The Sufis interview with Calvin Laporte and Evan Smith
Psychedelic Baby Magazine! I think you are one of the hottest psych bands in
current scene… and it is a must to interview you and to discover more about
your background. You are from Nashville, right? Are you all from there?
but I grew up in Dubai and other places. I’ve been living in Nashville for the
last 6 years.
and Jon’s from Kansas City. Jay’s the only one from Nashville.
My dad took me to see Bowie when I was thirteen and around the same time gave
me the first Velvet Underground album. I inherited his and my uncle’s records
too which was great.
watching my dad play guitar and sing. Nirvana was a big deal for me when I was
young, and I still listen to them quite often. Kurt Cobain is one of my
favorite songwriters, and he turned me on to my favorite record, Philosophy of
bands before forming The Sufis?
Evan and I are twenty-four and we’ve been in many bands before, Malkauns being
the most recent. Jay and Jon are twenty-five or twenty-six.
say “pastoral” and it makes you think, that you are listening to some late 60’s
psych LP, but still you are not cloning anything. You sound fresh and fairly
unique. How do you manage that?
to the sounds I hear in my head. Evan and I listen to so much music that the
records end up sounding a combination of so many different kinds of music.
Can we talk about your gear? What gear do you guys use?
Lots of different gear! Some are borrowed from our friends and others have been
collected over the course of time. I really like my LA2A and 1176 compressors.
I can’t record without my RCA ribbon microphone. I just started using guitar
pedals for the next album, which is a big step for me. I used old oscillators
and tape machines for all the effects on the last LP.
Evan Smith: For the next record, I’ve been playing
a lot of harpsichord and piano. We’ve accumulated a lot of awesome percussion
Calvin Laporte: Yeah, we have an intense tambourine
collection. We have old tambourines from the 20s and really rare ones from the
50s/60s. But my favorite tambourines are the cheap homemade ones from the 60s
Do you know each other from before or
how did you got together and started the band and why the name ‘Sufis’?
sounded good. I started the band with Evan and Dylan in 2011, while Jon was
living in France. Over the course of the year we started playing more with Jay
and less with Dylan.
Calvin and I met our first semester of college. We met Jay and Jon at some
point in school. Calvin, Jon and I lived and played together all the time. We
met Dylan at a SUNN 0))) concert.
perhaps the album you recently released?
I guess the band is really a guise for me to record with my best friends. The
Sufis aren’t really a band where everyone has fixed roles or members. I do most
of the stuff myself, but I rely heavily on the guys. For example Jon mainly
plays woodwinds, but he’s so important to the whole process because of his
opinion and taste. Similarly, Evan helps me by hanging out while I’m recording
and telling me what sounds good or not. In a way he’s co-producing and shaping
the next record.
album. First there were two different releases in all formats possible, one on
Ample Play label and the other one on Burger Records. Where can we purchase the
Calvin directed us for the most part because he knew what sounds he wanted. I
think the LP sold out, but you can still get it on CD and cassette from Ample
Play and Burger.
What inspires your songwriting?
It really varies for each song. But, I generally like to write about the things
around me. It’s a way for me to document my life I suppose.
would like to mention?
Our friends Mike and Jeff, who run Phonoluxe Records in town, have turned us
onto some amazing music like W.L. Horning and The Pleasure Seekers.
Calvin Laporte: Mass At Dawn’s Triangular Approximation
of the Dimensional Axis and Jesse Roy’s Cellophane Recordings.
doing a tour or something?
Probably not, we’ve played shows and toured before but we’re just recording
One thing, that slipped my mind are
your videos. They are brilliant!
Our friend James Cathcart made the promotional video for the album, I think it
turned out great!
with the videos. We’re just lucky to have talented friends.
what are you reading?
Calvin Laporte :
Safe at Home, Face to Face, In Utero, The Village Fugs and Beach Boys Today. I
recently read the Dave Davies autobiography which I found extremely funny.
Yeah, we just started working on a new one. I just recorded a great track
that’s put the next album in focus. But, I’m always recording with my friends
and working on different projects.
Thanks for stopping by. I wish you good
luck with the band. Would you like to send a message to It’s Psychedelic Baby