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Thrushes Let the Worlds DJs Feel Their Heartbeats

April 17, 2008
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Last spring, Baltimore introspective indie-pop outfit Thrushes rose out the internet ether when “Hearbeats,” the lead single off their then just-released debut album, Sun Come Undone, became the No. 1 downloaded song for the week of March 30. In light of this success, the band offered a remix contest, intending to release its favorite version. Due to the volume and quality of submissions, the group has expanded the project into an EP, out May 6, on its own Bird Note Records. The CD features the original “Heartbeats” alongside six remixes and a video directed by playwright Kevin Doyle. An additional three bonus tracks will be available on iTunes.

Noise caught up with guitarist Casey Harvey, to discuss the remixes, the group’s popularity in the U.K., and its next album, Night Falls.

City Paper: Who were the people sending in remixes?

Casey Harvey: We had some DJs locally, [such as] DJ Steelo from Baltimore. He did one that had a real nice, chill downtempo feel. We had a DJ from D.C., [DtheNextLevel], who did an ’80s, John Hughes film-inspired piece. We had some people from the U.K. who did a kind of Kevin Shields, My Bloody Valentine treatment. We had professional people [and] people who are fans and just worked in their bedroom.

CP: You mentioned some U.K. DJs. Do you have a big fan base over there, and how did they come to hear of your group?

CH: I sent hundreds of promo kits all over the U.K. For some reason, we really get tagged with “shoegaze.” I think there’s a much bigger fan base for that in Europe, especially the U.K. That kind of British-rock stuff is still pretty popular over there, so that helped a lot.

CP: Are you working on material for another album?

CH: We are about three-quarters of the way done writing material. We plan to be in the studio in June or July. So, we’re thinking a fall or early winter ’08 release for the next record.

CP: You’ve released videos before, and they were kind of lo-fi-looking but the new one–

CH: Yeah, this came out really great.

CP: Who is the director and how did it all come about?

CH: The director is Kevin Doyle. He’s a playwright and runs a theater company in New York called Sponsored by Nobody. He’s [received] awards from The New York Times and pretty big places. I’m not sure how he came across us. I think he saw us play in New York, and he was really interested, particularly in that song ["Heartbeats"]. He had the vision pretty much fully formed in his head of what he wanted to do. He came to us. He put the storyboards together and he came down here one day, and we filmed [the band scenes], in October, at the Metro Gallery.

Then, he had some actors, from his theater company, that he filmed on the beach in Long Island for those narrative scenes. It took a long time, the editing. He put a lot of work into it. He had a really good feel for making it look professional.

CP: You have a good relationship with the Metro Gallery. Is that why you chose to do the performance scenes there?

CH: We had done some videos before that were in warehouses, garages, kind of industrial spaces. We definitely wanted something with a cleaner look. Metro Gallery, with the windows all around the front, had access to some good light. The gallery setting was a blank canvas: white walls, white floors. We could really mold the space into something we wanted.

The video: