Recording with Pearl Earl: Behind the Scenes

Great news, everyone: Pearl Earl is in the process of recording their first full-length album! Since we at The Dentonite are pretty impatient when it comes to excellent music, we couldn’t resist getting some details from Pearl Earl’s three members: Ariel Hartley (lead vocalist and guitarist), Stefanie Lazcano (bassist and vocalist), and Bailey Chapman (drummer and vocalist.)

Longtime listeners will note that the band’s lineup has changed—Pearl Earl has gotten back to its all-female trio roots. The recording process for this record is also notably different than what the Pearl Earl has done in the past, as this album is something of a collaborative effort between the band and two sound engineers: Brack Cantrell of Denton’s Dojo Baby Records and Alex Bhore at Elmwood Recording in Dallas. Everyone is pretty excited about this. “Recording at Elmwood has been really fun for me because Alex is a drummer so he really helped me get a good sound for this album,” Chapman says. Lazcano has also been pleased with the process thus far. “Recording with two engineers…was an eye-opening experience,” she tells us. “Their opinions and expertise really brought out some deep-seated ideas which have been itching to get out.”

There’s a lot of ambition in the new record as well. One of Hartley's goals was to shoot, almost literally, for the moon: she's seeking to write something that "doesn't adhere specifically to an era, but hints at multiple times and spaces," as she puts it—something transcendent, something between the familiar and unfamiliar. Lyrically, Hartley says the album “spans from tongue-in-cheekiness to cosmic universe, to personal songs about introspection and even loss.” Listeners can expect new levels of depth and contemplation from these new songs as well. “Ariel’s songs may seem light and fluffy on the surface level, but the content can be very existential,” Chapman explains. She specifically notes “Star in the Sky” and “Meet the Maker” as more complex tracks. If you dig Pearl Earl’s more lighthearted side, you can look forward to songs like “Take a Shot” and “Captain Howdy.” Best of all? The album will include two songs that haven’t yet been played live, and Hartley tells us there’s some sitar work involved. (We shiver with anticipation.)

Ultimately, the new record’s inspiration is equal parts personal experience and positive outlook. “Sometimes life and human emotion are crazy,” Hartley says. “The way that I personally deal with it is to try and make songs that can explore darkness and find resolution in some way, or just make something that feels fun to groove to.” Chapman cites the recording process as being an opportunity to explore new musical directions—“Just trying different juxtapositions of drum sounds to make a more diverse album as a whole,” she says. For her part, Lazcano has found the experience to be an inspiration in itself: “There is not a lot that compares with making loud music with your best friends, having tunes that people dance to, and traveling with it,” she points out. It’s certainly hard to argue with that.

Pearl Earl fans will have to wait until early next year for the new album to grace their ears. But fear not! Hartley says that we can expect to hear at least one single sometime either this fall or winter. There’s talk of a music video, too. Until then, get yourself to Oaktopia for Pearl Earl’s set. It goes down on Friday, September 23rd at Andy’s.

Photos by Ellie Alonzo
 Header image design by Jason Lee