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Impuritees

Nothing Matters
(Self-Released)
Release Date: June 16, 2017

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The influence of a Walkman can never be underestimated. For Canadian musician Duncan Lee, it provided a source of inspiration through which he walked across landscapes filled with the music of Green Day, Metallica, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath—and this was when he was still in elementary school. Lee had been playing guitar since he was 5 years old and had taken a few years of lessons, developing an ear for the mechanics of songwriting that allowed him to construct layered visions of sound and associated emotions within his head.

Teaching himself to play drums at the age of 11, after his parents bought him his first kit, Lee progressed quickly in his studies, picking up different instruments as he grew and discovering a natural affinity for musical osmosis. This was especially true of the influence of his mother and father, who both played in a ‘90s band called Rage of Angels. She was pregnant with Duncan while still performing, and she would later recount a story to him about a time when he was kicking to the beat of the song while the band was onstage.

Throughout high school he fronted a handful of bands, including a Beatles cover band that evolved with the cooperation of his friend and musician Patrick McWilliams (with whom he now shares time with in The Cut Losses). But as that cover band evolved, it became clear that they were moving away from each other in terms of their musical direction, and so they parted ways, beginning their respective movements toward their own individual rhythmic inclinations. Duncan would go on to play drums in a couple of bands, occasionally spending time with a band called Fall With Them that counted his brother Cameron among its members. But the inspiration that had fueled him up to that point was fading, and after graduation, he took a break from songwriting.

He soon found himself working various labor jobs trying to save money for a car while partying and drinking too much, resulting in his losing focus on the direction of his music. He pulled himself away from these things and subsequently rediscovered his love of songwriting. His determination returned, and with the help of a close friend who spurred him to get behind the kit again, he began the purging process of writing over a dozen songs in just a few months. And while these tracks would never see the light of day, this strenuous practice led him to invest in studio equipment and take on most of the recording responsibilities himself.

Drawing inspiration from such bands as Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Tame Impala, Lee worked through his one-man origins and found himself in possession of 30 songs that seemed to exit within an insular inspiration. And it would be these songs that formed the basis of his understanding of his solo project, Impuritees. “I had the idea of releasing my own material because I really wanted to see where it would take me,” he explains. “I was really inspired by bands whose music started with one man in a studio recording songs by himself.” He then met with local producer/engineer Felix Fung (who was also working with The Cut Losses) and began to work through the tracks that would form the basis of his debut EP under the Impuritees moniker.

Opening with “Nothing Matters,” Lee works through a glittering pop-rock theatricality that feels distinctly ‘80s indebted. “Acceptance” finds him experimenting with a stripped down indie rock classicism that wouldn’t have felt out of place on an early record from Dinosaur Jr. Fuzzed-out bass grooves take the reins of “Speak to Me,” giving him a chance to stretch his legs and really push the limits of the sounds that he come to associate with this project. Closing track, “Easy Way,” channels the jangle and shimmer of bands like Echo & the Bunnymen and The Jesus and Mary Chain without sacrificing the natural cadence of his own creativity.

Buoyed by a history of musical adaptation, Lee has built an atmosphere of striking guitar lines, bass rhythms that pump blood to the heart of his influences and a percussive rattle that sinks into the deepest parts of his listener’s skeletons. Channeling both his extensive musical upbringing and the experiences that drove him to refocus on the trajectory of his own music, his work as Impuritees looks to expand on a pop and rock sound that doesn’t bend to accommodate any particular genre but evinces a series of unique personalities, revealing the inherent spirit and force behind his sprawling influences.

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Press Contact Bill Benson
Photo Credit: Steven Shepherd

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