Angels, angles, and the return of Mauve Angeles
Mauve Angeles makes its return with Must Be the Holy Ghost on June 27 at Monstercade.
Summer is a time for growth. Appropriately, the bill bolsters a return from hibernation for all acts involved. “We both heard the calling,” said Mauve Angeles’ Eric Gilstrap about the resurrection, “it was meant to be.”
A rumored immortal–and nominee for both “best party DJ” and “tightest pants” in the Triad, Gilstrap boasts an otherworldly sense of humor combined with an earthly appreciation. The latest Mauve Angeles EP, Satyr Daze, was released in tandem with the recent summer solstice–the title, a play-on-words with mythological references.
What began as a simple DJ set in 2010 has flourished into a full-on original music endeavor, unique amongst Gilstrap’s other projects, affording him an outlet of expression outside his typical array in bands such as Spirit System and Vampiros. “Mauve is reserved for my ‘art-psychic-spirit-drama’ theatre flights of fancy,” Gilstrap noted.
“It allows me to use some more experimental gear since the sound is much more electronic,” he continued. Regarding the distinction, “it’s the aspect of performance which varies most greatly.”
Expressions of dark themes remain, coupled with more humor than you’d guess by the sight of him, Mauve Angeles is “part theatre and ritual,” Gilstrap said, “it’s comedic and tragic.”
The gear is simple, described by Gilstrap’s funnier side as a “go-go gadget synthesizer and pedal board!” sort of set-up.
Less simple, perhaps, is the name: Mauve Angeles–not to be construed as “Mauve Angels,” “Mauve Angles,” or any of the other misnomers attached to the project.
Intended to roll off the tongue like “Los Angeles,” the origins of Mauve Angeles rest in New York, but the famed Californian “City of Angels” actually inspired the name itself. The neighborhood of Echo Park, specifically. “I was DJing in Brooklyn and needed a moniker,” Gilstrap explained. “Angeles came shortly after I had visited Los Angeles and kind of fell in love with Echo Park area.”
As for the “Mauve,” those hues have encircled Gilstrap’s musical endeavors since college. “I always liked the color, with its strange intensity and subtlety,” Gilstrap noted. “It all started with a side project under the name ‘A Mauve Scenario,’” he explained, “I found ‘mauve’ charming, and decided to use it in names for solo-projects.”
Mauve Angeles is indeed a solo-endeavor, with Gilstrap being the only “meat body” involved in the project. “But, sometimes, I wonder if ‘Mauve’ is actually a channeled entity that coinhabits me at the time of performing,” Gilstrap added with a transcendental flair.
In less ethereal terms, Mauve Angeles espouses themes of lo-fi escapism and experimentation.
“All of my little misfit songs and recordings that don’t neatly fit into other projects generally wind up as something Mauve takes on,” Gilstrap said. Though the creative process surrounding Mauve Angeles runs wild, “the end result [is] performance, which is usually calculated and theatrical.”
Gilstrap looks to build from the shadows–while also seeking the light of the crowd. It’s that duality which may hint to him being human, after all.
“I tend to keep the secret music low with the underground,” Gilstrap said regarding his recent nomination for “Best Party DJ” in the YES! Weekly Triad’s Best reader poll, “so it was an honor to even be mentioned.”
“Making magic in hallowed halls and backroom loft parties is where I got my start as a DJ,” he added, “my people are usually to be found in the gloaming.“ For Gilstrap, a bit of light and fandom from the dusk and dark clubs couldn’t come at a better time.
Baring a shred of humanity, a recent Facebook post questioned the direction of the project. But Gilstrap pushed forward, with a new EP and fresh focus on performing.
“I‘m left with a deep love, respect, and a kind of euphoric feeling for the weirdo, creative community here in Winston,” he insisted.
Gilstrap intends more releases to follow Satyr Daze. And with new material comes the desire to tour, “I’d love to travel and tour with this project,” he said. Making good on his plans, Mauve Angeles has a date at the Milestone in Charlotte on Aug. 7 with Double Eyelid and Solemn Shapes.
But first, of course, there’s the resurrection with Must Be the Holy Ghost at Monstercade on June 27.
Katei Cranford is a Triad music nerd who hosts the Tuesday Tour Report, a radio show that runs like a mixtape of bands touring NC the following week, 5-7pm on WUAG 103.1fm.