I met Paul Whitacre from the band Whitacre at least a year ago and I have been trying to make a show of his ever since. For whatever reason it has never worked out, but I am looking forward to their headlining show at Lost Lake on October 27th. (Yes, I’ll be there this time, damnit!)
This week, I got on the phone with Paul and drummer Mark Cunningham to talk about how the band came about and where they are headed. Chase (banjo), Robert (guitar) and Joey (bass) couldn’t make it. The answers below are really the three of us chatting rather than a more formal interview, so some of the words are Paul’s and some are Mark’s. I really should have made notes about that (oops) but I was just having a nice time getting to know them.
I look forward to seeing much more of these guys around Denver in the future! Thanks for taking the time to hang out.
Interview with Whitacre
Tell me about Whitacre, the band.
Well, I am a singer-songwriter originally from Indiana and I moved here two years ago by myself. Mark actually contacted me on Instagram and said maybe we should get together and play some. Then the others joined in and the band really took a snowball effect in becoming what it is now.
What does the band sound like?
The easiest way to say it is probably “indie folk” but was some strong rock vibes. Rock with banjo? We hear ourselves compared to lots of different bands and none of those bands sound like each other so I think that’s a really good thing. The songs are all about storytelling but when we play live it’s definitely a full rock band performance.
How do you write the songs?
Well, at first, we had a lot of recycled music from me when I was on my own. Now when we sit down to write a new song, I come from things with more of a four chord pop influence – that is a definitely guilty pleasure of mine – and the guys have such a strong musical backgrounds in other areas – they really bring the musicality to it. Like Chase comes from bluegrass and Mark is more pop-punk, so we all bring our influences together into Whitacre.
Speaking of guilty pleasures, what are yours?
Mark: Taylor Swift.
Aimee: Well, that girl is having a good week.
Mark: I haven’t even read the news, I just like her.
Paul: I have really bad eating habits. Like I love fast food – especially Taco Bell.
Aimee: Now I know we were meant to be friends.
What are your favorite venues around town?
We got to play the Bluebird for the first time recently opening up for Susto and that was a real highlight. I think it’s every local band’s goal to have a headlining show at the Bluebird. We love Larimer Lounge and Lost Lake and Globe Hall. Venues like those are such different audience experiences and we love them all. Of course, as with any band, Red Rocks is top of our list to play someday. I really love how Film on the Rocks is so supportive of local bands. It gives people opportunities to play there before they would perhaps be selling a show there.
Fave local bands?
There are so many that are amazing. We love Wildermiss and also they are clear representation of what steps to follow to make a great progression in the Denver music scene. We also love Brent Cowles, The Still Tide, A Brothers Fountain. When we opened for Porlolo, she was so supportive. We also just played with King Cardinal at a Sofar Sounds event.
The album comes out on October 26th, right before the show at Lost Lake. We worked with Joe Richmond (formerly of the band Churchill, who produces many projects in Denver now) and it’s called Within The Mountains’ Shadows. Then we head out on tour this week – Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and then back home. We’ll do a soft release of the album to people at those shows.
What can people expect from you in a live show?
I hate to say this, but in some ways I feel like the recorded albums don’t do justice to us is a live band because we feed off the energy that the audience brings. It really brings out the best of us watching people have fun in our shows and make us better. But at the same time, we’re obviously really proud of the album and can’t wait to release it.