The Persian Leaps began as a phrase singer/guitarist Drew Forsberg doodled in a notebook margin during a college Greek Archaeology course. He wrote music independently under that name for years, until finally assembling a full band in 2012 to perform and record driving, chiming music influenced by The Smiths, Guided by Voices, and Teenage Fanclub.
The Persian Leaps adhere to a disciplined schedule of concise releases: each fall brings an EP of five songs totaling fifteen minutes or less. In 2013, the Persian Leaps released debut EP Praise Elephants, which NME Magazine described as a “celestial guitar jangle”. The band completed a follow-up EP Drive Drive Delay in 2014, praised by XS Noize for it’s “instantly catchy melodic harmonies layered on top of droning guitar.” In 2015, the band released High & Vibrate, an EP championed by The Big Takeover for its “big-time hooks, upbeat attitude, classic power-trio punch.” Most recently, 2016 saw the release of Your City, Underwater,which earned a spot on The Big Takeover’s Top 30 EPs of 2016.
The band recently completed their fifth EP, Bicycle Face, named for a 19th-century medical condition concocted to scare women away from biking. Land Ski Records releases Bicycle Face on September 22, 2017.
In this interview spotlight, we chat with Drew (vocals/guitar) from The Persian Leaps about influences, challenges, the latest project and more.
Full Q&A along with links and streams below.
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
The Persian Leaps are from Saint Paul, MN, Minneapolis’ smaller, less hip twin. There’s a metaphor for the band in there somewhere… I used to describe our sound as “noise pop” but over the years I’ve accepted that we’re a power pop band. Our music is a mixture of chiming, jangling guitars over a bed of fuzz and distortion. We favor hooks, harmonies, and brevity over all else.
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to stay the course?
I’ve been dreaming about starting a band since I was in junior high, but it took me over 20 years before I actually followed through and did something publicly with the songs I’d been writing and recording on my own. The songs are what motivate me–chasing the perfect hook/lyric and honing my craft. As long as I have songs that I’m excited about and proud of, I’ll find a way to record them and get them out there.
How is your new release different than previous ones? Did you set out to accomplish anything specific?
We’ve never intentionally set out to make a release different (stylistically, thematically, etc) than its predecessors. Our process has been consistent, basic but disciplined: record and release the five best songs we have ready that fit well together every winter and release them in the fall. This release is special, though, because it’s the 5th 5-song EP in 5 years. It marks the end of a chapter for The Persian Leaps. We’re ready to try a new format and approach moving forward.
Do you face challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? How has technology helped you (assuming it helps)?
I’ve been a music fan since cassettes were the most popular format, but I’ve never known anything other than the digital age as a musician. On the plus side, it’s never been easier to record music and distribute it around the world. On the minus side–same thing. It’s hard for a band to stand out from the crowd, especially as people’s attention spans dwindle. For us, given that we all have careers and families and aren’t able to tour, technology has at least allowed us to reach more people with our music than we could have 20 years ago.
Where can we connect with you online and discover more music?