The Lone Star State’s blissful dirge – lay back and think of Austin
Austin is a real oasis”, says Nate Grace of Pure Ecstasy, the city’s most vital new band. “Smalltown Texas, where I’m originally from, is on some straight-up… Chainsaw Massacre shit. If you’re not in a dead-end job and spewing out kids by my age, you’re screwed. I’d probably be sleeping in the gutter if it weren’t for this.”
Nate and fellow hedonists Austin Youngblood and Jesse Jenkins made a solid unit after years of half-arsed jamming. It’s a project that’s been so slow-burning it’s a wonder that it didn’t fizzle out altogether. Austin’s little smoke-ring of liberality in the midst of the state’s square-jawed conformity offers refuge from such a treadmill existence. But it is also an atmosphere conducive to a hazy life of back-porch bong rips and Taco Bell wasterdom.
Certainly Nate found himself living life on cruise-control, eschewing the rat-race for an elongated gap year/life. “I quit my job and just floated around without shoes on in Mexico. Spent my life lying on other people’s sofas,” he says, discussing how the band came into (soft) focus. “I just always instinctively knew that all that other shit was getting in the way of something, I just couldn’t quite figure out what.”
This tension between frustration and release, monotony and joy informs everything that Pure Ecstasy do. So, their doo-wop dirge is visceral and scorching but, true to their turf, has a country rooting in its slow, ambling and heartbroken sentiment. Any sadness is veiled with a serenity, typified by the tellingly titled ‘Don’t Wanna Live Don’t Wanna Die’.
“A lot of our songs are about looking at situations in life and thinking, OK, these terrible things happen. They exist. I accept that,” ponders Nate. “But man, c’mon. Let’s forget that. Let’s move on.”He continues, frustrated, “I just want to say something, anything.” Oh Nate, but what? “Well, so much music right now is innocuous. I’m trying to blast through that and make something that lasts. If only because I know I’m stuck with these motherfucking songs forever.”
Need To Know
• Nate lost three toes on his left foot in
a motorcycle accident
• Jesse and Austin met in a strip club in Nuevo Loredo, Mexico
• Jesse worked as a cook on an ocean liner that travelled around the world one and a half times
Words: Jack Shankly