On Thursday, I had the pleasure of speaking with Christopher Wallace and Andrew Pendergrast of Owl Like Creature about their project and upcoming EP release.
W: Can you tell me how long you have been playing, and when you started Owl Like Creature?
C: I started when I was 19, back in 2009, so I’ve been doing this for about 6 years. I started out recording with headphones, and just figuring out music in general. It just kind of grew.
W: Did you call yourself Owl Like Creature then?
C: I went through so many names! It was like, 21 Century Daydream, or Sailing Day… I was just going through names like crazy, but I finally decided on one.
A: It goes with the hat!
C: Yeah, I normally wear this owl hat at shows. It keeps me nice and cozy.
W: Do you have any major musical influences?
C: Yeah. I listened to a lot of Japanese bands, especially one called the Novembers; strictly their shoegaze/hardcore stuff. And then Radiohead. Who are my influences? I listened to a lot.
A: It may not be a conscious influence, but I can always hear a little bit of Eliot Smith, especially with the D tuning and finger style.
C: Yeah, Eliot Smith, definitely. And another Japanese band, Asian Kung-fu Generation. They’re really cool. They’re like the Beatles of Japan. And yeah, the Beatles too. A lot of influences.
W: So, you are working on a new EP currently. What is the name of that?
C: Actually this one is self titled. It is the EP I really want people to listen to, because after all these years of not knowing what I’m doing, I feel like this is the one that starts to define Owl Like Creature. And I got Andrew to play keyboards!
A: Yeah! When he asked me about it, I had heard him play live shows before. Then we got into recording, and he has a really cool DIY approach to recording that I super dig. So it was a lot of fun. It was a chance for me to do something a little different.
W: Can you tell me about your content, like what you write about? Especially for this project.
C: Oh man. Well, a lot of bad memories, like past bad stuff… Like ex-roommates and falling out with friends, and also personal experiences. Insomnia, depression, and all around stuff like that.
W: Do you feel like that’s a good way to release those?
C: Yeah, definitely. If I can’t feel sad then I don’t know how I can continue living, as weird as that sounds. But you need that emotion, that’s what I think. I’m not saying you need it all the time, but it helps my writing a lot.
W: So are you planning an album release show?
C: Yes, next month. It’s going to be at The Sea Lab, where Andrew’s other band, The Sea Lab- who you should totally check out, they’re amazing- basically has their headquarters.
A: It’s a DIY venue in DC that has shows pretty regularly. Actually we have a show there tomorrow with The Sea Lab.
W: Do you help run that?
A: I help, barely. The guitarist lives there, and he definitely does most of the work around the place. But we practice there, so sometimes I help with shows.
W: Are there other good local DIY spots you like to play?
A: The Bathtub Republic is a cool one, Above the Bayu is one of my favorites. There’s been a rotating set of music loving residents who have always been willing to throw shows there. It’s really cool, there have been a lot of great shows.
W: Do you feel the DC scene has been very supportive of this project, and your other musical endeavors?
A: The DC DIY scene does not get nearly enough credit. I mean, you think of a place like Philly as having a great DIY scene, but DC has it too. There is always a great turnout at DIY shows. The scene is awesome, and I encourage everyone to go out and get involved with it. That’s how we met.
C: Yeah, I moved here from Greensborough, NC and thought, I’ve got to be a part of this local music scene, so I went to a random show at The Sea Lab.
W: What are some favorite local acts that you like to see or play shows with?
C: Well definitely the Sea Lab! I can’t express that enough. I like you guys, the Meer. And what was your old group? Wind Divine!
W: Can you tell me about the writing/recording process? Andrew, what was it like to work with Chris?
A: He had these songs totally written when I came in, so it was like, how are we going to change the texture of these songs? It was a lot of exploring different settings and figuring out what effects to use. I just got a new keyboard that I’m totally in love with, so it was a fun way to see what it could do in a different setting than my band.
W: What would you say is your favorite… Do you like performing, recording or writing?
C: I’d say it’s probably writing. Performing is fun, but I’m always stressed out. I just want to do it, and have fun with it, and have it be over. And recording is like a kick in the ass sometimes. But I have a lot of fun writing, because it’s like putting a puzzle together. Order of preference would be writing, performing, recording.
W: What are your future plans for Owl Like Creature?
C: I’ve been working on a couple of new songs. I’m trying to explore different genres. I’m really into shoegaze, and jazz. Expect to hear more weird stuff. I’d like to record another EP with more people involved… I’d love to have a full band, I just have to find the right people.
by Wanda Perkins