Slow Pulp’s music is raw and messy and rhythmic, while also being dreamy, mellow and effortless.
It’s a blend of punk, psychedelia and pop that is something altogether unique to the band, and gives the listener something familiar-sounding that also comes across as refreshingly original. “Mind Movies,” a track off their EP1 is a perfect example of this.
This year, the band was reborn. Discarding their old name, Barbara Hans, they became Slow Pulp, and with that came the addition of a new member, Emily Massey on guitar and vocals.
The original members, Henry Stoehr (guitar, vocals), Alex Leeds (bass, vocals) and Teddy Matthews (drums) brought Massey of Melkweed, another local band, into the fold. Soon enough, the dynamic of the band changed into something new, but definitely for the better, Stoehr said.
He said bringing on a new member has brought them a new perspective, as well as a new voice.
“It opens up the dynamic in a different way,” Stoehr said. “It’s good to have another person in the band that has an outside perspective.”
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Before all of this, the boys started playing guitar at a young age, around 10 or 11. Since then they have played in bands together growing up, Stoehr, a student of UW, said. Together, they played gigs as far out as Boston before coming to UW.
Leeds, though, moved to Minneapolis. Though the distance has presented challenges, the members of Slow Pulp still recorded and released their first EP, laconically titled EP1. Stoehr and Matthews would record their parts at the old Spanish Mansion in Madison where they lived at the time, and then Leeds would record his parts and send it right back.
Stroher said the free-flowing exchange applies to their creative process as well. While writing music, there is a flow of ideas between the members when they are in different places. When they are all physically together they can really sit and work something out and jam on it, Stoehr said. Collectively, they said they’ve drawn inspiration from 60s music and psychedelic music, but each have their own tastes as well.
“Personally, I draw inspiration from heavier 90s music, and dissonant punk shit,” Stoehr said with a laugh.
As a complete four-piece, the band began playing music live this year, from which Stroher said they’ve experienced success and gained fans along the way.
He credits this to Slow Pulp’s dedication to immersing themselves within Madison’s music scene. It was important for them to make friends and mingle with other musicians who are also trying to make it in the scene. It was about making themselves present, Stoehr said, for any opportunities that might come their way.
Case in point: Massey. Stoehr had played in a band called Modern Mod with Massey prior, and Matthews is also the drummer in Massey’s other band, Melkweed. Bands sharing members is a common practice in Madison. Slow Pulp could have missed out completely on adding Massey, and, as a result, missed out on redefining and expanding their sound.
As far as goals for the band go, as of right now Stoehr said they are simply enjoying the time they have spent together, and are looking forward to continuing their musical journey.
For them, it’s not about striving to get famous — it’s about the music.
“We all just kinda want to write music and play sweet shows,” Stoehr said. “Anything could happen at this point. Right now we are just trying to do everything we can.”
The next step in this direction is releasing their second EP, EP2. He said they are excited to get it out there and keep moving forward.
Slow Pulp doesn’t leave time wasting. Though they are about to release their second EP, they are already working on new material for the future. They have plans to sit down together over winter break to hash out some ideas, Stoehr said.
In the meantime, listeners/fans can patiently wait for EP2 to come out in February. If you can’t wait you can check out their early song release: “Die Alone.”
It’s dreamier than anything they’ve ever done.