Published on April 22nd, 2015 | by Candace Parker-Dickerson0
Local Musicians: Greater Pyrenees Gets Saturday Started at Double Decker
by Candace Parker-Dickerson
You may know Sean Kirkpatrick as the guitarist and vocalist from the band, Colour Revolt. But now, he’s making a new name for himself with his current band, Greater Pyrenees. The band, which consists of drummer Ian Kirkpatrick , bassist Ethan Frink, and guitarist Max Hipp, will be performing at the Double Decker Arts Festival on the Graduate Hotel Stage on Saturday, April 25th.
In honor of the band’s upcoming performance, I had the privilege of speaking to Kirkpatrick about everything from the fears of being a frontman and creating a new sound to what Oxford means to him as an artist.
The last time you performed at Double Decker was 2008, barely a month before I graduated from Ole Miss, and you performed with Colour Revolt. Now, seven years later you’re performing with your new band Greater Pyrenees. How are you feeling about it all?
I’m really happy for the opportunity! My wife actually told me that I should submit something to Double Decker. I didn’t think that people would really be that receptive this early on, but I submitted some of my tracks and my information and they said, “Yeah! Do you want to come play?” Initially, I didn’t expect them to say yes. So then I had to get really serious and get a good band together. The Double Decker show has really been a starting point. I feel like I have to start racing now. So it’s been great. And it is weird because we played as Colour Revolt back in the day and now it’s my thing. So now I have to really put as much energy and effort into this as possible.
You were in Colour Revolt for 10 years. When the band ended was it an immediate reaction to start working on a new project?
I actually started writing shortly after Colour Revolt officially broke up. It became aware to my wife and me that we were pregnant, so I acted pretty hastily trying to write stuff before I knew I that I was going to be preoccupied with raising a child. I did some initial recording before our son was born, and then once he was born I sort of fell off the grid for a bit and wasn’t able to get much of anything running until I guess a year and a half ago. I got together with Andrew Ratcliffe at Tweed Studios and recorded a three-song demo there.
I’ve listened to those songs quite a few times online. Will you be releasing a full-length album anytime soon?
We recorded a full-length album this past fall. I’m in the midst of trying to get that released, so hopefully it will be out by this coming fall.
How did the band come together?
I started out not really knowing who would be able to play with me because it seemed like everyone was already doing stuff. So I started asking around and seeing who would be available and if they’d even want to do it. I’m glad that the guys I’m playing with wanted to hop on board because it’s hard to do that when you’re trying to start up something new. You know you can’t offer these guys loads of money, a tour bus, or anything like that. They sort of have to start with you. So I salute them.
It seems that coming from a band where you weren’t the front man or primary songwriter and now stepping into those positions creates a sense of vulnerability or of being exposed. What has the transition into your new role been like?
It’s definitely putting yourself out there in a more vulnerable way. With Colour Revolt, it was sort of a great position because my job was just to make things prettier or bigger sounding. I was never in a position where all eyes were on me. I’m not a person that likes to make a spectacle of myself. So when you start doing your own thing and realize you have to lead in every facet of what you’re doing, it’s daunting. Initially, there was a lot of anxiety, but I made a commitment to try to make this work, so I had to bite the bullet and start being the front man. With each show I gather a little bit more confidence in what I’m doing and understanding what makes Greater Pyrenees different from the next band. It’s still nerve-wracking and it will probably be up to the last show I ever play in my life. But there is something amazing about discovering your strengths and having an audience that is open to you trying new things.
Greater Pyrenees definitely has a unique sound that is very different from what you’ve done in the past. Was developing your sound difficult?
These songs have always been the songs in my head. It’s very much me. If it ever feels forced I don’t record it. I was initially nervous because coming from Colour Revolt, I knew these weren’t Colour Revolt songs. I know there are plenty of people out there waiting for a solo record from Jesse Coppenbarger or from me. I think some of that worry was there just because I knew that I could possibly lose some people on this. But I could also gain some new fans. These songs very much feel like they’re an extension of whatever creative side I have. I just hope people come along for the ride.
I’m quite sure they will! You are definitely one of the people who comes to mind when I think of artists who have been an important part of the Oxford music scene. So what does Oxford mean to you as an artist?
Oxford to me is an amazing support group. They have really been so welcoming, and rooting for anything that I’m doing. I’m surprised because it feels like they’ve been waiting. I’ve been in my own little world thinking nobody cares and I was going to have to start from scratch. Then I go to play a show and there’s people there that are excited about what’s going on. In a way I shouldn’t have ever been surprised, but I was, because I didn’t think people would be that dedicated or loyal to what I was doing. It gives me a great sense of confidence that I should continue doing this. I feel like I really do have the support of the home crowd. Everyone has been great, even other bands and artists, which I was more nervous about because I knew they would have more of a critical ear. But they’ve been great too. I’m really glad I can start out in Oxford, because it gives me the confidence boost to make Greater Pyrenees the band I hope that it can be.