Thrill-whoring with Charleston’s Forest Tourist
Charleston’s Forest Tourist qualify as another prime example of the fecund regional beach music scene Corbie Hill wrote about in the latest issue of Shuffle. Guitarist/vocalist Edward Burroughs and drummer Marco Frey met in early 2011 after an off-putting set by the former, quickly discovering their opposites-attract inspiration: Frey, who studied jazz as an undergraduate, and Burroughs, a poetry major and avid songwriter, combined to produce a dreamy, reverb-coated self-titled EP in the summer of 2011, described by Columbia’s Free Times as “an extraterrestrial Washed Out, reaching for Deerhunter art-pop glory.”
To bolster the project, Burroughs and Frey brought in keyboardist Trey Cooper, another jazz major, and bassist Kyle Brown, Burroughs’ long-time collaborator. The new alchemy resulted in new sonic territory, the self-described trash-pop of the six-song EP Pop Reject. The new album will see an official release on July 10, but you can stream lead single “Winnebago Dreams” below. On Pop Reject, the blend of Burroughs’ rakish, Jarvis Cocker-style vocals and the band’s insistent rhythms add “a tinge of sensuous danger, cajoling the songs from the trashcan (or mosh pit) into the bedroom,” noted one Shuffle writer with especially impeccable taste.
Shuffle‘s John Schacht reached out to Burroughs and Brown with a few email questions, and they responded, shedding some light on the band’s deadly-serious-fun-aesthetic.
Shuffle: How did Edward and Marco meet, and tell us how the rest were recruited?
Edward Burroughs: Marco and I were in a creative writing class together a while back. We didn’t immediately vibe it out but were respectful acquaintances. I played a solo super lo-fi show at this academic poetry reading, which turned everyone off who was there, but I guess left some sort of an impression on Marco as far as “what I was going for.” I think Marco got into tape recording a few months later, and called me with interest to collaborate. Long story short, we became roommates. I wrote some songs in two weeks being all vulnerable over this girl, and we would work for two or three hours every night after I would get off work at 10 p.m. This period was real fun and eventually turned out to be the first EP (Forest Tourist) — it was just pure bro-manship and the low-brow, high-stakes nature of tape recording. Marco had played jazz with Trey, Trey actually played some on this first EP. Marco did some synth work too. It had always strictly been a recording project but at some point it coursed into something more, I guess wanting to play these songs and new more rocking songs which were already happening live. I had been playing music with Kyle for years, and he had just got back from studying abroad in Prague. I have always loved Kyle. Everything made sense.
Shuffle: Your sound has changed since the first EP — describe the transition and why it happened.
EB: Forest Tourist began as a recording project. All of the first EP songs were written alone in my room on an acoustic guitar. What can I say? I got anti-weed, pro-alcoholic and wanted to improvise rock songs to fucking drumz!
Shuffle: You just finished your first significant tour, a Southeast jaunt — what were some of the highlights? What did you learn about each other’s on-the-road peccadilloes?
EB: We got lucky, randomly stayed with a good amount of rich girls whose parents were out of town. Even got to stay in a few lake houses. I caught a fish, I got way too drunk, no sleep, Kyle punched me in the face twice and my nose still hurts. We met some characters, holler out to Smoking Nurse and the Orchidales! There were some mom tugs involved.
Kyle Brown: As far as peccadilloes, we all found our comfy routines on the road. Trey had five meals a day, Marco spent a lot of time in coffee shops looking for love and stimulation, and I attempted to keep up with Ed’s hysterical drunken habit, although my engine isn’t as strong. Sometimes you’ve got to deny the bourbon at four in the morning when you know you’ll be driving all day tomorrow. Ed just loves to have fun all the damn time; he’s a thrill whore. And he wants you to be there with him. I guess I loved to drive, couldn’t get enough of it, and blaring Saves the Day and Some Girls.
Shuffle: “Trash Pop” — give us an idea what that means to you, and how it differs from garage — or garbage? — pop? And what is your take on being a “pop reject?”
EB: Garage and garbage to this point have generally been thought about as synonymous. I’m interested in this genre, I like garage bands. I don’t like them as much as what’s going on in rap right now, or what has gone on in pop. The 80s are amazing because they melded the two so well. Such bizarre yayed up quirkiness! Rebellious, but more overwhelmingly pop than pop could handle. I love that period when a “great” video was defined based on how many midgets were in it. Fuck yeah! All I care about are hooks and attitude. Trash Pop is hooks and attitude.
Shuffle: We read about the Jarvis Cocker influence in the press kit and agree — what is it about the Pulp leader that attracts? What are some of your other influences/inspirations?
EB: Jarvis Cocker is cool as fuck. If you tried to put the man in a box, the box would be labeled “High Trash.” Other influences go like Roxy Music, The Modern Lovers, Deerhunter, Pop Country. I am a huge Kanye West fan. I cannot stress further!
Shuffle: Dream bill for you guys: What era, where, with whom, and why?
EB: 1984, The Drunk Orphans headline with The Gleaming Spires, we open doing Rolling Stones covers at an invisible bar called the Trash Nest in Tulsa, Arizona.
Shuffle: Finally, please tell our readers your definition of a “reverse hangover.” Why are they awesome? What’s the best one you’ve had recently?
EB: A reverse hangover is waking up after a hard night of drinking and finding yourself in the most creative state of mind you’ve ever been in. You’re slightly drunk still, and you feel bad, but anyone in this state buys a Gatorade. (I recommend Riptide Rush.) Waking up next to someone will result in an incredible day of jokes and maybe a marriage! Waking up alone will result in a great poem/song/whatever-you-do. Waking up next to a heroin addict will result in heroin. (Allow this not to taint the attitudes of potential possessor’s of reverse hangovers. Shit’s tight! After all Radiohead is just a worse version of Coldplay right?)