AS OF LATE, things have been heating up for Wampire. The trio of Rocky Tinder, Eric Phipps, and Cyrus Lampton have gone from a schedule of mostly house dates to recently stealing the show at electro-pop gathering Superfest 2. Now the group plans to build upon this with a visit to the PDX Pop Now! stage and a scheduled performance at the inaugural Great Idea festival, which takes place next month inside the irresistible Enchanted Forest amusement park.
Wampire's latest songs are a mixture of sequenced beats and blissed-out melodies, but onstage, it's a different story. Their clean split between synth and guitar for instrumentation, along with the presence of a live drummer, makes Wampire's live show more of a pop concert experience than the dreamy soundscapes hinted at in their recordings. Along with the more intense sound, comes a commanding beat that gets even the most timid of lock-kneed listeners moving.
Before last winter's tour, Tinder and Phipps went from a duo, with a drum machine providing rhythm, to a three-piece, adding Lampton on drums. "I like it way better. I felt like that was the one thing that was missing," explains Tinder. "In a house show it's okay to play with a drum machine, because it's louder than you would hear real drums. But in a bigger venue, when you watch two kids playing to a drum machine, it just looks kind of awkward."
With recordings nearly complete, Tinder is excited about Wampire's upcoming LP. "The style is sort of spread all over the place. It's a collection of the songs that we've already recorded, but some parts are redone, we're recording drums live to go over the sequenced stuff. But it's all in the aesthetic of the heartfelt, stoney dance rock. All of our new stuff is getting faster, and more dance oriented," he says. "The title is either going to be self-titled, or Glitter Man. Or neither." Such indecisiveness won't be on display when Wampire performs at PDX Pop Now! with a surprise guest of sorts.
"We may be projecting [videos of] Richard Simmons, so there's incentive to come," explains Tinder.