Taking A Dip With Indie-Pop Band Pure Bathing Culture

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18_PBCPhoto: Courtesy of Pure Bathing Culture. Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
Portland-based duo Pure Bathing Culture makes breathy pop songs that music critics like to describe with words like "gauzy" and "diaphanous." Formed by ex-Vetiver touring members Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman, the band relocated from Brooklyn to record its debut, save some money, and enjoy more wide-open space. The result is Moon Tides, a nine-track LP where Versprille's vocals float above Hindman's guitars like a reassuring celestial body. We caught up with the two in their touring van before a show at Williamsburg's Glasslands Gallery to talk moving west, grilling salmon, and striking out on their own.

Portland Calling
Hindman: "We were working on this record and decided we wanted to take Pure Bathing Culture a little bit more seriously. We started talking to the guy who recorded our record, whose name is [singer-songwriter/producer] Richard Swift and also, simultaneously, our lease came up. We were also on the road, touring with [Vetiver], at that point, and we just impulsively decided to move to Portland. Sarah has a cousin who has a house there — that's our landlady. So many things started to make sense. We had a lot more space to write, and we were touring, so we didn't have to work because we were touring and our money would go a lot further. The stars aligned. It's a great city."

Versprille: "We have a lot of friends on the West Coast, and people had been trying to convince us to move for a long time. When it happened, it was kind of impulsive, but I think it had been in our minds for a while."

Working From Home
Versprille: "We have so much space to work. In Greenpoint, we just had a tiny little room that wasn't even as big as this van. In Portland, we have a massive space. We can just get up in the morning and go up there and start working."

Hindman: "Being surrounded by our instruments, our space, and our pictures [inspires us]. It's nice not to share our rehearsal space with other bands."

Solo, Together
Hindman: "It's way different than Vetiver for sure, but there are common strains that run through it. There are some textures on the last Vetiver record, Charm, [that] were carried over to our band a little bit. We're certainly more of a pop band than Vetiver ever was — or aspired to be. It's just a way different songwriting machine. Vetiver is Andy Cabic's songs, and we're writing our own."
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Band Camp
Versprille: "We haven't been playing shows that long. We played our first show in early 2012 — which is just not that long ago. We're still figuring out a lot of stuff with the live shows. We just got a regular drummer, when before we were playing to a drum machine. We're just getting to the point where we're seeing people react to the music more so than we have in the past. It'll be cool to see what happens."

Hindman: "Playing live there's more of an urgency to make things punch out a little bit more and be more engaging. I think that'll influence our next record. This record is just the first batch of songs. It's kind of us learning how to be songwriters and learning how to be a band. It's getting out of the bedroom-pop mentality."

What's Cookin'
Versprille: "We had a day off in Encinitas, CA. We got a really nice piece of salmon and cooked it."

Hindman: "We also recently learned how to make chicken adobo, which is a Filipino chicken dish, I'll have you know."