What: PrettyMouth, Satan in Clothes
Where: prettymouthmusic.bandcamp.com or download on iTunes
More info: facebook.com/prettymouthmusic
M arie Litton, Lief Sjostrom and Ryan Longenecker are all part of different Denver bands, but together, they’re PrettyMouth.
They describe their music as dark folk, and everything about their first record, Satan in Clothes fits that label perfectly. On the surface, it’s the sepia-toned album art that features a skeleton, the album title and the song titles (“Morning Terrors,” “The Devil You Know,” “Sinisterly”). Of course, what really matters is the music, and Sjostrom’s cello and Longenecker’s drums provide eerie backing to Litton’s dark songwriting and light, slightly twangy voice.
We got the trio on the phone to talk about the record, which is only a few weeks out of the gate, and how they got together in the first place.
How long have you been together now?
Marie Litton: Me and Lief started playing together in February — last February — and Ryan joined us in March, so not very long.
And you recorded the album pretty soon after that, right?
ML: I recorded the record in June. We did it real quick.
Lief Sjostrom: She had most of the songs written already and she found us. Then she had to pound out three or four more.
Marie, I’ve heard it wasn’t easy finding players who suited your voice well.
ML: Well, I’m in another band called Lil’ Thunder and the band’s great and they suit my vocal style, but my voice is soft, so I have to have a good sound guy to push it. It’s hard to find people that want to play quiet. The other people I had been playing these songs with were trying to make a rock band, but I didn’t want to be in a rock band … It’s hard to find people who want to play like this.
So how did you find these guys?
ML: I had met Lief at a party, but I had no idea he played cello. I went and I saw him (play in February) and I was like, “Oh my God, he needs to play in my band.” I needed to start something new. The band he was playing with was about to fall apart, so he was looking for somebody, and so it worked out perfect. And I worked with Ryan’s girlfriend, who said he was a drummer who wanted to be serious about music. It worked out great. It worked so effortlessly.
Tell me about Satan in Clothes. It’s certainly dark, as advertised.
ML: Dark folk is the best way I can describe it. My voice is twangy and it’s a little darker, it’s a little depressing. I think everything I write is more on the depressing side, this is just a lot more — I wouldn’t say country — but I need a word…
LS: A little more singer-songwriter?
ML Yeah. It’s different.
Are you working on anything new?
ML: I’m gonna start writing a new record right away.
Ryan Longenecker: That’s what Marie is doing. Me and Lief are in two other bands and we’re also working super hard to promote this record and get it into the right hands, and hopefully start touring in spring of next year.
ML We’re trying to get shows and be a working band. That’s our main thing right now. I’ve been in a lot of bands in the town, but this is like… We all want to be a bigger band. We all want to make this happen. We’re pushing it. We wanna do this thing.