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Culture Shock

Prairie Scout Interview

Recently I got to sit down and host an exclusive interview with Culture Shock opener and WIUX Battle of the Bands winners, Prairie Scout! The interview was held live on WIUX B-Side internet radio and delves into the formation of the band, how they cultivated their sound, and some of their favorite music picks.

Lead singer and guitar player Natalie Ingalls kicked the interview off by talking about how scary it was to open Culture Shock and be up on that stage, but that it was something they have been anticipating and preparing for since they won the competition four months prior. The performance was a long time coming and she said that the high-quality gear at the event, the familiar faces in the crowd, and the stunning weather created an atmosphere that lifted the band’s spirits and made it fun. Guitarist John Hasey added that the white fluffy clouds were a step up from the dark basements that the band is usually used to playing.

After this, we discussed the formation of the band and their origins. Natalie began by talking about how the band started in October of 2022, when she wrote a song titled “Undergrowth” and was looking to record it. Natalie ventured to the Joshi Studio on IU campus in the Jacob’s School of Music to record with some friends. She asked Julia Fegelman to play bass on the session because of their experience together in Bloomington Delta Music Club. She met Wes Davis, who Julia brought in to play keys, and a prior partnership in the group Onomatopoeia included John Hasey on guitar. After their recording session, Natalie was interested in forming a band to accompany the music she had been writing. In an attempt to create a powerful four piece, she reached out to them after individual conversations were had about interests in forming a group, which culminated in the Prairie Scout we see today.

We then discussed how the band cultivated their sound and the trajectory of growth their sound would have moving forward. Julia opened it up by discussing how Natalie will kick the process off with lyrics and a rhythm guitar part that the band then “messes around” with until the song begins to develop. She added that the songs develop quite fast, and that Wes is really instrumental in driving what the groove of the song will be. Julia then added that they often will listen to a demo Natalie puts together and discuss the pathways in which each member envisions the song taking on. Then they sit around and discuss how they can combine those into the best final product. Wes added that there is not a song that each member hasn’t added their own touch or flavor to, and that allows them to make their music their own unique and special arrangement. John then piped in that the band’s musical tastes, as in many other groups, are a cornerstone in developing those personal styles. Natalie then gave her point of view that when songwriting, her rudimentary understanding of guitar chords sets a foundation that allows for the band to build off of that would not be possible if she was focused on fully fleshing out all the parts herself. They make her acoustic songs noisier and fun, fully capitalizing on the ease of collaboration that the band possesses.


F.J. Miller (left) with Prairie Scout in the WIUX studio.

After that enlightening conversation, I asked what genre the band felt best categorized their sound. Natalie told me that on the bands Instagram (that will be displayed at the end of this article and should be followed) she listed them as performing 'Noisy Indie Folk,' adding that she feels that it should be something different. She mentioned that she is folk-inspired and adds folk elements to their music, but they are more so indie rock and have influences from shoegaze, the blues, punk, and numerous other genres. Wes then added that she thinks they are just indie rock with cross sections of folk and shoegaze, which Natalie agreed with. Julia countered in defense of the previously stated 'Noisy Indie Folk,' because it was more fun, which Wes also agreed with. The jury is still out on what they categorize themselves as, but for the purposes of this article they are 'Noisy Indie Folk' with and emphasis on indie, because they are certainly independent, and definitely in Indiana, and because that’s what is on the Instagram so I’m playing it safe.

We also chatted about their favorite bands, and how they have impacted the music that they are making. Natalie told me that major influences in what she brings to the table contemporary wise are Wednesday, Feeble Little Horse, and Seventh Cloud, a Shoegaze group out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Her early influences included Linda Perhacs and Vashti Bunyan in the realm of folk, and that My Bloody Valentine has really driven and shaped her songwriting style. Julia told me about the band’s group playlist that they add their different influences on, and how she just listens to that on repeat without consulting who the artists are to get an idea of the sound. She added that it has proven helpful in collaboration of how they want to stylistically present their work. On the playlist they have artists like Momma and Mannequin Pussy. Wes then added that she has recruited Natalie and John to the Deftones train, and that she is thrilled that they finally have begun to indulge.

As far as new music is concerned, they are working on a new album with the Hum Drum Press that will feature all the songs they played at their Culture Shock show and more. They told me that for the next couple of months, they will be chipping away at it and are looking to release that body of work in August or September.

Finally, to cap this stellar interview off, I asked Prairie Scout a final question; “What is your favorite song in general, and favorite song to perform?” Natalie shared her favorite song ever, which is “Upside Down” by Jack Johnson and the touching but tragic story behind it. She told me that she loves it so much that she can’t listen to it, and if she does, it only occurs once every few years, because it makes her extremely emotional and is “a way to cry and reflect.” She noted that she has left numerous stores and restaurants because it began playing! She then followed up by adding that she loves to perform the breakdown portion of “Ivy” because it is satisfying, but her favorite to perform is “Spiral” because it is a blast all the way through. Julia’s favorite song right now came from a recommendation of Natalie’s, “Bull Believer” by Wednesday, and her favorite song to perform was “Spiral” because the energy is always good. John cited his favorite, “Soulmate” by Funkadelic, from the depths of YouTube because it was removed from streaming. His favorite to play is “Nerve” because of its movement and beauty. Wes’s favorite song currently is “Pinking Shears” by Mandy, Indiana because it is “wild, ambient, and crazy” which I completely understand, and her favorite to play is “Nerve” because she can live and dance in the pocket which is a feeling that I also love.

Remember to go find them at @prairiescoutband on Instagram, Prairie Scout on all streaming platforms, and for booking or more info they encourage you to reach out at!

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