Leave it to an overseas tour with EDM artists to change everything for The Memorials drummer Thomas Pridgen. “I was tripped out because people would start dancing before the music starts,” he remembers, “here… I don’t know anything dude. I guess when I got to that point it just kinda got weird.”
Weird? Sure, but also inspiring. The experience helped Pridgen come to an epiphany. “I think now music is starting to be at a point where as much as you think you know, you really don’t know shit, so I’m like, I don’t know shit anymore, so fuck it, let’s play around, let’s just do whatever we want, let’s go to places that people don’t ever go to, because I don’t really know anything. I’m just now going into a complete experimental mode where I feel like let’s just try it. Let’s try it, and if it fails, it fucking fails miserably, but let’s just try it.”
It was with that ideology that Pridgen, and singer Viveca Hawkins, went to work on Delirium, The Memorials sophomore album that was released this spring. “We mixed stuff up with the first record (The Memorials), but not as drastically,” Pridgen explains. “I thought it was cool to be able to fuck with the listener, and be like oh you think we’re gonna go here, but we’re gonna go HERE.” Even with a fairly radical take on experimentalism, there were a few things Pridgen wanted to make sure happened on Delirium. “For me it was the sound, and the arrangements, and being able to hear Viv.” He continued, adding “let’s show Viv can sing jazz. Let’s show I can play drum and bass. I’m just showcasing all our talents.”
According to Pridgen, The Memorials still have a long road ahead of them. He feels, as a Black duo in rock music, they’re going to have to put in extra effort. That being said, Pridgen is actually excited at that prospect, saying “I’m down for it. It’s feeling like now, fuck it dude, let’s just go in, because we don’t have anybody to say no to us and I think that’s what Jimi (Hendrix) was about. I think Jimi was working harder than all those motherfuckers. Everybody else would sit there and play their gig, he would come out there and he would thrash the gig. If you look at James Brown, if you look at everybody that was Black who had any kind of influence, they had to work their fuckin ass off to get the notoriety.”
Pridgen, who graduated from the Berklee College of Music at the age of 15, and was the drummer for The Mars Volta from 2007-2009, says, point blank, “people will notice after a while that we’re working our asses off.”
Currently, The Memorials’ hard work has them on a US tour through September 20th, and after that they’ll be headed to Europe until the end of the fall. By the time they come back, The Memorials may be a household name for rock fans.
By Adam Bernard