Interview with Nick of Pariah Beat
by Taylor Long of t-sides

You have a new album, Bury Me Not, that you recorded in quite a few places, and took quite some time to put together. Was the moving around and extended process due to necessity, or was that just how you wanted it done?

It was a combination of wanting to get it right and necessity. We did the bulk of it over two weeks in January of 2010, but there were a couple of pieces we wanted help with. We had some tourdates in the south, and we had some friends in South Carolina who we really wanted to include, so we brought the recording gear with us. We did another of handful of songs down there, but they didn’t quite work with the sound of the first batch. Eventually we ended up using mostly material from the first two weeks, but we kept tinkering with overdubs. The last track we finished was the album’s closer, Family Pet, and at that point we realized it was done. I’m real proud of the album, and the group of players we got to work with us were really exceptional.

Pariah Beat has a pretty particular sound – you’re usually described under the umbrella term of “americana” – did you consciously set out wanting to create that kind of feel, or was that something that came about organically?

The original idea for the band was to try and do with the American music tradition what the Pogues did with Irish music. I liked the idea a lot because I think the Pogues have been misrepresented a bit. They played a lot of rowdy Irish bar music, but mixed in all sorts of other elements. They have a song called Turkish Song of the Damned which is one of my favorites, and it has a Middle Eastern Pirate Ship sort of feel. A lot of bands that emulate the Pogues, like the Dropkick Murphys, really missed this nuance. Instead they turned up the distorted guitars and gang vocals. That’s not what we wanted to do.

We’ve tried to mix in a lot of other influences. Our last album had touches of klezmer, swing, blues, rockabilly, and anything else we took a liking to. This time we tried to really focus on what we thought we did best as a group, playing songs set in the American folk tradition, but doing it like we were a 21st Century rock n roll band.

Having Vermont as a home-base, and therefore not having a huge urban city within a short drive, is a tricky situation for a lot of bands, especially in terms of reaching new audiences – what have you liked most about being a part of a smaller community, and what have been the biggest challenges about it?

We actually gave a fighting go of living in Boston. Most of us were down there for about 3 years. I’m back in Vermont. I have a place in South Royalton with a barn and a pond, and we’ve been playing a lot of late night barn music. I wouldn’t trade it, ever. The Upper Valley is my home, and a like the place of life.

As of right now, the band is a bit dispersed, so we haven’t been playing as much as I’d like to out of Vermont. I don’t do well with feeling restless, so I’m going to have to find a way to start playing around New England and down south some more like we used to.

All in all though, I’d take being an integral part of a small community over the anonymity of the city any day. What we have as a band in the Upper Valley feels really special, and I’m deeply appreciative.

Check out Pariah Beat – here

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