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LAist Band Interview: Sabrosa Purr

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With influences ranging from Prince to Brian Wilson, Sabrosa Purr's sound is hard to pin down. And if you ask the band, that's the way they like it. With the exception of a few songs, they've ditched the formulaic verse-and-chorus routine we've all been accustomed to hearing. The result is something that stands out from everything else you hear on KROQ or Indie.

Keep reading to find out how the band got its enigmatic name and to what lengths front man Will Love would go for the sake of his art.

Sabrosa Purr are: Will Love (vocals and guitar), Jeff Mendel (guitar), and Jacob Thompson (drums).

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LAist: How long have you been performing together as Sabrosa Purr and how did you all meet?

Will Love: I started about two and a half years ago. The current line-up has been together a year-and-a-half.

LAist: How did you pick the band name? Is it derived from track 2 on your CD?

Will Love: I came up with the name first.

I made up the name. I just wanted a band name that didn't really mean anything, but sounded cool. "Sabrosa" is a Beastie Boys song and "Purr" is a Sonic Youth song. I pulled those names from track listings on CDs I was looking through. They happened to be one right after the other on a list of potential band names.

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LAist: Your song structure breaks the "rules" a bit and differs from the tried-and-true songs we hear on the radio. How is that being received?

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Will Love: If somebody just wants a quick 3-minute pop song, and that's all they're into, then our stuff really wouldn't work. But, I'm not a snob about it. As a songwriter I'm excited about things that don't sound like everything else.

We have a couple songs that are verse-chorus-verse-chorus and I love them. I don't see why an artist can't do both.

LAist: Have you met any resistance from your label?

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Our label has been exceptionally supportive. We turned in an EP without them asking for approval. They just trusted that we'd turn in something they love. Nobody said anything except how much they liked it. I was a little worried about the last song on the EP, but it was actually their favorite.

LAist: Can you elaborate on your creative process?

Will Love: Nothing really comes from a jam session. It depends. Some songs are all done when I present them to the band. They have the second guitar part, the drum beat and all that stuff. Especially the [early] material. But, Jacob and Jeff are really awesome at taking whatever idea I have and making it happen. They definitely know which direction I want things to go. We don't really have to talk about it that much. Jeff is brilliant with the guitar parts and Jacob is far better at coming up with really distinct drum parts than anyone I've worked with.

LAist: Your songs range from "The Lovely People" to the quiet "Liars, Petty Thieves And Pets." What's the most fun to perform live?

Will Love: Depends on the crowd and our general mood. Sometimes I like doing the mellow stuff. Generally I like songs that have both -- they start off mellow and have some exploding part. It's always fun to go from one to another.

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LAist: What do you think most defines your band and why?

Will Love: It's our dynamic range... to do songs like "The Lovely People" and "Liars, Petty Thieves and Pets" and have it all make sense.

LAist: Who is your biggest musical influence and why?

Will Love: What's funny is that the last few reviews we got, people have compared us to bands I've never even heard of... I enjoy writing songs that don't sound like something I've done before. So I'm attracted to songwriters that do similar types of things -- where their songs are all over the fucking place.

My big influences are: John Lennon, Brian Wilson—but the one that everyone misses is Prince. And nobody ever gets the Prince influence, even though the title of our EP is based on a Prince lyric.

LAist: How does the LA music scene compare to other cities?

Will Love: Honestly, I'm completely clueless. I don't know what any other music scene is like. We're just about to go out for our first run of shows outside the city (San Francisco, Phoenix, San Diego, etc.).

I think there are a lot of great bands here in LA. I've gotten a lot of inspiration from bands we've played with this past year. I don't know why they're not huge.

LAist: Name one of your favorite local bands.

Will Love: Devics - I think they're the best band in the world, frankly.

LAist: With whom would you most like to collaborate as a band (local or otherwise) on your next project?

Will Love: We were going to work with some people in Devics, but our schedules didn't work out. It would be incredible to work with Butch Vig. I'm a fan of the stuff he did as a producer and a performer. And maybe Daniel Lanois... even though that's not going to happen.

LAist: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring musician, what would it be?

Will Love: The biggest piece of advice is really, really cliché, but it's true: don't quit. And don't listen to people that say you can't do it.

Just keep fucking doing it. It's been really hard for me to get this band together and keep it going. So I'm just thrilled to perform. I hope we get successful... but right now I'm just so fucking happy to be playing the music.

LAist: What is your favorite venue here in LA and why?

Will Love: So far, Spaceland. We also had a good time at the Silverlake Lounge.

LAist: Are you satisfied with the selection? How would you improve them?

Will Love: There are some good venues in town that nobody knows about. Good stage...good parking...but nobody goes there. I'd like to see things move away from just two or three "cool" clubs (and by cool, I mean clubs that have been ordained as cool).

LAist: Indie 103.1 is playing some of your stuff right? Have you had luck finding coverage on KROQ or other LA stations?

Will Love: Local radio's been real cool. We're getting played on KXLU, KPFK, Indie and even up in Seattle (KEXP). We get random emails from around the country... like Oklahoma.

LAist: When you're not performing, what's your favorite thing to do in LA?

Will Love: Ask anyone in the band and they'll tell you that I don't unwind.

LAist: Are you the workaholic in the band?

Will Love: Yeah, that's definitely my title.

LAist: Will, is it true that you had to live in the studio at one point because you couldn't afford both rent and the cost of the studio? How did this affect your music?

Will Love: Yes, that's unfortunately true. It was like the greatest thing I ever did. I imagine most musicians have to think about whether or not they're doing something that will go somewhere... or if they're just having fun and killing time. In situations like that you're really laying everything on the line, you know?

Artistically it was incredible.

LAist: What was your best or most humbling experience performing and why?

Will Love: The best thing is just having a killer live performance. You have that moment where you know you think, "my band is happening just the way I thought it was going to." The most humbling thing is that, when you're a new band sometimes people don't treat you with respect. It's like, why can't everyone be nice, man?

It's funny... club bookers that wouldn't touch us last year are our friends now.

LAist: It's 7pm on a Tuesday - where are you coming from and where are you going?

Will Love: Tonight we're mixing some new songs we just recorded, mixing some new video footage and drinking a lot of coffee.

LAist: When can fans expect another CD or EP?

Will Love: It's going to be full-length and it should be out next year. The sooner the better, as far as I'm concerned.


Further Listening: