Teepee
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Teepee

Miami, Florida, United States

Miami, Florida, United States
Band Alternative Shoegaze

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"Locally Grown: Teepee"

Some four years since the project's birth, Miami act Teepee has, in any ways, come full circle. What was once the solo project of Miami musician Erick Lopez-Zareno has now morphed into a band proper, and that's not the only thing that's changed.

Zareno, himself, has metamorphosed — he now goes by Erix St. Laurent, for one. And though about four years ago, he seemed to play in nearly every band in Miami's then-burgeoning garage micro-scene, at some point he dropped off the circuit entirely. The group's new seven-inch, Time Meant Nothing, serves to mark both an evolution in Laurent's sound, and the reintroduction of Teepee to his old fans.

The new, fleshed out line-up is almost ironic considering Laurent first created Teepee as a way of getting away from playing in bands. "I remember thinking to myself, 'How awesome would it be to just perform by myself and not to have to go through the hassle of being in a band?'" Laurent recalls. "When I finally decided to go solo, everything changed. I was finally free! I knew eventually I would add more people, but for a while I just needed time by myself to figure out what I really wanted."

As a solo act, he quickly racked up a rep for hypnotic performances that mixed droning experimentation with psychedelic pop, and Miami New Times even named him Best Solo Musician in 2010. But that period of figuring out what he really wanted eventually meant a total retreat from live performing.

The new Teepee material and sound is some two or three years in the making, but it's worth it. On the title track for Time Meant Nothing, gone are the old lo-fi flailings and left-field freak-outs. In their place is a lush, thoughtful, almost orchestral take on pop that's sun-baked and baroque, somewhere between the Left Banke and the Velvet Underground.

"The sound is very dense now and somewhat heavy at times, which I love," says Laurent. "I want to start a new genre called 'sungaze.' I still haven't figured out a clear definition but just think of what music would sound like if you stared into the sun during sunrise or sunset. Somewhat hypnotic? Bright? Peaceful? Powerful? Extremely intense?"

With the new release, Teepee is definitely approaching it. However a full-length album, due out this year, should offer a more fleshed-vision, especially considering Laurent and his producer and bandmate, Albert Ovadia, have labored over it for months. They'll also self-release it on their newly formed label, Revera Corporation, to make sure nothing gets lost in artistic translation.

"We're obsessed with the album as an art form, so half-assing things just doesn't cut it for us. We made sure the performances were as tight as possible, the frequencies were all equalized properly, and everything arranged the way we wanted it," says Laurent. "In other words, we're perfectionists, so we wanted it to be done right." - Société Perrier


"Teepee Explains His Two-Year Disappearance, Eats Ten Bananas for Breakfast Everyday"

Two years ago, Teepee mastermind Erix S. Laurent was poised for a breakthrough. He took his critically acclaimed 2009 LP, Morals, on a national tour while aslo being heralded back home as a true Miami original.

Laurent had been renowned for his intense solo performances. He'd sing, play guitar, control a drum machine, and clamp down keyboard notes with saxophone reed holders. But then, just when more ears were tuned his way than ever, Teepee disappeared.

A pillar holding up the weird end of the Miami music scene, his absence made for a very noticable void.

Now, however, Teepee is releasing an excellent new dream-pop single, "Time Meant Nothing." The flip side of the single, "Let's Go All the Way" refines his drone-rock into a fuzzy knockout that might even get you dancing.

Last week, Crossfade sat down with Laurent to find out where he'd been, the recording of his new album (out in November), and what it's like to be back.

Where he's been for two years:
"Music is all I do. All I was doing is music. I would go home from the studio and go on the computer a little and eat and all that stuff. There was some traveling here and there. Not on purpose at first, but I ended up staying away from the scene until I became completely separate from it.

"I wanted to focus what I could put on tape. Going out is too distracting, especially here in Miami. I had to wake up early and eat well.

"I came to a weird regimen. I'd wake up around seven and then meditate. I'd plan out what my day was going to be in the studio and manifest it. I'd be in the studio all day with my producer. His name is Albert Ovadia and he's very meticulous about everything. The equalizers and making sure all the frequencies are right. He and I are perfectionists, and that's why it took so long. We had the sound and vision in mind and it took as long as it did."

The other hours of the day:
"Outside of the studio, I was with my girlfriend at the time. I was spending time with her. I was trying to develop myself as a person. Trying to get my health right, my fitness.

"That led to me becoming a fruitarian. I pretty much became a raw vegan, focused more on health and family. Just getting to know my family. Before, I was always out playing music and coming home late. You don't see your family until I don't know when, and then you realized you've missed out on them.

"I grew by abstaining. I see it everywhere. An example: when you travel and you're in a relationship. You travel and by not being with her, you tend to grow more for her, you can have more love for her because of it.

"That abstain to regain happens. The Buddha escaped from society, had his revelation, and then came back and did his thing. By removing myself, I was able to grow."

Changing his name to Erix S. Laurent
"I wanted to separate my birth name from my artist career. I just wanted it to be a completely different persona, in a sense. So I guess, as an artist, I could act differently, I could be someone else on stage. I don't know what I wouldn't do that Erix would do at this stage, but it's a mental thing for me. It's a way for me to be more creative and get away from my personal life. But it's really just me. The name, Erix S. Laurent ... I don't know, it just reminds me of a French New Wave film."

His new healthy lifestyle:
"I eat more fruit than anyone I've ever seen in Miami. Like 2,500 to 3,000 calories of fruit per day.

"For breakfast, I have about ten bananas. Each banana is about 100 calories, so that puts me at 900 to 1,000 just from breakfast. I've been doing it for ten months now.

"Dates are high-calorie fruit that I like to eat. I treat fruit like a meal rather than a snack. I also like to have mono meals. If I'm eating strawberries, I like to eat only strawberries. I don't mix them.

"Lunch is a pound or two of dates. I'd snack in between meals on grapes or blueberries. It's hard to get full off those. Comes dinner, maybe I'll have more bananas. Or I'll have more dates. Or what's in season, like mango or mamey. For dinner, I top it off with a big salad. But 95 percent of my diet is fruit.

"I'm in tune with nature, I guess. If you're in nature and you're surrounded by an apple tree, then that's all you'll eat until you're full and that's it. So I try to incorporate that into my life."

Weirdest fruit he eats:
"There's this fruit called durian that I'm addicted to. It comes from Southeast Asia. It's this huge fruit with a bunch of spikes and it smells really bad, like someone's armpit. But it tastes so good, like custard. It's a mix between almonds, pineapple, cheese, and bananas. You can only get it in Asian markets. Or sometimes, the farmers markets will have it. But it's insane and I'm addicted to it.

"Other than that, it's biking, running, cardio. I'm not crazy about lifting weights. I just need to be able to pick up the guitar.

"In a weird way, this lifestyle has been playing into my artistic career. "I Told You S - Miami New Times


"Teepee Named CMJ Spotlight Artist, Releases New Single"

When Teepee's Erix S. Laurent released his killer debut album Morals in 2009, the New Times named him Miami's Best Solo Musician. And then, well, he slipped into semi-seclusion.

But that's all changing with the release of a new single, a return to live performance, and an album release date. Maybe most excitingly for Miami music, Teepee is this week's CMJ Sonicbids Spotlight artist, a selection that could lead to a featured slot at this year's CMJ festival in New York.

Listen to the new single after the cut and the details on an upcoming free, full-band show at Green Room in Fort Lauderdale on July 14, his first in a year.

Though Teepee's new album won't be out until November 6, its first single will receive a limited-edition seven-inch vinyl release on July 19. Here is a live video of the A-side, "Time Meant Nothing."

The drones and synth are still there. But it's a decidedly invigorated new sound for Teepee. And here's the single's B-side, "Let's Go All the Way" from the same live session.

Crossfade will be interviewing Teepee soon. But in the meantime, check out Teepee's CMJ feature here. - Miami New Times


"CMJ Sonicbids Spotlight: Teepee (Miami, FL)"

Experimental musician Erix S. Laurent, otherwise known as Teepee and formerly known as Eric Lopez-Zareno, creates music as interestingly confusing as his nominal past. Drenching his critically acclaimed avant-garde pop in reverb, Teepee has been noted as an artist with a vision that is “fiercely uncompromising.” It has been a few years since Teepee’s last album, but now the 24-year-old Miami native is preparing to release his upcoming LP, Distant Love Or: Time Never Meant Anything, And Never Will, on December 4 via the Revera Corporation.

Teepee began experimenting with his “drone-based melodies” during his university music studies, producing tracks that adopted a “harsh, raw sound.” “A lot of that music education and theory played a large part in my earliest songwriting,” says Teepee, citing free jazz as a major influence that has carried over since that time. His first album, Morals, was released in 2009, followed by a U.S. tour that helped to accrue many new fans and connections. Following the tour, Teepee immediately locked himself back in the studio to start what would be a two-year process to create Distant Love.

The new album is all about people: Teepee’s relationships with them, as well as their relationships with others. Appropriate, then, that Teepee (who is usually a solo artist) decided on the addition of a full band to accompany him on live shows, the intent being to create a jazz-esque ensemble whose members would have great chemistry on stage, as well as be able to “effectively communicate and feed off each other’s energy.”

The tracks on Distant Love take on a melancholic feel as Teepee delves into ideas of “isolation and obstacle, hopefulness and triumph,” while still introducing a more obvious pop overtone than his previous recordings. To do this, Teepee detuned his guitar to create new shapes and sounds as a way to properly actualize the vision he had in his mind for the album. The first single, “Time Meant Nothing,” exhibits this new, poppier sound while still maintaining a reverb haze leaving no doubt that this is still the same Teepee, only evolved. “The new album is different but in a good way,” says Teepee. “There’s a lot that my old fan base will cherish, especially the noise and the drones, and hopefully a lot of new fans will find something to appreciate in it as well.” - CMJ


"Teepee - Time Meant Nothing"

Erix S. Laurent works to convert Miami the town into Miami the stage for romantic episodes, bleak visions, and sun-bleached hopefulness. His orchestrated vision is beautiful and lush, yet particularly restrained. I think that’s his translation.

Look for the forthcoming Distant Love or: Time Never Meant Anything, and Never Will LP out soon. - yvynyl


"Erix S. Laurent of Teepee Discusses Upcoming LP and New Song "Time Meant Nothing""

Teepee started as a solo project for singer and guitarist Erix S. Laurent. "My original idea was to create 12 songs, all based around the 12 notes in music, and have each note drone throughout its corresponding song," he says. Laurent wanted to keep things simple. Using only a drum machine, keyboards, a guitar, and his voice, he formed a solid, low-key, droning, noise-pop sound.

"Working within such a limited musical structure allowed me to discover unique chord progressions, colors, and melodies. Eventually, I'd become hypnotized by the repetitious nature of what I created." So he dropped the idea of writing only a dozen songs and added blues garage duo Deaf Poets' Sean Wouters on guitar and Nicolas Espinosa on drums, as well as keyboardist Corey Perez.

For the past two years, Laurent has been working with producer Albert Ovadia to create Teepee's upcoming album, Distant Love or: Time Never Meant Anything, and Never Will. "There were so many special moments both in and out of the studio that really made the album transform into something worth listening to," the songwriter says. "I'm thankful to have worked with Albert because he showed me how to treat an album as an art form." Laurent is also working as a producer himself for local artist Red Traces. He jokes, "Otherwise, I'm mentally preparing for the insanity of promoting my new record."

The first single off the album, "Time Meant Nothing," is currently online, but Teepee is releasing it as a collectable seven-inch with South Florida label the Revera Corporation. Laurent promises, "It's going to be gorgeous." The song is about a relationship's demise due to the man's love for his art. With his love turning more toward art and away from her, he says, "she's becoming weaker and sicker without his love while he's growing selfishly stronger." Dark and gothic. Nice. "When I hear solo classical piano pieces," the singer says, "it always reminds me of solitude, which is a theme I love. I wanted to write a song that captured that feeling but with orchestral drums mixed with Joe Meeks hit 'Telstar.' Originally, 'Time Meant Nothing' was going to be an instrumental similar to 'Telstar,' but my girlfriend at the time insisted that I write lyrics. Well, I guess I should thank her for that."

They will release Distant Love or: Time Never Meant Anything, and Never Will at the end of the year, "hopefully before the end of the world," he jokes, maybe sometime around when Art Basel descends upon Miami. Though Laurent says that sonically it's cleaner and better-produced than his 2009 album, Morals, "There's still plenty of noise and drone for the fans who have supported me since day one," adding, "I wanted to create an album that better showcased my maturity as a songwriter. While it will undoubtedly appeal to a larger audience, I definitely think even my die-hard noise fans will find something to cherish with this release."

We can likely expect an ambitious late summer tour from the guys of Teepee, with both solo in-store and full-band concert performances. - Broward Palm Beach New Times


"Best Local Musicians In Miami"

The Miami NewTimes voted Teepee “Best Solo Musician – 2010.” Real name Eric Lopez-Zareno – Teepee has been slowly building a following on the local Miami rock scene. He has been on the scene for years, playing backup in many garage-style bands. However, his emerging solo act is one to be reckoned with. Described as creepy, psychedelic rock, Teepee never plays the same show twice. - CBS Miami


"Review: Teepee - Time Meant Nothing [Single]"

Teepee is based around Miami multi-instrumentalist Erix S.Laurent. Erix has a reputation as being a regular face on the Miami scene apparently, as I am not from Miami, in fact the nearest I have been to Florida is a carton of Orange Juice, or OJ if you will, then I shall take the internet's word for it [never a good thing - nervous face-palm hovering Ed.]

I do know one thing for sure though, Mr Teepee excels in making fuzzy warm, sun drenched, reverberated string filled niceties like this here new release 'Time Meant Nothing'.

The title fits quite nicely actually because ever since his wonderful mailing list email hit my in box this track has been on repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, in my playlist, and time has stood still.

I subscribed to Teepee's list sometime last year after stumbling across a copy of his album Morals which is an eclectic mix of droning lush melodies, swathed in his reverb with steel guitar strings bouncing from speakers building into walls of noise.

That debut is a place where distorted organs rub shoulders with dreamy vocals, monotone fuzziness blends in to rapid shoegaze loveliness. Taking in everything from east Asian melodies to krautrock backed ditties via acoustic strummed beauty.

With that in mind, I was a little excited to delve into this new release to say the least.

Erix has not disappointed in the slightest here.

The track glides in with muted oh oh oh's over a gazing drone into vocals that have grown and matured since the likes of early offerings 'I Told You So' and 'Tecum Uman'. Matured and grown in to a timbre that sticks with you and swirls round your mind long after the track ends, hence the need to repeat repeat etc.

The trademark drone of reverb carries on and on throughout, building and blending with cymbal, snares and stick-clicks, that gaze sends shivers all the way into the refrain with the chorus or basically the verse “it’s proven time will heal, but she thinks it’s a lie / it’s proven time will fly, but he thinks it’s a lie...” burning it's every word into your memory bank. Leaving you humming it all around the house, annoying your close ones to the point of screaming (or at least that's what happened in my case!)

If 'Time Meant Nothing' is a sign of works to come from Miami's builder of sounds, then I for one cannot wait for a new long player.

Teepee - 'Time Meant Nothing' is out now. - Altsounds.com


"Best Solo Musician 2010: Teepee"

For the past couple of years, the solo musician born Eric Lopez-Zareno quietly built his presence on the local rock scene. For a while, he was known mainly as a journeyman player in any number of the low-fi, garage-inflected bands firing up along the Biscayne corridor. At the same time, though, he was perfecting the sonic brew of his own solo act, a usually one-man show that traverses rock, atmospheric psychedelia, and movie-score-style sounds, all steeped in an ever-present, creepy synth. And that's about as much as you can generalize about Teepee, who prides himself on never playing the same show twice. Some are straightforward solo affairs, in which he runs through shambling ditties with actual song structures. Other times, he aims squarely at left field, losing himself in wandering psilocybin jams. And sometimes his friends join him, when he circles back to shambling, three-chord, feel-good fuzz-rock. What he is, every time, though, is entertaining and unmatched in creativity by the usual boring acoustic-guitar strummers who otherwise crowd the "solo musician" field. - Miami New Times


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Stitched in Miamis blind spot as an indefinable musical presence, Teepees hypnotic performances mix droning experimentation with psychedelic pop, garage, dissonant rock, improvisational jazz, and more. After a series of well-received 7 EPs and cassettes, Teepee released his debut LP, Morals, in 2009. The band toured the U.S. with French post-punk outfit The Dreams in 2010 before disappearing into the studio. Teepee reemerged two years later with a revitalized sound that paired experimental dissonance with confessional, melodic beauty, resulting in his second full length album, Distant Love or: Time Never Meant Anything, And Never Will. Distant Love is polished, lush, and cathartic; its a clear departure from Teepees previous lo-fi output with the songwriting finesse that helped define Morals.

Band Members