Music

20 Questions: Pyyramids

What happens when you combine one member of He Say She Say and one of the pop masterminds behind OK Go? You get PYYRAMIDS, and a delightfully warm 20 Questions feature as well.

PYYRAMIDS might be one of the easiest bands to Google in the world, but what's even more unique about the group might very well be sounds that it makes.

After all, PYYRAMIDS is the brainchild of two very different artists. On one hand, you have Chicago-bred Drea Smith of electro-pop duo He Say She Say, who also has done some time stinting with Chi-town's very own Lupe Fiasco. On the other hand, you have Tim Nordwind, who is one of the most recognizable members from quirk-rock masters OK Go, whose hits are too numerous to mention here. Together, the duo form PYYRAMIDS, and their sound comes off like a merging of pop music, electronica, and experimental quirkiness, all into a package that's as radio-friendly as it is musically daring. Although their debut Human Beings EP is only four songs long (five if you count DMK's remix of the title track), it shows a group with a lot of promise.

To help celebrate the release, Drea sat down to answer PopMatters' famed 20 Questions, here revealing a love for all things Daria, how her songwriting stems from people-watching, and how phone calls with mom helps keep this rising star sane . . .

* * *

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?

The last movie that made me cry was Blue Valentine. I bawled my eyes out in the theater. It was such a good film. Despite that fact, I was mad at my boyfriend at the time for taking me to see a film about a deteriorating relationship. Not a good date movie.

2. The fictional character most like you?

All my guy friends would say Daria. You know, the '90s cartoon character. I watched that show religiously from ages 11 through 14. They tell me I'm too dry and cynical . . . and I have an affection for combat boots . . .

3. The greatest album, ever?

There are sooo many great albums . . . I have two that changed my life forever: Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest and Bad Brains' self-titled album. They are both the greatest albums to me for the same reason. It was upon listening to these albums that I realized that people who looked like me could do whatever they wanted musically. Explore any genre if they wanted to. I still love both of these albums and listen to them as if they were new.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Trek, hands down.

5. Your ideal brain food?

People. I draw from my observations of people. I'm a people watcher. In most social situations one would assume I'm anti-social, but I think I'm just naturally observant. It's funny the things that people say and do when they don't know someone is watching them, or how choreographed they are when they know someone is watching them.

6. You're proud of this accomplishment, but why?

I haven't accomplished much. Yet . . .

7. You want to be remembered for . . . ?

I want to be remembered for doing what I wanted to do, the way I wanted to do it, and being successful because of it. And also for putting together killer outfits with very little dough!

8. Of those who've come before, the most inspirational are?

Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, the Smiths, Debbie Harry, A Tribe Called Quest, Ian Curtis, Bad Brains . . and I'm not gonna lie, Kanye West is pretty damn inspirational. That man works hard, even if his genius isn't completely appreciated now. It will be.

9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?

Anything visual or design related! I have no visual art skills whatsoever . . . I love [Jean-Michel] Basquiat and Keith Haring. I love what Riccardo Tisci is doing with Givenchy. I appreciate the simplicity of the silhouettes Alexander Wang uses in his designs. I love fashion and art, I wish I had that in me.

10. Your hidden talents . . . ?

Hmmm, I wish I had one . . . but sadly I don't.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?

My mother always told me, "Don't make yourself appear small to make others feel bigger." It's very useful advice. I find myself in the room with big personalities more often than not. I hold my own . . . for the most part .

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?

Best thing I ever bought was my laptop. I worked two jobs to get it. I was sooo disconnected before owning my own computer. I felt so left out in the coffee shops. The only girl reading a book . . .

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or . . . ?

I feel best in jeans and a t-shirt. The less complicated, the better.

14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?

I would take Richard Pryor. Like, Harlem Nights-era Richard Pryor. He would be a great dinner guest. He could make all the small talk and jokes while I ate and drank everything. He would offend people in the best way!

15. Time travel: where, when, and why?

I would travel back to late '70s/early '80s New York. Everybody was doing art and fucking up and making music and being reckless. Punk kids, graffiti kids, art kids, hip-hop kids. I would've love to go to some of those shows. See Blondie, the Ramones, and Television and Basquiat's band Grey. That would be rad.

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation, or Prozac?

Working out. I've been slacking on that lately, letting myself get overwhelmed. I need a new gym membership.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or . . . ?

Phone calls with my mother are essential. That lady keeps me sane.

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?

City! --with good public transit (I hate driving). New York or Chicago. I'm presently residing in Los Angeles and the transit system gives me panic attacks.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?

I'm sorry dude, you inherited some bullshit.

20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?

I'm currently working on the live shows with PYYRAMIDS, and writing new songs for future PYYRAMIDS releases and my own solo stuff with one of my favorite producer/musicians Doc McKinney.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

West London's WheelUP Merges Broken Beat and Hip-Hop on "Stay For Long" (premiere)

West London producer WheelUP reached across the pond to Brint Story to bring some rapid-fire American hip-hop to his broken beat revival on "Stay For Long".

Music

PM Picks Playlist 4: Stellie, The Brooks, Maude La​tour

Today's playlist features the premiere of Stellie's "Colours", some top-class funk from the Brooks, Berne's eco-conscious electropop, clever indie-pop from Maude Latour, Jaguar Jonze rocking the mic, and Meresha's "alien pop".

Culture

Plattetopia: The Prefabrication of Utopia in East Berlin

With the fall of the Berlin Wall came the licence to take a wrecking ball to its nightmare of repression. But there began the unwritten violence of Die Wende, the peaceful revolution that hides the Oedipal violence of one order killing another.

Music

Electrosoul's Flõstate Find "Home Ground" on Stunning Song (premiere)

Flõstate are an electrosoul duo comprised of producer MKSTN and singer-songwriter Avery Florence that create a mesmerizing downtempo number with "Home Ground".

Music

Orchestra Baobab Celebrate 50 Years with Vinyl of '​Specialist in All Styles'

As Orchestra Baobab turn 50, their comeback album Specialist in All Styles gets a vinyl reissue.

Music

Hot Chip Stay Up for 'Late Night Tales'

Hot Chip's contribution to the perennial compilation project Late Night Tales is a mixed bag, but its high points are consistent with the band's excellence.

Music

The Budos Band Call for Action on "The Wrangler" (premiere)

The Budos Band call on their fans for action with the powerful new track "The Wrangler" that falls somewhere between '60s spy thriller soundtrack and '70s Ethiojazz.

Music

Creature Comfort's "Woke Up Drunk" Ruminates on Our Second-Guesses (premiere)

A deep reflection on breaking up, Nashville indie rock/Americana outfit Creature Comfort's "Woke Up Drunk" is the most personal track from their new album, Home Team.

Books

For Don DeLillo, 'The Silence' Is Deafening

In Don DeLillo's latest novel, The Silence, it is much like our post-pandemic life -- everything changed but nothing happened. Are we listening?

Music

Brett Newski Plays Slacker Prankster on "What Are You Smoking?" (premiere)

Is social distancing something we've been doing, unwittingly, all along? Brett Newski pulls some pranks, raises some questions in "What Are You Smoking?".

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Becky Warren Shares "Good Luck" and Discusses Music and Depression

Becky Warren finds slivers of humor while addressing depression for the third time in as many solo concept albums, but now the daring artist is turning the focus on herself in a fight against a frightful foe.

Music

Fleet Foxes Take a Trip to the 'Shore'

On Shore, Fleet Foxes consist mostly of founding member Robin Pecknold. Recording with a band in the age of COVID-19 can be difficult. It was just time to make this record this way.

Books

'We're Not Here to Entertain' Is Not Here to Break the Cycle of Punk's Failures

Even as it irritates me, Kevin Mattson's We're Not Here to Entertain is worth reading because it has so much direct relevance to American punks operating today.

Film

Uncensored 'Native Son' (1951) Is True to Richard Wright's Work

Compared to the two film versions of Native Son in more recent times, the 1951 version more acutely captures the race-driven existential dread at the heart of Richard Wright's masterwork.

Music

3 Pairs of Boots Celebrate Wandering on "Everywhere I Go" (premiere)

3 Pairs of Boots are releasing Long Rider in January 2021. The record demonstrates the pair's unmistakable chemistry and honing of their Americana-driven sound, as evidenced by the single, "Everywhere I Go".

Books

'World War 3 Illustrated #51: The World We Are Fighting For'

World War 3 Illustrated #51 displays an eclectic range of artists united in their call to save democracy from rising fascism.

Music

Tiphanie Doucet's "You and I" Is an Exercise in Pastoral Poignancy (premiere)

French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet gives a glimpse of her upcoming EP, Painted Blue, via the sublimely sentimental ode, "You and I".


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.