When vocalist/keyboardist Sarah Versprille says, “We really started from scratch with Pure Bathing Culture,” she’s not kidding.
Before she and guitarist Daniel Hindman formed their electro-pop duo, they were living in Brooklyn, N.Y., backing singer-songwriter Andy Cabic in his band Vetiver. But once they began collaborating on snippets of songs together, “we started realizing we were on to something and we were really excited about it,” she says.
It took a 2011 cross-country move to Portland, Ore., for Pure Bathing Culture to fully take shape, though. Leaving behind New York's skyscrapers and congested streets for Oregon's trees and rugged coast allowed Versprille and Hindman's creativity to expand. "Where we live in Portland, we can play in our house and we just have a lot of space to do our work," Versprille says. "And in New York, I don't think we would've been able to find that for ourselves."
The most recent product of that creativity is their dreamier than dreamy debut full-length, 2013's Moon Tides. Songs such as "Dream the Dare" showcased Pure Bathing Culture's newly formed sound, a shimmering expanse of '80s-influenced synths, drum-machine beats and delicate electric guitar, with Versprille's ethereal voice floating serenely above it all.
Now, more than a year out from Moon Tides' release, Versprille and Hindman are starting over again, in a sense, as they write the material for their next record.
The songs that became their 2012 self-titled EP and Moon Tides were "really the first songs that Dan and I had ever written together, so I feel like there's a lot of room for us to grow," Versprille says. When Pure Bathing Culture first came together, "we didn't even really know what was going to happen or how it was even going to sound," she says. "So just the approach that we took was just so basic and had to do with just what we were capable of at the time."
But now that they have numerous live performances and a full-length album under their belt, Versprille continues, "we have been discovering things about what we want to be and how we want the music to sound."
They're only "halfway" through the writing process, Versprille says—the album will be released sometime in 2015—but they're incorporating the new songs they do have put together into their live set in order to "inform the writing process moving forward after we finish up the tour," she says. "I'm excited to finish more songs and see what happens."