If you randomly wandered into the performance by Seattle’s Rose Windows at Neurolux March 22, you wouldn't have known the psychedelic folk rockers were down one essential member: lead singer Rabia Quazi. But, somehow, the band's enchanting set didn't feel incomplete.
Boise Weekly sat down with the band's six members—maestro/guitarist Chris Cheveyo, singer/guitarist Nils Petersen, organist/pianist David Davila, percussionist Pat Schowe, singer/bassist Richie "Duke Ballsworthy" Rekow and flautist/percussionist Veronica Dye—to find out how they compensated for Quazi's absence, signing to Sub Pop and just how "fucking nice" Boiseans can be.
BW: You guys sounded so together and awesome for not having your lead singer. What’s the story with that?
Petersen: “We toured down to SXSW and the last day driving into Austin, she felt under the weather. The next day she was just really bad and not getting any better, so we took her to the emergency room and ended up with a crazy flu/altitude sickness, so she was heavily medicated and we said, ‘We should probably just fly you home, your health is more important than doing this.’ So we canceled our entire SXSW shows and we were like, ‘We should probably just cancel the rest of the tour.’ Then we talked with our label and our booking agent and they were like, ‘Well can you continue?’ We were like, ‘Well, let’s try it out.’
"I had a buddy [in Austin], he let us set up in his living room and we practiced for two days straight and kind of reinvented the set as a six-piece to continue the tour. We were really hoping that Rabia was going to feel well enough to come to this show and meet us here."
So tell me about that process of re-crafting your sound.
Petersen: “Richie [Rekow] had to fulfill most of the lead roles, so it was just working with that to make sure that me and his harmonies were still intact. The music was always there.”
What’s the plan from here?
Petersen: “Just head home, we’ve got about a month and then we’re doing an extensive West Coast in May. We have a festival on May 5 down outside of LA and then we’re playing Sasquatch, so between those dates, we’re just hitting up every small pocket area in Oregon, California and Washington.
You just signed to Sup Pop, which is awesome. Congratulations. Tell me a little bit about how that all worked out.
Cheveyo: We recorded with Randall Dunn who did Earth … The guy who runs the studio, his name is Stewart, he was the first one to pitch it. He came in to hear what we had. … He liked it a lot, and ended up going over there [to Sub Pop] and making calls and telling them they should listen to it … After that, whoever was coming into the studio to hear what we were doing, was walking away and being like, ‘You should come check this out.’ Like Phil Ek."
Petersen: "The studio has two rooms and at one point Phil [Ek] was working with The Cave Singers and he put in a pitch to Sub Pop, as well. We have some friends in the Head and the Heart."
Davila: "It was kind of grass roots, whoever would hear us play shows would go knocking on their door and then they came to a show and it went really well."
How’s your Treefort experience been so far?
Petersen: “It’s been great, people here are just so fucking nice, over the top nice. I was like, 'Are you joking, is this a Truman Show type of thing?'”
Dye: “We were walking around trying to find one thing wrong with this town, but we were like, ‘We cant.’ Everyone’s nice; the service everywhere we go is great.”
Petersen: “We broke down as we came in and so we had to get the van serviced and the mechanic was amazing, the tow driver was awesome … The tow truck driver was Thor—remember Adventures in Babysitting? It was literally that guy. We have this old Ford '87 Econoline Van and he just opens it up, puts it in neutral and starts pulling it back by himself.”