by Amanda Danielle
I had a chat with Drea Smith who is the more mysterious half of Pyyramids and got to know her thoughts on the band’s direction and get a feel for who she is as an artist. Her talent is only outdone by her genuine persona, here’s what she had to say:
Amanda Danielle: Was it difficult for you and Tim to create together in the beginning from such a distance?
Drea Smith: You know what it really wasn’t, we started out as email pen pals and we were more so just having conversations through emails and it naturally evolved into us making songs. It was a lot easier than people would think, it was just a pretty laid back type situation.
AD: Do you find it a lot different now that you’re living in the same city?
Drea: It’s definitely easier and quicker now. It used to take us a month to get through a song when I was in Chicago and he was in LA because he would send me the instruments and I would shoot back vocal/lyric ideas.
AD: There’s a lot of symbolism in your music, what made you choose the name Pyyramids and where did the different spelling come from?
Drea: Well after we were making our first few songs, we were realizing our sound was leaning towards this dark ethereal direction and the first thing we thought of was Pyyramids and I guess for searching purposes we went with the extra ‘y’. So instead of coming across an actual pyramid you’ll find us. Just threw in the extra ‘y’.
AD: Your lyrics are really personal, what’s the songwriting process been like between the two of you?
Drea: They are pretty personal, some of them are pretty autobiographical, some of them come from conversations I’ve had with other people or things I’ve seen. Some of the songs are just experiences I’ve had when I was 19 and I kind of go back there and become that person again. Tim will give the instrumentation and it’ll have a general idea or maybe a theme, and I’ll go from that theme. Sometimes there’s just an instrumental track with no reference on it, and I’m left to come up with a theme on my own. Pretty much it’s just, let the music tell you what to make.
AD: So Tim’s not been as involved; it’s been mainly you songwriting?
Drea: Yes. With the exception of “Nothing I Can Say”, Tim wrote the last song on the album. He wrote that last song completely on his own and I loved it so much. He sent that over to me as a reference and I was like I want to keep every single word! Then we sang that one together.
AD: I love that song. That and “Don’t Go”, that song is absolutely stunning. The acoustic version you put out on YouTube is gorgeous.
Drea: Thank you, we really hoped that these songs could exist in acoustic form without all the production so it’s really nice to have that kind of feedback.
AD: I know it’s been put out there that The Smiths and Joy Division have been a big inspiration to you guys, are there any unexpected artists that you draw from?
Drea: As far as female singer songwriters and vocalists, I’m a huge Sade fan, and Martina Topley-Bird from Massive Attack… a lot of trip hop like down temp things that were coming out of Bristol in the 90’s like Portishead. I’m heavily influenced by that…The Pixies…Nirvana, a lot of 90’s alternative rock. It’s funny, there’s 10 years between Tim and I, so I was in Junior High during 90’s alternative so he got to go to all the shows I was too young to go to. I was like ‘Man, you got to see Nirvana, that’s so rad… I was like 7.’ It’s pretty cool, we can bond over that. We both love post-punk bands, I adore Morrissey and The Smiths and Siousxsie and the Banshees, Echo and the Bunnymen, that whole era.
AD: You guys have kept a pretty low profile online, while I was searching for you I couldn’t find anything other than your music and people responding positively to that, but who you are behind that was proving to be difficult. Do you do that to purposely keep to yourselves?
Drea: Well Tim is very well known from OK GO, but I’m just the new girl. The band I was in before, He Say/She Say was doing pretty well before we took a little hiatus and decided to do other things creatively. My former band mate, Mano, is now Kanye West’s DJ and he’s a producer as well and has some things coming out on the hip hop side of the spectrum. It seems like I tend to partner up with some high profile men. I really am at home on the stage instead of social interactions so I try to keep those things to a minimum. I really am all about the music and being a performer and a songwriter. I have a Twitter account and an Instagram and all that stuff but I’m not really as out there. Maybe that’ll change.
AD: What can we expect from you guys over the next year, this is not a side project, this is happening? Do you see yourself evolving into different genres or do you want to stick with what you’re doing because it is working so well?
Drea: There’s definitely no limitations on Pyyramids. We don’t limit ourselves at all. Whatever comes to us, when the music comes to us we invite it. If we can make what we’re doing now even greater that’s fine. We start our promotional tour next week in NY and then we head to Europe. we definitely have new albums in the works, Tim and I are already discussing mew songs, we have videos coming out, and merch and all the things that bands do.
AD: Is there anything else you’d like to leave us with or want us to know?
Drea: You know, I definitely want to put out there that this album is more a feeling album than a thinking album. Pyyramids is definitely music you feel first and think about 2nd. I just want to put that out there. It’s definitely coming from an emotional place, a heartfelt place, and less of a thinky place.