Pretty Darn takes a trip to Charleston
Written by Zach Ubaldini
Pretty Darn, a Hilton Head Island based duo who met through a spontaneous sit in, now works together on their LOVE for new music. The live healthy vibes duo takes from influences like Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, and Citizens Cope to create a new original sound made for the South Carolina Coast. Members Kyle Wareham, Nick Poulin and his girlfriend Ive Lazovic sat down with Taylor a few weeks ago at the Surf Bar on Folly to talk about how the two got together, new albums, and their ever adapting live sound.
When asked what the duo thought about the Charleston music scene they said bands like The High Divers and Susto are groups they certainly look up to. When comparing Hilton Head to the Charleston scene Nick said, “Charleston is more developed when it comes to original bands going out and playing original music, and I’ve been heavy into that lately.”
“Hilton Head is its own little undiscovered musical scene and there is a lot of talent and a lot of great original music that is not spotlighted the way it should be. A lot of artists are frustrated by that, along with this record we are putting out. We are also working with a friend of ours, John Cranford, who has a studio called Swamp Fire that we want to build into a collective that promotes and puts more energy into live performers and live shows to encourage and host original acts. It is really exciting to be at the beginning stages of that right now. Sort of like a Muscle Shoals of the ‘Low-town’ or the Motown of the Lowcountry.”
The collective speaks to their unified effort in developing the Pretty Darn sound. Their first meeting was as much of a spontaneous collective as you can dream.
When asked how they first met, Kyle explained, “I saw him playing once. Then I saw him at a restaurant that Iva works at and Nick plays at a lot. I was playing with a friend of mine and Nick was out in the crowd. I was playing a song from a band called NEEDTOBREATHE. It wasn’t one of their most popular songs, but he is the first person that ever knew it and walked right up and started singing it with me! Since then we never stopped playing together.” It is without a doubt that a higher power gave us Pretty Darn, but their hard work and creativity perpetuates the band.
One of the most compelling parts of the conversation was the construction of their albums. They built their first album almost separately. Kyle explained, “The first album was a lot of stuff that Nick had already written and I had already written. I would write a verse and he would write a verse. So we came in already with this material and now we are at the second album trying to write from scratch.” The groups’ roots in solo songwriting helped a lot on their first album, but the inclusion of a full band has them pushing their creativity even further.
Nick and Kyle continued talking about their upcoming album and trying on a full band for size. “We are going about writing songs differently. The first album we would record it and try to play like the recording...Now we have a full band that brings their own sound. Kyle would do a lot of the bass and multiple instruments on the album, it’ll be different this time around and songs will have a chance to tell us where it wants to go.”
So where do these songs come from, where are they rooted, and where do they go? The answer is all LOVE. “We hit a point when we were trying to rearrange the sequence of songs. There were 3 or 4 songs that had love in the chorus. But ya know they are all about giving love, it’s all about happy, good vibes kind of songs and you can feel that. We recorded it in Kyle’s converted garage called Shelter Studios.” Kyle has always had some type of recording studio to work in, and now they have an incredibly chill place to share music with other musicians traveling to and living in the area.
The love for inclusion is the Pretty Darn way. Whether it was including each other in a live show, incorporate more sound into recordings, or introduce new musicians Pretty Darn is showing love to every sphere of the music industry.
Watch a raw clip of a spontaneous live performance of Pretty Darn performing "Home Country" and discover their music on Spotify, iTunes.To find more information visit their website at www.prettydarn.com.