Ipo Pharr of Lowtops--Interview Pt. 1

If you haven’t heard about Lowtops then get ready for some weirdness because this group of alien darlings has blessed us earthlings with some seriously cosmic space reggae.

Synth-ey, dreamy, and all-around otherworldly, their intoxicating sound is punctuated by Hawai’ian-born lead guitarist Ipo Pharr’s sultry vocals and addicting riffs coupled with some funkyass lines from bassist Riley Castillo.

In this ridiculously long interview we talk about everything from mental health to fashion (because we have our priorities straight, you guys) and if this doesn’t make you want to run out and follow her band Lowtops like RIGHTNOW, then hearing their self-titled EP will. The digital version drops at the end of the month, but go to a show and buy yourself a hard copy for posterity. It’s absolutely worth it.

Velvet Jones, Santa Barbara

Velvet Jones, Santa Barbara


AA: Okay, now that we finished a bottle of wine, do you think it’s time to start the interview?

IP: I’m ready!

[both giggle like little girls]

AA: I’m so stoked you guys could come stay with us, this was perfect timing.

IP: We are so grateful, thank you for having us. It’s so nice to chill in a house and be cozy. Our RV has a little kitchenette, but there’s nothing like a house.

AA: …and friends!

IP: And love and support. It’s all we need.

AA: It’s all so beautiful. Tell me about this tour! Woman Comes First: HIRIE, Tenelle and Lowtops. And the first show was last night?

IP: Yep, in San Luis Obispo. I was so nervous and I didn’t know what to expect. When you play shows in your own city you don’t always get a sound check and you just play and jam; last night felt so official.

AA: What venue were you at last night?

IP: We were at SLO Brew in their new location and the stage and lighting setup was beautiful. It was so fun to have this experience and see everyone pull up on their vans and busses, it’s surreal. I think that’s the best word to describe this entire experience. It doesn’t feel real. When you think about something for so long you have a certain image in you mind, and different expectations and preconceived notions… but when we got to that point of actually experiencing it—it’s even better than I ever could have expected. It also feels good to have a good connection with the other people on the tour.

AA: You and Trish have written music together, right?

IP: Yes yes! We’ve known each other since high school.

AA: Oh shit, I did not know that.

IP: Yeah so we met in this performing arts group and they helped you hone your craft; whether it was music, acting, singing, dancing, anything. Then we all competed in this competition called the “Olympics of Performing Arts” and it was so fun. When I met Trish I hadn’t even started writing music yet… but she had her ukulele and her guitar and she would sing songs she wrote and I was just in awe of her.

AA: Back in high school?

IP: Yeah, I used to just sing… Mariah Carey, Whitney Housten, and I sang in choir. But when I met Trish I was just completely blown away by her original music and the fact that she was putting her own thoughts into it and I just remember thinking,

“That’s SO cool! I need to be doing that.”

So I signed up for beginning guitar the very next semester, which was my senior year. As soon as I learned a few chords I began writing a song. The rest is history. I’ve been obsessed with writing songs ever since <3

At this point my two year old daughter comes running into the room towards us with chocolate covering her hands and face and we take a little break while I do damage control. Stay tuned for part 2 of our 4 part interview series where we talk about Lowtops new self-titled EP.