On a balmy summer afternoon, I sat with Laura Pleasants, formerly of Kylesa, and the members her new project, The Discussion, to talk about their latest musical endeavor and their upcoming show before they embark on a European tour.
We covered every topic under the sun: from the way people tend to evolve musically to the progression of the Savannah music scene and the new sounds that are being created locally.
"I came to Savannah from North Carolina to study photography at SCAD," Pleasants said. "I met Phillip Cope [of Kylesa] early on and he was already well known around town and musically we just connected.
"I was going to every show he was playing along with Brian Duke, the original Kylesa bass player. I was trying to play as much music as possible. I was not into the heavy metal or sludge. My music choices back then were more in the punk rock realm. If it was not punk rock or Black Sabbath I was not interested, but Phillip got me out of my comfort zone and we created some amazing music."
Despite the fact she is at the beginning stages of a new project, I could not help but ask if the sound had any similarities to Kylesa.
"Kylesa created seven very different albums, and, although our intention was to create heavy music, Kylesa had way too many layers to be labeled," Pleasants said. "The sounds of psychedelic rock and garage are present with Kylesa, and when it comes to The Discussion, the new sound is so different to anything you've heard from me previously. As a person and artist, I don't wish to be labeled, and my need to create music after Kylesa was fundamental.
"I wanted to do something different," Pleasants continued. "As much as I loved the riffing and the heaviness I did with Kylesa, I wanted to go back to the sounds and music I loved when I was discovering music growing up.
"I had missed on so many artists and sounds while I was caught up making music with Kylesa. There were bands that I had discovered, but not yet explored. I am so rooted in punk and post-punk, and Kylesa fans are lovers of art and music, and they will hear it is Laura from Kylesa. It is not sludge metal, but they will find me in the sound. I describe it as a mood tank. It is very stripped down."
The Discussion is a trio comprised of former Crazy Bag Lady (a.k.a. Cray Bags) guitarist Derek Lynch on bass, Richard Adams on the drums, and Pleasants on guitar and vocals.
"I love melody and wanted to explore it," Pleasants said. "I wanted more songwriting; I had so much to say. I have been writing for the past year in my free time. It was in those in between moments where I found a voice and the melodies.
"Then, I met Richie through friends. He was a recent SCAD graduate with a degree in sound production and design. Then with Cray Bags coming to a halt, I had to recruit Derek. I just hope he is OK with playing the bass instead of the guitar because he is so damn good."
"I feel comfortable," Lynch said. "I am not trying to treat it like a guitar, but be an actual bass player. Being one with the drums, being one with the guitar. With a three-piece ensemble, there is a bigger responsibility on each of us when it comes to the sound. We need to be cohesive and there is no room for error or showboating. It's difficult, pulling back that guitar persona that I am so used to. I must subdue the guitar nature within me."
"I feel so involved and have had such an active role in the creation of the music," Adams added. "Although Laura writes the music, I take my part and role very seriously. I feel I am the technical side of this trio. I have engineered and mixed all the songs thus far, making me the band's time keeper."
I heard a preview of The Discussion, and the sound will be different to all Kylesa fans. I will describe it as a well-developed sound with direction.
Pleasants' raw vocals shine. At times, the music reminded me of bands like Echo and The Bunnymen. Vocally, she invokes Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon.
The Discussion will debut new music on Aug. 25 at The Wormhole. Savannah rock duo Twisty Cats and psych rock outfit Rude Dude & The Creek Freaks will open the bill.
IF YOU GO:
What: The Discussion, Twisty Cats, Rude Dude & The Creek Freaks
When: 9:30 p.m. Aug. 25
Where: The Wormhole, 2307 Bull St.
Cost: $6-$10, 18 and older