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"Local Artist Spotlight with Aquitaine"

St. Louis band Aquitaine has been generating buzz over various media lately with the release of their debut EP, “American Pulverizer, Part One” this month. This swirling soundscape of fuzzy rock calls back to the the post-punk and shoegaze scenes of the 80s and the britpop scene of the 90s, but roots itself in alternative-land. You might know Aquitaine as Supermoon, a band that formed last year- after some drama with other bands, they’ve changed their name, and have very successfully formed an image for themselves. You can listen to their debut EP via this link and it’s on sale now at Euclid Records, Vintage Vinyl and Apop.

I talked to Aquitaine members Will Hildebrandt, Dave Collett and Gerald Good via facebook this week, and they had a lot of great things to say.

OASTL: I’ve heard the story of how you guys got your band name from a few different sources — do you have any other funny/interesting band stories?

Will: things are always entertaining with Aquitaine or whatever we’ll be called in 3 months… Here’s a good one: the night before last Thanksgiving we had an event called “The Luckettfest Marathon” at El Lenador to honor and celebrate our drummer, Christopher Luckett, and his 3 bands (bulletPOP! and The Orbz are the other two). All 3 bands played, Chris had a marathon of a night…I think he slept at El Lenador that night, and people had a great night full of music, fun, and rocking drumming.

Gerald: I was originally just planning to play bass and sing on this project, since Ken Adelman had recruited me as a bass player. But I had one song I had written music for to use in bulletPOP! that wasn’t really going to work for that band. I came up with some more dreamy lyrics and we started playing it that way, with me playing guitar. (It’s called Meteor Showers and will be on our second EP.)

One week, Dave couldn’t make it to practice so we practiced as a 3-piece. It so happened that Will had “Nadine Radium” and another song that we play called “Breakdown” ready for us to start playing. I just started screwing around and came up with some lead guitar parts for those songs – not planning to play guitar on them later. However, the guys liked them so I’m continuing to play guitar on some songs.

I like your EP a lot. Can you tell me a bit about the production and songwriting process behind it?

Dave: What I like about this band is that everyone really does contribute to the songwriting/song development process. Even though Will had a few songs pretty much sketched out, I was impressed with how willing he was to allow the rest of us tinker with them, and add in our own influence. With “Lights,” I took the same approach – where I basically introduced the structure and the arrangement, but tried to really allow the song evolve over time. For the first few times through, I would sing these sort of nonsensical lyrics over the guitars, bass and drums – in my own attempt to establish the melody. Will and Gerald also helped – and did these sort of post-punk shouts during the chorus… eventually arriving at yelling “No tele for Timmy” to accent whatever I was singing on the chorus. We’ve since changed the lyrics to something more intelligible, but I think I catch them saying it every once in a while when we practice it or play it live. (I’m still not sure if we’re withholding a television or a Telecaster from this Timmy character…)

Regarding the production process… what worked for us was developing the base components of the song and then recording the foundation (drums, bass, some guitars and vocals) with a true professional: Jason McEntire at Sawhorse Studios in St. Louis. We then tinkered with those recordings for quite some time on our own home-recording gear and added a bunch of extra parts… more guitar overdubs, synth… during the bass breakdown at the end of “Nadine,” there’s a part where my daughter and her friend scream that’s blended in with Will’s scream and some gnarly guitar feedback that we got with Jason. I also recorded the plague of locusts that we had last year and modulated that sound and blended with my guitar intro in “Photo Tangerine.” Anyway, we took all of those tracks and sent them to my friend Greg Thompson in NYC, and he, being the musical chef that he is, did an amazing job fine-tuning them and blending them into something delicious. We hope to follow a similar process for our next batch of songs – what will become “American Pulverizer Part 2” – in the fall/winter.

Gerald: Right now our process in the studio is to play all the parts like we play them live. Even if we end up recording guitars and vocals a few times, there’s not much experimentation in the studio – we don’t have the time or money for that. But with home recording we can do more experimenting and add flourishes to the basic sound. Dave did a ton of work coming up with additional guitar parts and sound effects. I recorded an extra guitar track at home for “Alone” that I think sounds pretty great.

Will: This project originated from Chris Luckett and Ken Adelmann of The Orbz, Gerald Good of BulletBop, and myself getting together to play some songs that I had written over a 6+ year period. With what settled as Dave Collett as the fourth member, instead of Ken Adelmann, this project has evolved into something far more dynamic, entertaining, and successful than I think any of us had originally anticipated.

Dave wrote “When the Lights Are On” and I wrote the remainder. The guys I’ve had the opportunity to play with have evolved these tracks into supersonic sound blasts that really get people moving. That’s important; I want to see people having fun listening to our music. The general writing process is: one of us writes a song, brings it to practice, and we get to work. It is unbelievable how quickly the songs take shape…we work fast. We recently listened to the first practice recording of “Alone”, probably only after a few plays of it, and it wasn’t too far off from what the song sounds like today. I’ll let Dave and Gerald describe the production process.

How would you describe your EP to someone who knew almost nothing about music? What’s the selling point?

Dave: We’ve been using the phrase, “Wall of sound built from the very best bricks of Britpop, shoegaze and post-punk power pop” as a quick way to describe our sound and who we are, and I think that captures it. On the EP, we really tried to play out that “wall of sound” descriptor and capture the energy of our live shows. But that said, I think this first batch of songs from us are pretty accessible to most music tastes, yet still represent who we are as a band.

Gerald: It’s a pretty standard rock formula – 2 guitars, bass, drums. The songs are propulsive and energetic, even though they’re not always happy. But they are genuine, fun, and unpretentious.

Like most bands, we’ve got a variety of influences from all over. Will’s a huge britpop devotee, which is reflected in the song structures he comes up with. Dave has a lot of classic rock echoes in his playing, but it’s very tasteful – not over the top. I’m very primitive in my bass playing, probably because it’s not my main instrument and also coming from all the punk rock I listened to as a kid. Chris has had the most formal training as a musician out of all of us, but I think his strongest point is that he just loves to play the drums and almost instantly comes up with the right beat for whatever the rest of us are playing.

Are there any other local bands you’ve worked with or have friends in who you’d like to namedrop?

Dave: For almost 10 years, I played in The Love Experts – a band that has been a part of the local scene since the 1980s. I sometimes say, almost everything I know on guitar I learned while I was in The Love Experts; and people familiar with that band probably will see/hear some of the influence in my parts – the solo on “Alone” in particular. I would remiss if I didn’t point out that both Gerald and I played with Corey Saathoff in his indie rock project back in the first part of the 2000s: Brain Regiment. Corey has since moved back to a solid sound with his band The Trophy Mules, but I think it’s safe to say that both Gerald and I got going in the St. Louis music scene by playing with Corey. (I actually played with Corey before Brain Regiment, in the band Jerkwater Junction.) I also get a lot of inspiration from the approach, the discipline and the philosophy illustrated by what Joe Thebeau has created with Finn’s Motel; what Don Bailey has done with The BOB Band; what Jimmy Kennedy has done with Earl; and similarly what Chris Grabau has done with Magnolia Summer. For me, they have shown how to do the band thing with elegance and purpose – and above all, make great music. Along those lines, I remember what Rene Saller said while she was the RFT’s music critic a few years ago, when describing what it takes [for local bands] to be noticed: “write good songs” and “be talented.” Really, those two “golden rules” govern my whole approach I take to playing and being a part of a band.

Gerald: As Dave mentioned, we both played in Brain Regiment with Corey Saathof. Although I had been playing for quite a while at that point, it was the first time I had played in a band or in front of anyone. That was a really great experience for a lot of reasons. On the flip side though, after playing out in a band I have a hard time sitting and playing by myself at home.

For a while I wasn’t really in the music scene at all, but then Jason Potter and I started a band in 2008 that was called Midtown Thieves. That didn’t last too long, but it introduced me to Rebecca Reardon, who is now one of my best friends. We rebooted MT as bulletPOP! and we’re still playing. I sucked Chris into playing drums in that band too after the first drummer quit. I’m sort of the music leader of that band, so I’m happy in to take more of a back seat in Aquitaine.

Hmm, name dropping… well my favorite local bands have got to be Loza and Tight Pants Syndrome. I’m really glad to have struck up a friendship with Greg Braun of False Moves. His last band, Stella Mora, was awesome too. I really admire the people running the good venues in town as well – Steve and Kit at Off Broadway and Mike, Bert, Jimmy, and everyone else at The Firebird.

Keep an eye out for Aquitaine– again, you can hear their EP here and buy it at the record stores mentioned above. They will be playing July 31st at El Leñador with The Orbz and at the big An Undercover Weekend show on September 7th. -


Aquitaine makes some pretty cool music. My favorite song is When The Lights Are On. It has the kind of Punk sound that is reminiscent of Rancid. Also a big fan of Tongue Lines. It has a nice beat to it, good harmonies, and it kind of reminds me of something but for the life of me, I just can’t figure it out. No matter, it is a great song, as are the rest of the songs for you to listen to below via ReverbNation. Whenever we can get pictures of the actual band members we’ll put them up here, along with a little more of our thoughts. Until then, enjoy some good music! They also have a few live versions of some songs available to download, so be sure to get those if you dig Aquitaine. -


“A wall of sound built from the best bricks of Brit pop, shoegaze and psychedelic rock” is how songwriter and guitarist David Collett describes Aquitaine, a new four-piece rock juggernaut based in St. Louis.
William Hildebrandt and Gerald Good join Collett on guitar and bass respectively while Chris Luckett sits behind the skins.
“We set out inquiring, ‘What if Ian Curtis shared a prison cell with Mick Jones?’ and ‘What if Echo and the Bunnymen had been born in a city on the Mississippi rather than a city on the Mersey?’” says Collett. “We pondered those questions and wrote out the answers in the form of songs.”
“Oh God, I want to forget,” moans Good when reminiscing about the long journey to choosing the band’s name.
“Our first band name, Supermoon, got stolen by about 10 other bands, including one from Alton, Ill., so we had to change it to avoid confusion,” he explains. “Our quick-fix solution was Super Maroon, which was universally hated. One of the options we were leaning toward was Chateau Chouteau. I Googled it and found out there was a vineyard in Aquitaine with that name. Will asked if there were any other bands using the name Aquitaine, and there weren’t. Since it sounds neat and looks good on a T-shirt, we went with it.”
“During our Supermoon identity,” recalls Hildebrandt, “we had discussed coordinating a ‘Battle of the Supermoons’ concert with a ‘may the best band win and keep the band name’ approach to the evening.” He hopes to one day have a Supermoon open for Aquitaine. “The premise for having one of the Supermoon bands opening for us would be that the best band did win and has a way cooler name now.”
The majority of the songwriting is handled by Hildebrandt and Collett, with Good and Luckett pitching in where needed.
“A lot of the time I try to subtly influence the dynamics of our songs,” explains Good, “by saying, ‘Let’s make it louder here’ or ‘Everyone shut up here’ while trying to make everyone else think it was their idea.”
“As the drummer, my role is to show up on time sober enough to play and load gear,” says Luckett. “I feel that my actual greatest role is that of support personnel, because at the heart of the strongest organizations are strong support figures.”
Aquitaine is having a CD release party on Friday, June 29 at the Firebird to introduce the world to “American Pulverizer: Part 1,” the first batch of songs that the group recorded at Sawhorse Studios in St. Louis. The tracks were mixed in New York City by band friend and Grammy winning producer Greg Thompson. Plans are in the works to record and release “American Pulverizer: Part 2? sometime before the holidays.
When asked what the concert-going public should expect from the party, Collett replied, “I think they can expect to be able to one day say, ‘I was there at the beginning, and got a glimpse into the future of a quickly emerging St. Louis band.’” - KDHX

"Homespun: Aquitaine"

You may not know the name Aquitaine unless you're a Francophile, a visitor to the Pyrenees or a Middle Ages buff, so a quick brush-up is in order: The band formed last year as Supermoon, changed its name to the nonsensical/Adam Levine-baiting Super Maroon, thought better of that name change and recently settled on Aquitaine. The quartet comes from good guitar-rock stock: Dave Collett has played with the Love Experts, guitarist Gerald Good and drummer Chris Luckett play in bulletPOP!, and singer/bassist Will Hildebrandt spent time in a band called Simmons in the middle of the last decade. A love of British rock & roll, from the Who to the Clash to Ride to Supergrass, unites this band, and both Collett and Good make the case for loud but nuanced fretwork at a time when many of the band's local contemporaries have turned the volume down. American Pulverizer, Part 1 is the band's debut EP (Part 2 is supposed to be out by the year's end), and it's a promising greeting from a band with a strong pedigree and mostly solid footing.

The band's cited influences — Joy Division, the Jam, Echo & the Bunnymen — show a predilection toward glam rock and Brit pop with traces of moody shoegaze thrown in as well, and the challenge comes in marshaling all those sounds into something cohesive. On the EP, the guitars owe a debt to the rich, textured palette of shoegaze but with a more pop-driven discipline: The tone is expansive, but the dynamics are sharp. The upticks on "When the Lights Are On" show this post-punk love of right angles, while the guitar-squall on opening track "Photo Tangerine" is straight out of "She Sells Sanctuary." Hildebrandt's vocals have just enough sneer in them to rise above the instrumentation; sometimes he dips in the brute articulations of Joey Ramone, but more often he enunciates like a Midwestern Richard Butler. This melding of influences, similar as they may seem, requires an on-the-beat intuition that some of these tracks lack; Luckett's drums in particular need to take a more central role in directing traffic and making the dynamic hits that much more visceral. But as an introductory five-song shot, American Pulverizer shows promise buried amid the fuzz and the fury.—Christian Schaeffer - Riverfront Times


Sometimes, there’s a moment of beautiful synchronicity at work, when a person needing to write a story is contacted by a band looking for some press on a new project. And it just so happens that said group’s playing a type of music that completely syncs with you. At moments like that, you make some quick calls, line up an interview and start typing, gratitude tapped out with every keystroke.

Aquitaine’s a local group consisting of Will Hildebrandt on vocals and guitar; Dave Collett on guitar and vocals; Gerald Good on bass and vocals; and Chris Luckett on drums. Their first work released as a unit is the EP, American Pulverizer: Part 1, a self-released album that’s getting the CD release treatment at the Firebird, this Friday night, June 29.

In talking to Collett, our conversation veered between the group’s appealing sound—a blend of British influences from the mid-’80s to today—along with the sometimes amusing history they’ve enjoyed together. While all bands think they’ve got a decent story about how they came to be named, Aquitaine’s actually got one of note. We’ll let things roll as rolled...

Look/Listen: And the basics of what’s being released are...?

Collett: It’s an EP with five songs, but with a second version of the song “Alone.” There’s a word in there that’s not allowed on-air by the FCC, and we made a simple edit so that if anyone on KDHX wanted to play it, there’d be no problem for them. These songs are already on Facebook and Reverbnation, but the sound quality’s a little better on the disc. Though it’s arguable as to how much that matters anymore.

That seems a constant conversation right now. How each band wants to present their music.

It’s something that we scratched our heads about, too. Obviously, most people listen through electronic means today. Even if they have the physical CD, they’re burning the mp3s to their computer. I know that I’ve become a Spotify guy. I actually pay the monthly subscription service because it works so well. I use it on my phone and it plays really strong; I can use it when jogging, or plug it into a jack in my car. I don’t really use CDs as much, anymore, but you need at least a limited quality of these physical things, for sharing and for handing to people. Having the original source of it, you know? So we’re doing this limited run and see if there’s a need for more. The intention was to record these songs, release them and then start recording again. Then we’ll do a part two of this, which we could collapse into one LP. Vinyl’s hip again, so there could be a final American Pulverizer with all 11, 12 songs on it.

It’s an interesting time for bands and that discussion.

These days, as an independent, or local band, it’s gotta be about cranking out music and building from there. Not thinking of it as much in the context of an album, or releasing a track at a time. It’s whatever fits, and keep pushing forward.

Let’s talk about the music. Are there some bands that are consistent through all your record collections?

Yeah, I’d say if there’s a common thread that goes through it, there’s probably a Britpop, or shoegaze element. Everybody’s coming at from their own, different place, but it’s intersecting there. We have the early Manchester sound of Joy Division and New Order. Then the modern versions of those sounds and everything inbetween. There seems to be a collective meeting place. Our drummer enjoys harder sounds. I like to say that my earliest memories of music are of listening to my mom’s Beatles albums, so everything’s always derived from that. Will, who writes most of the songs and sings almost all of them, enjoys Blur, Oasis, Editors, Inspiral Carpets and he’s slightly younger than the rest of us. The sound does go through a ringer, but there are a lot of different sounds as inspiration.

To double back a second, since the music is available to hear right now, is there anything different about a CD release than there used to be?

Yeah, it is funny. It’s weird to write “CD release party.” I’ve had the thought, though, that we’re in our 18th month of getting together and writing songs. The EP took about a year to get to where we wanted it to be. The release show is kind of celebrating that accomplishment, which was this year in the making. I often feel awkward inviting family, friend, co-workers to shows. Those around who’ve showed some limited interest. Do they really like us, or are they going because they’re a friend or brother? This time, it’s almost like a wedding. You want to show off. You want to celebrate. It’s not another show on a Tuesday night. It’s the one you want people out for and it’s great that we have a place to do it, like the Firebird. They were very accommodating. We’ll also be spinning records after the bands perform, so it’ll be a chill, conversational environment afterwards. I love loud, live music, but if you’re not used to that, you can get blasted out after three hours of it. So that’s what we’ll be doing this week.

It’s a really 101 type of question, but you have an interesting story about the way the name came about, you say? What was the magic of it?

From my perspective, it’s one of the most fascinating parts of this. I’ve been in bands before and have named them. I’m a father and have named a child. These days, with the web, you try to stake a claim and an identity on the web. It’s so much easier to get original music onto iTunes or the web, so that when we started getting serious, in February or March of last year, we tried a democratic process. We had everyone write down five, or 10, ideas and then we’d pass them around and people would vote three off. So we cut about 40 ideas and we wound up with "Torpedo Stadium," which is the name of a soccer stadium in Russia. But none of us were into the name that much. In reading, we noticed the supermoon phenomenon happening. That orbital positioning of the moon was happening in various places of the world in 2011. So it’s kinda cosmic and we went with that. We’d only seen a few minor references and when we went to stake our name to it on Facebook, we noticed 10, 11 bands around the world using the name. There was a ska/world with it, then a cover band from Alton. That was starting to get a bit close. And we were all finding the name through the same reasons. So we thought we’d stick with the name, but add two letters and go with Supermaroon, that’d be a sweet way to keep it. We played a show as that, the REM tribute for KDHX. And then everyone’s bringing up the Maroon 5 thing. My advice to any aspiring band is to go to Wikipedia and hit “random story” again and again. It’s a great way to brainstorm. This name, Aquitaine, came up. And we thought we could get by with it! Now, my wife hates it. But I’m done naming this band. I’m ready for just music.

To go back to an earlier point. I like the idea of changing a term for KDHX, or any radio, play. I hit a few FCC violations over the years. And when there’s a cool song, you want to play it, but don’t want to jockey the song as it’s playing, to avoid the FCC issue. Was there any stick in your band about that, or was everyone cool with the decision to eliminate one word?

The guys understood it. They’re easygoing. Being in a few bands over the years, the people who have egos and are perfectionists may have issues, but we’re reasonable and open to logic. This one little tweak’s made people curious. “Why’s there a radio edit? The song’s the same length.” It’s just obscuring one word, at one point. Will wrote that song in his early 20s, and isn’t even sure he would’ve written that today.

The shoegaze sound seems to be getting a new hearing these days. Is it young, 20-somethings listening for the first time, or people who’ve always been attuned to it?

I’m now in my late 30s, and this stuff’s stuck with me over the years. I’m more selective than I used to be in what I want to hear and play. I have wondered if this was going to be relevant, or if we’d missed the open window by 10 years. But I think if you do a good job of a style, if there’s good writing and production, that people will recognize it as good music. Hopefully, it’ll also transcend tastes a little bit. Hopefully, our new batch will be even a bit better. And we’ll keep cranking out good stuff.

I’m seeing from the back cover that Jason McEntire was involved in this. His (Sawhorse) studio is so hot right now.

He puts you at ease. There are so many options in recording today. It’s at the point that you can sit down in front of your computer and pretty much do this. And we did do some of that, added enhancements at home. When you’re in a studio, the clock is ticking, the meter’s running, but he’s so relaxing and has such a way about him that you never feel under the gun. He enjoys producing rock bands with guitars, bass and drums and that shines through. We worked with him for the core of the tunes, the guitars, the spacey-sounding things. And they sound great. My friend Greg Thompson in New York—who’s worked with PJ Harvey and They Might Be Giants and all kinds of other people—did all the mixing and mastering. And that upped our game quite a bit. Not that Jason couldn’t do that, but Greg really got into what we were trying to do and took it to a new level. - St. Louis Magazine


American Pulverizer, Part 1 (EP) available at and on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and other major digital music services.



What if Pulp and The Kinks shared a prison cell? Or if Mick Jones fronted Joy Division? Or if Johnny Marr sat in with The Who? Aquitaine has pondered these questions and answered them in the form of songs, since forming in St. Louis in the spring of 2011.

Their EP, “American Pulverizer: Part 1” is the first batch of songs that were recorded at Sawhorse Studios and had friend and Grammy-winning producer Greg Thompson handle the mixing in NYC. “Part 2” is due out in 2013.

A review....

"Their band visage is like a holy union of Beatles HELP! and Echo and the Bunnymen (really, both Porcupine-era and '87 self-named album-era) photo shoots. Incredibly, the music created by this band from a city on the Mississippi more than justifies comparisons to such esteemed predecessors from the city on the Mersey. I would go on with this line of thinking, but I think it would end with conspiracy theories regarding the similarities between the name of the (surprisingly good) lone no-McCulloch Bunnymen album with the name of this very website. Suffice it to say, Supermoon rocks, but in the very best way -- with atmosphere and transcendence."