Wednesday, December 2, 2009

'Prize Country' considers musical integrity, chance to tour the real prize

'Prize Country' considers musical integrity, chance to tour the real prize
| | More By Liz Keeney / For The Pitt News
published: Sun, 18 Oct, 2009
photo credit: Courtesy Prize Country
Ice cream, not mainstream success, is the band's real 'Prize.'

Prize Country
With Git Some
The Smiling Moose
Oct. 19

Interested in the type of music that concerns itself with staying up late, having fun and raising some hell? Not a big fan of the T-Pain or Britney Spears brands of popular music? You might want to check out Prize Country.

Harkening back to the decades-old formula of loud, fast and rowdy, Prize Country has made a name for itself by playing good old rock ‘n’ roll.

Prize Country — composed of Jacob Depolitte on guitar, Aaron Blanchard on guitar and singing lead vocals, Joshua Northcutt on drums and Jon P. Hausler on bass — has been playing its boisterous music out of Portland since 2006.

A stark contrast to the pop-rock and hip-hop sound currently spinning on top 40 radio stations, Prize Country has made a name for itself by playing heavy, raucous and fast-paced rock ‘n’ roll.

According to Blanchard, the band’s music is “loud and intense and urgent, a little bit of everything.”

Unlike many of its musical contemporaries, Prize Country makes music for music’s sake, Blanchard said: No formula, no copied beats, no forced

Inspired by classic rock giants such as Led Zeppelin and the The Doors, Blanchard said the band “listens to different things, so our sound is a little varied,” and that the result is a culmination of “just loving and listening to music.”

After meeting Blanchard in Salt Lake City, Depolitte moved to Oregon to form a band with him. Soon after, Hausler, a bartender at Depolitte and Blanchard’s favorite bar, joined the lineup, and Northcutt completed the roster.

Beginning in 2006 with “Dead Kingdom,” the band’s self-released debut album, Prize Country has completed seven albums, including its upcoming release, “With Love.”

Blanchard said it’s easy to write songs because band members “know what everyone sounds like.

“Our songwriting processes is very organic,” he said. “After beginning with a few simple guitar riffs, it’s a natural progression to write the rest of the song. Lyrically, we’re a whole different ballgame. We try to be a little tongue-in-cheek.”

Instead of the over-processed, techno-infused studio rock that has dominated the airwaves for the past several years, Prize Country pumps out a more bare-bones sound.

“We initially wrote songs that sounded better recorded, but after touring, we came up with stuff to play live,” Blanchard said. “Everything ends up being a little faster.”

Prize Country said it enjoys playing live, and that has kept the band on tour for the majority of the year.

Despite the band’s busy schedule — with more than 50 shows on each tour — Blanchard said, “Touring’s not easy and it’s not always fun, but all you have to do is think about it for five minutes, and you see that it’s all worth it. We’re really killing two birds with one stone. We love music and we love to travel.”

And the fans love the band for it.

“We often see a lot of the same faces,” Blanchard said. “You make a lot of friends along the way, so you always want to be invited back.”

But Prize Country isn’t just interested in putting on a good show. It’s really the love of music that drives it. Blanchard said the band isn’t interested in making money or hitting the big time.

“[Prize Country] doesn’t want to fit in,” he said. “The industry right now isn’t complementary to what we do.”

He said the band enjoys touring and that conforming to the industry standard isn’t worth giving that up.

When asked about how Prize Country fits into the music scene right now, Blanchard said, “I don’t think we do, and I’m happy about that. We do what we do. We care about music. We have control, and I can’t imagine someone telling us what to do.”

Check out the band's Myspace page.

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