The Persian Leaps Clear the Air “When This Gets Out”

It seemed as if every week there was another scandal around Donald Trump, and then what should have “sunk” him was eclipsed by something more appalling for Drew Forsberg. And while The Persian Leaps frontman wasn’t intentionally writing around politics, injustices, or the impending pandemic, some of those pent up agitations and reflections trickle out of the band’s upcoming album Drone Etiquette (Land Ski Records), out Oct. 1 and revelatory single “When This Gets Out.”

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“‘When This Gets Out’ imagines something big enough to cut through the apathy, alienate the enablers and apologists, and finally make a difference,” Forsberg tells American Songwriter. “Also, starting out the EP with the song seemed very appropriate. When this gets out, the shit will hit the fans.”

Though Drone Etiquette was recorded during the pandemic, the six songs do not reflect the events of the past year. “The EP doesn’t address the pandemic at all,” says Forsberg, “but it’s very much a by-product of lockdown and what we all endured.”

Originally written in 2019, “When This Gets Out” started with a riff, then the lyrics followed. “The line When this gets out came into my head from nowhere, so I built the song around it and basically discovered what the song was going to be about,” shares Forsberg. “I never decide to write a song on a particular topic—it just happens naturally or not at all. So it wasn’t intentional, but in retrospect, I realized that the song was probably my reaction to the Trump years.”

Through an alt-rock fuzz, Forsberg admits that ”When This Gets Out” also fulfilled the role of the “big dumb rock song” on this release. “I seem to have one per album [or] EP—a song that’s all riff and testosterone, often with slight lyrical merit,” he says. “I think the lyrics on this song pull up the average, though.”

The Persian Leaps’ Drew Forsberg (Photo: Rouse Productions)

Recorded at a new studio, the Terrarium in Minneapolis, for the first time since the band’s 2013 debut Praise Elephants, Drone Etiquette was later mixed by Neil Weit and mastered by Bruce Templeton. Performing on all the instruments himself, Forsberg admits that Drone Etiquette was a difficult EP to piece together because he also edited the guitar and vocals for the first time, which took more time than expected. 

“I’m tech savvy but there was still a learning curve,” says Forsberg. “Plus, it created a new outlet for my perfectionism. The whole process took longer than normal and got to be a slog near the end, but it should go more smoothly next time since I made all my mistakes with this EP.”

Named The Persian Leaps, after a daydream Forsberg once had in a Greek archaeology class, the St. Paul, Minnesota-based band has shifted through various lineups, yet always keep their sound intact. “The players involved have changed over the years, which I’m sure affects the sound,” says Forsberg, the band’s key songwriter, “but when we reverted to a studio project, I very consciously wanted to retain a full band sound, to the extent possible, even though the drums are programmed.”

Though nothing shifted sonically from previous releases, Forsberg says the piano is more prominent, and acoustic guitar—a first for the band—is featured in two songs on Drone Etiquette, a follow up to the band’s 2019 release Electrical Living in 2019 Smiling Lessons EP in 2020.

“If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you might know that the show’s mantra, according to Larry David, was ‘no hugging, no learning,’” says Forsberg on the careful course of the band. “I’m joking and exaggerating but the Persian Leaps is a bit like that, in that I never consciously try to change our sound or confound expectations. A more objective, impartial observer might detect some evolution from our first release to our most recent one, but I’m really only interested in creating music that sounds like what people expect from the Persian Leaps.”

Forsberg adds, “I won’t be taking a detour into Americana or electronic music anytime soon… not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

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