Wampire Tell Us About The Paranoia Of Feeling “Too Stoned”

Portland’s Wampire is a band that delivers spaced-out psych-rock with a side of down-to-earth humor. “Millenials”, “Wizard Staff”, and “Too Stoned” are just a few of the quirky titles from their latest album Bazaar, which dropped via Polyvinyl last month. The band has been tirelessly touring, including packed CMJ Marathon sets, but have yet to lose their charm and air of fun -which make them a band who instantly win your heart. While roaming around Texas for the next leg of their tour, Eric Phipps shared his thoughts on chihuahuas, paranoia and the BBQ spot they will definitely hit before leaving the Lone Star State.

by: Shannon Kurlander

[Photo by: Andy De Santis]
[Cover Photo By: Robbie Augspurger]

How did you spend your Halloween? Did you dress up?
We all were in New Orleans for Halloween so it was pretty fun. We actually didn’t end up going out, we played a show at midnight. We were already Halloweened out and pretty drunk at that point.


I saw that you attended the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade. What was the best doggy costume?
I saw this group of small dogs, maybe three, wearing prison outfits and in a cage. They were all like…Chihuahuas or something small like that, all shivery. Everyone was thrilled by that, just coming up to the cage, trying to say hi to them and they were just barking and chomping at them. The whole scene was pretty amazing. It was like Alcatraz prisoner dogs.

Let’s talk about the new record, Bazaar. What was the process like this time around?
We just came off of touring and we were trying to come up with demos real fast. So we were going back and forth. It was late December or January and we were writing a lot of music- just trying to demo it out. I guess the decompression from the tour and trying to demo it out was a strange sort of catharsis in terms of getting a lot of different sounds out of us. So at that point, once February was over, we had about 25 songs demoed out. We ended up sending them off to the studio…talking it out there in the month of April. It was kind of a quick process, once we actually got to it, but we had been talking about it for a while.


When was the last time you were “Too Stoned”?
Honestly that song has a double meaning because it’s kind of more about feeling too stoned when you’re not stoned. It’s more about being paranoid, which I think a lot of people can relate too. Also when you’re too stoned you feel all of those things. As a teenager and young adult, there were many times you’re walking down the street and thinking something’s happening that is really not. I guess I was just also talking about mass paranoia in a culture that’s not connected in an organic way but more connected to wires.

Your latest video “Wizard Staff” has a very ’70s, American Hustle vibe. It seems like you guys had so much fun creating this video. Where did the concept come from?
The director, Robbie Augspurger, we’ve known him for a while in Portland – he’s done the majority of our photographs, he did the first album cover raw image and then Ruban Nielsen (from Unknown Mortal Orchestra ) edited it and changed the colors to give it that space-glam look. He’s always understood what we’re going for and we had this idea of him doing a video for us. When this song came up we all threw around ideas and we would come up with mini-concepts and thought he could probably do something with this. It’s nice to work in that environment because we can just spout out ideas and he can work with whatever’s going on…there was a lot of spontaneity with it too. It was really really fun.

Being from Portland, what are some misconceptions people have about your hometown?
I’ve noticed that a lot of times people will immediately pitch in and be like, “Oh I love Portland.” I think a major misconception is that they think they actually know what Portland is. It’s not always the best place. I have been there for years and years- the major misconception is that it’s the cheapest place you can go to be an artist. You can be an artist anywhere. It’s this mecca for people who want a change in their life…people have all these expectations of what it’s going to be like… I mean there’s a lot to find there. There’s something for everywhere but the major misconception is that it’s a paradise.

Now that you’re in Texas, are you grabbing any BBQ grub?
I hope so, the barbecue here is amazing. There’s this place in Dallas called Dickeys, they have one in the airport too. It’s really good, their pulled pork is amazing and all of their sides are pretty good too.

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