“The past year of my life, I’ve just been like ‘fuck it’ to everything, and just roll with it,” says Seth Cook, better known as Giraffula. Smile & Wave, the title of his new full-length album, “was my favorite way of saying that. Like, ‘All right, whatever,’ you know?”
And the Salt Lake City musician has put that philosophy into practice while facing several recent changes, including graduating from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in film, joining Coyote Vision Group as the band’s new bassist and even deciding to ditch Giraffula’s long-standing one-man-band status.
Since 2011, Cook has made a name for himself with his inventive solo performances, which are usually half experimental electro-rock, half performance art, often involving animal masks and rope lights. In a live setting, Cook builds his songs layer by layer, pressing pedals, recording loops and laying down guitar riffs and bass and keyboard lines with the dexterity of a guy with six hands.
Until recently, Cook utilized pre-programmed drum-machine beats in his live performances, but for Smile & Wave’s release show and his live sets hereafter, he plans on including a permanent drummer in the Giraffula lineup.
Live drumming, Cook says, is “more fun for the live show … and it speeds things up on my end. Sometimes it can be tedious and overly repetitive because I am working with the loops.” And having a drummer, he says, “adds a lot of variance to the songs.”
Koala Temple’s Taylor Clark played drums on “a little more than half the record,” Cook says, and will also perform at the release show, but Cook is still searching for a full-time Giraffula drummer.
Additional sonic variety was accomplished by Cook choosing to work with guest contributors—Gravy.Tron of the Dirt First Crew, Custom Model, Carson Keele and TJ Fitzgerald—on Smile & Wave, unlike his 2012 debut album, Sounds By, which he performed almost entirely solo.
Smile & Wave, Cook says, is “about having fun and about growing up,” but it also features songs about “accepting your life and moving on from things.” The track “Summer Groove” is dance-y and lighthearted, but is slightly wistful in the lyrics “I know that nothing lasts forever/ And in the morning I’ll lay next to you/ But until then, let’s dance together.” It speaks to Cook’s embrace of life’s—and music’s—many changes.
“I’m starting to branch out, and it’s a lot more fun to play with people,” Cook says. “I’m not really too worried about keeping up with the one-man image. I’d rather make better music.”
w/The North Valley, Palace of Buddies, Uinta
The Urban Lounge
241 S. 500 East
Friday, April 25, 9 p.m.