Wedding Dress—composed of members of Maps & Atlases, Joan of Arc and Suns—could be considered a side project’s side project by those who haven’t taken the time to listen. The band, brooding and expansive in its tempered, experimental soundscapes, is on the cusp of putting out a new 7-inch on Lovitt Records. The vinyl will be followed shortly by Wedding Dress’ full-length debut, and the material the band has released so far proves that this group is anything but a side project.
“Wedding Dress was sort of born out of artistic necessity,” vocalist Erin Elders says. Elders—who also plays guitar in the band—is often responsible for bringing in the skeletons of the band’s songs, which can consist of mostly completed structures or sometimes just lyrics or chords.
“By the time I’m presenting the song I’m usually able to play some version of it myself on the guitar,” Elders says.
For him, the magic of Wedding Dress is in offering up his compositions, which are “on the more somber-side with floating rhythms and a Nick Drake kind of feel to them,” to the rest of the group. As a whole they’ll determine if the piece really should remain sparse and on the minimal side. “I don’t stay very attached,” Elders said, “the parts that everyone else grabs on to are the ones I want to run with.”
The “artistic necessity” that bore out of the initial batch of music that founded Wedding Dress’ catalog also informs the way that the players interact dynamically. There’s a tangible concentration in the group’s sound, a focus that balances weight and malaise with sprawling ambience. “Playing music with Bobby is really exciting,” Elders says. “He thinks about rhythm and space in a way that I don’t.” Deconstructing his own basic song structures with a group of people who have different ideas about using minimalism, silence and tone winds up producing “unexpected ideas that propel everything forward.”
The band’s recording process for its upcoming full-length was an effort in experimentation unto itself. “We recorded most of the album in someone’s bedroom,” Elders says. “One of the guys at the Suns house had a studio set up in his room and no one was ever home during the day, so I’d get off of work and essentially break in, because I didn’t have keys. It was a strange process of breaking and entering and then sitting in a dark room by myself messing around on a keyboard.”
Part of what makes Wedding Dress both purposefully pointed in a more somber direction and unexpectedly cathartic is the band’s process of seeking a separate channel that has been less explored. “There’s a reason these songs end up in this band and not in our other projects,” Elders says. “Certain bands function based on collaboration, and while Wedding Dress is also collaborative, it’s a process of restructuring songs that come from a totally different place.
It’s not always a good thing to explore those darker tangents, but for better or for worse in this band, if the songs want to go there, we are going to go there.”
“Loom,” Wedding Dress’ first single off of their upcoming 7-inch streams below. Catch the band at its record release on April 18 at The Empty Bottle with Jenny Hval and Mark McGuire.