If you haven't heard of Pepper Rabbit you've probably been living in a hole and need to immediately check out the bands debut album, Beauregard. Xander Singh and Luc Laurent make-up the folk pop duo and are coming to town May 3 at The Loft with The Submarines. I got a chance to talk with vocalist Xander, and find out what Pepper Rabbit has been up to.
SubEx: Where did the name Pepper Rabbit come from?
Xander Singh: It came from a rabbit I had while I was living in Boston a few years back. Growing up, I could never have pets because I always wanted a dog but my sister was allergic to dogs and I was really allergic to cats so we couldn't get a cat. So when I got my first apartment outside the house I grew up in, I decided to start off small and get a rabbit and named him Dr.Pepper. He actually died two weeks after I got him, so it was kind of a tribute to him.
SE: The Ukulele is featured a lot in your songs. How did you get interested in playing that instrument?
XS: I used to work at a music store. When I started my job there, it was a small independent specialized in vintage instruments store. They told me I can work there and they can either pay me $6 an hour in cash or $10 an hour in-store credit and so I took the store credit. Every week I would bring home something different from the store. And one day I brought home the ukulele and I just really liked the sound of it, and it was super easy to play. So I picked it up pretty quick and learned a few chords. I guess you can say it's one of the main instruments in the band.
SE: Is that your favorite instrument?
XS: Probably not my favorite, manly because you have to string them kind of funny, definitely different from the electric guitar and I’m not very good at it. So whenever I break a string it is always quite a struggle.
SE: You are coming to Dallas in May. On tour do you guys have any before show rituals you do to get warmed up?
XS: None other than very hastily setting up all our equipment in an organized manner before the show which makes it easier when you get on stage. Being in a touring band you don’t really start a very productive day until 5 or 6 when you show up at the venue, so our only rituals is getting there, figuring out where we need to load in, and how many drink tickets we have. And since we do have a lot of equipment on stage, we try to set up as much as we can backstage. But yeah in terms of rituals, we don’t say a prayer or anything like that. But I would say that a few minutes before we play, we get a good head space and focus a little bit and give the best show we can.
SE: Anything really memorable or crazy happen while performing?
XS: Based on the amount of equipment we have on stage, sometimes something won't work and we will have to work around it.
The last show in the last tour we did with The Miniature Tigers was quite a memorable one. We are super good friends with those guys and had so much fun. So the last night, they came up on stage and sang and did percussion on all of our songs and we did the same for them, which was really fun. So that was definitely a very memorable moment being on stage. But also in December we did the tour with Passion Pit, which was the biggest venues we ever played. All those shows were really memorable. The crowd response was really great and it was definitely a learning experience to play in front of thousands of more people then we have ever played before.
SE: Your music has been featured on the American television version of Skins, did you know about the show beforehand? XS: Yeah, I had watched the European version of it. It is quite a bit different show than most other shows about teens, so of course it was very interesting. I was definitely excited to know we were going to have songs in the American version, so being a part of it was really cool for me.
SE: The show has had a lot of controversy behind it. Were you worried about your music being on something so controversial?
XS: They do say all press is good press. No I wasn't too worried about it. It's just nice to be a part of something that I am personally a fan of; it is quite exciting for me.
SE: What are you currently listening to?
XS: In terms of recent music, I have become a huge fan of James Blake in the past few months or so. I think he is one of the most exciting new artists that I've come across in the past few years. It’s really exciting for me being primarily a vocalist and singer, to see someone really be incredibly expressive in vocals and really put that in the forefront. I feel that in a lot of music that’s has come out in the past two years that my circle of friends and generation is listening to is, you know, the vocals of a singer is heavily drenched in effects. Yeah it's really great to see someone take their vocals to the forefront of the song. And a lot of the music I like to listen to, 70's late 60's pop music, were the vocals are really the main focus of the song. Different singers such as Lou Reed, David Bowie and Iggy Pop, just carry an entire song with just the performance they put down in the studio, which is something I hope to do a lot more in the future.
Pepper Rabbit will also be coming out with a new record in August.