By Michael Lello
When Colin Holloway and Dave Ulrich’s band Bunnie ran its course, the duo decided they wanted to do something more psychedelic. The result is Needle Points, a band that has certainly delivered on that goal, both musically and visually. With trippy stage clothes and handmade merch, the group is tapping into something different for sure — if power crystals and dream catchers had a soundtrack, this would be it.
As the Philadelphia band develops a larger following and gears up for the release of its first record, “Bom Tugangu,” Needle Points will play Saturday, Nov. 9 at The Bog in Scranton along with Teen Men, in a show presented by Highway 81 Revisited.
We recently checked in with vocalist Holloway to try to get to the bottom of the deep mystery of Needle Points.
H81R: Tell us how the band got together.
CH: Me and Dave, we were in a band together for a while. We wanted to get a little more psychedelic with our sound. Our band kind of disbanded and we decided to write new songs. And we got Brian (Langan, bass) and Jordan (Kaplan, drums) and Danielle (Kinoshita, drums) involved soon after that, and it sort of rolled on from there.
H81R: What kind of music did Bunnie play?
CH: It was all over the place. It was pretty versatile because we had three different singers and songwriters and each of us liked a different type of music. Kinda country at times, a little psychedelic, a little folky, a little rock ’n’ roll.
H81R: How does Needle Points differ from Bunnie? What was the intention in starting the new band?
CH: I guess we just wanted something that was a little more colorful. We just wanted to do something that’s more fun to watch. We’re all artists, we’ve been musicians for a long time, so we wanted to combine both those things. And everyone we got involved had like a really positive energy and a real positive vibe, so we all just kind of based it off that.
H81R: How has the band chemistry developed?
CH: The chemistry is great. Sometimes we’ll do meditations before our shows, sometimes during our shows (laughs). We try to do some power posing before shows. I think we all didn’t expect that we’d come to the same point with the band, which is we just wanted to make it all about love, and we all love each other and we just want to push that out there to everyone else.
H81R: How have audiences reacted? It’d definitely not what some people might expect when they go to a show.
CH: I think it’s been great. I think everyone is catching on. Every time we play, there’s more new faces out there. We have quite a nice following of friends that are always there to support us. As far as it being conveyed to our audience, I think it’s really catching on. I think as long as you make it fun on stage, they’re going to have. Don’t take it too seriously.
H81R: You have two drummers, and both stand up. How did that come about?
CH: Well, Danielle, she actually never played drums. Jordan was our old drummer from Bunnie. So what happened was when me and Dave started the band, we were maybe just going to do a three-piece with me, Dave and Danielle. Danielle took tap dance. She just kind of tap dances everywhere she goes, so we all took that to mean that she had rhythm and said “You should play some drums, girl.” We’d give her a drum and she’d beat the hell out of it, which was awesome. We needed someone to kind of guide her along and teach her, and Jordan came out and both of them together just ended up playing drums, kind of like Mo from the Velvet Underground. It was kind of inspired by that. Plus, I don’t know, every drummer should stand and take a bow.
H81R: It gives the show a different look.
CH: Totally, totally. I wanted everyone in the band to be as present as anyone else in the band. I’m kinda the frontman, but I don’t want to be the frontman. I think Brian’s the frontman of everything he’s ever involved with (laughs).
H81R: How did you meet Brian?
CH: Me and Brian met I guess, we met a bunch of times. People all have this big circle of friends, but I guess we mainly hung when I was on tour and we stopped through Scranton. Me and Brian swam in a pool and drank a million beers, and yeah. But not until he moved to Philadelphia years, years later, we started hanging out and became best buds.
H81R: What was the process of making the new album?
CH: Oh man, it was cool. We all got together for a practice one day and we just decided we were going to start demoing some songs, and it turned out to be a full album. We broke out the four-track and just loved the way that the recordings sounded and decided to use them. So they were lo-fi, but we got some people to master them and I think it sounds great.
H81R: What’s the name of the album?
CH: “Bom Tugangu.” It’s kind of like a story we created about a magical land called the Bom Tugangu. We also didn’t want to name our album anything too obvious. We basically made up our own word and created a whole story about a peaceful place where people all get along and there’s no violence. You should visit (laughs).
H81R: You’re playing here with Teen Men, which is a band that you don’t have much in common with musically. But both band are very visual.
CH: I think it’s going to be really awesome. We’re going to do two different things. It’s not going to be the same thing, so I think it’s going to be fun for everyone. Fun for the family, ya know? (laughs)
H81R: Tell us about your merch, which the band makes itself.
CH: So Dave has been a silk screener forever. Everyone in the band is artists. Usually we pick two people in the band to do our posters, some hand-screened posters or shirts or whatever. Someone from in the band will draw up something and Dave and I or Dave and somebody else will usually go and do a big run of everything. I don’t know; merch is like, it’s bullshit. I want something that people actually want to have and not just a shirt with our name on it. Why don’t we make cool art for people?
H81R: What’s next for Needle Points?
CH: We’re going to take a little break from Philly and do some tours, maybe in the spring. We’re also probably going to just get back to writing again. We have a couple songs. We’re putting the record out ourselves through a label called Need Love that me and Dave have started. We built a whole recording studio ever since Needle Points started, and we’ve been collecting more and more gear, so now we have a full working studio. So we’re going to be putting out some friends of ours records and also hopefully come next year we’ll have some more stuff going with Needle Points.