MWN: Hey ya’ll. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions. Recently, your 5th EP “Bicycle Face” was released on September 22, 2017. How does it feel to finally have it out in the world?
The Persian Leaps: Thanks, it feels great! When we were working on the EP, I felt like it was our strongest, most cohesive collection of songs, so I’m excited to have completed and shared the EP.
MWN: Speaking of the record, it has quite an oddly interesting name. Is there any backstory as to how “Bicycle Face” came about?
The Persian Leaps: A few years ago, I read an article about “bicycle face,” which was a fake medical condition that doctors of the late 1800s concocted to try to scare women away from riding bicycles. Apparently, men of the time were threatened by the independence that bicycles granted to women. The article had a picture of a young woman from 1895 standing with her bicycle. She looked incredibly poised and independent, and I fell a little in love with her. That picture actually is the basis for the EP’s cover art.
MWN: I noticed you guys like to release an EP every Fall. Why did that season stick out to you the most?
The Persian Leaps: When I was in college in the late ’80s, it seemed like the bands I liked would release an album every fall. I just assumed that fall was when you released an album if you were an indie rock band. For us, we fell into a rhythm where we’d record an EP over the cold Minnesota winter, spend the spring getting it ready to release, take a break from playing live over the summer, and then gear up for the release in the fall. Rinse and repeat, five years in a row. It was a good pattern for us–productive but manageable for guys who have families and careers.
MWN: In the “Even Less” music video showcases a man and the aftermath of a heartache. Was this influenced by a personal experience that one of you may have gone through?
The Persian Leaps: Actually, no, not at all. I almost never write directly personal or autobiographical songs. The lyrics and theme of the song came together as a story. I probably started with the chorus phrase “If I was nothing when I was with you, I’m even less than that right now” and built around it. For the video, I had always wanted to shoot a music video in an antique store where there were tons of interesting, random objects in the background. It so happened that a friend of mine, Amy Buchanan, opened a vintage store called Center for Lost Objects. It also turned out that she had a background in film. Also, she occasionally hosts drawing classes at her store where the artists draw a nude model. All that came together for the video. I took the chorus to an absurd extreme, showing a man who’s lost everything and has sunk so low that he lives in the Center for Lost Objects and appears nightly–in the nude!–as the Empty Man.
MWN: How would you describe the evolution of the band’s sound from the 1st EP to the 5th EP?
The Persian Leaps: Minimal (haha). We definitely haven’t consciously tried to radically change our sound like some bands do (Radiohead, for example). I like to think that I’ve matured as a songwriter, and the band has definitely gelled over the last few years. Also, we’ve improved at getting what we want out of the recording process, and we’ve built up a great collaborative relationship with Neil Weir, with whom we’ve recorded and/or mixed all of our EPs.
MWN: Since you guys put out an EP every Fall. How does writing music work? Does it come all at once or just here and there like a wave?
The Persian Leaps: Typically, I write and record demos for songs as often as I can. One-two songs per month, if I’m lucky. From there, I let the songs gestate for a few months or a year. Not all of them make it, but if I can come back to a song after several months and it still resonates, I know it’s worth pursuing. From there, I arrange the “keepers” in batches of 5 songs that fit well together. I usually have our releases planned 1-2 EPs ahead.
MWN: Are there certain songs you’re excited for people to hear? Or better yet perform live?
The Persian Leaps: Like I said, I feel like this collection of our songs is the strongest one yet–to the point where I really had a hard time figuring out which song should be the single.
MWN: Bicycle Face has a very 70s-80s vibe, which I absolutely love! Were there certain influences that helped with the creative process?
The Persian Leaps: I don’t think that any bands influenced Bicycle Face that hadn’t influenced our previous EPs. But yeah, I’m clearly influenced by bands I listened to when I came of age in the ’80s and early ’90s like The Smiths, Guided By Voices, Teenage Fanclub, R.E.M., and The Posies. They continue to have a big impact on my songwriting.
MWN: Lastly to wrap things up, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. Is there a possible tour in the near future?
The Persian Leaps: You’re welcome! Unfortunately, we’ve never been able to tour because of careers, families, and so on. We’ve played a lot in the Twin Cities and very occasionally in smaller towns in the region, but that’s as far as we made it.
MWN: Well Drew thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us! It was such a pleasure!
Interview By: Ashtyan Wachtel