Three roommates, one band, no drama.
It is easy to say that Pearl Earl is a female-fronted band like no other rising on the Denton music scene. A record was playing as I walked in the door to interview the three women at their home on a laidback Sunday afternoon.
Drummer Bailey K. Chapman had just gotten back from seeing Radiohead at ACL and was munching on a piece of toast while guitarist Ariel Hartley reclined on the couch and bassist Stephani Lazcano shuffled in after a night with friends. As they began to chat with me it was apparent these gals had the eclectic yet holistic vibes to match the retro tones of their music and atmosphere of their home.
You can’t put their jams in a box or genre with influences as varied as Pond, Tame Impala, B-52’s, Blondie, Garbage, The Breeders, Cranberries and the Go-Go’s. Previously, their sound has been described as “psychedelic” by the Dallas Observer and CBS local, but Hartley says: “We’re not trying to make psychedelic music, I think that as much as we are, it’s not like something we’re trying to do…Everything can be psychedelic.” Chapman chimed in saying that for them, it is more of a mindset or the messages that some of their influences from the 60’s onward epitomized.
The three have been friends since 2012 and a band since 2014 when they released their first single. Since then, their music has evolved and grown along with them. Pearl Earl’s Karaoke Superstar EP was released in Apr. 2015 and since then, they have been nominated for Best EP in the Dallas Observer Music Awards 2015 and were on the line-up for Oaktopia Fest 2016.
Pearl Earl played at Andy’s Bar on the Square during Oaktopia. The building was so full that the bouncers had to turn people away at the door.
For the people inside the bar, there was barely enough room to move an elbow, nonetheless dance, but people were still jamming out. Chapman said: “It was cool to feel like we had won over our town…and getting into Oaktopia at all.”
They are currently recording their next album at a recording studio in Oak Cliff with Alex Bhore. Brack Cantrell of Dojo Baby Records, who produced their first EP, has been to a few recording sessions to help guide them with their sound. The girls say that he has been really important to directing them in the right direction when something doesn’t fit right quite yet. Chapman explained how they’ve changed: “This new stuff is definitely heavier. It’s got some new stuff on it now and it’s not all completely fun-loving pop-rock songs that the EP had.”
As an all-girl band the girls have gotten some flack from other musicians and audience members, “Bailey gets it the most,” Hartley said. Chapman seconded: “The one I don’t like the most is, ‘Oh, you’re pretty good for a girl.’ Also it bothers me when people just comment on our bodies or our looks instead of the music.”
Hartley: “Yeah it is really nice to be told you’re pretty, but that’s not why we make the music.” For them it is like a night and day switch, from how they are treated before a show and then after. People who were hesitant before, would treat them differently after they played. Lazcano shared how they look up to other female performers who share similar struggles and successes: “It’s cool to see our contemporary peers that are kind of the same genre, when it comes to crowd and places and venues, to see them go kill it.”
Chapman is a TWU Visual Arts Professor and alumna, Hartley works as a bartender and Lazcano is a message therapist, so their schedules are flexible for touring. They’ll be doing a mini tour this Oct. and hopefully again by spring break when they release their new album. Their next show will be at Harvest House on Oct. 21 with fellow local all-female bands Siamese and Sunbuzzed