the venue; Sprain opened for iconic slowcore outfit Duster at their long-awaited reunion show in January.
Below are some highlights from my chat with guitarist and singer Alex Kent. We talk about LA’s Part Time Punks, the next release, and favorite albums.
How was it opening for Duster?
It was kind of a dream come true because everyone in the band is a really big Duster fan. Those guys are really cool and it was a really awesome experience. That’s the biggest show any of us have ever played.
Can you talk about how that came to be?
There’s this Los Angeles thing called Part Time Punks run by Michael Stock. He throws DJ nights and occasionally these shows at the Echo and the Echoplex. They’re some of the best shows in LA. He gets really interesting bands and puts together really interesting lineups and shows…We played a show last August with Planning for Burial and Drowse — that was our first Part Time Punks show — and Michael really liked us and the album. He’s helped us out and gotten us a couple more opportunities. The Duster show was one of those opportunities.
Was it a conscious decision for you to release an EP instead of a full-length album?
As I recall, it was supposed to be a full-length record and we only released half of it. The other half just got pretty much completely scrapped at this point, which is fine…I think we’ve been meaning to put more stuff out, but life gets in the way. And we are working on a new record. We’re almost done with it. Those songs have been brewing and incubating for a year and a half now. So we’re looking forward to putting those songs out.
When are you aiming to release new music?
It’s going to be 2020 sometime, that’s all I know.
Are you producing your own music?
The first EP, I recorded a lot, but April pretty much made it sound actually good. I recorded stuff and kind of blew it a bunch and then she came in and cleaned up my act. She just made the whole recording process a lot easier for me because she’s much more knowledgeable about that than I will ever be. And this second one, we’re not recording entirely on our own but there’s a few things here and there that I’ve been recording. And there’s an ambient long form, studio constructed piece that we’re just doing on our own because we don’t have the money to just go in there and spend days on things we can just make on our own.
What draws the band to slower music?
Well, I don’t know what it is exactly, but I think in Los Angeles, in particular, there’s kind of an oversaturated amount of musicians that play similar music…I think that when I was starting to go to shows when I first moved here, I was a little let down by how much bands that sound the exact same would play together on the same bills. A lot of that stuff was kind of fast garage stuff, which is completely fine, but I kind of disagree with aesthetically. I found that I was kind of falling in love with these records by Low and Codeine and Duster and Bluetile Lounge and all these slow bands that had this really cool minimalist aesthetic that I realized I could make and record in an apartment with my low budget recording gear…Nothing had to be exceptionally loud to record that music, which I couldn’t have done in the apartment setting.
Who are your favorite bands right now?
Unwound. Lowercase. Low. There’s some more contemporary bands like Drowse that we’re really into as well…There’s lots of good music coming up today that’s under the radar. I think that Drowse in particular is criminally underrated.
What is your favorite album from start to finish?
Can I do two? From start to finish, I have to say that Unwound record The Future of What is sequenced and mixed and everything about it is perfect to me. I really like how thematically it’s this nihilistic tour de force. That record is just fucking awesome. My other favorite record to play start to finish has got to be Yanqui U.X.O. by Godspeed You! Black Emperor because I think that record came to me at a very specific point in my life. It’s always been a really cathartic record for me and I just think it flows in the sequence and the compositions on that are just really next level.