It’s Psychedelic, Baby!

New ‘60s inspired rock act debuts at The Cavern

Instead of just covering retro hits, Hifipriestess is taking a crack at writing some of its own.

The psychedelic pop-rock quartet is led by vocalist/organist Eva Rice, who has released music with Vav Jungle and the Panty Apples, among others. More recently she’s been performing under the name DJ Beekeeni.

“I’ve mostly done electronic music in the past and that was originally because of economic reasons,” Rice says.

“It can be hard to find four people who are all on the same page and where every idea is valid, but that’s basically what’s happened with Hifipriestess.”

Joining her is guitarist Duncan Kirkpatrick and bassist Ernie Wood, who might be recognized from the English Moccasins. The ‘60s Brit-pop cover band has been playing shows throughout Winnipeg since 2006.

“Both bands are influenced by the ‘60s, but with this one we’re writing our own material and not just playing covers,” Wood says.

“It’s been a long time since I wrote my own music and I just wanted to get back into it.”

Rounding out the line-up is drummer Jacques Dubois, who plays in another retro cover band, The Wind-Ups. He also performs in the Telepathic Butterflies, a power-pop band that released some original material during the 2000s.

This new project started last summer with Rice and Wood jamming around together on an organ. Shortly after they brought in the other two members and started writing songs.

Hifipriestess is mostly inspired by the sounds of the ‘60s, but there’s also some new wave and punk tossed in there too. The song lyrics reference everything from goats to break-ups to sex.

“I’d say it sounds a little bit like the Velvet Underground meets the Detroit Cobras,” Rice says.

“The intent of the band was to originally write cheesy elevator music, but it turned into something that encompasses all of our influences.”

The band has been recording an EP called Methuselah with their long-time friend Frank at Superfried Studio.

“It’s not a business type studio, it’s just something that he really loves doing and puts a lot of time into... bands that he’s passionate about,” Wood says.

The quartet hopes to release the EP on March 13, but acknowledges that it could take an extra week for the music to be ready because everything needs to be perfect.

“Getting the right mixes and the sounds is what’s taking the longest time,” Wood says.

“We do have our own ideas about how things should sound, but the great thing is that we’re not fighting about it and everything should be concluded soon,” Rice adds.

The band promises to play new songs that night, but will still toss in some covers, probably by artists such as Dusty Springfield, Elvis and the Talking Heads.

“We just try to play cheesy, fun pop songs and it should be fun,” Rice says. “I would love to see people dancing and I hope we can turn it into a big party.”

Published in Volume 69, Number 24 of The Uniter (March 11, 2015)

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