Pickwick Prep for New Year's Eve Gig; Think Best-Selling Myths Is 'Like a Demo Tape'

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"It's funny that we're talking about Myths," said Pickwick guitarist Michael Parker, during a chat for the latest edition of Tell Me About That Album, "Because all of us on some level are embarrassed of those recordings because we don't really feel like they represent what we do all that well." Maybe so, but the album, a compilation of several self-released seven-inches, put the six-piece Seattle band on the map in a major way in 2012 and was one of the biggest-selling releases by an unsigned band, selling several thousand copies. It also got the attention of professional management, which helped the band get label interest for their first proper record, which will come out in 2013 (details forthcoming). Pickwick will celebrate their year with a New Year's Eve gig at the Showbox Market, the biggest local show they've ever played. In advance of the show, I talked to Parker, as well as singer Galen Disston, about Myths and their banner year.

As you were releasing the series of seven-inches, did you know you'd end up compiling them onto a single record?

Michael Parker: That was just an idea that we came up with as a way to have everything consolidated. The one problem we had with the seven-inches is we did all of that on our own and the manufacturing and the cost was expensive and logistically it was tough to get them as quickly as we needed. Compiling them into one thing seemed like a nice way to give everybody those songs all at once.

In lieu of continuing to press more copies of each seven-inch you mean?

Parker: Yeah. I think we sold our first seven-inch at the Sunset and by the time they were all released, we were playing at the Neptune. It all happened pretty fast and it was pretty weird. It was surprising to us that people bought seven-inches. We thought that we were the only ones who would be into it, so that was pretty cool.

Did you guys have a strategy about building a local following or did that just happen organically?

Parker: We've been a band for a long time in Seattle and it's only been in the last year and half that we've been able to play some bigger shows.

Galen Disston: We did a video in our basement with a bunch of friends and that was a big shift between playing at the Sunset, which is a venue I love, and bigger venues with people singing along. I don't know what it was about that video, but it gave people an access point where they were able to interact with our music where that had never happened before.

Parker: I think it helped people get an idea what our live show was about. It led to KEXP getting interest in us. The Seattle Times wrote about us. You guys wrote some stuff about us. It all just snowballed from those little videos that we did. One thing that we discovered is that if you're going to be a band these days, there's so much clutter out there that you really have to be creative in the ways that you get your music out there. Seven-inches were an attempt at that. Videos were a part of that. And just trying to make the ways that you release your music a creative endeavor.

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Why the title Myths?

Disston: I don't like to reveal too much about the content of the songs but it relates to the content of the songs.

You don't want to give away too much because you want people to come to their own conclusions?

Disston: Yeah, but also, the songs are each about something specific and I just prefer when people are able to discover that on their own. I think that that kind of journey has added to my appreciation of music and I think that when people stumble upon the meaning of some of the songs it adds to the listening experience.

Your upcoming New Year's Eve gig is your first locally in about a year. Why did you guys take so much time off from playing Seattle?

Parker: This whole last year has been a very interesting year to say the least. One of the things that has come from it, is that we made a decision to try and get our feet wet by touring nationally as much as we can. We all work day jobs so we've had to do that at our own pace, and we've been lucky enough to not only have a following in Seattle, but we now have a little bit of a following in Portland and San Francisco and L.A. and Denver. And we played South by Southwest for the first time. We're trying to expand regionally and get people used to our sound before our record actually comes out in a couple months.

Will some of the songs from Myths end up on the new record?

Parker:There's 13 songs on the new record and we re-recorded three.

So you're really think of your upcoming record as your first full-length?

Parker: Yes. It's safer to say that we as a band think of Myths as like our demo tape.

What are the logistics of selling so many records locally? Are you guys literally driving from store to store every few days to make sure each outlet is stocked?

Disston: That's exactly how it is. We get an email from the store and then we drive around to each one in a car.

Parker: It's both a blessing and a curse that we're a fairly large band, so having six people in the band brings with it some logistical issues but it also makes it so that we are our own little street team. We have one guy who's an engineer so he records us. We have one guy who's a graphic designer so he does the art. We have another guy who has a lot of spare time on his hands so he takes things to the record stores. Everybody has not one, but six or seven jobs that they do within the band.

What do you have planned for the New Year's Eve show? Have you played the Showbox before?

Parker: No and it'll be the biggest venue we've played in Seattle. We've played the Neptune twice. We're going to play a couple new songs that people haven't heard and we're really excited to play with Tomten and Radiation City. I saw Radiation City just got listed as one of NPR's bands that you should know in 2012. We're really excited about the show.

 
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