Denton’s Pearl Earl are a band on the rise. A fuzzy girl-pop band saw 2015’s Karaoke Superstar EP draw rave reviews and attention on several local year end lists. They have a good sound and are a bit different than what you see in the scene around these parts. Pearl Earl’s frontwoman, Ariel Hartley, sat down with us to answer the usual questions.
Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?
AH: My brother taught me the typical Deep Purple riff on guitar when I was in 6th grade but I didn’t really catch on to playing yet. From a really early age, I always wrote poems and lyrics but I never thought I could sing well so I never thought of turning it into something more than this weird girly collection of lyrical poems. On a random night when I was 19, my good friend, Julia, taught me my first guitar chords and that was the first time where I really felt an igniting passion for something happen and knew that this was something I had to pursue. I took it and ran with it and taught myself how to write songs on guitar.
Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
AH: I would describe it as poppy psychedelic influenced garage rock with feel happy parts and some dark parts with some funk and glam and warbles and fuzziness.
Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?
AH: My first concert was the B-52’s when I was 11 or 12 in Central Park, and I grew up listening to them with my mom so they are probably an influence whether I wanted them to be or not. I also really liked the Doors growing up because of the organ. I definitely have a thing for organs. Another influence would be Air because I love their French space disco synth groove thing going on (especially their bass lines) and I would mention an album I really vibe with is MGMT’s sophomore album Congratulations because it’s weird and dark and kind of Halloweeny. Pond is also one of my favorite bands of all time, but I feel like I talk about them way too much so I’ll stop there.
Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?
AH: Hmmmm… it kind of changes everyday because one day I hate a song I wrote and the other I’ll be like yeah! But lyrically I think the most important would be “If”, because that’s the one I feel like I sing well in and I guess you could say it’s my more vulnerable lover side that I don’t really show much in our songs and I like the playful whiskey pick me up part about feeling empty or down, because the yearning for love can definitely make you feel lonely sometimes.
Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?
AH: Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett, because that would be strange.
Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?
AH: I just started listening to Wand from California and they are cool. King Grizzard and the Lizard Wizard are awesome too. Globe Lamp put out an album recently and it’s really good.
Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?
AH: ummm, the Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust would do
Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?
AH: I like the 3 main cities (Dallas, Denton, Fort Worth) that are only like 30 minutes from each other, and how they all have their different scenes, but everyone knows each other and are all definitely an intertwined community of bands and musicians. I don’t like how small Denton is sometimes as far as the places to play, house shows seem to have the most successful shows. There’s just so many bands within a small radius that I’ve seen a lot of really awesome acts come through that play to like 5 people because everyone would rather go to a house show down the street for free. House shows are more fun and relaxed for sure. I do like that we have so many of them.
Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?
AH: I really like Harvest House in the warmer months because it’s outside and the sound is good and I love everyone that works there. But, Three Links is a good one too, they have great sound, and it’s partially outside when they pull the cover up!
Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?
AH: Sunbuzzed (they have only played a show or two), Siamese, Claire Morales, Delia Haunt, ABACABA, Mink Coats, Bad Beats, the Noids, Josh Serrano’s multiple projects, Dead Mockingbirds, Party Static, Son of Stan, a million others…….
Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?
AH: I have an alter ego as a rapper and I make beats as a proud member of Gross Bitch and the Sour Patch Klitz and I hate cilantro.
Thanks to Ariel for doing this interview and check out Pear Earl when you get the chance. They’ll be performing at the Foundry on Feb 6. You can check out their awesome 2015 EP, Karaoke Superstar, below.