NAME SAYERS EPK
Industry use only. All materials unreleased.
"We Multiply" video
"Receiving Evil" video
A HARD RESET AND A BURST OF ENERGY
"I was not taking care of myself and didn't know how to ask for help" says Name Sayers front man Devin James Fry of the mood surrounding the band's 2018 debut Mantles. "I wasn't communicating well with the band. Touring felt impossible. That feeling lingered until I moved to Denver in 2020 to shake up patterns and refocus my life."
Business in Denver proved brisk for Fry, who owns boutique surgical sharpening firm The Sharpist. "I found my niche here, professionally, and I got sober. With each passing month I was becoming a healthy, happy boy again, but the band felt farther and farther off."
"Finally I posed the actual question, point blank: 'do we still want to do this?'"
The answer was a resounding yes. "That was a huge turning point," bassist Grant Himmler chimes in. "We've always been able to pull fireworks out of each other musically, and the prospect of doing that suddenly seemed exciting again." Fry began booking monthly trips to Austin and Name Sayers got back to work.
Cover of Joyboys In The Grindhouse
Not since several years ago, when the band organized, produced, and promoted sold out shows supporting the Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Matt Sweeney collaboration Superwolves, and the Black Angels' Alex Maas (deep in a Texas cave and at a ghost town 20 miles outside Austin, respectively) had there been such energy behind the project.
"We made a new studio rule," says Fry. "Try Everything. All experiments welcome. We can always listen back later and decide what to use or not. But in the moment, we tackle each others' ideas."
"We celebrate individuality around here," says Himmler. "It's one of the only rules we have."
The renewed sense of openness proved magnetic. "I've written and demoed 49 songs since our last record, almost all of them these brutal little pop songs," says Fry. "One by one the band sifted through them and picked the best ones." Of the new crop, some, like Gravedancing Again, were learned and recorded in under an hour. Others, like Lioness, turned out to be journeys of experimentation all their own.
The project has attracted the attention of deft Austin producer Grant Eppley as well as guests as varied as venerable MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer and Brooklyn-via-Texas rapper Chris Conde. Joyboys In The Grindhouse began taking shape.
With fully five or six potential singles on Joyboys, and multiple guests taking part in the project, Grant Eppley's thoughtful mixing for the record is ongoing, and should be finished by the end of 2022.
Joyboys In The Grindhouse represents a pop evolution for this darkly offbeat band. The title is a nod both to Fry's hands-on profession and to a wry sense of camp that imbues the project. For the record cover photo shoot, the band enlisted photographer Dylan O'Connor to capture a most unsettling feast, mimicking the look of a Dutch Old Master painting.
"If you look closely you'll see chocolate on the ham, wires in the jello, utensils too dangerous to pick up, a salad covered in ashes," says Fry. "Everything utterly awful and terrible. Like life sometimes: a Caravaggio of ruin. You either laugh or it kills you even sooner."
Unlikely hooks touch on self-medicating for social anxiety (Receiving Evil), political unrest (Gravedancer / Gravedancing Again / Three Will Grow Back), and tour experiences (We Multiply / The Oblivion Seed) including a louche romance that seems to stalk the band on the road (Lioness).
"We've embraced our love of hip hop, synth pop, and cumbia," says Himmler. "Joyboys dips in and out of sonic worlds while still being very much a Name Sayers joint."
Along the way, the band formed a bond with Brooklyn-via Texas rapper Chris Conde, who contributed a verse to Gravedancer, and is currently crafting a verse for Three Will Grow Back. "Chris is a thoughtful person and a killer rapper," says Fry. "We're very happy to build these spaces into a couple of songs where they can just absolutely go off."
Name Sayers enjoys fluid working relationships with London-based Cannonball PR and Chicago-based vinyl distributing house Lion Productions, and is currently open to other partners to support the release of Joyboys. All inquiries may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ November 2022
Previously released from Name Sayers: