Grammy award winner and ex-Mars Volta drummer Thomas Pridgen’s newest band, The Memorials, burst on the music scene last year with their self titled debut album. Since then, they’ve been on a cross country tour and recorded another album that has yet to be released. The Black & White caught up with Pridgen and singer Viveca Hawkins before their second tour.
Black & White: How did you meet up and form The Memorials?
Thomas Pridgen: I’ve known Viveca from Berklee [School of Music] and she lived in the Bay Area, and I also knew Nick Brewer from school. So after I left [my former band], The Mars Volta, I called them and asked if they wanted to start a band.
Viveca Hawkins: Thomas called me up soon after he left TMV and asked if I wanted to start a project with him. I said yes, and we looked for studios that we could record at. Once we found a place, we called Nick to come down and record the record. The first time we actually met as a band was in the studio.
BW: When did you decide that the band was going to be more than just a side project?
TP: I never thought it would be this big. It’s exciting because we have our own videos and stuff but we really haven’t gotten big yet.
VH: When we were listening to the playbacks, we finally realized how beautiful the music was and that was an important moment for me. Listening to Thomas and Nick’s tracks that they had recorded in one week, I was really amazed. There have been other milestones like our first tour and first show, but we’re definitely still hustling and working as hard as we can.
BW: Why did you start your own music label, Blood Thirsty Unicorn Records, rather than getting another label to release it?
TP: We started the label because we didn’t want somebody else putting their hands in the pockets of our music and taking money from us. We have distribution through Universal Records and when they asked us what we wanted our label to be called, we made up something on the spot.
BW: What’s next for The Memorials? Another album? Or a tour?
TP: Our second record is already finished and we’ll be going on tour in a few weeks. We’ll be coming to the D.C. area for sure.