After featuring them as the Set 4 Score in our Truth & Lies episode and previously in our World Press Freedom Day episode, we figured its high time we chat with the band to discuss some of the artists and songs that influenced them throughout their music career. Check out the playlist and read The Persian Leaps’ reasoning behind each influence below, as well as a Discogs link featuring all releases on the playlist.
Drew Forsberg: “My parents were primarily interested in classical music. The only two non-classical records they owned were “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” and “Bookends” by Simon & Garfunkel. Those LPs were my first musical crush and I literally wore them out with repeated listens in grade school. I could have included just about any song from either album, but “Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall” is a favorite. I don’t know if any aspects of Simon & Garfunkel come out in my music, but I’ve always loved harmonies, which must be partially influenced by their songs.”
Drew Forsberg: “Although I’d heard of the Velvet Underground when I was in high school, I didn’t actually get a chance to listen to them until college circa 1987 or 1988. It’s all great music but “What Goes On” is the song that made the biggest impact on me. Even back then, I think I realized that I’d never become a lead guitarist so I’d better focus instead on getting really good at rhythm guitar. That song is ALL ABOUT rhythm guitar, especially past the 3-minute mark when the song transforms into what I call a “rhythm guitar solo.” That chiming, 16th note rhythm part kills me. It probably doesn’t show in our recorded output but back then, I was trying to figure out how I could add a guitar part like that to any song I wrote.”
Drew Forsberg: “When I was a kid, I’d spend several weeks each summer visiting my grandparents, who lived in a city and had cable TV (my family did not). The summer of 1982 was especially memorable because I probably spent most of that visit watching a brand new oddity called MTV. I loved it all but I still remember being bowled over by the video for U2’s “Gloria”. The song as a whole is fantastic but I’d never heard anything like the Edge’s guitar playing. The percussive, delayed strumming, the chiming lead lines in between verses, and the way his guitar comes in like a thunderclap at the close of the bridge… man. I went back to my small town raving about my new obsession and favorite band for the next five years or so. I lived and breathed U2. These days, I’m a little embarrassed by U2. I’ve lost interest in them and can only listen to their 1st two albums. Nevertheless, they made a huge impact on me. The Edge and Johnny Marr are probably my biggest influences as a guitarist. The chiming, delay and reverb-heavy guitar sound I favor definitely was inspired by the Edge. The song “Permission” from our 2nd EP (2014’s “Drive Drive Delay”) is pretty much a U2 song, in my opinion. Or perhaps we should play it safe and call it an “homage.” In any case, I’d be honored if they decide to cover it someday.”
Drew Forsberg: “New Order (with Echo & the Bunnymen and Gene Loves Jezebel) was my first proper rock concert in 1987. “Power, Corruption & Lies” remains my favorite New Order album by far. That cassette was on repeat circa 1985-1987. “Age of Consent” is a great way to start the album. It’s such a happy, upbeat sounding song and always improves my mood whenever I hear it. Also, it’s another one of those songs with a “rhythm guitar solo” near the end. Guitar is used sparingly but when the rhythm part does come in, it’s very effective. Personally, I’ve never used guitar sparingly in my life but I’m sure that New Order is etched into my musical DNA somewhere.”
Drew Forsberg: “At this point, I can’t recall which I heard first–My Bloody Valentine’s song “Honey Power” (from the “Just Say Anything” compilation) or their album, “Loveless.” It would have been about the same time in 1992. In either case, I fell hard for the guitar sound and they’ve been a favorite band ever since. I always wanted to play in a shoegaze band, but my power pop sensibilities just win over every time. Around the time of our 1st or 2nd EP, I liked to describe our sound as “My Bloody Valentine meets Big Star.” Looking back, that was wishful thinking and/or hubris. Nevertheless, I do think that MBV has influenced my songwriting in at least one regard. They’re famous for often writing songs without proper choruses–just verse, instrumental guitar riff, verse, guitar riff. I’ve ended up writing a number of songs like that and I think MBV is the band that made me realize it’s perfectly OK not to have a chorus.”
We at Feel Me Flow want to thank Drew and The Persian Leaps for taking the time to chat with us about their InFlowences. The Persian Leaps released a cover of The Shangri-La’s “Then He Kissed Me” in early 2018 and are recording new material for a full-length scheduled for release fall 2019. Look out for an anthology later this year!