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Interview with Pelican

Can you tell us as to who the members of your band are and what roles they play within the band. What inspired you to call yourselves “Pelican” and where do you draw inspiration from for your songs and “lyrics”? How long has the band been in existence and how did it form?
I am Trevor and I play guitar. Laruent also plays guitar. Larry plays drums. Bryan plays bass. We decided on the name Pelican because every other conceivable band name was already taken. We formed in 2000 as a side project of our other band Tusk with the intention of doing songs that were a little slower and longer than our grindcore counterpoint.

Our primary inspiration in those days was drawn from bands like Sleep and Godflesh, but as we got more experienced we began to draw inspiration from the many, many bands and different genres of music and art that we’re interested in.

You’re considered to be part of a new wave of exciting bands. What was your local scene like before you formed and how do you think it’s adapted in order to accommodate an outfit such as yourselves? Did you encounter any difficulties as a new and emerging band and what advice would you give to other musical outfits on breaking into such a difficult industry?
The music scene in Chicago has always been pretty hopping and really diverse. There was really not too many people doing what we were doing at the time, which helped gets us shows with other similar touring bands (High on Fire, Knut, Isis, etc.) early on. I don’t really I have much to offer in the way of advice to bands just starting out – what happened with Pelican was pretty lucky; Tusk had been playing for three years with very little interest being taken in what we were doing. I also have a new band Teith that has been playing out for a year and very few people have been paying attention. I think it’s just a matter of timing, practice, luck, and perseverance.

Out of all the bands gaining attention in the mainstream press, which bands do you most admire and how do you think their existence has benefited the music scene? On the other hand, what bands do you consider as being unworthy of the adulation and praise that has been lavished upon them by the industry and why do you think that they represent everything that is wrong about the business today?
I think what Radiohead did with their new record – self-leaking it and charging for it, was a brilliant business move and will hopefully change the way the mainstream music industry operates since it is a dying, bloated, piece of shit. The record is pretty fucking awesome, too. As far as mainstream stuff, I don’t really follow it much and seldom know what’s going on, but I did hear this singer Shakira the other day and she was genuinely horrible. Anyone who uses tat much auto-tuning on their voice obviously can’t sing and shouldn’t be putting out records. Or just put out records with your actual voice and risk people not thinking it sounds good. All it takes is a little integrity, you know?

How do you think the internet and downloading culture has affected your career as a band. In what way have MySpace and filesharing activities helped or hindered you, and how have you reacted to the ever-evolving and changing nature of the music industry?
I’m sure many people have heard the band because of the internet. It makes things harder for bands because the new distribution methods mean making less money from record sales, forcing them to turn to touring to make the majority of their income. We spend half the year touring just to make ends meet, but the fact that everywhere we go there are people who are familiar with our band and our music is pretty awesome. Just last night two guys drove from far eastern Slovakia to see us in Vienna, Austria – an 1100 km drive. They admitted that they downloaded the record, but it doesn’t bother me just knowing that the internet has made it possible to be distributed so far so easily.

For the interest of our readers, how would you describe your music and where can we find out more about you and your music? Who have been your key influences and do you have any recorded music for sale or in the pipeline?
We play a style of instrumental rock that is at turns melodic and aggressive. In general we tend toward uplifting melodies and temper our love for metal-tinged riffs with a sense of space and atmospherics. People can listen to our songs at our myspace site: myspace.com/pelican.

What are your future plans and how do you think these tie in with your goals and aspirations as a band and in life? What would you consider as being important to you and how would you wish to be remembered once the dust has settled and you’ve had a chance to achieve your objectives?
We just would like to keep doing this band and playing shows. Our goals are to always keep evolving and progressing as musicians and a band, to keep challenging ourselves and our listeners. We want to be remembered as a band that are progressive and exciting.

Finally, when can we expect to see you again in the UK and do you have any kind words or morsels of advice that you’d like to dish out to your fans?
We’ll be in the UK in about a week. My advice; quit with the violence. Don’t eat red meat or fried foods. Practice. Brush your teeth.

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