(An excerpt of this piece was published in Planet JH Weekly)
South of France transmits noise pop to roller derby fans
When producer/multi-instrumentalist Jeff Cormack first scored transitional music for a Teton Gravity Research ski flick, his indie noise-pop project, South of France, was just a seed. It was when TGR’s The Dream Factory rolled around that, in addition to crafting sequence music, South of France’s song “Kings” was placed in the film.
“It’s been about a three-year relationship with TGR and I love working with them because I grew up skiing and snowboarding, and I’ve always known the TGR films,” Comack said.
With the release of South of France’s debut LP, Another Boring Sunrise, there’s been a surge of press about the band. After all, they are stopping in Teton Village on their way to Treefort Music Fest, the newfound showcase of trending, underground indie bands. How Comack and vocalist/keyboardist Kelly Lueke came to be musical partners is a meant-to-be scenario that plays the fate card.
The original female vocalist in South of France wasn’t interested in playing live shows. Before long, offers to play live urged Comack to play the field for a new female role. A music writer friend in L.A. suggested that Comack connect with Lueke, who was in a few half-serious bands in the L.A scene.
“Kelly was flying back and forth from L.A. to re-record the vocal parts [on Another Boring Sunrise], and then a number of big opportunities were lining up for fall, and so she quit her job and moved here [to Boulder, CO],” Comack explained.
Besides playing nearly every instrument on the album (guitars, drums, bass, organ, piano…), Comack also engineered, mixed, mastered, and even designed the cover art for Another Boring Sunrise. The empowerment of DIY tools in modern day music production is a coin.
“I wrote the whole album on my own, basically, and played every instrument, so it was engineered and mixed along the way rather than ‘let’s write a bunch of songs and worry about specifics later,’” Comack said. “Having the time is a plus and a minus. The biggest thing with doing it all yourself is not having to pay for studio time so you can tinker with things. Deadlines are good, too, because it forces you to actually finish something.”
Aesthetically and atmospherically, South of France brings to mind Beach House as well as fellow Denver-based female/male surf pop duo, Tennis. Tennis relies on key-heavy bounce beats and female lounge vocals, whereas South of France’s studio sound is more reverb-drenched indie pop, adorned with layers of dense instrumentation.
A three-piece during the live show that includes drummer Matt Jeffries, South of France utilizes loops and midi triggers via iPad to round out a sound that demands multi-tasking.
South of France, 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Mangy Moose in Teton Village. A benefit for Jackson’s women’s roller derby group, The JH Juggernauts. Get there early for the silent auction (4 to 8 p.m.) and folk-grass quintet The Flannel Attractions (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.). Free.