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Up and Coming: Graveyard Lovers

Up and Coming is our new bi-monthly column spotlighting Brooklyn-based musicians.

Band Name: Graveyard Lovers
Music Genre: Garage Rock/Blues
New Album: Dreamers

Self-described as a “Louisiana blues-infused grunge rock” band, Bushwick-based band Graveyard Lovers are gearing up for a few local shows as well as the release of their debut LP, Dreamers. I sat down with band members Zach Reynolds and Tricia Purvis at a local bar to talk about their musical roots, the recording of their new album and their love of rooftop parties.

Where are you guys originally from?

Zach: I’m originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, but I lived in New Orleans for a long time. We were introduced by a good friend from New Orleans.

Tricia: I’m from Long Island. I’ve been in Brooklyn for about eight years.

How did you guys get together as a band?

Zach: We are a couple, actually. We dated for a year before we started playing music together. I was playing music with other people. When I came to New York, I was doing mostly folk, singer/songwriter kind of stuff. And she had been playing drums.

Tricia: I would just be playing drum beats when he’d walk by and hoping that he’d go, “wait, hold on!” [laughs]

Zach: I was just kind of oblivious. She was taking drum lessons every week. She has a good friend who is a semi-famous drummer from a bad-ass rock band that got her playing in the first place.

Can I ask who?

Tricia: Leah Shapiro from the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Oh, cool!

Tricia: We were really good friends and she would go to this studio to practice and I’d go meet her there. I’d sit down and she’d teach me a thing or two and then I just loved it. I said to her, “let’s barter here. I’ll take you out to dinner and you can teach me some drum beats.” So she started teaching me a little bit every week. But then she started playing with these big bands like the Ravonettes and was on tour, so I just started taking other lessons once or twice a week.

Zach: Yeah, I just started assuming it was her kind of therapy. Then we finally got to a point where we started playing together and it was immediately cool. It just took off right from there and we started a band.

Were you in other bands prior to that?

Zach: I played with some other bands back in Louisiana. But I was also going to open-mic nights. I have one EP as a singer-songwriter from back in 2007 and that’s all I’d really done. This is my first real band.

What were some of the other bands like that you played with in Louisiana?

Zach: I played trombone in a couple of bands. I grew up playing horns. It’s huge down south. I feel like everyone can play a horn down there. New Orleans is just such a drum and horn town. You pick it up. It’s not a rock and roll town.

How would you describe Graveyard Lovers’ sound?

Zach: I think if you listen to our first EP, when we were a two-piece, we were very much a garage rock band, like The White Stripes or The Black Keys. We were playing the blues every time we met up and played. We were definitely compared to the White Stripes and I would agree with that comparison.

Were the White Stripes a big influence to you?

Zach: Not really, I think it just ended up that way. When you listen to the blues and turn it into rock and roll on your own and you’re a two-piece, you just tend to write that way.

What are some of your big musical influences?

Zach: A lot of old blues stuff, especially Delta blues. Besides that, I was really into grunge growing up. This new album is a lot more well-produced and sounds way more diverse. There’s bass all over this one. We did a lot more experimenting. It listens like a Pearl Jam record, in a weird way. I hear some Smashing Pumpkins in it a bit, too. I didn’t realize that until after it was done. I’m cool with that though. I’m totally embracing it.

Yeah, they’re great bands!

Zach: I think it’s kind of coming back in a way. I hear all the influences of what I listened to in high school coming into it and I think it’s kind of cool. We’re kind of grungy.

You have a new album coming out soon, right?

Zach: Yeah, it’s called Dreamers and it’s coming out September 17th.

Did you record it here in Brooklyn?

Zach: We recorded it at an awesome studio called The Radar Studio in Clinton, Connecticut. It’s a friend of ours’ studio. My brother Orion is possibly going to be playing with us now. He just moved to Brooklyn. The network of musicians here in Brooklyn that I know are his people. They’ve all been great. A lot of metal dudes are in with that group. And they’ve helped us out a lot. They helped us make this record. They helped us with making connections and getting us shows booked and with producing this album.

Tricia: And they helped with the album art. It’s kind of a family of people. We’ve had friends help make videos. Everyone helps each other do what needs to be done.

Zach: Yeah, everyone’s good at something different.

Do you have a tour planned for after you release your album?

Zach: We’re working on that now and talking to a guy about booking a tour. We definitely want to do that. But we also want to have a big CD-release party here in New York.

Do you have a favorite Brooklyn venue for checking out bands?

Zach: I go to Public Assembly a lot. Glasslands we like a lot. We’ve played there several times. It’s just a cool place. I’m trying to think if there’s anything outside of Williamsburg... 

Tricia: We don’t know anything outside of Williamsburg? That’s sad. [laughs]

Zach: We played the Bell House. We played the front bar of that. We’re not big enough to play the back room yet.

One of the most fun nights I’ve ever had here was in the front room there, actually!

Zach: That place was crazy! Yeah. I want to hang out there more. We were there for a fundraiser.

Do you have any favorite Brooklyn record shops?

Zach: We do collect vinyl, but we always buy it off the street. So my favorite record store is this guy on Bedford [laughs].

What are some of your favorite summer activities here in Brooklyn?

Zach: I love running. I went running on those trails in Prospect Park today. I just think that park is so incredible. I find new places there every time I go. I can’t speak highly enough of it. I like it when it’s really hot. It reminds me of Louisiana. Also, we love our friend Matt’s rooftop, where we spent the Fourth of July. It’s in Greenpoint and just has a spectacular view. He has this private rooftop. It’s a steal of an apartment. He doesn’t even pay that much for it, that’s the thing. It’s a fifth floor walk-up, so it’s a lot of stairs. But that rooftop, you could sit there all day and look at the view.

Graveyard Lovers plays at Ran Tea House in Williamsburg on July 18th.

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