ABOVE: PURE BATHING CULTURE’S SARAH VERSPRILLE (LEFT) AND DANIEL HINDMAN. IMAGE COURTESY OF PARKER FITZGERALD
Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman want you to know that Pure Bathing Culture is their band—when speaking to them, the pride they take in their mutual creation is obvious. The duo, who are also members of the band Vetiver since 2009, made their way from Brooklyn to Portland in 2011. Pure Bathing Culture is the story of their journey—changing coasts and seeing the beauty in nature. The band will release its debut album Moon Tides on August 20 in the US, but is currently touring (and serenading listeners) in the meantime with its catchy, peaceful, lo-fi tracks influenced by nostalgic ’80s pop melodies.
In advance of their show at Mercury Lounge tonight, we spoke with Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman about their Portlandia experiences, touring with Father John Misty, and the gift of Pure Bathing Culture.
ILANA KAPLAN: First of all, I’m digging your record. I recently interviewed Waxahatchee, and it really reminded me of the same feeling I got listening to Cerulean Salt.
DANIEL HINDMAN: Oh man! Thank you.
KAPLAN: Sure. How did you bring your experiences in other bands into Pure Bathing Culture?
HINDMAN: Well, that’s a big question. The band was really formed out of our experiences in that we played in other bands pretty extensively for a little while. We didn’t set out to play in those bands, and certainly not together. It happened really naturally and organically. We both started working on some pieces of music that we each had lying around because of maybe being around it. We didn’t set out to do this: it wasn’t a big goal or anything. At the time that it was all coming together, we were actually really busy with Vetiver, touring a ton and making records with Andy. It was a slow thing.
KAPLAN: What was Pure Bathing Culture influenced by?
HINDMAN: We’re influenced by a lot of things, aside from music.
SARAH VERSPRILLE: I think we’ve just been really influenced by living in the Pacific Northwest. We moved to Portland from New York; we both lived in New York for a long time. It was a little impulsive when we moved here—we just decided our lease was up in New York and we thought, “Oh let’s move to Portland.” We didn’t know what to expect except we had been there a couple of times on tour. It really took us in: the vibe of the city and how easily accessible this incredible nature is. It’s been a huge influence on us and the music. I think it really opened us up.
HINDMAN: I think it lets you think about transformation and re-birth. Things of that nature.
KAPLAN: Have you had any Portlandia experiences out there?
HINDMAN: Pretty much every day.
VERSPRILLE: All the time.
HINDMAN: I really mean that. You don’t have to look really far. I think for us it was learning to slow down to the pace of the Northwest. Just driving is so strange from New York, where I think people are aggressive drivers. I think you have to be a good driver in New York and around the city, because if not, someone else is going to hit you or you’re going to hit someone else. Out here, people are bad drivers, but they still drive really slow. It’s crazy.
VERSPRILLE: It’s really weird.
KAPLAN: [laughs] How did you come up with the name Pure Bathing Culture?
HINDMAN: It was kind of a gift to us. I was talking to my brother on the phone. One time he had gone abroad to study in Switzerland and he went to this spa called the Therme Vals Spa. It’s a really beautiful spa, architecturally. He went there for the day and participated into a bunch of sessions there. The last session there was translated into “Pure Bathing Culture,” and it was just basically the final experience you would have at the spa. No one was allowed to talk. It took place at night. I was really inspired by it. Sarah and I were writing music and I texted her to say, “I think we should call the band Pure Bathing Culture.” That just sort of led into Google image searching for “Pure Bathing Culture.” A lot of the imagery was really inspiring to us. That’s about it.
VERSPRILLE: Even though it was really early on, it just felt like it really fit.
KAPLAN: I was thinking immediately, when I heard of the name of your band, of Turkish bath houses. Will you guys be touring over the next couple of months?
HINDMAN: I’m happy that came to your mind. We’re playing four shows on our own, then we’re joining up to open for Father John Misty in Philadelphia and making our way back west.
KAPLAN: Amazing. I feel like your sounds complement one another.
HINDMAN: They’re so good. We’re huge fans of Josh. We have been for years. We toured with Fleet Foxes with Vetiver, so it’s been crazy to see him enter this new period of time. We just played in Portland at Wonder Ballroom opening for them again, and it was a great show. Just looking forward to watching them play every night.
KAPLAN: What do you guys miss the most about New York?
VERSPRILLE: You can walk around in Portland a lot. Portland is really accessible, but sometimes I miss the independence that New York can give you. It’s so easy to get around on the subway. You can walk around everywhere. Sometimes I miss the expansiveness of New York, and the feeling of independence and freedom that I have. I used to think, “Wow, I can get anywhere right now, on my own without relying on anyone having to drive me.” I could walk around for three hours and still be in New York.
KAPLAN: So true! What are you hoping fans of Vetiver and new listeners get from Moon Tides?
HINDMAN: Whatever they get from it. I don’t want to dictate what people should get from it. I think if people enjoy it, I would feel really grateful that they enjoyed it. It’s really not a master plan of how people should perceive it. That stuff is so weird anyway. You never know what people are going to think.
VERSPRILLE: I think we would just hope that people would have really good personal experiences with the music.
PURE BATHING CULTURE WILL PLAY AT MERCURY LOUNGE TONIGHT. THEIR DEBUT LP, MOON TIDES, COMES OUT ON AUGUST 20. FOR MORE ON THE BAND, VISIT THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE.