The Word Party make people dance with their new album

Categories: Interview
The Word Party 2.jpg
When asked for a description about their music, Minneapolis quintet, The Word Party, simply state, "This is a band that plays music."

They sure do.

With a range that runs from quirky to conventional, the tracks off their new EP, So Sick Of, eloquently express life's inevitable transition and the elemental emotions that accompany them.  However else the music of the Word Party may be described, it is quintessentially honest, the integrated expression of five creatively charged artists whose dynamic synergy makes for some of the most vivid music to come out of the Cities.


Band Members: 

Luke Darger: Vocals, Keys, Guitar

Nick Harrison-Strot: Vocals, Guitar

Austin McLaughlin: Drums

Alex McCormick: Bass

Sarah Mevissen: Guitar and Keys


Gimme Noise: You say that The Word Party's music blends storytelling and danceable rhythms with a dash of Americana.  How did you manage to merge all of these genres into one band?  How does one approach writing when writing for these merged genres?

Luke: For the most part, that's just kind of what happened. We aren't a band that when starting out picked a definite direction to head in. It really started with me and Nick being friends and wanting to do music. We passed MP3's back and forth for years before The Word Party really even existed, just going, "Hey, check out this song -- it'd be cool to do something like that." Real vague, generally. When we were writing then, the songs really varied in style and were really electronic as we were doing it mostly on computers. When we finally got Alex and Austin to join and had a real band is when I'd say our "sound" started to firm up. This was also around the time when I was first introduced to the Hold Steady and Lifter Puller, and brought them to Nick. We both were really into how both of those bands, and others we liked, had an established universe where their music takes place that is larger than life in a way. So we kind of fabricated this world for ourselves, piece by piece through throwaway freewrites, conversations we'd have and of course complete songs. So now, when either Nick or I sit down to write a Word Party song it's just building a new part of this story and finding chords that match. I'd say it's a pretty natural process by now.

Nick: To answer your question though, very carefully.

Sarah: Well, when I sit down with the band, we do a chant to write music and get possessed and then the music just comes out.


In this whole new music industry, what are you as a band doing to connect with your fans?  What is unique about the Word Party?  

Luke: We certainly do like making people dance. I know that isn't a new/unique thing really, but it definitely is something that connects. The way I see it is when we leave it all on stage, and the crowd is with us, that will always be a unique experience. Just help people be free for 45 minutes or an hour or however long the set is.

Austin: I'd definitely say it's about the freedom to let your spirit go with the music for X number of minutes. Not worrying about how your body reacts, but not letting your physical self get in the way of the music. In a way, I'd liken it to being a rag-doll or a puppet; just being controlled and moved by what you hear.

Alex: One thing we all have in common is we all have a passion for music, and chemistry together as a band, which makes the performance exciting.

Nick: If The Word Party feels like playing jazz, rap, or acoustic, we just do it. I like that under The Word Party, we have played everything from a electro show to a jazz trio, and I think that our fans have come to expect that whatever we decide to play for them, we are playing it because we have fun playing music, not because we want to appeal to anyone.

I'm going to play the roll of High School Guidance Counselor -- where do you see the band in five years?  

Luke: Haha, probably playing our high school reunions.

Austin: Well, statistics say that 1 in 5 people are Chinese. So one of us will probably be Chinese.

Sarah: The moon!

Alex: Hopefully established on the Minneapolis scene. 

Nick: Changing our genre to countrycore and disappointing all our fans.

What was the goal with the new album when writing and how are you planning to market it?  Any goals on getting signed to a label?

Luke: Well, the goal here was to make some decent recordings -- a little introduction to The Word Party. It's for sale at our shows and on iTunes. We have an actual album written that we are trying to record and produce in a professional studio, so we're hoping to use the money from this EP to fund that process. Getting signed wouldn't hurt any though...


Nick: The EP is a collection of some of our earlier songs that we felt were the most self contained. Our album material follows a loose arc, so we didn't want to break it up by putting any of it on the EP. We're determined to get our music out there, and if we have to fund it ourselves we're going to, but if a label wanted to help us get there we wouldn't complain.

Who came up with the title So Sick Of, and what was the meaning behind it?


Luke: That title's been there since the beginning. When we came up with the band name I was a senior in high school and my younger sister was hosting one of those awkward high school christmas parties where everyone wears their best sweater and brings each other little presents than proceed to cram into the basement and sit there and talk in shrill voices about nothing but it seems like everything. In any case, I must of heard these kids yell the word "party" hundreds of times that night. "Isn't this a great party" "I love high school parties" etc. 

So I say to Nick online, "I'm so sick of the word party."

He says, "I am the Word Party."

I'm not going perform literary analysis on myself, but in so many words that is what this project is dedicated to.

Nick: Luke just about nailed it. I would only add that "so sick of the word party" became a theme in our music because we both were striving for a better theme than broken hearts or falling in love, and it was a phrase that we could both relate to. We didn't sit down and decide on the title or the meaning, both just arrived. Any other potential titles for our EP, including a self-titled one, just seemed to fall flat.

How did you guys decide where to hold the CD release and who would be playing with you?

Luke: Well, you can never go wrong with 7th Street. Especially because of how hard it is to find a decent venue around here that does all ages shows. 

We played our second show ever with Dragons Power Up! at Eclipse Records and have since formed sort of a rapport. They have a great style and are real nice guys. Also, having played with Titus Andronicus twice seals them in the badass category for me.

Mammoth Catches Fire is an indie rock outfit from South High (approximately), they remind me of Built to Spill. They go pretty hard on stage, and are always fun to have at shows.

Austin: I was under the impression that we rolled a die. But I guess I'm out of the loop.

Finish this statement: "Never have I ever..."

Luke:  ..been to new york?

Austin:  ...killed a man.

Sarah: ...wrestled a shark. Crocodile. Or Alligator.

Nick: ...slept.


The Word Party will release So Sick Of at the 7th Street Entry on 9/16/2011 with Dragons Power Up! and Mammoth Catches Fire. AA, $7, 4 pm.



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Zach McCormick
Zach McCormick

Good to see these guys finally getting some recognition! Besides dabbling in Electro and Jazz I've seen them play a couple of great sets backing up rappers, including their bass player Alex who's got his own hip-hop career on the side: http://on.fb.me/o6PU3Q

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